Monday, July 04, 2011

The US is expanding contacts with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

When an American says "Muslim Brotherhood" he or she means politically organized anti-Zionism. The US only cares about one aspect of policy in the Middle East which is groups' and countries' orientations for or against Zionism. The Muslim Brotherhood, and politically mobilized Islam-focused organizations more generally, are for historic reasons the most prominent, effective and influential anti-Zionist organizations in the Middle East.

This week we are seeing, or we have reason to hope we are seeing, an important surrender of US efforts to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from gaining power in Egypt's government. US Senators McCain and Kerry went to Egypt and seem to have come back without any confidence that they had convinced Egypt's military tribunal to delay the elections or to undertake other measures to limit the Muslim Brotherhood. Possibly the Obama administration sees that there is no available policy option that would work to keep the Muslim Brotherhood out of government.
"We are ready for dialogue with the U.S. administration, if it so decides, within a framework of mutual respect," Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said in an e-mailed statement today. "The Muslim Brotherhood hopes that the U.S. administration has revised its previous policies and decided to side with the rights of the people and their demands and to stop supporting the corrupt and tyrannical regimes, backing the Zionist occupation and using double standards."


The U.S. is loosening the criteria for interaction with the Brotherhood, allowing diplomats to deal directly with low-level officials of the organization, Clinton said on June 30 in Budapest. That marks a shift away from a previous policy that restricted U.S. officials to communicating with members of the Brotherhood who also sit in parliament.
Again the Muslim Brotherhood means more than that single organization. It represents in the US mind organized opposition to Zionism. The US publicly being willing to engage the Muslim Brotherhood is a new small step in the direction of the US asserting its direct interests rather than being guided in the Middle East primarily by Israel's long-term strategic needs.

I expect to see this process repeated in small and large ways over the next decade or two. The US would love to keep anti-Zionists away from political power in Egypt, but it just has no options that would work. So it can't and admits so publicly.

There is currently a US/Zionist colonial structure that includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait and others without which Zionist Israel could not stave off the fate of Apartheid South Africa. Egypt may be leaving that colonial structure now which would leave the US to process the fact that despite its wishes and intentions, it just was not able to hold Egypt under its control.

When it becomes a reality that Iraq, Yemen and later even what we call Saudi Arabia itself just cannot be kept in their current status as US dependencies, the US will adjust to that reality just as it may now be adjusting to the reality that anti-Zionists will have influence in Egypt's government. Eventually it will be a reality that Zionism just is not viable in the Middle East. When that is a reality, the US will, despite its wishes and intentions, adjust to that reality.

Immediately, I am more confident than I was before reading these stories that elections are actually going to happen in September and that political power in Egypt will reflect the values of the median Egyptian in the medium-term. I can't be fully relieved until power has transferred due to an election, but I am even more optimistic than I was last month at this time.

For the long term, I feel like we're seeing the ground that supports Zionism slowly being weathered away. But there will be good days and there will be bad days along that long-term path.


Lysander said...

"This week we are seeing, or we have reason to hope we are seeing, an important surrender of US efforts to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from gaining power in Egypt's government."

I hope you are right, but I'm afraid I have serious doubts. The Muslim "brothers" in Egypt are a duplicitous bunch. They advised their members against joining the demonstrators from Jan 25-27. That was the critical time when the revolution could have been strangled in its cradle. They joined only on Friday, Jan 28 when it was clear the protests were gaining steam, and to take credit for the turnouts that were bound to be larger after Friday prayers. Note that almost everyone prays on Friday and not just the MB. After that, they agreed to negotiate with the Mubarak/Suleiman government when every opposition element refused to do so.

Look briefly at the MB history and you will note that they were not a very effective opposition to Mubarak, or to Sadat before him, but they WERE quite vocal against Nasser. What does that tell you?

Given that, here is what I believe is happening now. The US, along with Saudi Arabia, is offering to back the MBs in their quest to gain control of the Egyptian government in exchange for conducting foreign policy the way SA conducts it now. The MBs, being the back stabbers they always have been, will likely accept the offer. Do not be fooled by the rhetoric. Saudi Arabia is officially anti-Zionist as well. You will not see Saudi princes openly and publicly singing the praises of Israel (they may be caught doing so, when they think no one is listening) But as you have noted, they can always be counted on to do exactly what the US and Israel would want them to do.

My point is not that this US/Saudi/MB plan will succeed, though, I can't guarantee that it wont. My point is that the MBs are not what they pretend to be. They are and will remain the Saudi cat's paw in Egypt and the rest of the Muslim world.

Arnold Evans said...

The Sadat/Mubarak/Saudi model need for there not to be reelections. They need for there not to be some party who is keeping records of the policies to put before the people in debates in four or five years.

Without that, the model might be able to hold on for one election cycle, but even that is harder than the dictatorship model. But it can't hold on for multiple cycles.

I'm very confident that either the first or second election cycle will be a striking repudiation of Mubarak's pro-Israel policies. The MB can fight it if it wants, but would only discredit itself by that.

But Clinton is carving out space for the United States to not officially panic regardless of who wins elections in Egypt, as long as they meet objective criteria that are not explicitly pro-Zionist.

That is what strikes me as possibly a hopeful change in direction for US policy.

Anonymous said...

As I suggested in reply to your earlier post, could the US be counting on a loss of tourist revenue to sink any Muslim Brotherhood administration in Egypt?

Or would an MB government be aware of this trap and refrain from imposing any laws (such as mandatory Islamic dress) which would drive tourists away?

Lysander said...

But my point is that as of yet there is no clear mechanism for the transfer of power. Once the MBs are in charge, it is possible that they fix the system in such a way ad to keep them in power indefinitely.

I agree that it will be difficult to maintain Mubarak levels of subservience. But they can try.

Arnold Evans said...

I'm not really worried that there won't be mechanisms for transfer of power. I haven't heard anyone produce a reason that power should not transfer across elections. One day that might be a problem, but not yet. If we have actual elections, then Egypt will have made a huge amount of progress toward putting its government under popular accountability.