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Endgame in Egypt

Far from dying down, the protests in Egypt have only grown – there’s a million marching upon Mubarak today:

About 1,000,000 people have gathered for the planned “march of a million” in the Egyptian capital, calling for Hosni Mubarak, the embattled Egyptian president, to step down.

[…] Thousands of demonstrators began gathering from early on Tuesday morning in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, which has been the focal point of protests in the capital and served as the meeting area for the march to begin on the eighth day of an uprising that has so far claimed more than 125 lives.

Another “million-strong” march is planned in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, as national train services were cancelled in an apparent bid to stymie protests. Protest organisers have also called for an indefinite strike to be observed across the country.


A critical development – the Egyptian Army has ended speculation about whether it will fire upon protestors. They will not:

In a statement on Monday, the army said “freedom of expression” was guaranteed to all citizens using peaceful means.

“To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people,” stress that “they have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people,” said the statement.

It was the first such explicit confirmation by the army that it would not fire at demonstrators who have taken to the streets of Egypt and comes a day before Tuesday’s “march of millions”.

Hosni is feeling the heat. He sent out feelers for negotiation, but was rebuffed by the opposition groups. Al Jazeera:


Meanwhile, one of Egypt’s oldest parties, Wafd, announced on Tuesday that a number of opposition groups have agreed to form “a national front” to deal with the volatile situation there. In a statement, Wafd said that president Mubarak “has lost legitimacy.”

Also on Tuesday, the Muslim Brotherhood, an officially banned but tolerated movement, said it will not negotiate with president Mubarak or his government.

Earlier, some opposition parties have called for Mubarak to delegate responsibilities to newly appointed vice-president Omar Suleiman, who they are prepared to negotiate with.


And in the Wall Street Journal:


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, seeking to salvage his 29-year rule, made his first offer to discuss reforms with opposition groups, as protesters gathered for a massive march to force him to resign and his Western allies discussed plans for his exit.

Opposition parties said they wouldn’t negotiate as long as Mr. Mubarak remains in office.

[…] In Egypt, a committee from the coalition of opposition parties met Monday to discuss their strategy in anticipation of Mr. Mubarak’s ouster. People briefed on the meeting said the focus was to hammer out a negotiating strategy with the army and newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman, the longtime intelligence chief who constitutionally would take over if Mr. Mubarak left office. Protest organizers said the opposition would make no concessions until Mr. Mubarak leaves office.


Mr. Mubarak’s offer to negotiate a package of political and constitutional overhauls was delivered by Mr. Suleiman over state television around midnight, after another day of protests across the capital.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Mubarak, who dissolved his government last week, named new ministers–including stalwarts from his ruling party and security apparatus, which is widely reviled for its brutal intelligence and police networks.

He also kicked out his long-time finance minister, who is highly regarded by Western financial institutions but blamed in Egypt for a lack of jobs and high levels of unemployment.

The tens of thousands of people streaming into the capital’s Tahrir Square throughout the day to prepare for Tuesday’s rally barely noticed Mr. Mubarak’s overtures.


The ultimate writing on the wall – the White House had a private meeting last night, at which participants essentially understood that the Obama Administration itself no longer sees Mubarak as viable. The WSJ:

The U.S. and its allies have started discussing how Mr. Mubarak might step aside or at least not run in national elections set for September, according to Western diplomats.

Participants in a private meeting Monday morning at the White House’s Roosevelt Room said a long discussion of Mr. Mubarak’s future left them with the understanding that the White House sees no scenario in which Mr. Mubarak remains in power for long. White House officials said they made no explicit predictions about Mr. Mubarak’s future.


At the meeting, National Security Council official Dan Shapiro opened the discussion by saying time was of the essence. Already, demands for Mr. Mubarak’s removal have escalated into demands that he be tried, and experts told White House officials that the prospects for violence were increasing.

NSC officials, pressed by participants, said they had no contingency plans for a sudden collapse of the Mubarak government. The administration has so far stopped short of calling for Mr. Mubarak to step down.

The Obama administration dispatched a former ambassador to Egypt, Frank Wisner, to Cairo to press for democratic reforms, officials said, another sign the U.S. was taking a more hands-on role in trying to end the crisis.


A White House official said the administration was reaching out to a “broad cross-section of opposition and non-governmental actors.”

This is enormous news in and of itself. Hillary Clinton telegraphed this position on the Sunday shows but now there’s no room left for Hosni Mubarak to manuever.

It’s endgame.

And it’s been better said elsewhere, but this really was Al Jazeera’s moment. They open-licensed all their coverage of Egypt under the Creative Commons, permitting everyone from bloggers to other rival media organizations to use their images and video. They were the true face of journalism, an example to all media worldwide. And it’s about time that we were able to watch AJE on our cable channels – so sign the petition to get AJE on your cable provider right now.

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posted February 1, 2011 at 10:45 am

I am most encouraged by the fact that the spark that launched the revolt in Tunisia and in Egypt (and in other countries throughout North Africa and the Middle East) was not an act of terror. It was a suicide, a self-immolation. I believe the response to this spark demonstrates that, in direct contradiction to the propaganda of the right wing and the haters, the vast majority of (loosely speaking) “the Arab street” is not moved by or activated by, but is rather repulsed by, acts of terror such as suicide bombing. I haven’t heard this point made by anyone yet, so I want to get it out there.

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posted February 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

Even Islamists have to eat. It is unclear whether President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt will survive, or whether his nationalist regime will be replaced by an Islamist, democratic, or authoritarian state. What is certain is that it will be a failed state. Amid the speculation about the shape of Arab politics to come, a handful of observers, for example economist Nourel Roubini, have pointed to the obvious: Wheat prices have almost doubled in the past year.
Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer, beholden to foreign providers for nearly half its total food consumption. Half of
Egyptians live on less than $2 a day. Food comprises almost half the country’s consumer price index, and much more than half of spending for the poorer half of the country. This will get worse, not better.
Not the destitute, to be sure, but the aspiring and frustrated young, confronted the riot police and army on the streets of Egyptian cities last week. The uprising in Egypt and Tunisia were not food riots; only in Jordan have demonstrators made food the main issue. Rather, the jump in food prices was the wheat-stalk that broke the camel’s back. The regime’s weakness, in turn, reflects the dysfunctional character of the country. 35% of all Egyptians, and 45% of Egyptian women can’t read.
Nine out of ten Egyptian women suffer genital mutilation. US President Barack Obama said Jan. 29, “The right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny … are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere.” Does Obama think that genital mutilation is a human rights violation? To expect Egypt to leap from the intimate violence of traditional society to the full rights of a modern democracy seems whimsical.
In fact, the vast majority of Egyptians has practiced civil disobedience against the Mubarak regime for years. The Mubarak government announced a “complete” ban on genital mutilation in 2007, the second time it has done so – without success, for the Egyptian population ignored the enlightened pronouncements of its government. Do Western liberals cheer at this quiet revolt against Mubarak’s authority?
Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt’s First Lady, continues to campaign against the practice, which she has denounced as “physical and psychological violence against children.” Last May 1, she appeared at Aswan City alongside the provincial governor and other local officials to declare the province free of it. And on October 28, Mrs Mubarak inaugurated an African conference on stopping genital mutilation.
The most authoritative Egyptian Muslim scholars continue to recommend genital mutilation. Writing on the web site IslamOnline, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi – the president of the International Association of Muslim Scholars – explains:
The most moderate opinion and the most likely one to be correct is in favor of practicing circumcision in the moderate Islamic way indicated in some of the Prophet’s hadiths – even though such hadiths are not confirmed to be authentic. It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to a midwife: “Reduce the size of the clitoris but do not exceed the limit, for that is better for her health and is preferred by husbands.”
That is not a Muslim view (the practice is rare in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan), but an Egyptian Muslim view. In the most fundamental matters, President and Mrs Mubarak are incomparably more enlightened than the Egyptian public. Three-quarters of acts of genital mutilation in Egypt are executed by physicians.
What does that say about the character of the country’s middle class? Only one news dispatch among the tens of thousands occasioned by the uprising mentions the subject; the New York Times, with its inimitable capacity to obscure content, wrote on January 27, “To the extent that Mr. Mubarak has been willing to tolerate reforms, the cable said, it has been in areas not related to public security or stability.
For example, he has given his wife latitude to campaign for women’s rights and against practices like female genital mutilation and child labor, which are sanctioned by some conservative Islamic groups.” The authors, Mark Landler and Andrew Lehren, do not mention that 90% or more of Egyptian women have been so mutilated. What does a country have to do to shock the New York Times? Eat babies boiled?
Young Tunisians and Egyptians want jobs. But (via Brian Murphy at the Associated Press on January 29) “many people have degrees but they do not have the skill set,” Masood Ahmed, director of the Middle East and Asia department of the International Monetary Fund, said earlier this week. “The scarce resource is talent,” agreed Omar Alghanim, a prominent Gulf businessman. The employment pool available in the region “is not at all what’s needed in the global economy.” For more on this see my January 19 essay, Tunisia’s lost generation. There are millions of highly-qualified, skilled and enterprising Arabs, but most of them are working in the US or Europe.
Egypt is wallowing in backwardness, not because the Mubarak regime has suppressed the creative energies of the people, but because the people themselves cling to the most oppressive practices of traditional society. And countries can only languish in backwardness so long before some event makes their position untenable.
Wheat prices 101 and Egyptian instability
In this case, Asian demand has priced food staples out of the Arab budget. As prosperous Asians consume more protein, global demand for grain increases sharply (seven pounds of grain produce one pound of beef). Asians are rich enough, moreover, to pay a much higher price for food whenever prices spike due to temporary supply disruptions, as at the moment.
Egyptians, Jordanians, Tunisians and Yemenis are not. Episodes of privation and even hunger will become more common. The miserable economic performance of all the Arab states, chronicled in the United Nations’ Arab Development Reports, has left a large number of Arabs so far behind that they cannot buffer their budget against food price fluctuations.
Earlier this year, after drought prompted Russia to ban wheat exports, Egypt’s agriculture minister pledged to raise food production over the next ten years to 75% of consumption, against only 56% in 2009. Local yields are only 18 bushels per acre, compared to 30 to 60 for non-irrigated wheat in the United States, and up 100 bushels for irrigated land.
The trouble isn’t long-term food price inflation: wheat has long been one of the world’s bargains. The International Monetary Fund’s global consumer price index quadrupled in between 1980 and 2010, while the price of wheat, even after the price spike of 2010, only doubled in price. What hurts the poorest countries, though, isn’t the long-term price trend, though, but the volatility.
People have drowned in rivers with an average depth of two feet. It turns out that China, not the United States or Israel, presents an existential threat to the Arab world, and through no fault of its own: rising incomes have gentrified the Asian diet, and – more importantly – insulated Asian budgets from food price fluctuations. Economists call this “price elasticity.” Americans, for example, will buy the same amount of milk even if the price doubles, although they will stop buying fast food if hamburger prices double. Asians now are wealthy enough to buy all the grain they want.
If wheat output falls, for example, due to drought in Russia and Argentina, prices rise until demand falls. The difference today is that Asian demand for grain will not fall, because Asians are richer than they used to be. Someone has to consume less, and it will be the people at the bottom of the economic ladder, in this case the poorer Arabs.
That is why the volatility of the wheat price (the rolling standard deviation of percentage changes in the price over twelve months) has trended up from about 5% during the 1980s and 1990s to about 15% today. This means that there is a roughly two-thirds likelihood that the monthly change in the wheat price will be less than 15%.
It also means that every so often the wheat price is likely to go through the ceiling, as it did during the past 12 months. To make life intolerable for the Arab poor, the price of wheat does not have to remain high indefinitely; it only has to trade out of their reach once every few years.
And that is precisely what has happened during the past few years:
After 30 years of stability, the price of wheat has had two spikes into the $9 per bushel range at which very poor people begin to go hungry. The problem isn’t production. Wheat production has risen steadily – very steadily in fact – and the volatility of global supply has been muted:
The line in Chart 3 above marked “production volatility” is the five-year standard deviation of annual percentage changes in world wheat supply (data from US Department of Agriculture). During the 1960s and 1970s, it hovered around the 3% to 5% range, but fell to the 1% to 3% range.
It shows an approximately two-thirds likelihood that world wheat supply will change by less than 3% each year. Wheat supply dropped by only 2.4% between 2009 and 2010 – and the wheat price doubled. That’s because affluent Asians don’t care what they pay for grain. Prices depend on what the last (or “marginal”) purchaser is willing to pay for an item (what was the price of the last ticket on the last train out of Paris when the Germans marched on June 14, 1940?). Don’t blame global warming, unstable weather patterns: wheat supply has been fairly reliable. The problem lies in demand.
Officially, Egypt’s unemployment rate is slightly above 9%, the same as America’s, but independent studies say that a quarter of men and three-fifths of women are jobless. According to a BBC report, 700,000 university graduates chase 200,000 available jobs.
A number of economists anticipated the crisis. Reinhard Cluse of Union bank of Switzerland told the Financial Times last August:
“Significant hikes in the global price of wheat would present the government with a difficult dilemma.
Do they want to pass on price rises to end consumers, which would reduce Egyptians’ purchasing power and might lead to social discontent?
Or do they keep their regulation of prices tight and end up paying higher subsidies for food? In which case the problem would not go away but end up in the government budget.
Egypt’s public debt is already high, at roughly 74% of gross domestic produce (GDP), according to UBS. Earlier this year the IMF projected that Egypt’s food subsidies would cost the equivalent of 1.1% of GDP in 2009-10, while subsidies for energy were expected to add up to 5.1%.

Tensions over food have led to violence in bread queues before and it wouldn’t take much of a price rise for the squeeze on many consumers to become unbearably tight.”
One parameter to watch closely is the Egyptian pound. Insurance against Egyptian default was the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) +3.3% a week ago; on Friday, it stood at Libor + 4.54%. That’s not a crisis level, but if banks start reducing exposure, things could get bad fast. In 2009 Egyptian imports were $55 billion against only $29 billion of exports; tourism (about $15 billion in net income) and remittances from Egyptian workers (about $8 billion) and other services brought the current account into balance. Scratch the tourism, and you have a big deficit.
Egypt has $35 billion of central bank reserves, adequate under normal conditions, but thin insulation against capital flight. Foreigners hold $25 billion of Egypt’s short-term Treasury bills, for example. It would not take long for a run on the currency to materialize – and if the currency devalues, food and fuel become all the more expensive. A vicious cycle may ensue.
Under the title The Failed Muslim States to Come (Asia Times Online December 16, 2008), I argued that the global financial crisis then at its peak would destabilize the most populous Muslim countries:
Financial crises, like epidemics, kill the unhealthy first. The present crisis is painful for most of the world but deadly for many Muslim countries, and especially so for the most populous ones. Policy makers have not begun to assess the damage. The diplomatic strategy of the industrial nations now resembles a James Clavell potboiler, in which an earthquake interrupts a hopelessly immured plot. Moderate Islam was the El Dorado of the diplomatic consensus.
It might have been the case that Pakistan could be tethered to Western interests, or that Iran could be engaged peacefully, or that Turkey would incubate a moderate form of Islam. I considered all of this delusional, but the truth is that we shall never know. The financial crisis will sort them out first.
I was wrong. It wasn’t the financial crisis that undermined dysfunctional Arab states, but Asian prosperity. The Arab poor have been priced out of world markets. There is no solution to Egypt’s problems within the horizon of popular expectations. Whether the regime survives or a new one replaces it, the outcome will be a disaster of, well, biblical proportions.
The best thing the United States could do at the moment would be to offer massive emergency food aid to Egypt out of its own stocks, with the understanding that President Mubarak would offer effusive public thanks for American generosity. This is a stopgap, to be sure, but it would pre-empt the likely alternative. Otherwise, the Muslim Brotherhood will preach Islamist socialism to a hungry audience. That also explains why Mubarak just might survive. Even Islamists have to eat. The Iranian Islamists who took power in 1979 had oil wells; Egypt just has hungry mouths. Enlightened despotism based on the army, the one stable institution Egypt possesses, might not be the worst solution.

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posted February 1, 2011 at 11:45 am

As we follow the unfolding story in Egypt, we are torn between hope and fear — hope that democracy will gain a toehold and fear that the fundamentalist Moslem Brothers could take control of Egypt. Perhaps you have heard the Moslem Brothers are the oldest and largest radical Islamic group, the grandfather of Hezbollah, Hamas, and al-Qaeda.
What you haven’t been told is this: the Moslem Brothers were a small, unpopular group of anti-modern fanatics unable to attract members, until they were adopted by Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich beginning in the 1930s. Under the tutelage of the Third Reich, the Brothers started the modern jihadi movement, complete with a genocidal program against Jews. In the words of Matthias Kuntzel, “[t]he significance of the Brotherhood to Islamism is comparable to that of the Bolshevik Party to communism: It was and remains to this day the ideological reference point and organizational core for all later Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda and Hamas.”
What is equally ominous for Jews and Israel is that despite Mubarak’s pragmatic coexistence with Israel for the last thirty years, every Egyptian leader from Nasser through Sadat to Mubarak has enshrined Nazi Jew-hatred in mainstream Egyptian culture out of both conviction and political calculation. Nasser, trained by Nazis as a youth, spread the genocidal conspiracy theories of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, making it a bestseller throughout the Arab world. On the Ramadan following 9/11, Mubarak presided over a thirty-week-long TV series dramatizing Elders and its genocidal message.
It is impossible to assess the danger posed by a takeover of Egypt today by the Moslem Brothers without knowing that Nazism launched the Brothers and is still at their core. This response to modernity and to Jews was not predetermined by Egyptian history or culture. It was Germany under Hitler that changed the course of history for Egypt and the Middle East.
How do we know all this? We know it because the Third Reich was a meticulous keeper of records. We have the memos, the planning documents, the budgets, even photos and films of the Reich’s spectacularly successful campaign, implemented by the Moslem Brothers, to turn the Middle East into a hotbed of virulent Jew-hatred. We have the minutes, the photo, and the memo of understanding, when Hitler and the head of the Moslem Brothers in Palestine, the Mufti of Jerusalem, shook hands on a plan for a Final Solution in the Middle East.
We have the records of this meeting, in which Hitler and the head of the Moslem Brothers in Palestine shook hands on a Final Solution for the Middle East — years before the creation of Israel.
The Moslem Brothers helped Hitler succeed in genocide by slamming shut the door to safety in Palestine. This was a key part of the success of the Final Solution. The anti-Jewish riots in Palestine that led the British to cave to Arab pressure and shut off Jewish escape are well-known — how many of us know they were funded by Hitler? Winston Churchill protested the closing of Palestine to the Jews in the House of Commons, arguing against the appeasement of Nazi-funded Arab violence:
So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population. … We are now asked to submit, and this is what rankles most with me, to an agitation which is fed with foreign money and ceaselessly inflamed by Nazi and by Fascist propaganda.
Who knows how many Jews would have escaped Hitler if the Jewish National Home in Palestine had remained open to them?
We do know that without the work of Hitler’s allies, the Moslem Brothers, many signs indicate that Israel would have been a welcome neighbor in the Middle East, but this path was closed off by Moslem Brotherhood terrorism. This is not “ancient history.” According to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Yasser Arafat (born Mohammed Al-Husseini, in Cairo) adopted the name Yasser to honor the Moslem Brothers’ terror chief, who threw moderate Palestinians into pits of scorpions and snakes, eliminated the entire Nashashibi family of Jerusalem because they welcomed Jews into Palestine, and drove forty thousand Arabs into exile. The corpses of their victims would be left in the street for days, shoes stuck in their mouths, as a lesson for any Arab who believed in tolerating a Jewish homeland. Arafat as a member of the Moslem Brothers was directly trained by Nazi officers who were invited to Egypt after the fall of Hitler in Europe.
Like the pro-democracy demonstrators out in the streets of Cairo this week, immediately after World War I, Egypt was filled with hope for developing a modern, tolerant society. The Egyptian revolution of 1919 united the country’s Moslems, Christians, and Jews around the slogan “Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood.” The constitution of 1923 was completely secular, establishing a constitutional monarchy. It took Western democracy as a model and worked for the equal status of women. Jews were an accepted part of public life. There were Jewish members of parliament. The Zionist movement was accepted with “considerable sympathy,” because the government’s priority was to maintain good relations between the three most important religious groups — Moslems, Jews, and Coptic Christians. Today, the Jews are gone, and the Copts are viciously persecuted. But in 1919, there was even an Egyptian section of the International Zionist Organization. Its founder, Leon Castro, a Jew, was also the spokesman of the largest Egyptian political party, the Wafd, related to the largest opposition party taking part in this week’s demonstrations.
When, in March 1928, the charismatic preacher Hassan al-Banna founded the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt, it was a flop. It promoted world domination by Islam and the restoration of the Caliphate, focusing on a complete subjugation of women. In its first decade, the Moslem Brothers attracted only eight hundred members.
Then Hitler ascended to power. A branch of the Nazi party was set up in Cairo. The Egyptian government was told that if it did not begin to persecute their Jews, Germany would boycott Egyptian cotton. When the government caved and began a press campaign and discriminatory measures against Jews, it was rewarded by Germany’s becoming the second largest importer of Egyptian goods. The Egyptian public was impressed by the propaganda about Germany’s economic progress and impressive Nazi mass marches. The pro-fascist Young Egypt movement was founded in 1933. Abdel Nasser, later Egypt’s most famous leader, remained loyal to Nazi ideology for the rest of his career. During the war there was a popular street song in the Middle East: “Allah in heaven, Hitler on earth.”
In the 1930s, the Third Reich poured men, money, weapons, and propaganda training into the Moslem Brotherhood. It was the Reich that taught the fundamentalists to focus their anger on the Jews instead of on women. By war’s end, thanks entirely to Hitler’s tutelage and direct support, the brotherhood had swelled to a million members, and Jew-hatred had become central to mainstream Arab culture. Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini listened daily to the Nazi propaganda broadcast from Berlin by Moslem Brother Haj Amin al-Husseini. So did every Arab with a radio, throughout the war, as it was the most popular programming in the Middle East. Thanks to Hitler, the Moslem Brothers enshrined anti-Semitism as the main organizing force of Middle East politics for the next eighty years.
Egyptian society has lived in Hitler’s world of hate ever since. According to leading expert on the Third Reich’s fusion with Islamism in Egypt Matthias Kunztel:
On this point (Jews), the entire Egyptian society has been Islamized. In Egypt the ostracism and demonization of Jews is not a matter of debate, but a basic assumption of everyday discourse. As if the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty had never been signed, Israel and Israelis are today totally boycotted … be it lawyers, journalists, doctors or artists…all Egyptian universities, sports associations, theatres and orchestras. … If there is one theme in contemporary Egypt which unites Islamists, Liberals, Nasserites and Marxists, it is the collective fantasy of the common enemy in the shape of Israel and the Jews, which almost always correlates with the wish to destroy Israel.
In launching the Moslem Brothers’ modern jihadi movement, Hitler did far more than enshrine anti-Semitism in the Middle East. As if some kind of divine punishment, the creation of jihadism also sabotaged the move towards modernity and representative government, ruining hopes for freedom and prosperity for the Arab people. The Brothers were the excuse for Mubarak’s thirty years of emergency rule. The Brothers were central to both the PLO and Hamas, killing all hope for peaceful coexistence and prosperity for the Palestinian people. They had an early role in founding the Ba’ath Party in Syria and Iraq, turning those countries over to kleptocratic tyrants. Moslem Brothers taught Osama bin Laden, and their philosophy is considered the foundational doctrine of al-Qaeda.
Will history repeat itself? Or will the Egyptian people take back their country, throw off Hitler’s long shadow, and begin again on the hopeful path to democracy and a decent life that they began at the beginning of the modern era?

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posted February 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm

As Egypt lurches towards the end of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, one way or another – by “an orderly transition to democratic rule” (as Hillary Clinton delicately puts it), through violent overthrow or simply through the demise of the ailing 82-year-old president – much is unclear. One thing that should not be is that the Muslim Brotherhood is our enemy, and whatever role it plays in Egypt’s future will be to our detriment.
Such clarity is readily available since the Brotherhood (MB or in Arabic, Ikhwan) has told us as much. Consider, for example, the mission statement for the MB found in one of its secret documents entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America”:
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.
As a blue-ribbon group of national security experts convened by the Center for Security Policy, “Team B II” noted in their new best-seller Shariah: The Threat to America, the incompatability of the Ikhwan’s agenda with our interests has been evident from its inception:
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928. Its express purpose was two-fold: (1) to implement shariah worldwide, and (2) to re-establish the global Islamic State (caliphate). Therefore, al Qaeda and the MB have the same objectives. They differ only in the timing and tactics involved in realizing them.
We also know how the Brotherhood plans to pull off our destruction. Another MB document, this one undated, is called “Phases of the World Underground Movement Plan.” It describes a five-installment program for achieving the triumph of shariah – together with a status report on the realization of several of the phases’ goals:
Phase One: Discreet and secret establishment of leadership.
Phase Two: Phase of gradual appearance on the public scene and exercising and utilizing various public activities. It [the MB] greatly succeeded in implementing this stage. It also succeeded in achieving a great deal of its important goals, such as infiltrating various sectors of the Government.
Phase Three: Escalation phase, prior to conflict and confrontation with the rulers, through utilizing mass media. Currently in progress.
Phase Four: Open public confrontation with the Government through exercising the political pressure approach. It is aggressively implementing the above-mentioned approach. Training on the use of weapons domestically and overseas in anticipation of zero-hour. It has noticeable activities in this regard.
Phase Five: Seizing power to establish their Islamic Nation under which all parties and Islamic groups are united.
If any further evidence were needed of the threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood, consider the comments on October 6, 2010 by Mohamed Badie, the Ikwan’s virulent promoter of shariah who was installed as its leader (“Supreme Guide”) last year. According to a translation provided by the indispensable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Badie declared:
[Today, the United States] is withdrawing from Iraq, defeated and wounded, and it is on the verge of withdrawing from Afghanistan. [All] its warplanes, missiles and modern military technology were defeated by the will of the peoples, as long as [these peoples] insisted on resistance. Its wealth will not avail it once Allah has had his say, as happened with [powerful] nations in the past. The U.S. is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise.
Barry Rubin, one of the most astute observers of the Middle East, warned within days that this speech represented a “declaration of war” by the Brotherhood, with it “adopting a view almost identical to al Qaeda’s” but coming from “a group with 100 times more activists than al Qaeda.”
At first blush, it seems incredible that the sort of clarity about the Brotherhood’s intentions that the foregoing provide seems to be eluding many in official Washington and the policy elite. On closer inspection, however, the muddle-headedness that has many describing the Ikhwan as “non-violent,” “democratic” and desirable candidates for a coalition to replace Mubarak’s dictatorship is, to use an old Soviet expression, “no accident, comrade.”
In fact, the aforementioned MB “Explanatory Memorandum” provides a list of “Our Organizations and the Organizations of Our Friends” that includes virtually every prominent Muslim-American organization in business at that time. What is incredible, therefore, is that many of these same Muslim Brotherhood fronts are used by the U.S. government for “outreach” to the Muslim community and policy advice. The nation’s top intelligence official, James Clapper, has actually characterized the resulting “dialogue with the Muslim community” as “a source of advice, counsel, and wisdom.”
As a result, one other thing should be frighteningly clear: We are having our policies towards Egypt’s succession – and the tsunami it is accelerating elsewhere in the region influenced, shaped and probably subverted by the Muslim Brotherhood’s American operatives. If we let our enemies call the shots, there is no doubt who will wind up taking the bullet.

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posted February 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Well that’s all very interesting. It would be valuable to know how much of it’s true. Optimistically, I hope not much.

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posted February 1, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Actually there are a lot of parallels between Young’s last diatribe and typical bigoted stereotypes of Jews. Just for instance something that presumably happened, maybe only once, is assumed to pervade a population. And clearly things are taking their own course here.
The best thing anyone with any influence in the region can do is work toward a secular government. I’m sure a lot of Egyptians will be doing that, too.

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posted February 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm

As a counterpoint to Young’s nonsense I urge y’all to read this.
It’s time for the US to cut off all aid to Egypt and of course to Israel. This is our best opportunity to get on the right side of history in the Middle East.

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posted February 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm

A small section currently have effectively polarized the nation for many many years. Individuals are therefore sidetracked because of the political competition. They can’t notice exactly what has truly been happening as well as exactly who gains. So many people are having difficulties throughout the world as a consequence of it. I’m afraid that many of us are affected before we start to learn/open our eyes. Just about all we are able to do is actually keep working hard & pray.

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posted February 8, 2011 at 5:25 am

to get a true version of al jazeera, you should watch its arabic broadcasts (which unless you speak the language you can’t) – pure islamist propoganda funded by wahibists who believe the crusades are far from over. imagine what would gradually happen to their english broadcasts if they had the entire viewership of the US in their hands.

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Your Name

posted February 8, 2011 at 5:33 am

hold on – you CAN speak the language, i take it. so you KNOW about their arabic content. will you be organizing a petition for that too, once the english is on the air?
WHO ARE YOU Aziz Poonawalla ?

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Teed Rockwell

posted February 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Aziz is Pakistani. He may have learned Arabic, just as you might have learned French in high school. It’s fairly typical among Islamaphobes to assume that all Muslims are Arabs, but like many other Islamaphobic assumptions, this is false.
Most of the conservative Wahabbi Imams in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere have condemned terrorism, including the Imams who believe such terrible things about treatment of women. This is not a simple story of all the good guys on one side, and all the bad guys on the other. Al Jazeera broadcasts dialogues between Wahabbi Imams and Muslims feminists which are far more fair and balanced than anything on Fox News. It is this kind of dialogue which is most likely to lead to the dominance of more moderate forms of Islam.

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Sister in Beantown

posted February 10, 2011 at 6:02 am

I AM Muslim and I am a US Citizen by birth. I am a revert. My husband is Eygptian. He treats me FAIR FAIR better than my EX-husband prior to my reverting to Islaam! To think that ALL Men treat women badly is wrong in Islaam. To think that genital mutilation is the total norm in Eygpt is also wrong. Per my husband, who lived there 35 years of his life, in a middle class life in East Cairo, it is the WOMEN that go crazy and want that done to the daughters NOT the men! The think it will be a shame brought on the family if it isn’t done to the girl so it is done to her as an infant….Mom goes to a Dr and pays them quite well for the Dr to come to the home (Dr woul loose thier license if it was known they did that) and it is done behind closed doors! Nasty we know and it is the people who are uneducated and do not understand that it goes against Sunnah really and you just can’t reason with them. I am CERTAIN everyone has someone in thier family that you just can’t reason with over something…well these people just don’t get this. And it isn’t everyone honestly. Just the really uneducated people really. Those who have gone to school…had a chance to attend classes at the Masjid KNOW better! Ugh! Don’t buy into just anything that someone who doesn’t KNOW Islaam tells you. Ask a Muslim please…ask someone from the region specifically! Please.
Women in Islaam have so many rights. We don’t have to work. It is our RIGHT! It is our husbands duty to provide for us. We don’t even have to clean the house! If we do it is an act of charity from us! Lolz! We are more pampered if we are truly married to one who fears thier Lord. Problem is many do not fear HIM now.
This revolt against the current government is about change and about freedom. It is about general Human Rights that have been Long denied. My husband is former Air Force. Each Eygptian male must serve 1 year in the military if the had college and 2 if the did not. As he had college he had 1 plus with his degree he had a more key position with computers and data. He actually knows that knew Prime Minister as he used to deliverhis work to him each day via armed guards. I say this as background only because I believe that also have made him extremely trustworthy since he was much younger. He is a good Muslim and a good man.
This is what he has told me:
He had friends that would disappear for days. They would would come back months later. They would get a get a knock on the door and be told “let’s go”…they had to just go…no questions asked…just had to go. They get locked up for months, questioned, beaten. And forget it if you are at all religous! You are asking to be locked up! The govt doesnt allow that. You are asking to be a target. Everyone of his friends that wore a beard got pulled in…and that wasnt when he was in the Air Force. Then there is the everyday corruption. Would you like to pay off your mailman just so your mail doesnt get lost? How about every single aspect of your life being like that? It really bites! But that is what it is like there.
THHOSE things and the apathy of the Eygptians around him are why he felt lik he couldnt continue to live there so many years ago. Why he really dislikes Eygptians so very much even now. He is only now being to find any positives in his own country with those who truly are standing up for change…not with those who that do so on the surface for attention…like that stupid pop star supporting the president who backtracked when more people began to protest. We both wonder why tyrants are allowed to dominant simple people crushing thier hopes and dreams–thier own people. Mubarak is equilant to Pharaoh in Islaam. It seems he sold himself for the idols of money and power…a shirk to be sure. Yet Allaah knows best on that. In my mind though, having sold himself the Muslims will still be triumph so long as they pray to thier Lord ONLY and sumbit to HIM alone. This will guarntee success. It is written in the Quran. No one wants to bear the tears of the one who is oppressed. If it is a curse on you in THIS life…it surely will be in the next. Mr. Mubarak as a Muslim should SURELY know that. It is a SIN on him. MR. Suliman had best start remembering this as well…stop being such an idot.
And NO I am not prejudiced or anything else as one of the other comments suggested of Muslims. :) Do I think thier Religious beliefs are wrong…yup….I think they are corrupted…but I dont discrimated. Nor does my husband. He has many different friends including Jews.

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