Egypt Vs. The Muslim Brotherhood – Preventing the Next Syria
The sentencing of over 500 Muslim Brotherhood members to death in Cairo – many in absentia – for their role in the attack, torture, and murder of an Egyptian policeman is the culmination of an all encompassing security crackdown across Egypt. The move has created a chilling effect that has left the otherwise violent mobs of the Muslim Brotherhood silent and the streets they generally terrorize, peaceful and empty.
The move by the Egyptian courts has attracted the predictable condemnation of the US State Department. The Washington Post’s article, “Egyptian court sentences 529 people to death,” quoted US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf as claiming the US was “deeply concerned,” and “shocked.” She also claimed that the move “defied logic.”
The move was, however, exceptionally logical.
While the US continues to feign support for the government in Cairo, it was fully behind the so-called “Arab Spring,” the Muslim Brotherhood-led regime of Mohamed Morsi that came to power in its wake, its mobs in the streets, and the networks of NGOs inside Egypt supporting and defending their activities.
How Egypt Got Here
Egypt’s current turmoil is a direct result of the 2011 so-called “Arab Spring.” While nations like Libya lie in ruins with the “revolution” a “success” and the Libyan people now subjugated by pro-Western proxies, and Syria as it continues to fight on in a costly 3 year conflict that has cost tens of thousands of lives, Egypt has taken a different path.
When violent mobs began inching Egypt toward violence of Libyan and Syrian proportions, the Egyptian military, who has been the primary brokers of power in Egypt for decades, bent with the winds of change. Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power and the military tolerated the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood itself into power. However, before they did so, they laid the groundwork for its eventual undoing.
The military leadership bid its time patiently, waiting for the right moment to unseat the Brotherhood and swiftly shatter its networks politically and militarily. It was a masterstroke that has so far saved Egypt from the same fate suffered by other nations still burning in the chaos unleashed by the “Arab Spring.”
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Resurrection
The Muslim Brotherhood is a faux-theocratic sectarian extremist movement – a regional movement that transcends national borders. It is guilty sowing decades of violent discord not only in Egypt, but across the Arab World and it has remained a serious threat to secular, nationalist states from Algeria to Syria and back again. It is the factor of chaos of choice by the West and its regional collaborators, who generously fund it, arm it, and provide it with a steady stream of political recognition.
Today, the Western press decries Egyptian and Syrian efforts to curb these sectarian extremists, particularly in Syria where the government was accused of having “massacred” armed Brotherhood militants in Hama in 1982. The constitutions of secular Arab nations across Northern Africa and the Middle East, including the rewritten Syrian Constitution, have attempted to exclude sectarian political parties, especially those with “regional” affiliations to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda affiliated political movements from ever coming into power.
And while specter of sectarian extremists taking power in Egypt or Syria may seem like an imminent threat to Western (including Israeli) interests – it in reality is a tremendous boon.
Despite a long campaign of feigned anti-American, anti-Israeli propaganda during the Egyptian presidential run-up, the Muslim Brotherhood had joined US, European, and Israeli calls for “international” intervention in Syria. Egypt had also broken off diplomatic relations with Syria in an attempt to further isolate the nation – however these ties wererestored almost immediately after Morsi was finally ousted from power.
The Syrian Connection
To understand the Muslim Brotherhood’s designs in Egypt, one must first understand the Brotherhood’s role in the West’s proxy war against Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Syrian affiliates have been funneling weapons, cash, and foreign fighters into Syria to fight Wall Street, London, Riyadh, Doha, and Tel Aviv’s proxy war since 2011. The Brotherhood had prepared for this role since at least as early as 2007.
In Reuters ‘May 6, 2012 article titled, “Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood rise from the ashes,” it stated:
“Working quietly, the Brotherhood has been financing Free Syrian Army defectors based in Turkey and channeling money and supplies to Syria, reviving their base among small Sunni farmers and middle class Syrians, opposition sources say.”
The Muslim Brotherhood was nearing extinction in Syria before the latest unrest, and while Reuters categorically fails in its report to explain the “how” behind the Brotherhood’s resurrection, it was revealed in a 2007 New Yorker article titled, “The Redirection” by Seymour Hersh.
The Brotherhood was being directly backed by the US and Israel who were funneling support through the Saudis so as to not compromise the “credibility” of the so-called “Islamic” movement. Hersh revealed that members of the Lebanese Saad Hariri clique, then led by Fouad Siniora, had been the go-between for US planners and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
Hersh reports the Lebanese Hariri faction had met Dick Cheney in Washington and relayed personally the importance of using the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria in any move against the ruling government:
“[Walid] Jumblatt then told me that he had met with Vice-President Cheney in Washington last fall to discuss, among other issues, the possibility of undermining Assad. He and his colleagues advised Cheney that, if the United States does try to move against Syria, members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood would be “the ones to talk to,” Jumblatt said.”
The article would continue by explaining how already in 2007, US and Saudi backing had begun benefiting the Brotherhood:
“There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.
Jumblatt said he understood that the issue was a sensitive one for the White House. “I told Cheney that some people in the Arab world, mainly the Egyptians”—whose moderate Sunni leadership has been fighting the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for decades—“won’t like it if the United States helps the Brotherhood. But if you don’t take on Syria we will be face to face in Lebanon with Hezbollah in a long fight, and one we might not win.”
Syria’s Chaos is a Warning of Egypt’s Possible Future
While the US decries the recent court decision in Cairo – sentencing over 500 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death – claiming the move “defies logic,” considering what the Brotherhood laid the groundwork for in Syria, the Egyptian government has made a very logical move. Appeasement, accommodation, and leniency were already tried both in Libya and Syria.
One must consider Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi and his release of prisoners hailing from Al Qaeda’s Libyan franchise, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in 2008. Among them was Abdel-Hakim Belhaj who upon his release would simply return to the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, raise an army of Western-armed terrorists, and go on to overthrow Qaddafi, decimate the nation, and plunge Libya into a sectarian bloodbath that is still raging to this day.
The same destabilization, step-by-step that was carried out in 2011 in Syria and Libya is now being carried out in Egypt and once again through sectarian extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Legions of terrorists are waiting in Egypt’s Sinai region for the Brotherhood to lay the groundwork in Egypt’s population centers so that they can be infiltrated and destroyed, just as has been done in Syria and Libya. And behind it all is the West, desperately trying to dislodge the Egyptian military from power with a combination of unpalatable carrots and broken sticks.
The West has often expressed its desire to see the Egyptian military cut down to size, and removed entirely as a political power broker, just as has been done in Turkey. This is best articulated by Saudi Arabia’s Al Monitor, a clearinghouse for Western political spin, in its article, “Egypt’s Second Revolution a Blow to Turkey,” which states (emphasis added):
"The Egyptian army considers Turkey’s Justice and Development Party to be a political rival and an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, the Egyptian military establishment views the Turkish model of limiting the power of Turkey’s military establishment by means of an alliance with Washington as a model that threatens the presence and interests of the Egyptian army."
Other US foreign policy think tanks and editorial columns are awash with comparisons between Egypt and Turkey and how Egypt can be transformed through the elimination of its politically influential military into a proxy state more like Turkey – a NATO member permanently bent to the will of Wall Street, London, and the European Union.
While the West attempts to portray the Egyptian government as “brutal,” it is clear the West’s designs for Egypt are nothing short of absolute brutality – the same absolute brutality that has left Libya and Syria’s cities in ruins, tens of thousands dead, and millions more either maimed, displaced, or otherwise affected by strife that has now lasted over 3 years in both nations.
The Egyptian military’s lightning fast moves to shatter the Muslim Brotherhood’s networks has for now thwarted a foreign-driven, armed, and dangerous attempt to subvert Egypt’s stability. It is a model that had Syria or Libya followed, tens of thousands of lives could have been spared, and the lives of millions more left unscathed by years of bloodshed and war.
For those who understand geopolitical developments with little hindsight and absolutely no foresight, condemning Egypt’s moves are easy. For those that remember Libya, see Syria, and can foresee Egypt with its larger population joining them in protracted armed conflict – today’s seemingly “brutal” efforts to stem the Muslim Brotherhood and the conspiracy they are playing a willful role in, are reasonable steps to prevent a much more brutal and tragic future.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.