Skip to content

Neocon think-tank urges Washington to press Egypt govt to curb Islamist groups, maintain peace with Israel

Pressure to prevent Islamists from assuming power in Egypt

Al-Jazeera; April 15, 2011

Testimony presented to the US Congress has revealed efforts by Jewish lobby organizations to prevent Islamist groups from assuming power in Egypt following the recent January 25 Revolution by calling on the US administration to pressure Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in this regard. [The SCAF has run the nation’s affairs since the February 11 ouster of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak.]

These efforts were undertaken by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the research arm of organizations associated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Independent news agency “America in Arabic” says it has obtained a copy of the congressional testimony, which was presented on April 13, 2011 by WINEP Executive Director Robert Satloff [see testimony, below].

The document urges Washington to “privately” contact the SCAF and pressure it to curb Islamist movements in advance of upcoming national elections and to provide the supreme council with intelligence about foreign funding to Egyptian Islamist movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafist movement and the Gamaa Islamiya.

In the document, Satloff recommends that the US administration privately engage with the SCAF “so that technical decisions are not taken in framing an electoral process that inadvertently abets the Brotherhood’s political prospects.” The document also calls for a “clear message” to be sent to the Egyptian public that the US administration would only deal with an Egyptian government that was committed to fulfilling its “international obligations,” including “freedom of navigation through the Suez Canal, peace with Israel, and the expansion of peace throughout the region.”

The testimony goes on to warn of other Egyptian Islamist groups — such as the Gamaa Islamiya, Al-Jihad, the Salafist movement and the Wasat Party — which, the document says, could pose a threat to US interests and policies in the region.

“In an Islamized Egypt, the future frigidity of EgyptIsrael peace is likely to make the experience of the last couple of decades look warm and cozy by comparison,” the testimony warns. “This will have a practical effect in Egypt’s policy toward Gaza, in Egypt’s policing of Sinai, in Egypt’s sale of natural gas to Israel, and in the continued operation of the Qualified Industrial Zones set up inside Egypt to build EgyptIsrael economic cooperation…”

Satloff also advises the US administration against providing the Brotherhood with a “political gift” in the form of “lightning-rod statements or actions that could motivate voters otherwise indifferent to the Brotherhood’s message to come out and support the movement.” Satloff also warns of what he describes as the Muslim Brotherhood’s “checkered history,” saying that if the group were allowed to achieve political power, “it will almost certainly use that power to transform Egypt into a very different place.”

Satloff goes on to claim that his data is based on a trip that he took to Egypt earlier this month, pointing to meetings he held with Muslim Brotherhood members themselves.

WINEP is closely associated with Tel Aviv University’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, and was long headed by General Aharon Yariv, who had previously served as both an Israeli government minister and as head of Israeli intelligence. WINEP’s membership includes pro-Israeli American Jews, including Satloff, who, in a 2004 essay entitled “The Battle of Ideas in the War on Terror,” wrote that Arab states were destined to fall “one after the other” in the face of rising US/Israeli regional hegemony.

(In Arabic):


Notably, Satloff held a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabli al-Arabi on April 5. Al-Arabi was appointed by the ruling SCAF in early March.

(In Arabic):

Text of WINEP’s testimony prepared for delivery to the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism, HUMINT, Analysis and Counterintelligence

“The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic current and prospects for post-Mubarak Egypt: An Early Assessment”

By Dr. Robert Satloff, Executive Director, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Madame Chairman,

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee to discuss the Muslim Brotherhood and the direction of the Islamist current in Egyptian politics and society today. Having just returned from a fact-finding mission to Egypt several days ago, which included intensive discussions with the broad array of political actors in Egyptian society (including members of the Muslim Brotherhood), I am eager to share my observations with you on the potential role Islamists will play in the “new Egypt” and the implications of this development for US-Egyptian relations and broader US interests. With your permission, I will leave discussion of the Muslim Brotherhood inside the United States to my colleagues.

Context: Before turning to the specific question of the Muslim Brotherhood, it is important to provide a general comment about the situation in Egypt. I will summarize my view as follows: One cannot but be moved by the courage, enthusiasm and audacity of the people – largely young people – who toppled the Mubarak regime. I believe their commitment and determination will eventually be vindicated in the development of a more hopeful, more open, forward-looking Egypt. In other words, the long-term looks positive. However, for many reasons, the near term looks problematic. The best case will be bumpy, with the uncertain relationship between army and civilian forces moving in zigs-and-zags – indeed, often in bloody zigs-and-zags, as was the case over the past week. Even more likely will be worse-case situations that will be far more difficult, vexing and even dangerous for Egypt, US-Egyptian relations and US regional interests than what we have seen in ten weeks since the start of the revolutionary events in Tahrir Square. The challenge for the United States is to help Egypt weather a period of profound uncertainty; provide what assistance, counsel and partnership we can to support those in Egypt who wish to take a liberal, democratic, inclusive, responsible and peaceful course of political change; and insulate our broader regional interests from the potential negative impact of bad- and worse-case scenarios.

From Revolution to Transition

It is already a truism of Egypt’s post-Mubarak politics that liberal activists were responsible for the takeoff of the revolution but, so far, Islamists and the military have been defining the landing. That is to say that the spark of revolutionary activity came largely from secular youth, who rather ingeniously organized the massive protests that caught the regime – and themselves – by surprise on Police Day, January 25. Islamists were slow to the fray. However, sensing an opportunity, Islamists grabbed it. When, over the next ten days, the regime tested the option of using real military force to quash the protests, the protestors’ most effective and best organized manpower came from two sources – first, the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies and second, the well-oiled machines of soccer fan clubs and soccer team security forces. Only the former, of course, had a strategic political agenda, and from the moment the Islamists committed themselves to the fight, their goal has been to capture, exploit and inherit the revolution.

For the Muslim Brotherhood, the demise of the Mubarak regime provided an opening to regularize their role in Egyptian political life after decades on the political margins or in the political shadows. That is to say that the Brotherhood recognized that a post-Mubarak Egypt might provide an opportunity for it to resume legitimate political activity after decades of an uneasy relationship with the country’s military leadership.

Here, one should recall the Brotherhood’s long and checkered history in modern Egypt. Founded in 1928 by the schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna, the Brotherhood was conceived as a movement to revitalize Egyptian society, combat Western ideas, philosophy and cultural mores, and fight colonialism, imperialism and Zionism through the spread of Islamic law, practice, custom and tradition. While the Brotherhood always maintained an important focus on education and social welfare as critical to its proselytization (dawa) efforts, with striking speed, it developed into a major player on the domestic political scene, complete with a secretive, armed element that terrorized Egyptian society. That terrorism and the radical political philosophy on which it was based led to the imprisonment and execution of Brotherhood leaders, a ban on the Muslim Brotherhood as a political organization, and the inclusion in the 1971 constitution of a prohibition of political parties based on religion.

The MB’s relationship with the Egyptian regime, however, has long been more complex than that. Under the Mubarak presidency, for example, the Brotherhood remained a banned political entity and the regime periodically threw large numbers of Brotherhood activists in jail. At the same time, however, the regime reached tactical arrangements with the Brotherhood which allowed the Brotherhood to operate vast social welfare programs, especially in areas where the civil government was dysfunctional, and even to compete in limited fashion in legislative elections, so long as the MB candidates campaigned as “independents.” There were various rationales involved in this policy – part of this was to provide an outlet to permit the influential Islamist current in society let off steam; part of this was an internal security imperative of finding some way to get social services to citizens when the government could not deliver it itself; part of it was an insurance policy purchased by the regime to protect itself from popular attack for its maintenance of peace with Israel and counter-terror partnership with the United States; and part of it was to project both at home and abroad the idea that Islamists were such a potent threat that accepting the authoritarianism of the Mubarak regime was a small price to pay to ensure stability in as vital a country as Egypt. The bottom line was that politics in Egypt stultified – one aspect of the tacit agreement between the Islamists and the regime was to undermine the most attractive alternative to the regime, i.e., non-Islamists (liberals, democrats, leftists, etc.) and the Islamists’ own political fortunes were nearly always determined by the whim of the regime. So, when the regime decided in 2005 that it needed to underscore to Washington the danger of the “freedom agenda,” it orchestrated elections which gave 20 percent of parliament to the MB, and when the regime decided in 2010 that it had proved its point, it orchestrated elections in which the MB did not win a single seat.

(While this testimony focuses on the Egyptian face of the Brotherhood, it is important to note that the Brotherhood was always, at its core, an international movement, which rejected the idea of the nation-state and sought eventually to recreate the Islamic caliphate. While there is no Islamist Comintern, with a central committee guiding the activities of local Muslim Brotherhood chapters in far-flung countries around the globe, there are important doctrinal, ideological, political, strategic and personal connections that link Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and sister movements and organizations around the world. Hence, for example, the Islamic Resistance Movement — otherwise known as Hamas — defines itself as the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.)

The demise of Hosni Mubarak raised, for the Brotherhood, the prospect of returning to the political stage as a fully legitimate actor. This has required the Brotherhood to adopt a very delicate balance between, on the one hand, embracing the ideals of change, democracy and revolution and, on the other hand, redefining and updating the tacit arrangements with the military, which remains (if uneasily) in control of the pace, content and direction of political change in Egypt. The result is complexity, contradiction and paradox. Brotherhood members and sympathizers have been deeply engaged in all political dialogues with the post-Mubarak military government; Brotherhood leaders were the most vocal supporters of the military’s constitutional amendments, as seen in their support for the “yes” vote in the recent referendum; and Brotherhood leaders have been strong advocates for a speedy electoral timetable, which would maximize their advantage in organization over their liberal and leftist political competitors. At the same time, elements within the Brotherhood have built important political coalitions with key liberal and leftist activists; fought bravely against the Egyptian security forces when the regime used force and violence against Tahrir Square protestors during and after the events of January-February; and called for swift justice against mainstays of the Mubarak regime. If these positions are, at times, contradictory, that is the nature of politics in post-Mubarak Egypt.

To add further to the complexity of the situation, the Brotherhood does not occupy the Islamist space on the Egyptian political spectrum all by itself. There are at least six different elements within the overall Islamist current. Moving from the most radical to the most liberal, these include: the al-Gamaa al-Islamiyah /Islamic Jihad, organized by former convicts imprisoned for their role in the Sadat assassination; the extremist Salafiyun, who have been implicated in destruction of Sufi shrines and sectarian violence against Copts; the Brotherhood and its new political party, the Freedom and Justice Party; the liberal wing of the Brotherhood (represented by possible presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh and his proto-party, an-Nahda/Renaissance); the Youth of the Brotherhood, which sometimes coalesces with liberal and leftist youth; and the al-Wasat/Center party, which is led by disaffected Brotherhood members. The extent to which these divisions within the Islamist trend are real is unknown. One implication of this variety of Islamist political groupings – especially the fact impact of the emergence of the Salafis as political actors — is that it has the effect of making the Brotherhood look more mainstream and moderate, by comparison. That, indeed, might be the rationale for these divisions all along. (One additional facet of Islamist politics is the extent to which a variety of groups reportedly receive funding from foreign sources, especially from Saudi Arabia and Gulf. Informed observers especially focus on Salafi groups as recipients of this funding, which has the potential to distort the local political environment.)

The Brotherhood, Elections and Political Power

I believe deep concern about the Muslim Brotherhood’s potential emergence as a major player and even power-broker is warranted. As I noted in previous congressional testimony, the Brotherhood is not, as some suggest, simply an Egyptian version of the March of Dimes – that is, a social welfare organization whose goals are fundamentally humanitarian. On the contrary, the Brotherhood is a profoundly political organization that seeks to reorder Egyptian (and broader Muslim) society in an Islamist fashion. Tactically, I believe the organization will exploit whatever opportunities it is offered; it has renounced its most ambitious goals and the violent means to achieve them only as a result of regime compulsion, not by free choice. Should the Brotherhood achieve political power, it will almost certainly use that power to transform Egypt into a very different place. The best case analogy would be Turkey under Erdogan, where the secular state is gradually being Islamized. A more realistic situation would see deeper and more systemic Islamization of society, including the potential for a frightening growth of sectarianism between Muslims and Copts and even deepening intra-Muslim conflict between Salafis and Sufis.

However, while extreme wariness and caution is warranted, it would be a mistake for the United States to operate under the assumption that the Brotherhood’s ascension to power is inevitable, given the country’s broad range of political alternatives. In fact, such an assumption is very dangerous and could itself lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Indeed, a close look at the 2005 elections and the March referendum results suggests there is considerable reason to believe that the Brotherhood does not command majority support among the Egyptian public. Moreover, recent actions by the Supreme Military Council – most notably its maintenance of the most important elements of the Mubarak-era constitution – suggests that the Egyptian military does not intend to change an electoral system that effectively prevents the Brotherhood from achieving political power through the ballot box.

Still, it is important for Washington to be vigilant about the mainstreaming of the Brotherhood in Egyptian political life and the impetus this would give to the Islamization of domestic politics and foreign policy. Based on the words of Islamist leaders and the experiences of Islamists in and around governments in other Arab countries, implications of this would be felt in numerous arenas – from social mores, to education policy, to Egypt’s regional policies. This would have particular impact on Egypt’s peace with Israel. In recent weeks, Brotherhood leaders have downplayed their previous statements calling for a national referendum to determine whether Egypt should continue to adhere to its peace treaty, saying little more than this is an issue that the new democratic parliament should address. Most likely, the military’s firm position to maintain Egypt’s international commitments has made it unacceptable to talk about abrogating the treaty or advocating political steps toward that goal. Still, in an Islamized Egypt, the future frigidity of EgyptIsrael peace is likely to make the experience of the last couple of decades look warm and cozy by comparison. This will have practical effect in Egypt’s policy toward Gaza, in Egypt’s policing of Sinai, in Egypt’s sale of natural gas to Israel and in the continued operation of the Qualified Industrial Zones set up inside Egypt to build EgyptIsrael economic cooperation and access to the US market. Of course, in all these ways – and more — a more Islamist Egypt would also have serious deleterious ramifications for the US-Egyptian relationship.

US Interests and US policy

In addressing the Islamist challenge to democracy in Egypt, it is necessary for the US government to strike a wise balance between, on the one hand, being alive to the dangers that the Brotherhood and its allies post to critical US interests and, on the other hand, providing the Brotherhood with a political gift in the form of lightning-rod statements or actions that could motivate voters otherwise indifferent to the Brotherhood’s message to come out and support the movement.

Privately, the Administration should engage with the Supreme Military Council on US concerns so that technical decisions are not taken in framing an electoral process that inadvertently abets the Brotherhood’s political prospects. In addition, we should share information with them on the foreign funding of Islamist groups, parties and movements with an eye to insulating Egypt’s democratic experiment from nefarious interests of outside powers.

Publicly, it is important for the Administration to send a clear message to the political elite and voting public in Egypt about what sort of Egypt we can envision as a partner. Broadly speaking, US interests are best served by supporting a transition to an Egyptian government that:

– shows, through action, its commitment to the universal freedoms of speech, assembly, thought, and religion, and to a free press; that encourages religious liberty and both practices and enforces religious tolerance for all minorities; that supports the rights of people to communicate freely, including through the internet, without interference; and that combats extremism in all its forms, including those based on religion;

– represents, through democratic norms and practices (including free and fair elections for president and parliament), the legitimate political, economic, and social aspirations of its people and that endeavors, in all practicable ways, to meet them;

– respects the rule of law and the institutions of justice; recognizes the vital importance of an independent judiciary; and fights corruption at all levels of government;

is committed to fulfill its international obligations, including (but not limited to) freedom of navigation through the Suez Canal; peace with Israel and the expansion of peace throughout the region; the fight against extremism and terrorism; peaceful resolution of the Sudan conflict (including recognition of partition); and all other treaty obligations and duties incumbent upon a peace-loving member of the United Nations;

affirms its bilateral partnership with the United States to advance security and peace in the Middle East, Africa, and the Mediterranean.

This is the Egypt that merits full US political support and financial assistance, including both economic and military aid. As Egyptians begin to make political choices about their future leadership and strategic direction, Washington should project a clear message that it stands ready to provide such aid to a government that can endorse these principles and work toward their implementation in practice. A Brotherhood-led, -guided or -inspired government of Egypt would not meet this test.

To give these principles real political impact, it would also be important for the Administration to act now to create incentives to encourage Egyptians to choose the sort of leadership with whom we can build a special relationship, i.e., an Egypt guided by the principles outlined above. Among the incentives Washington should consider are: opening negotiations for a free trade agreement; expansion of the QIZ program; an early loan to the government of Egypt collateralized by the Mubarak-era seized assets; and a dramatic increase in education initiatives, including substantial expansion of university-to-university programs that would bring Egyptian students to the United States and create distance learning opportunities for many more of them.


View the original article at Veterans Today

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Civil Rights and Privacy, Middle East, Politics, Revolutions & Coups, War on terror.

Tagged with , , , , , .

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Remember I told you over 5 years ago that they would be trying to shut down sites and YouTube channels that are not promoting the "Official" view. Well it's all happening now big time. Peoples Channels get no money from YouTube any more and Google is being fishy with their AdSense giving money for some clicks but not others. The time is here, it's not "Obama's Internet Cut Off Switch" it's "Trumps Sell Everyones Internet Dirty Laundry Garage Sale". This site must be on some list at GCHQ/NSA as my AdSense revenue which I rely on has gone down by a third. Either people are not helping out by visiting sponsors sanymore or I am being blackballed like many YouTube sites.

It's not just Google/YouTube defunding altenative chanels (mine was shut), but Facebook is also removing content, shutting pages, profiles and groups and removing funds from #altnews that way as well. I was recently kicked off FB and had a page "unpublished" with no reason given. If you don't know already all Facebooks Private Messages and Secret Groups are still analysed and checked for words related to drugs, sex, war etc against their own TOS. Personally I know there are undercover Irish police moving from group to group cloning peoples accounts and getting people booted. Worse than that I know some people in prison now for the content they had on their "secret private group". Use Telegrams secret chat mode to chat on, or if you prefer Wickr. If you really need to, buy a dumb phone with nothing for the NSA/GCHQ to hack into. Ensure it has no GPS tracking on it and that the battery can be removed. These are usually built for old people to get used to technology storing only a set of numbers to call. However they have no games, applications to install or other ways people can exploit the computer tracking device you carry round with you most of the day - your smart phone. If you are paranoid ensure that you can remove the battery when travelling around and do so to prevent GPS tracking or phone mast triangulation. Even with your phone in Flight mode or turned off, it can be turned on remotely and any features like front or back cameras, microphones and keylogging software can be installed to trace you.

So if your not supporting this site already which brings you news from the Left to the Right (really the same war mongering rubbish) then I could REALLY do with some..

Even if it's just £5 or tick the monthly subscription box and throw a few pound my way each month, it will be much appreciated. Read on to find out why.


Any support to keep this site would be appreciated. You could set up a monthly subscription for £2 like some people do or you could pay a one off donation as a gift.
I am not asking you to pay me for other people's articles, this is a clearing house as well as place to put my own views out into the world. I am asking for help to write more articles like my recent false flag gas attack to get WWIII started in Syria, and Trump away from Putin. Hopefully a few missiles won't mean a WikiLeaks release of that infamous video Trump apparently made in a Russian bedroom with Prostitutes. Also please note that this article was written just an hour after the papers came out, and I always come back and update them.

If you want to read JUST my own articles then use the top menu I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has seen me the victim of hacks, DOS plus I have been kicked off multiple hosting companies, free blogging sites, and I have even had threats to cease and desist from the US armed forces. Therefore I have to pay for my own server which is NOT cheap. The more people who read these article on this site the more it costs me so some support would be much appreciated.

I have backups of removed reports shown, then taken down after pressure, that show collusion between nations and the media. I have the full redacted 28/29 pages from the 9.11 commission on the site which seems to have been forgotten about as we help Saudi Arabia bomb Yemeni kids hiding in the rubble with white phosphorus, an illegal weaapon. One that the Israeli's even used when they bombed the UN compound in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. We complain about Syrian troops (US Controlled ISIS) using chemical weapons to kill "beautiful babies". I suppose all those babies we kill in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just not beautiful enough for Trumps beautiful baby ratio. Plus we kill about 100 times as many as ISIS or the Syrian army have managed by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

I also have a backup of the FOX News series that looked into Israeli connections to 9.11. Obviously FOX removed that as soon as AIPAC, ADL and the rest of the Hasbra brigade protested.

I also have a copy of the the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was quickly and quietly removed from their site once they enacted and replaced with some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power. No change to police tactics, protesting or our unfair extradition treaty with the USA but we did get a stop to being clamped on private land instead of the mny great ideas in the original.

So ANY support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! I don't have much money after leaving my job and it is a choice between shutting the server or selling the domain or paying a lot of money just so I can show this material.

Material like the FSB Bombings that put Putin in power or the Google no 1 spot when you search for protecting yourself from UK Police with "how to give a no comment interview". If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks per visit is all it takes to help keep the servers running and tag any tweets with alternative news from the mainstream with the #altnews hashtag I created to keep it alive!

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation. Especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful. Why not do a monthly subscription for less money instead. Will you really notice £5 a month?