Ayman Zawahiri and Egypt: A Trip Through Time

December 3, 2012
(Ayman Zawahiri)

(Raymond Ibrahim, an expert on al-Qaeda and author of The Al Qaeda Reader, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. via algemeiner.com) Around 1985, current al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri fled his homeland of Egypt, presumably never to return. From his early beginnings as a teenage leader of a small jihadi cell devoted to overthrowing Egyptian regimes (first Nasser’s then Sadat’s) until he merged forces with Osama bin Laden, expanding his objectives to include targeting the United States of America, Zawahiri never forgot his original objective: transforming Egypt into an Islamist state that upholds and enforces the totality of Sharia law, and that works towards the resurrection of a global caliphate.
This vision is on its way to being fulfilled. With Islamist political victories, culminating with a Muslim Brotherhood president, Muhammad Morsi, Egypt is taking the first major steps to becoming the sort of state Zawahiri wished to see. Zawahiri regularly congratulates Egypt’s Islamists—most recently the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Cairo—urging them to continue Islamizing the Middle East’s most strategic nation.
He sent a lengthy communiqué during the Egyptian revolution in February 2011, for example, titled “Messages of Hope and Glad Tidings to our People in Egypt.” In it, he reiterated themes widely popularized by al-Qaeda, including: secular regimes are the enemies of Islam; democracy is a sham; Sharia must be instituted; the U.S. and the “Zionist enemy” are the true source behind all of the Islamic world’s ills.
Zawahiri continues to push these themes. Late last month, he sent messages criticizing Morsi, especially for not helping “the jihad to liberate Palestine;” called for the kidnapping of Westerners, especially Americans—which the U.S. embassy in Cairo took seriously enough to issue a warning to Americans; and further incited Egypt’s Muslims to wage jihad against America because of the YouTube Muhammad movie.
In short, a symbiotic relationship exists between the country of Egypt and the Egyptian Zawahiri: the country helped shape the man, and the man is fixated on influencing the country, his homeland. Accordingly, an examination of Zawahiri’s early years and experiences in Egypt—a case study of sorts—provides context for understanding Zawahiri, the undisputed leader of the world’s most notorious Islamic terrorist organization and helps explain how Egypt got where it is today. The two phenomena go hand-in-hand.
In this report, we will explore several questions, including: What happened in Egypt to turn this once “shy” and “studious” schoolboy who abhorred physical sports as “inhumane” towards jihad? What happened to turn many Egyptians to jihad, or at least radical Islam? What is Zawahiri’s relationship to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis—Egypt’s two dominant Islamist political players? Did the 9/11 strikes on America, orchestrated by Zawahiri and al-Qaeda, help or hinder the Islamists of Egypt?

Background
Little about Zawahiri’s upbringing suggests that he would become the world’s most notorious jihadi, partially responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocents in the September 11 attacks and elsewhere. People who knew him stress that Zawahiri came from a “prestigious” and “aristocratic” background (in Egypt, “aristocrats” have traditionally been among the most liberal and secular). His father Muhammad was a professor of pharmacology; his mother, Umayma, came from a politically active family. Ayman had four siblings; he (and his twin sister) were the eldest. Born in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on June 19, 1951, Zawahiri, as a BBC report puts it, “came from a respectable middle-class family of doctors and scholars. His grandfather, Rabia al-Zawahiri, was the grand imam of al-Azhar, the centre of Sunni Islamic learning in the Middle East, while one of his uncles was the first secretary-general of the Arab League.”
According to the Islamist Montasser al-Zayyat, author of the Arabic book, Al Zawahiri: As I Knew Him (translated in English as The Road to Al Qaeda: the Story of Bin Laden’s Right-Hand Man), Zawahiri was “an avid reader” who “loved literature and poetry.” He “believed that sports, especially boxing and wrestling, were inhumane…. people thought he was very tender and softhearted…. nothing in his youthful good nature suggested that he was to become the second most wanted man in the world…. He has always been humble, never interested in seizing the limelight of the leadership.”
Even so, he exhibited signs of a strong and determined character, as “there was nothing weak about the personality of the child Zawahiri. On the contrary, he did not like any opinion to be imposed on him. He was happy to discuss any issue that was difficult for him to understand until it was made clear, but he did not argue for the sake of argument. He always listened politely, without giving anyone the chance to control him.”
For all his love of literature and poetry, which Islamists often portray as running counter to Muslim faith, Zawahiri exhibited a notable form of piety from youth. “Ayman al-Zawahiri was born into a religious Muslim family,” al-Zayyat wrote. “Following the example of his family, he not only performed the prayers at the correct times, but he did so in the mosque…. He always made sure that he performed the morning prayers [at sunrise] with a group in the mosque, even during the coldest winters. He attended several classes of Koran interpretation, fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence] and Koran recitation at the mosque.”
Otherwise, he appeared to lead a normal, privileged lifestyle. Like his family, he followed a prestigious career path. Zawahiri joined the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University, graduating in 1974 with the highest possible marks. He then earned a Master’s degree in surgery from the same university in 1978. He went on to receive a PhD in surgery from a Pakistani university, during his stay in Peshawar, when he was aiding the mujahidin against the Soviets. People who know Zawahiri say that the only relationship he had with a woman was with his wife, Azza, whom he married in 1979, and who held a degree in philosophy. She and three of Zawahiri’s six children were killed in an air strike on Afghanistan by U.S. forces in late 2001.
Death of a Martyr
The initial influence on Zawahiri’s radicalization appears to have come from his uncle Mahfouz, an opponent to the secular regime and Islamist in his own right, who was arrested in a militant round up in 1945, following the assassination of Prime Minister Ahmed Mahfouz. In reference to this event, Zawahiri’s uncle even boasted: “I myself was going to do what Ayman has done,” according to Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.
Though Mahfouz was likely the first to introduce young Ayman to the political scene of radical Islam, no one appears to have had an impact on Zawahiri’s development as much as Uncle Mahfouz’s mentor and Arabic teacher, Sayyid Qutb—often referred to as the “godfather” of modern jihad. Qutb, then the Muslim Brotherhood’s premiere theoretician of jihad, has arguably played the greatest role in articulating the Islamist/jihadi worldview in the modern era, so much so that Zawahiri and others regularly quote his voluminous writings in their own work.
According to the 9/11 Commission Report, “Three basic themes emerge from Qutb’s writings. First, he claimed that the world was beset with barbarism, licentiousness, and unbelief (a condition he called jahiliyya, the religious term for the period of ignorance prior to the revelations given to the Prophet Mohammed). Qutb argued that humans can choose only between Islam and jahiliyya. Second, he warned that more people, including Muslims, were attracted to jahiliyya and its material comforts than to his view of Islam; jahiliyya could therefore triumph over Islam. Third, no middle ground exists in what Qutb conceived as a struggle between God and Satan. All Muslims—as he defined them—therefore must take up arms in this fight. Any Muslim who rejects his ideas is just one more nonbeliever worthy of destruction.”
Qutb’s primary target—and subsequently Zawahiri’s—was the Egyptian regime, which he accused of being enforcers of jahiliyya, obstructing the totality of Sharia. Because Qutb was so effective at fomenting Islamist animosity for the regime, President Gamal Abdel Nasser had him imprisoned and eventually executed in 1966. That act that only succeeded in helping propagate Qutb’s importance to the jihadi movement, which came to see him as a “martyr” (a shahid, the highest honor for a Muslim), turning his already popular writings into “eternal classics” for Islamists everywhere.
As Zayyat observes, “In Zawahiri’s eyes, Sayyid Qutb’s words struck young Muslims more deeply than those of his contemporaries because his words eventually led to his execution. Thus, those words provided the blueprint for his long and glorious lifetime, and eventually led to its end…. His teaching gave rise to the formation of the nucleus of the contemporary jihadi movements in Egypt.”
It is no coincidence, then, that Zawahiri founded his first jihadi cell in 1966 – the year of Qutb’s execution – when he was only 15-years-old. Embracing Qutb’s teachings—that jihad is the only answer, that talk, diplomacy, and negotiations only serve the infidel enemy’s purposes—his cell originally had a handful of members. Zawahiri eventually merged it with other small cells to form Egyptian Islamic Jihad, becoming one of its leaders. Zawahiri sought to recruit military officers and accumulate weapons, waiting for the right moment to launch a coup against the regime; or, in Zawahiri’s own words as later recorded by an interrogator, “to establish an Islamic government …. a government that rules according to the Sharia of Allah Almighty.”
Humiliation of Defeat
A year following the establishment of Zawahiri’s cell, another event took place that further paved the way to jihad: the ignominious defeat of Egypt by Israel in the 1967 war. Until then, Arab nationalism, spearheaded by Nasser, was the dominant ideology, not just in Egypt, but the entire Arab world. What began with much euphoria and conviction—that the Arab world, unified under Arab nationalism and headed by Nasser would crush Israel, only to lose disastrously in a week—morphed into disillusionment and disaffection, especially among Egyptians. It was then that the slogan “Islam is the solution” spread like wildfire, winning over many to the cause.
At the time of the 1967 war, the future al-Qaeda leader was 16 years old. Like many young people at the time, he was somewhat traumatized by Egypt’s defeat—a defeat which, 34 years later, he would gloat upon in his 2001 book Fursan Taht Rayat al-Nabbi, (“Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet”):
“The unfolding events impacted the course of the jihadi movements in Egypt, namely, the 1967 defeat and the ensuing symbolic collapse of Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was portrayed to the public by his followers as the everlasting invincible symbol. The jihadi movements realized that wormwoods had eaten at this icon, and that it had become fragile. The 1967 defeat shook the earth under this idol until it fell on its face, causing a severe shock to its disciples, and frightening its subjects. The jihadi movements grew stronger and stronger as they realized that their avowed enemy was little more than a statue to be worshipped, constructed through propaganda, and through the oppression of unarmed innocents. The direct influence of the 1967 defeat was that a large number of people, especially youths, returned to their original identity: that of members of an Islamic civilization.”
This theme—that the “enemies of Islam” – first the secular dictators, followed by the USSR and then the U.S., were “paper tigers” whose bark was worse than their bite—would come to permeate the writings of al-Qaeda and other jihadists. For instance, in March 2012, in response to President Obama’s plans to cut Pentagon spending, Zawahiri said, “The biggest factor that forced America to reduce its defence budget is Allah’s help to the mujahideen [or jihadis] to harm the evil empire of our time [the U.S.],” adding that American overtures to the Afghan Taliban for possible reconciliation was further evidence of U.S. defeat.
The 1973 war between Egypt and Israel appears to have had a lesser impact on Zawahiri, who by then had already confirmed his worldview. Moreover, it was during the 1970s that he was especially busy with “normal” life—earning two advanced university degrees (one in 1974, another in 1978), getting married, and starting a family. Even so, the subsequent peace treaty that the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed with Israel incensed many Islamists in Egypt, including Zawahiri, who saw it as a great betrayal to the Islamic Nation, or Umma, prompting jihadis to act now instead of later.
Accordingly, Sadat was targeted for assassination; the time had come for a military coup, which was Islamic Jihad’s ultimate goal. But the plan was derailed when authorities learned of it in February, 1981. Sadat ordered the roundup of more than 1,500 Islamists, including many Islamic Jihad members (though he missed a cell in the military led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli, who succeeded in assassinating Sadat during a military parade later that same year).
Prison Torture
Zawahiri was among the thousands of Islamists rounded up after Sadat’s assassination, leading to one of the most talked-of episodes of Zawahiri’s life: his prison experience. He was interrogated and found guilty of possessing firearms, serving three years in prison. During that time, he was among many who were tortured in Egyptian prisons.
Much has been made of Zawahiri’s prison-time torture. (It is curious to note that when Egyptian officials called to investigate the officers accused of torturing the Islamist inmates, Zawahiri did not file a case against the authorities, though many others did, and though he bothered to witness to the torture of other members.) Several writers, beginning with al-Zayyat, suggest that along with the dual-impact of the martyrdom of Qutb and the 1967 defeat, this event had an especially traumatic effect on Zawahiri’s subsequent development and radicalization.
Still, one should not give this experience more due than it deserves. Zawahiri was an ardent jihadi well over a decade before he was imprisoned and tortured; the overly paradigmatic explanation of humiliation-as-precursor-to-violence so popular in Western thinking is unnecessary here.
On the other hand, in the vein of “that which does not kill you makes you stronger,” it seems that Zawahiri’s prison experience hardened him and made his already notorious stubbornness and determination that much more unshakeable. In short, if his prison experience did not initiate his jihadi inclinations, it likely exacerbated it.
Moreover, being “found out”—had an indirect impact on his radicalization. After he was released, and knowing that he was being watched by the authorities, he was compelled to quit his native Egypt, meeting other Arabic-speaking Islamists abroad. He met Osama bin Laden as early as 1986 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. That led him to relocate to the Afghan theater of jihad, where the final coalescing of his global jihad worldview culminated.
Shifting Strategy
During his time in Egypt, Zawahiri was a staunch proponent of jihad—believing that no real change or progress can be achieved without armed struggle. This never changed. However, his strategic goal of toppling the Egyptian regime grew more ambitious over time, especially after the Afghan war experience and partnership with bin Laden.
In Egypt, Zawahiri’s goal was clear: overthrowing the regime and implementing an Islamic government. The enemy was internal, the secular Hosni Mubarak regime, that took over after Sadat’s death. In Zawahiri’s thinking, one could consider fighting the far or external enemy until he had beaten the near one. (This is the famous “near/far enemy” dichotomy Islamists have written much on.)
Accordingly, until the late 1990s Zawahiri rarely mentioned what are today the mainstays of Islamist discontent, such as the Arab/Israel conflict, or other matters outside Egypt’s borders. In fact, in a 1995 article titled “The Way to Jerusalem Passes Through Cairo” published in Al-Mujahidin, Zawahiri even wrote that “Jerusalem will not be opened [conquered] until the battles in Egypt and Algeria have been won and until Cairo has been opened.” This is not to say that Zawahiri did not always see Israel as the enemy. Rather, he deemed it pointless to fight it directly when one could have the entire might of Egypt’s military by simply overthrowing the regime—precisely the situation today.
Then, in 1998, Zawahiri surprised many of Egypt’s Islamists by forming the International Islamic Front for Jihad on the Jews and Crusaders, under bin Laden’s leadership. It issued a fatwa calling on Muslims “to kill the Americans and their allies–civilians and military, an individual obligation incumbent upon every Muslim who can do it and in any country—this until the Aqsa Mosque [Jerusalem] and the Holy Mosque [Mecca] are liberated from their grip.” Until then all of Zawahiri’s associates believed that his primary focus was Egypt, overthrowing the regime—not the Arab-Israeli conflict and the United States.
Zawahiri’s “Mistake”?
It is for all these reasons that many of Egypt’s Islamists, beginning with the Muslim Brotherhood, saw al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks, partially masterminded by Zawahiri, as a severe setback to their movement. The attacks awoke the U.S. and the West, setting off the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and also giving many Arab regimes – including Mubarak’s – free reign to suppress all Islamists. Those regimes happily took advantage. As al-Zayyat, Zawahiri’s biographer, wrote:
“The poorly conceived decision to launch the attacks of September 11created many victims of a war of which they did not choose to be a part…. Bin Laden and Zawahiri’s behavior [9/11] was met with a lot of criticism from many Islamists in Egypt and abroad…. In the post-September 11 world, no countries can afford to be accused of harboring the enemies of the United States. No one ever imagined that a Western European country would extradite Islamists who live on its lands. Before that, Islamists had always thought that arriving in a European city and applying for political asylum was enough to acquire permanent resident status. After September 11, 2001, everything changed…. Even the Muslim Brotherhood was affected by the American campaign, which targeted everything Islamic.”
In retrospect, the “mistake of 9/11″ may have indirectly helped empower Islamists: by bringing unwanted Western attention to the Middle East, it also made popular the argument that democracy would solve all the ills of the Middle East. Many Western observers who previously had little knowledge of the Islamic world, were surprised to discover post 9/11 that dictatorial regimes ran the Muslim world. This led to the simplistic argument that Islamists were simply lashing out because they were suppressed. Failing to understand that these dictatorships were the only thing between full-blown Islamist regimes like Iran, many deemed democracy a panacea, beginning with U.S. President George W. Bush, who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, partially to “spread” and in the name of democracy.
With the so-called “Arab spring” that began in 2011, the Obama administration has followed this logic more aggressively by throwing the U.S’s longtime allies like Egypt’s Mubarak, under the bus in the name of democracy—a democracy that has been dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, which, as has been mentioned, shares the same ultimate goals of Zawahiri and other jihadists. Recent events—including unprecedented attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya, ironically, the two nations the U.S. especially intervened in to pave the way for Islamist domination—only confirm this.
Zawahiri and the Muslim Brotherhood
While Zawahiri’s early decades in Egypt are mostly remembered in the context of the above—prestigious and academic background, clandestine radicalization, jihad, prison, followed by fleeing the country—the al-Qaeda leader has a long history with other Islamists groups in Egypt, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Since the “Arab Spring” and ousting of longtime President Hosni Mubarak, it has been the Brotherhood who have, not only dominated Egyptian politics, but have a member, Muhammad Morsi, as Egypt’s first elected president.
Zawahiri joined the Brotherhood when he was only 14, then abandoned it to form his own cell less than two years later after Qutb’s execution. A proponent of the slogan “jihad alone,” Zawahiri soon became critical of the Brotherhood’s pragmatic strategies, and wrote an entire book in 1991 arguing against their nonviolent approach.
Titled Al Hissad Al Murr, or “The Bitter Harvest,” Zawahiri argued that the Brotherhood “takes advantage of the Muslim youths’ fervor by bringing them into the fold only to store them in a refrigerator. Then, they steer their onetime passionate, Islamic zeal for jihad to conferences and elections…. And not only have the Brothers been idle from fulfilling their duty of fighting to the death, but they have gone as far as to describe the infidel governments as legitimate, and have joined ranks with them in the ignorant style of governing, that is, democracies, elections, and parliaments.”
It is perhaps ironic that, for all his scathing remarks against them, time has revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy of slowly infiltrating society from a grassroots approach has been more effective than Zawahiri’s and al-Qaeda’s jihadi terror. The Brotherhood’s patience and perseverance, by playing the political game, formally disavowing violence and jihad—all of which earned the ire of Zawahiri and others—have turned it into a legitimate player. Yet this does not make the Brotherhood’s goals any less troubling. For instance, according to a January 2012 Al Masry Al Youm report, Brotherhood leader Muhammad Badie stated that the group’s grand goal is the return of a “rightly guided caliphate and finally mastership of the world“—precisely what Zawahiri and al-Qaeda seek to achieve. Half a year later, in July 2012, Safwat Hegazy, a popular preacher and Brotherhood member, boasted that the Brotherhood will be “masters of the world, one of these days.”
Zawahiri and Egypt Today
In light of the Egyptian revolution that accomplished what Zawahiri had tried to accomplish for decades—overthrow the regime—what relevance does the al-Qaeda leader have for the Egyptian populace today? The best way to answer this question is in the context of Salafism—the popular Islamist movement in Egypt and elsewhere that is grounded in the teachings and patterns of early Islam, beginning with the days of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and under the first four “righteously guided” caliphs.
As a Salafist organization, al-Qaeda is very popular with Salafis. Its current leader, the Egyptian Zawahiri, is especially popular—a “hero” in every sense of the word—with Egyptian Salafis. Considering that the Salafis won some 25 percent of votes in recent elections, one may infer that at least a quarter or of Egypt’s population looks favorably on Zawahiri. In fact, some important Salafis are on record saying they would like to see Zawahiri return to his native Egypt. Aboud al-Zomor, for instance, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader who was implicated for the assassination of Sadat, but who has now been released and is even a leading member of the new Egyptian parliament, has called for the return of Zawahiri to Egypt, “with his head held high and in safety.”
Zawahiri’s brother, Muhammad, is also an influential Islamist in Egypt, affiliated with the Salafis and Al Gamaa Al Islamiyya. He led a mass Islamist demonstration last spring with typical jihadi slogans. He also was among those threatening the U.S. embassy in Cairo to release the Blind Sheikh—the true reason behind the September attack, not a movie—or else be “burned down to the ground.” When asked in a recent interview with CNN if he is in touch with his al-Qaeda leader brother, Muhammad only smiled and said “of course not.”
Under Zawahiri’s leadership, al-Qaeda has made inroads on Egyptian territory. For example, several recent attacks in Sinai—such as the attacks on the Egypt-Israel natural-gas pipeline—were in fact conducted by a new group pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda. Zawahiri publicly congratulated them for destroying the pipelines, and the organization itself has pledged its loyalty to Zawahiri. More recently, al-Qaeda in the Sinai has been blamed for attacking and evicting Christian minorities living there.
This highlights the fact that groups like the Brotherhood and the Salafis have the same goals—establishment of a government that upholds Sharia law—though they differ as to achieve this. Salafis like al-Qaeda tend to agree that jihad is the solution. Yet, given the Brotherhood’s success using peaceful means—co-opting the language of democracy and running in elections—many Salafis are now “playing politics” even though many of them are also on record saying that, once in power, they will enforce Islamic law and abolish democracy.
It is not clear where Zawahiri stands regarding Egypt. Because of his deep roots there, Egypt undoubtedly holds a special place for Zawahiri. But as the leader of a global jihadi network, he cannot afford to appear biased to Egypt—hence why he addresses the politics of other nations, Pakistan for example, and themes like the Arab-Israeli conflict, with equal or more attention.
Likewise, there are different accounts regarding his personality traits and how they would comport with Egypt’s current state. For example, whereas his biographer described young Zawahiri as averse to the limelight and open to others’ opinions, most contemporary characterizations of Zawahiri suggest he is intractable and domineering—a product, perhaps, of some four decades of jihadi activities, as well as the aforementioned experiences. While the personality traits attributed to him in youth would certainly aid him in influencing Egyptian Islamist politics, those attributed to him now would not.
He has been away too long, and others have stepped in. Either way, to many Islamists around the world, Egypt in particular, Zawahiri is a hero—one of the few men to successfully strike the “great enemy,” America. Such near legendary status will always see to it that Ayman Zawahiri—and the Salafi ideology al-Qaeda helped popularize—remain popular among Egypt’s Islamists.


Muhammad Al-Zawahiri, Brother Of Al-Qaeda Leader, Proposes 10-Year ‘Hudna’ To The West.

September 17, 2012



Muhammad Al-Zawahiri, Brother Of Al-Qaeda Leader, Proposes 10-Year ‘Hudna’ To The West.(Memri).Hmmm…..To use a historical term ” NUTS”!

Al-Zawahiri thanks Ismail Haniya

June 9, 2011

Ayman al-Zawahiri, nephew of a Nazi collaborator and grandson of the man who helped produce the genocidal antisemitic doctrine in Islamism, now seems to be head of al-Qaida.
In what appears to be his inaugural speech as al-Qaida leader, al-Zawahiri thanked Ismail Haniya, leader of Hamas, for his praising Usama bin Ladin after his death.


The Next Bin Laden

May 15, 2011

Zawahiri betrayed Osama bin Laden: Saudi paper…“We firmly recognize that the umma [nation]of Muhammad is a nation whose destiny is independent of its leaders, no matter how great,” said American-born al-Shabaab commander Omar Hammami about the death of Osama bin Laden. For terrorists like Hammami, ending the life of bin Laden hasn’t ended the jihad against America.His statements match the mantra echoing across jihadi forums, as branches of al-Qaida and its allies pledge new terror attacks. Although bin Laden may be dead, the jihad lives on

Putting aside the rhetoric, al-Qaida is not an anarchist group, despite the loose connection between its regional branches. As long as al-Qaida lacks a clear central leader, it risks being lost in unending attacks without reason. That’s contrary to the group’s desire to establish a new Caliphate or at least oust the West from Muslim lands.
Rule by al-Qaida’s Shura Council, the consultative body of the Pakistani/Afghani branch, remains a strong possibility in the short term. But in the long term, jihadi groups will look to a single leader or emir, to set policy and direct the organization. If that doesn’t happen, the scattered al-Qaida branches that we know today will have little to unify them.
Bin Laden’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is widely considered the best positioned to seize the reins. However, U.S. intelligence estimates see him as an unpopular leader who lacks the charisma of bin Laden. “Zawahiri is obviously the presumed successor, but there are strong indications that he is not popular within certain circles of the group,” the Washington Post quoted an unnamed senior intelligence figure as saying. “It is, of course, anathema to al-Qaida to hold free and fair elections. If free and fair elections [were conducted], Zawahiri would most likely have a fight on his hands.”
Alongside Zawahiri are a cast of other characters. The biographies below point to the most likely candidates, those with the reach and ideology to reunite the organization around a central figure:
Ayman al-Zawahiri
Osama bin Laden’s longtime deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri is the most likely candidate to take over al-Qaida, despite his reported unpopularity. Since the beginning, Zawahiri has been an important ideological force in al-Qaida, releasing regular internet videos espousing the organization’s mission. He also played a key role in refocusing al-Qaida’s efforts away from Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan and towards the “far enemy,” the Americans and the Jews.
Zawahiri’s jihadist roots trace back to Egypt where he was a founding member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), a radical group committed to overthrowing Egypt’s secular government. Zawahiri developed a close relationship with bin Laden during the Soviet-Afghan war and, in 1998, he officially merged EIJ with al-Qaida. In his capacity as second-in-command of al-Qaida, Zawahiri, officials say, was responsible for the planning of 9/11, the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. The U.S. government has offered a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to Zawahiri’s apprehension.
There is speculation that al-Qaida has not officially named Zawahiri as its new leader because of doubts surrounding his ability to lead as effectively as his predecessor. Zawahiri has a history “of alienating his colleagues, fighting over dogma, even within the Islamist movement,” said journalist Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens. “And as a communicator, he is less effective. His books are turgid and dogmatic.” Zawahiri also is said to lack the charisma and appeal that bin Laden possessed, and is seen as a “divisive” figure within al-Qaida’s ranks.
Nevertheless, the Islamic State of Iraq (formerly al-Qaida in Iraq) has already pledged its allegiance to Zawahiri, and a former EIJ member, Tawfiq Hamid, warned against underestimating the probable new leader. “He’s much more powerful as a leader – much more organized,” Hamid said. “When you listen to him, you can tell clearly that he has the ambition and is dedicated 100 percent to achieve this mission.”

Ilyas Kashmiri

Touted as “as the most effective, dangerous and successful guerrilla leader in the world” by intelligence agencies, Pakistani terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri heads the 313 Brigade, the military wing of al-Qaida in Pakistan. He is suspected of involvement in a number of high-profile terrorist attacks including: the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that resulted in the deaths of 166 people at Mumbai’s train station, the Taj Mahal Hotel, and a Jewish center; and a suicide bomb attack on a top secret CIA base in the eastern Afghan province of Khost in December 2009 that killed at least eight Americans. He is also believed to have been the mastermind of a plot to attack the offices of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in retaliation for the newspaper publishing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad in 2005, and a 2010 plot for a series of “Mumbai-style” attacks in European cities.
Kashmiri has been named for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks in the terrorism indictment of David Coleman Headley. Court documents contain hints of connections between Kashmiri and al-Qaida and of Kashmiri’s desire to launch additional mass casualty terrorist attacks. In his first-ever interview with Asia Times in 2009, Kashmiri voiced his support for al-Qaida’s war against the United States and the West, and warned that the 2008 Mumbai attack “was nothing compared to what has already been planned for the future.” Kashmiri directs attacks in South Asia, while simultaneously assisting in plots against the West.

Cartoonist Molly Norris
has gone into hiding on the advice of the FBI
after receiving death threats from Islamic extremist
Anwar al-Awlaki.

In the wake of bin Laden’s death, Kashmiri “will probably be the operational mastermind and most dangerous,” said former CIA officer Bruce Riedel. Kashmiri is considered a dark horse to replace bin Laden because of Zawahiri’s unpopularity. However, according to U.S. government sources, Kashmiri may not even seek al-Qaida’s leadership. Until now, Kashmiri has acted as more of a behind-the-scenes military commander and has had minimal media exposure. He has also played a small role as an influential ideologue or recruiter.

Born in Yemen, but living much of his life in America, Awlaki has been referred to as “the translator of jihad.” He played an active role in over a dozen plots, including the Christmas Day Detroit flight bomb plot and the Fort Hood shootings. In addition, Awlaki’s writings and speeches on jihad have influenced jihadi plots in the United States, Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.
Awlaki has a high public profile, especially in comparison to other al-Qaida leaders. He produced a series of popular, English-language recordings throughout his own radicalization process, which remained in circulation well after he embraced jihad. In addition, his blog, use of video conferencing, and email communications, made him the most accessible terrorist leader. This legacy has continued through Inspire magazine, an English-language publication that features Awlaki’s latest statements, and keeps him in the jihadi public eye.
Although he is one the most active players in terrorism against Americans, Awlaki has little chance of succeeding bin Laden. His influence among English-speaking jihadists aside, Awlaki is not even the military or spiritual leader of his local branch of al-Qaida, al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). His encouragement of lone wolf terrorism, which he states should be carried out in a would-be terrorist’s home country, also differs from the top-down approach of al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Posted by Noah Simon


FBI Counter-Terror Official: Al Qaeda ‘Thrives’ After Dictators Fall

April 16, 2011

But who cares? Obama has a vision…

(ABC) On the same day reports emerged of a new al Qaeda video that praised the revolutions sweeping the Arab world, one the U.S.’s top counter-terror officials warned the terror organization “thrives” in the political unrest that follows.

“The governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen have drastically changed in the last six months,” FBI Assistant Director of Counter-Terrorism Mark Giuliano said Thursday. “They are now led by transitional or interim governments, military regimes, or democratic alliances with no established track record on counterterrorism efforts. Al Qaeda thrives in such conditions and countries of weak governance and political instability — countries in which governments may be sympathetic to their campaign of violence.”

Giuliano made the comments at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy just hours before the first reports emerged of the new al Qaeda video, which features separate appearances by al Qaeda’s number two commander, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and American-born key commander in al Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula (AQAP), Anwar al-Awlaki, each praising the recent uprisings. In the hour-plus long video, al-Zawahiri orders Muslims in Egypt to create an Islamic state there and calls for the Arab armies of the Middle East to intervene in Libya to oust dictator Moammar Gadhafi before “Western aid… turns into invasions.” More…via eye-on-the-world.blogspot.com

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Posted by Noah Simon


The Muslim Brotherhood in America: Part I: Understanding the Threat

March 20, 2011

It is now March of 2011. That jihadi attack on the United States is over nine years behind us. The declaration of a global jihad from Iran in 1979 is over 30 years in our rear view mirror. The national security apparatus of the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to “make America safer,” yet we still have not defined our enemy – or even tried. There is no place in the national security structure which has objectively evaluated the threat doctrine of our enemy, and then created a strategic plan for victory for the United States – per U.S. warfighting doctrine. This lack of strategic understanding of the nature of the threat we face is not only costing us lives on the battlefield in wars with no realistically stated objectives, but so long as we drift aimlessly, we cannot win and we allow the enemy to move our boat as he sees fit. That, is the enemy’s strategy. And he is executing with great success.

Does anyone wonder how it is the U.S. military is crushing the enemy on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) daily, yet not winning the strategic war? The United States continues to view the wars (the establishment sees this as several conflicts, not as one global conflict) as kinetic engagements where guns, air power, drones, bombs, and other weapon of war are brought to bear on “Al Qaeda terrorists” and others with whom we are engaged on the many battlefields around the world. At the FBI, the focus is on preventing the next attack. While this is important, “attacks” are not the main focus of effort for this enemy. Local and State Police are also focused on preventing attacks, the physical security of office buildings, critical infrastructure, and the safety of important public figures. When the subject of an investigation is found NOT to be involved in a plot to cause “violence” that case is closed and the investigator goes on to the next one in the stack. This is where we are losing the war. While preventing a school bus bombing or the take-over of a bank by Jihadis should be taken seriously by our law enforcement officers, from the enemy’s perspective, these are tactical engagements, not strategic.

Every brand new intelligence officer in the United States military knows that when the United States evaluates a threat, our doctrine drives us to begin our process with WHO the enemy says he is and with WHAT the enemy says are HIS reasons for acting. That is where the U.S. analytical process begins – per our own doctrine. If we had done this after 9/11, we would not have so much confusion about the enemy we are engaging.
One hundred percent of the enemy we are fighting states he is fighting “Jihad” in the “Cause of Allah” in order to implement Islamic Law (Shariah). Therefore, U.S. analysts must begin here. Does Islamic Law exist? If so, what does it say about “Jihad” and the requirements for Jihad? In fact, authoritative Islamic Law does exist. There are not “a thousand interpretations” as the Muslim Brotherhood advisors tell our leadership. Islamic Law does define “Jihad” and the requirements for Jihad. Islamic Law as defined by those using it to kill us and overthrow our government necessarily becomes the “Stated Enemy Threat Doctrine.” As a 4-star general told me a few months ago when I asked him what he thought about the fact that when Al Qaeda quotes Islamic Law they are always accurately quoting Islamic Law: “Well, if that’s true, it completely changes the nature of the way we are fighting this war.” Exactly.

Our entire national security apparatus is focused (fixed) on the threat of the violent Jihadis – Al Qaeda and the hundreds of other jihadi groups throughout the world engaging U.S and allied troops on the ground around the world.

Our enemy has no intention of defeating us on the battlefield. The kinetic war being waged by organizations like Al Qaeda, Hamas, and the many other jihadi groups is meant to bleed us, fix us in place, and create a strategic distraction while the real war they are fighting is won in the information battlespace. While AQ fixes us in place, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) presses the U.S. – and the West at large – into a corner with a stated foreign policy mirroring that of Al Qaeda. Who is the OIC? The OIC is the umbrella organization for every Muslim nation in the world – 57 states (they count Palestine as a state). At the Head of State and King level the OIC seeks to re-establish the global Islamic State (Caliphate) and implement Islamic Law. They have a 10-Year Plan in English on their website that may begin shedding light on who they are and what they intend for the West. In 1993, the OIC served an official treaty to the United Nations called the “Cairo Declaration” stating the OIC defines “Human Rights” as Shariah (Islamic Law) – this is significantly different from the International Declaration of Human Rights. In fact, the reason the International Muslim Brotherhood is calling for the death of Qaddafi is because he is “killing Muslims without right,” a capital crime under Islamic Law, and an act defined as “terrorism” by the OIC – that means the Head of State and King of every Muslim nation in the world has a parallel foreign policy from the one they are discussing with our State Department, and our State Department does not have clue one about it.

The International Muslim Brotherhood, the “vanguard” of the global Islamic Movement, is the leading edge of the enemy’s assault on the United States and the West. The Muslim Brotherhood, like the OIC and Al Qaeda, seeks to re-establish the global Islamic State (Caliphate) and implement Islamic Law (Shariah). You do not need a SCIF or a “secure space” to pull this information up on a classified government system. All of the enemy doctrine can be found on the worldwide web, in books, in speeches, in their training curricula, and coming out of their mouths on a daily basis. We just need to listen. The Muslim Brotherhood’s creed includes the the phrase “…Jihad is our Way, and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our highest aspiration.” The MB assassinated the Egyptian Prime Minister in 1948, and the Egyptian security service killed MB founder Hassan al Banna on the streets of Cairo in 1949. Violence is inherent to MB operations, manifested in the “Special Section.” The “Special work” of the MB is “Military work” – violence and warfare. Hamas was created out of the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood as the result of international MB meetings. Hamas is a designated terrorist organization. Recordings obtained by the FBI of MB meetings in the U.S. reveal they have had weapons training camps here as early as the mid-1980’s. When the MB says they have “renounced violence” they are – hold onto your hats – lying.

From several major terrorism trials in the United States, and other information, we now know nearly every major Muslim organization in North America is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) or a derivative group. We know many are support entities for Hamas, and all of the Islamic organizations working with the U.S. government are controlled by the MB. These include: the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a Hamas support entity; the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Hamas organization; the Muslim Students Associations (MSA); the Muslim American Society (MAS); the Interntional Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT); the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), a Hamas support entity; and many other. We also know that the objectives of the MB mirror those of Al Qaeda.

The MB’s doctrine is crystal clear on their objectives. The means for achieving these objectives is to wage a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” – a “grand jihad” – to destroy us from within. They seek to co-opt our leadership in all areas of our society – political, military, intelligence/law enforcement, media, religious. Civilization jihad by our hands. When we see that the Islamic advisor to President Clinton was a Muslim Brother and an Al Qaeda operative currently in federal prison, or that the MB runs the Shariah Compliant Financial programs for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, or that senior policy advisors to Secretary Napolitano are Muslim Brothers, or that the Assistant Director for the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate is an Iranian-born

Muslim, we see that there are catastrophic security issues within the U.S. government and that – just maybe – the MB means what they say.

During this series, we will go into painful detail to identify and describe the primary Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the United States, especially those working with U.S. law enforcement, intelligence, and national security organizations. We will also detail some of the individual within the U.S. system who are aiding and abetting the Muslim Brotherhood, or at least unwittingly assisting them. The utter and complete catastrophic failure of the very agencies charged with protecting us will be detailed over the next several weeks. If facts are upsetting to you, please don’t read.

Mr. Guandolo is a 1989 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former active duty Infantry/Reconnaissance Officer in the United States Marine Corps, and a former Special Agent of the FBI in Washington, D.C. for over 12 years. He currently advises the government on a variety of issues.
The Muslim Brotherhood in America: Part II: MB History & Their Arrival in America

The Muslim Brotherhood in America: Part III–‘The Settlement Process’

 

Sadat and Mubarak were against the Muslim Brotherhood
BENTLEY [American journalist]: What, in your opinion, do these people hope to gain from this war [World War One]?

LAWRENCE: They hope to gain their freedom.
BENTLEY: They hope to gain their freedom? There’s one [sucker] born every minute!


LAWRENCE: They’re going to get it, Mr Bentley. I’m going to give it to them.
–From “Lawrence of Arabia”

An Egyptian Christian (Coptic) group has put up a superb six-minute video of a speech by the late (more on why he’s dead in a moment) President Anwar al-Sadat about the Muslim Brotherhood. It is very timely.
Sadat makes clear why this group is so radical, dangerous, and inevitably at some point violent. He ought to know.
Some ironies: Of course, Sadat was the leader who let the Brotherhood operate again after two decades of being banned. Even then, in the 1970s and until just about today, it has remained illegal but the group still operated and even ran candidates in elections albeit not under its own name. (Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the Syrian, and Iranian dictatorships didn’t let their opponents run under any name, which tells something about the comparative harshness of dictatorships.) I haven’t seen a single mention in the Western media as to the reason given by Egyptian governments for keeping the Brotherhood from running candidates in the past. It was this: no party should be allowed to claim a monopoly on “proper” Islam. Remember that point because it is going to be important in future, although the Brotherhood’s new party–to make itself less scary–doesn’t have the word “Islam” in its name either.The second irony is that Sadat was assassinated by Islamists. It is important to correct an error many have made recently. The terrorists were not Brotherhood people. But many of those terrorists who killed Sadat, joined al-Qaida, or carried out massive terrorism in Egypt in the 1990s (people now being released from prison to renew their activities) are former Brotherhood members. Radicalized and learning Islamist ideology in the Brotherhood they then went on to form or join separate radical Islamist groups.
The Brotherhood has not committed terrorism within Egypt directly (though it has, at times, endorsed terrorist murders of those deemed to be too secular) but it has been the cradle of terrorism in Egypt and even (al-Qaida; Hamas) abroad.
Finally, if you watch the brief film, keep in mind one poor piece of translation. At just before the two-minute mark, Sadat refers to the Brotherhood as viewing governments and societies as pre-Islamic. The significance of this–not explained–is that “pre-Islamic” societies are viewed by Islam as pagan and evil.
While that standpoint is definitely mainstream Islam, political Islamism’s has also produced a dangerous concept of its own at variance with traditional Islam: It claims the right to declare pious Muslims as heretics and then kill them. That is precisely what it did to Sadat, who was a very pious Muslim personally, and is the basis for their overthrowing every government (including that of Saudi Arabia) that doesn’t meet their interpretation of Islam.
Part of the problem with the Islamists is that even when they deviate from mainstream Islam, their positions may become popular and change Islam as it is practiced by many or most people. Thus, twenty years ago if you had told a mainstream Muslim cleric in the Middle East that suicide bombing was martyrdom he would have thrown you out of his office saying that such an idea was obviously heretical. Today, many mainstream clerics endorse this standpoint.
A legalized, large, and active Muslim Brotherhood (especially if it gains control of the key religious posts in Egypt, Jordan or–through Hamas–among the Palestinians) redefines mainstream Islam in a more extremist and radical direction. Sadat knew that also.
[PS: Note that the Enlightenment and Renaissance began in Europe precisely because very pious Christians there were ready to incorporate pre-Christian Classic Greek and Roman culture and philosophy into their societies. ]

Let us not forget the assassination of Anwar Sadat, Egyptian Islamic Jihad


The Muslim Brotherhood and its offspring have long been rearranging the deck chairs on the Middle East Titanic. Unfortunately they are trying to sink the rest of the world with them. [Mooserider]
Egyptian Islamic Jihad
Egyptian Islamic Jihad – Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Arabic: الجهاد الإسلامي المصري ý; also formerly called simply Islamic Jihad, الجهاد الإسلامي , “al-Jihad,” a”the Jihad Group”, “the Jihad Organization,” (“tanzeem al Jihad) is a violent Islamist terrorist group dedicated to world Jihad and to overthrow of the Egyptian government, establishment of an Islamic state in Egypt and eventually world domination by Islam in a renewed Caliphate. It was closely allied to, part of, or father to, the Gamaa al Islamiya and shared with it for many years basic ideology, leadership and participation in various terrorist activities. (see here for a detailed account of some of the interrelationships)
The Egyptian Islamic Jihad was founded in 1979 or 1980 by a merger of a group founded by Mohammed Abd al-Salam Farraj in Cairo and a Saidi (Upper Egypt) branch under Karam Zuhdi. In the 80s, the groups may have split apart again, with one branch becoming theGama’a al Islamiya (see here). Ayman Zawahiri is a member or leader of both groups .
The charter or founding manifesto of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad was written by the group’s founder Mohammed Abd al-Salam Farraj. It is called “al-Faridah al-Gha’ibah.” – the neglected duty. Farraj begins by stating that “Jihad for God’s cause…has been neglected by the Ulema of this age.” He goes on to expound the interpretation of Jihad as violent struggle (Jihad by the sword) – a duty incumbent on all Muslims. This theology is familiar from the writings of Sayyed Qutb and Hassan al Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Islamic Jihad can be viewed as nothing more than the continuation of the original Muslim Brotherhood ideology, after the Ikhwan Muslim brotherhood in Egypt had renounced violence.

Islamic Jihad’s initial terrorist operation was the murder of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in October 1981. Sadat was ostensibly murdered because he had reneged on his promise to institute Sha’aria law, because he had made peace with Israel and because of his ties with the United States. In fact however, the assassination was to have been the prelude to an Islamic takeover of Egypt, just as previous attempts on the life of Gamal Abdel Nasser had attempted to achieve. The Egyptian police rounded up a great many leaders of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Gamaa al Islamiya including Ayman Zawahiri, Farraj, Colonel al Zuhour who apparently had plotted the takeover of the government, Khaled Istambouli who carried out the assassination and roughly 300 others. They were tried in civil and military courts. Farraj, al-Islambouli and his fellow assassins were executed in April 1982, while al-Zumor,

20070920180832-al-zawahiri.jpg
Ayman al-Zawahiri

Ayman al-Zawahiri and others were given lengthy prison sentences. However, al-Zawahiri won an appeal, and was released and subsequently traveled first to Saudi Arabia, and then to Peshawar Pakistan where he and Osama Bin Laden formed a dilletantish group of Arabs who more or less vicariously participated in the struggle against the Soviet backed government in Afghanistan. Zawahiri became actual leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (or “al Jihad”) about 1991.
The Egyptian Islamic Jihad had a blind-cell structure, like that of the Leninist Communist party. Members in one cell did not know the identities or activities of those in another, so that if one member were captured they would not be able to endanger more than a few people. However, Egyptian police captured the membership director of EIJ. The database in his computer listed every member’s address, aliases, and potential hideouts. Al-Jihad leader al-Zawahiri bitterly lamented “the government newspapers” elation over “the arrest of 800 members of the al-Jihad group without a single shot being fired.”
-continues at the above link-

Islamic Jihad Terrorist Ayman Al-Zawahiri

In 1980, al-Zawahiri returned to Cairo where he began work as a recruiter for jihad. After Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by a radical group in 1981, al-Zawahiri and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested. [4]. While in prison, he and his fellow jihad friends faced frequent torture under Egypt’s inquisition, Intelligence Unit 75. Through interrogation and torture, al-Zawahiri gave information which led to the arrest of other members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In one instance, he was forced to call a suspected terrorist, who Zawari know closely, to tell him to meet him at a location, Egypt’s security officials arrested the suspect at the location and placed him in the same prison cell as al-Zawahiri[5]. Essam al-Qamari, the suspected terrorist and friend of al-Zawahiri, was sentenced to ten years in prison and later shot dead in an attempted escape.
After three years, al-Zawahiri was released from prison and traveled to Saudi Arabia and later to Jeddah, where he claims he first met Osama Bin Laden.[6] In 1998, the two Jihad leaders announced the joining of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda to form the World Islamic Front for the Jihand Against Jews and Crusaders[7]. In 1998, the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzaria were destroyed by suicide bombers; the United States later indicted both Ben Laden and al-Zawahiri for the attacks which killed 224 people. In retaliation, the United States lunched cruise missiles, however, both terrorist leaders escaped.
Occasionally appearing on tapes claiming responsibility for attacks on the United States, al-Zawahiri has become the main spokesperson for the terrorist network. al-Zawahiri was sentenced to death by an Egyptian court in 1999 for his role in organizing variety terrorist attacks, and the United States State Department has offered a $25 million award for information leading to his apprehension after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon[8]. Although information on his location is not well known, al-Zawahiri, who is fluent in English, is suspected of being located in Afghanistan after traveling around Europe looking for refugeCite error: Closing missing for tag.
On November 19, 2008, Al-Zawahiri released a video referring to President-elect Barack Obama as a ‘house negro,’ and stating that Obama was “the direct opposite of honorable black Americans.”[9]

Muslim Brotherhood ready to use Egyptian army to attack Israel

ArtCreative Design and Custom coding

muslimbrotherhood.gifMohammed Ghanem one of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt called on his country to stop pumping gas to Israel and prepare the Egyptian army to wage war against Israel.In an interview on the Iranian television station al-Alam, Ghanem blamed Israel for supporting President Hosni Mubarak’s regime but warned that neither the Egyptian police or army will be able to stop the Muslim Brotherhood.The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest opposition group in the country and criticized Mubarak in the latest parliamentary elections of rigging the votes. While they have not come out vocally in the recent wave of anti-government protests, many believe they are purposely maintain a low profile until the time is right to attempt to take over the government.

For ElBaradei the turnaround happened almost overnight. He was the Brotherhood’s front man but…broke with them over the referendum. And now they want to break him.

The only thing surprising to me is that the Islamists have been emboldened so fast. I thought they would be cautious a while longer in their pretense at being moderate and pro-democracy. But revolutionary Islamists quickly become arrogant when people make concessions to them and they conclude that they are strong and victorious. 

and via mooserider123.blogspot.com
image via
weaselzippers.us and via ns1763.ca
and via
blogs.e-rockford.com

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Posted by Noah Simon


Washington’s Schizophrenic Approach Toward the Muslim Brotherhood

October 1, 2010


Steve Emerson
“Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; jihad is our way; and dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” So reads the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), a transnational Islamist organization with chapters in more than 70 countries. The group’s long history includes collaboration with Nazi Germany, calls for the destruction of Israel, and support for attacks against American troops.
The Brotherhood’s affiliates include the terrorist organization Hamas. Its alumni include 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden’s terrorist mentor. Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaida’s second in command, is said to have been heavily influenced by the ideology of the Brotherhood’s Egyptian chapter. Some of the most prominent Muslim organizations in the United States have close, longstanding relationships with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members in the United States. And the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was linked in court papers to a Brotherhood-organized Hamas support effort.
That record has not dissuaded the Obama and George W. Bush administrations from working with MB-affiliated organizations in the United States. This relationship is on display in Chicago this week, where Rashad Hussain, President Obama’s special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), addresses the American Islamic College (AIC). A Hudson Institute report last year identified the AIC as having been planned by the Brotherhood-affiliated Muslim Students Association (MSA). The AIC was once headed by MSA founder Ahmed Sakr.
Hussain’s participation serves to highlight the fact that Washington has no policy for dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood, despite evidence that the group’s agenda is hostile to the United States. In some cases around the world, there may be little choice but to do so. But a number of people who study the issue contend that the U.S. government is needlessly legitimizing the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hussain is scheduled to appear Wednesday morning on a panel moderated by Ahmed Rehab, head of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). So a White House aide is sharing the stage with a senior CAIR official.
The FBI’s policy is to not do that. The agency cut off communications with CAIR in 2008, based upon exhibits in the Hamas-support prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) that places CAIR on a committee created to support Hamas politically and financially. An FBI congressional liaison wrote last year that “until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner.”
Rehab is among a number of conference speakers associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Others scheduled to address the conference include Safaa Zarzour, Secretary General of ISNA, and John Esposito, a Christian academic with longstanding ties to the Brotherhood. Other speakers include Esposito’s protégé, pollster Dalia Mogahed; Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN); Farah Pandith, the State Department’s special representative to Muslim communities; and Imam Siraj Wahhaj, a former vice president of ISNA. In 1995, Wahhaj testified as a character witness for Omar Abdel-Rahman (AKA the “Blind Sheikh”), who was accused of conspiring to blow up the United Nations and other New York landmarks. Abdel-Rahman was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
“They’re bullet-proof. It’s horrible,” veteran journalist Douglas Farah said regarding the political strength of Brotherhood-affiliated groups like CAIR and ISNA. U.S. policy “empower[s] groups whose ultimate goal is the creation of an Islamic nation in the United States.”
Farah, a former reporter for the Washington Post, is sharply critical of the Obama Administration’s courtship of MB affiliates. Obama’s approach closely resembles that of the Bush Administration, which all too often consisted of using Brotherhood organizations like CAIR, ISNA and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) as vehicles for outreach to American Muslims, he said.
Government officials should have a clear policy to avoid doing anything that grants groups like, CAIR, NAIT, ISNA, MAS and the International Institute for Islamic Thought legitimacy, Farah said.
“We don’t fund them. We don’t have our pictures taken with them. We don’t go to their [events].”
The reality, however, is dramatically different, as Democratic and Republican administrations have tried to cultivate the Brotherhood groups as part of a larger anti-terror effort focused on the American Muslim community.
Recent examples have included a State Department-financed trip to Africa by a CAIR executive who spent time trashing U.S. law enforcement; sending representatives of ISNA and the Islamic Circle of North America to represent the United States abroad; and a U.S. Census Bureau lease with a Virginia Islamic Center that law enforcement officials call a front for Hamas.
Senior Obama Administration officials, including Hussain and Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, have addressed ISNA’s national conventions. White House security adviser John Brennan joined ISNA President Ingrid Mattson for a forum on national security at New York University earlier this year, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano invited ISNA and MAS representatives to a forum on “counter-radicalization.”
The final report issued by Muslimserve – the organization set up to implement President Obama’s faith-based initiative in the Muslim Community – included a message from presidential appointee Dalia Mogahed thanking a number of groups including CAIR and ISNA for their work on the project. The report also showed the logos of CAIR, ISNA, ICNA and the Muslim American Society.
And the Obama Administration has invited groups like ISNA to attend iftar dinners [fast-breaking meals during Ramadan] held at the White House and at various federal agency offices.
According to Farah, that’s exactly the wrong approach. Including MB groups at iftars and other events creates the false impression that they have been “vetted” and determined to be clean. In fact, both CAIR and ISNA were unindicted co-conspirators in the HLF prosecution. Five senior HLF officials were convicted of funneling more than $12 million to Hamas and sentenced to long prison terms.
One document introduced during the trial was an 18-page memorandum written in 1992 by Mohammed Akram, a member of the American branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. It described the role the group sees for itself in America:
“The process of settlement in America is a Civilization-Jihadist process with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
One tactic the Muslim Brotherhood uses in countries where Muslims are a minority is to “subvert” Muslim communities “so they become their de facto spokesmen,” said former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs J. Scott Carpenter.
Having senior officials like Brennan and Napolitano meeting publicly with Mattson and others involved in Brotherhood-affiliate groups sent the wrong message to non-Islamist Muslims, according to Carpenter, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The government is accepting the Brotherhood as representatives of the larger Muslim community.
During his tenure at State, Carpenter said there were “unofficial guidances governing how State Department employees deal with Muslim Brotherhood supporters. The “general idea was that the Muslim Brotherhood should not benefit from U.S. taxpayer dollars.”
The policy (Carpenter left the State Department in 2007 but believes the Obama Administration has continued) was unevenly enforced from country to country, depending on the ambassador and the position of the Muslim Brotherhood in a particular area. There was a lot of pushback from diplomats who argued that the United States needs to be able to talk with virtually anyone – including hostile groups like the MB.
According to Carpenter, U.S. diplomatic efforts to distance itself from the Muslim Brotherhood were undercut by democracy-promotion efforts in Iraq, where Washington and Coalition forces found it necessary to work with Islamist parties that may have been involved with the Brotherhood. In Egypt, diplomats were barred from working with the MB as an organization but could deal with Brotherhood members of Parliament.
Washington sought to walk a fine line – opposing the Mubarak government’s repressive policies without being seen as endorsing the Muslim Brotherhood. “You don’t want these groups [the Brotherhood and sympathizers] undermining the state” he said, and do not want the United States to be seen as endorsing the Muslim Brotherhood over other political parties.
Carpenter dismissed the official explanation that the invitation to Muslim Brotherhood MPs to attend President Obama’s June 2009 Cairo speech was purely the result of an Egyptian decision about who to invite. American presidents decide who they will meet on these trips and do not cede that choice to foreign governments, Carpenter said.
He believes the Obama Administration seems to believe that “political Islam is on the march.” That world view “can become a self-fulfilling policy,” he added.
It is difficult to avoid talking with the Muslim Brotherhood, Carpenter said, because it is present in so many Muslim counties. To avoid giving the Muslim Brotherhood a propaganda windfall, it is critical to limit interaction to low-level officials rather than ambassadors.
Author Lorenzo Vidino, a careful observer of Brotherhood activities in the United States, explains the government’s inability to come up with a workable strategy to deal with MB affiliate groups inside the United States. In his book, The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West, Vidino cites FBI Director Robert Mueller’s statement that the Bureau does not have a responsibility to consider the ideological background of some of the organizations it engages with and the consequences of partnering with them.
“In an organization whose weltanschauung is based on obtaining convictions and staying away from thorny ideological issues, investigating Brotherhood networks is hardly a recipe for fast career advancement. In the words of a former FBI agent, ‘investigating jihadists gets you a promotion, investigating brothers gets you a headache,'” Vidino writes.
It is understandable that people in the bureaucracy have positive impressions of some Brotherhood officials, said Stephen Coughlin, a former Army major who was the Pentagon’s leading researcher on Islamic law. Having met numerous Brotherhood officials during his time in Washington, Coughlin said that, on a personal level, many of these people are quite friendly.
What officials fail to understand is that the Brotherhood people “are only doing outreach in order to subvert you,” Coughlin said. “I believe the people in the federal bureaucracy [who take a benign view of some Brotherhood affiliated groups] want answers that are easy to get and make them feel good about themselves.”
Rather than engage it, Coughlin believes the U.S. government should designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. While al Qaida seeks to destroy the United States through terrorism, the Brotherhood seeks to achieve this through “ideological subversion,” he said. The MB and al-Qaida “are two sides of the same coin.”
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Steve Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and the author of five books on these subjects, most recently “Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US.” Steve also writes for the Counterterrorism Blog.
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