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Andrew C. McCarthy has a detailed, must-read write-up today at National Review on the Muslim Brotherhood, the “opposition group” that The Powers That Be in the Obama administration are secretly but rightly concerned could possibly gain a foothold in the Egyptian government in the aftermath of the anti-Mubarak protests currently taking place in Egypt. Excerpts:
At the Daily Beast, Bruce Riedel has posted an essay called “Don’t fear Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” the classic, conventional-wisdom response to the crisis in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood is just fine, he’d have you believe, no need to worry. After all, the Brothers have even renounced violence!
One might wonder how an organization can be thought to have renounced violence when it has inspired more jihadists than any other, and when its Palestinian branch, the Islamic Resistance Movement, is probably more familiar to you by the name Hamas — a terrorist organization committed by charter to the violent destruction of Israel. Indeed, in recent years, the Brotherhood (a.k.a., the Ikhwan) has enthusiastically praised jihad and even applauded — albeit in more muted tones — Osama bin Laden. None of that, though, is an obstacle for Mr. Riedel, a former CIA officer who is now a Brookings scholar and Obama administration national-security adviser. Following the template the progressive (and bipartisan) foreign-policy establishment has been sculpting for years, his “no worries” conclusion is woven from a laughably incomplete history of the Ikhwan.
By his account, Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna “preached a fundamentalist Islamism and advocated the creation of an Islamic Egypt, but he was also open to importing techniques of political organization and propaganda from Europe that rapidly made the Brotherhood a fixture in Egyptian politics.” What this omits, as I recount in The Grand Jihad, is that terrorism and paramilitary training were core parts of Banna’s program. It is by leveraging the resulting atmosphere of intimidation that the Brotherhood’s “politics” have achieved success. The Ikhwan’s activist organizations follow the same program in the United States, where they enjoy outsize political influence because of the terrorist onslaught.
Banna was a practical revolutionary. On the one hand, he instructed his votaries to prepare for violence. They had to understand that, in the end — when the time was right, when the Brotherhood was finally strong enough that violent attacks would more likely achieve Ikhwan objectives than provoke crippling blowback — violence would surely be necessary to complete the revolution (meaning, to institute sharia, Islam’s legal-political framework). Meanwhile, on the other hand, he taught that the Brothers should take whatever they could get from the regime, the political system, the legal system, and the culture. He shrewdly realized that, if the Brothers did not overplay their hand, if they duped the media, the intelligentsia, and the public into seeing them as fighters for social justice, these institutions would be apt to make substantial concessions. Appeasement, he knew, is often a society’s first response to a threat it does not wish to believe is existential.
Make sure to read the whole thing.
Predictably, some knee-jerk left wingers like Alan Colmes are saying that the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood running Egypt as a Muslim state hostile to America is a “myth.” Why? Because Mohamed ElBaradei, former IAEA Director General and now a leading voice of the the anti-Mubarak movement in Egypt – and who is positioning himself as a presidential contender, said so. ElBaradei, by the way, is endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hmm. So who should we listen to? Useful idiots/apologists for Islamofascism like Alan Colmes, or a distinguished former US Attorney who has direct experience both studying and successfully prosecuting Islamofascists, and who now specializes in commentary on how US law and US counterterrorism policies mix, mesh, and sometimes clash? I know who my money is on.