An unidentified protester in Egypt stands before a fiery background (courtesy: Al-Jazeera)
TEL AVIV – Islamists, in particular the
anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood, seem poised to take
power throughout the Middle East as a result of riots
that have already toppled one Arab regime and are
threatening others, in what some are calling only the
latest wave of an Islamic “tsunami” sweeping the globe.
In Egypt, members of President Hosni Mubarak’s
family reportedly have fled the country as a flood of
violent, fatal street protests threatens the stability of this
most populous Arab nation, a longtime U.S. ally and the
only Muslim nation with a long-lasting peace agreement
The White House has been championing the
protests, calling for a transition to democratic rule in
Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood formed the main
opposition to Mubarak.
The Obama administration’s support for the unrest
is strikingly reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s support of
the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, which marked
the birth of modern Islamist expansion now seemingly
sweeping the Mideast.
In fact, some Muslim clerics are already calling the
riots in Egypt simply an extension of 1979’s Islamist
“Thirty-one years after the victory of the Islamic Republic,
we are faced with the obvious fact that these
movements are the aftershocks of the Islamic
Revolution,” said Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad
Khatami, as reported by Iran’s Radio Zamaneh. “The
fate of those who challenge [our] religion is destruction.”
Speaking of media and government leaders,
Khatami added, “They want to highlight the labor, liberal
and democratic issues, but the most important issue,
which is the religious streak of these protests, [is] being
The leader of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood,
Hammam Saeed, warned that the unrest in Egypt will
spread across the Mideast until Arabs succeed at
toppling leaders allied with the United States.
“The Americans and Obama must be losing sleep
over the popular revolt in Egypt,” Saeed said at a
sympathy protest held outside the Egyptian Embassy in
Amman. “Now, Obama must understand that the
people have woken up and are ready to unseat the
tyrant leaders who remained in power because of U.S.
And on the Internet, the Middle East Media
Research Institute reports, prominent Salafi cleric Abu
Mundhir Al-Shinqiti issued a fatwa in the website
Minbar Al-Tawhid Wal Jihad encouraging the protests
in Egypt, claiming Islamist jihadis are now on the verge
of a historic moment in the history of the Islamic nation,
an “earthquake” he likened to the Sept. 11 attacks in
New York City.
As the clerics are accurately noting, Egypt is only
one of many recent cases where Islamic unrest has
surged in the Middle East and North Africa.
In Tunisia, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was
toppled following rioting and street protests and
In Yemen, last week witnessed the largest protests
in years against Yemen’s leader, Ali Abullah Saleh, who
is considered a crucial ally in the U.S. fight against
al-Qaida in his country and in the Middle East. The
protests further escalated yesterday.
Banners wielded by protesters in Yemen demanded
the country’s president abandon changes to the
constitution that would grant Saleh another 10 years in
Algeria, Jordan and Morocco are taking note,
fearing similar outbreaks.
In Pakistan, even the “peace-promoting,” so-called
“moderate” Islamic Barelvi sect is organizing rallies
demanding the release of a policeman who confessed to
the assassination of Punjab governor Slaman Taseer, a
liberal politician who criticized federal blasphemy laws.
In Lebanon, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia
seems to be hijacking the country’s government using
Earlier this month, Hezbollah used its veto power to
topple the government of the Western-oriented prime
minister, Saad Hariri. Hezbollah feared Hariri would use
security forces to arrest members of its militia following
indictments expected to be issued in the near future
against Hezbollah for the 2005 assassination of former
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
Last week, the Hezbollah-backed candidate for
prime minister, Najib Mikat, seemed poised to form the
next government, sending Hariri into the opposition amid
the threat of sectarian clashes.
Hezbollah members reportedly deployed on the
streets of Beirut this week in a clear signal intended to
deter Hariri backers from rioting.
The news media largely have painted the revolts in
Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt as popular unrest, citing the
use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter
to make the arrangements for the demonstrations.
White House championing
The White House itself has been almost openly
championing the unrest.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today called for
an “orderly transition” to democracy in Egypt, where the
Muslim Brotherhood is the main opposition group.
Obama himself reportedly voiced support for an
“orderly transition” in Egypt that is responsive to the
aspirations of Egyptians in phone calls with foreign
leaders, the White House said.
Deputy National Security Adviser Denis
McDonough, speaking in a White House webcast, also
urged the government and protesters in Egypt to refrain
Egyptian officials speaking to WND, however,
warned the Muslim Brotherhood has the most to gain
from any political reform.
The Brotherhood seeks to spread Islam around the
world, in large part using nonviolent means. Hamas and
al-Qaida are violent Brotherhood offshoots.
An Egyptian security official noted the Muslim
Brotherhood was directly involved in protest
Similarly, it is Islamists allied with the Muslim
Brotherhood who stand to gain in Pakistan, Jordan,
Tunisia and Yemen. Already, the Shiite fundementalist
Hezbollah organization is poised to exert enormous
influence over Lebanon.
WND reported the
Egyptian government suspects elements of the current
uprising there, particularly political aspects, are being
coordinated with the U.S. State Department.
A senior Egyptian diplomat told WND the regime
of Mubarak suspects the U.S. has been aiding protest
planning by Mohamed ElBaradei, who is seen as one of
the main opposition leaders in Cairo.
ElBaradei, former International Atomic Energy
Agency chief, has reinvented himself as a campaigner
for “reform” in Egypt. He is a candidate for this year’s
scheduled presidential elections. ElBaradei arrived in
Cairo just after last week’s protests began and is
reportedly being confined to his home by Egyptian
security forces. He is seen as an ally of the Muslim
Brotherhood, the main opposition force in Egypt.
Last week, ElBaradei gave an interview to Der
Spiegel defending the Brotherhood.
“We should stop demonizing the Muslim
Brotherhood. … [They] have not committed any acts of
violence in five decades. They too want change. If we
want democracy and freedom, we have to include them
instead of marginalizing them,” he said.
Just today, the Muslim Brotherhood said it was in
talks with other anti-government figures, including
ElBaradai, to form a national unity government without
David Rubin, former mayor of the Israeli town of
Shiloh and author of the book “The Islamic Tsunami,”
however, warns that the Obama administration cannot
continue to ignore the Muslim Brotherhood’s and other
Islamist groups’ greater goals.
“There is a plan to take over Western civilization,”
Rubin told The Washington Times, “and we need to
recognize it for what it is.”
“Confronting the growing threat to Western
civilization first involves admitting the problem exists,
something President Obama not only refuses to do but
strongly denies,” a Times editorial on Rubin continues.
“The administration has censored any discussion of the
problem in these terms within the government, preferring
to focus on ill-defined ‘violent extremism’ when the real
extremist threat is only partly violent and wholly
Muslim Brotherhood declares war on
Multiple prominent U.S. commentators have also
been claiming the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate
organization and denying any Islamist plot to seize
On Friday, President George W. Bush’s former
press spokeswoman, Dana Perino, told Fox News,
“Don’t be afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
This has nothing to do with religion.”
Bruce Reidel, a former CIA analyst and advisor to
President Obama, penned a Daily Beast article in which
he claimed, “The Egyptian Brotherhood renounced
violence years ago. … Its relative moderation has made
it the target of extreme vilification by more radical
Reidel’s assertion the Brotherhood renounced
violence, however, is contradicted by the Brotherhood’s
own statements in recent months, including a call to
arms against the West.
In November, the Brotherhood’s new supreme
guide, Muhammad Badi, delivered a sermon entitled,
“How Islam Confronts the Oppression and Tyranny.”
“Resistance is the only solution,” stated Badi. “The
United States cannot impose an agreement upon the
Palestinians, despite all the power at its disposal.
[Today] it is withdrawing from Iraq, defeated and
wounded, and is also on the verge of withdrawing from
Afghanistan because it has been defeated by Islamist
Badi went on to declare the U.S. is easy to defeat
through violence, since it is “experiencing the beginning
of its end and is heading toward its demise.”
Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in
International Affairs Center, noted Badi’s speech
evidenced “the likelihood that more Brotherhood
supporters in the West will turn to violence and
fund-raising for terrorism.”
Frank Gaffney, president of the American Center
for Security Policy, takes it a step further.
“In short, the Muslim Brotherhood – whether it is
operating in Egypt, elsewhere in the world or here – is
our enemy,” he wrote.
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