Tag Archives: muslim brothers

Why we shouldn’t fear the (Muslim) fanatic (in the Muslim world)

Harris, L. 2007. Why we fear ‘fanatic’: The lesson of the red mosque. TCS Daily. July 12, 2007. Available online: http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=071207A (emailed in my Michael DeWitt of Spooky Action).

Joseph Goebbels was proud of being a fanatic. To him, fanaticism was a term of praise, and not abuse. The Hebrew Zealots looked with contempt on those who were unwilling either to die or to slaughter their own families. In the culture of the modern West, however, to call someone a fanatic is to insult, and not commend, him. Yet, as the incident at the Red Mosque makes clear, our own attitude toward fanaticism is simply an example of ethnocentricism. By refusing to use the word fanatic to describe Ghazi and his followers, we are approaching them through the standards and practices that are observed in our culture, but not in theirs.

Indeed. “Extremism in defense of liberty….

At the Boyd Conference, William Lind made the good point that the Arab world has been in a cycle of corruption-internal reform movement-revolutionary-corruption. By supporting corrupt states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, we interrupted this cycle, between the generation of the internal reform movement (primarily the Muslim Brothers) and the revolution which would bring on either their corruption… or possibly a way out of the cycle. Assuming the old governments of the Middle East have our, or their own people’s, best interest at heart is foolish.

As I’ve said before, Islam is the answer. The governments of the Muslim world are the problem.

Of course, not all of Lind’s points were so flattering or helpful

A New Middle East, Part IV: Islam is the Answer

The day is won. Israel has succeeded in its generational struggle with Arab National-Secularism.

Yet now the medium-term interests of the United States and the Jewish State diverge. The United States, the world’s leader, desires a “rule-set reset” across the Middle East, replacing the divded and confused Arab regimes with something sustainable. Yet such division and confusion is precisely in Israel’s interests, because weak and disoriented enemies cannot threaten her. In particularly, the map of Israel’s near-abroad that America must strive for will naturally spook our allies in Jerusalem.

A Levant Worth Creating: Blue = Globalized States, Yellow = Traditional States, Purple = Muslim Brotherhood States

American actions not in Israel’s preferred direction occurred soon after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, and can be seen by comparing the recommendations of the seminal 1996 paper, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm

King Hussein may have ideas for Israel in bringing its Lebanon problem under control. The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf, Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shia venerate foremost the Prophet’s family, the direct descendants of which — and in whose veins the blood of the Prophet flows — is King Hussein.

with what actually happened

  • Attempted implementation of an indigenous, secular, Shia government
  • Actual implementation of an indigenous, religious, Shia government

Israel desired a restored Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq to calm the Middle East, as soon as possible. The United States desired a Shia Iraq to explode the Middle East, as soon as possible.

Such a disagreement extends beyond the failing state of Iraq to Israel’s immediate neighborhood. With the internal remnants of Arab National-Secularism, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah patronage machine, in shambles, Israel’s best medium-term future was a globalized Lebanon and weak (and easily blackmailed) Egyptian and Syrian regimes. Yet America’s goal is continuing the 3/20 Revolution wish must include replacing the Arab National-Secularist governments of Egypt and Syria with the Muslim Brothers. The Global War on Terrorism requires replacing dysfunctional worldly rule with Islamic Law.

Sharia’s modernizing track record in the Middle East is positive, National-Secularism’s is negative. Don’t believe it? Compare the religiosity of Egyptians and Iranians. Compare the strength of Egypt and Iranians.

In a recent post, Tom Barnett wrote:

And yes, forcing us all to live together in connectedness (known today by the moniker of globalization) will force a tremendous amount of change on both those who welcome it (by all indications, the bulk of the populations throughout the Gap) and those who revile it (a small minority who will fight these changes to the very end, and yes, for them, the conflict will be “genocidal” in that they will not survive it).

In that conflict process, which I believe is both inevitable and good, it will be harder before it gets easier, but putting off the hard part only ensures greater conflict and death totals down the line, because if integration isn’t achieved, colonial mercantlist-style economic transaction patterns will predominate, as will local authoritarianism and failed states, and the death totals associated with those pathways will (as they do today) dwarf the death totals of integrating conflicts (and if you don’t believe that, then you are woefully ignorant of what’s happening every day in Africa right now).

The challenge before us is not one of deciding “yes” or “no” to this historical process. That train left the station a generation ago when the East decided to join the global economy.

The only question that remains is how we rise to this challenge. How we get smarter about how we wage both war and peace.

To pretend that the choice lies between war and peace is self-delusional, just like pretending we must choose between globalization-the-integration-process and globalization-the-disintegrating/reformatting-process. Life is simply not that binary.

Israel, being only a state, is too weak to influence systems and instead must play for time, merely surviving into her surroundings are magically improved. But America is a system-level power, and America has the power to change the nature of Israel’s surroundings.

It is by bringing 3/20 to Cairo and Damascus that we can truly prevent another 9/11. Redirect the violent feedback of the National-Secularists to the National-Secularists. Bring the rage of crooked Arab economies to crooked Arab states. Shrink the Gap by destroying-in-detail the National-Secularism that helped expand it.

A New Middle East, a tdaxp series
A New Middle East 1: Our Vanquished Enemies
A New Middle East 2: Iran
A New Middle East 3: Israel
A New Middle East 4: Islam is the Answer

A New Middle East, Part II: Iran

First, a worse-case scenario:

Iran’s Maximal Objective

The above map shows the maximum extent of primary influence that is within Teheran’s grasp. The best way to explain this map is to compare it to the map of actual influence directly before the Iraq War

Iran’s Influence, 2003

Syria, while ruled by a national-secularist regime, is a client state of Iran when it comes to foreign policy. At the time of the Iraq War Lebanon was ruled as a colony by Syria, and so is also included. The origin of the Damascus-Tehran axis comes from both geopolitical necessity (Iraq was ruled by the territorially expansive Saddam Hussein) and natural sympathy (Syria, while mostly Sunni, is ruled by the quasi-Shia quasi-Muslim Alawite sect).

The Iraq War changed the region by throwing Iraq, a mostly Shia country, to Iran’s influence. Despite American attempts to contest Iraq, the natural sympathies of the Iraqi Shia combined with the violent nihilism of the country’s Sunni Arab population all but assure an orientation toward Tehran and Qom. A natural consequence of the liberation of Iraq is Shia assertiveness in East Arabia. East Arabia, the oil producing region of Saudi Arabia, is populated by Shia who suffer under the Riyadh-Wahhabi yoke. Iranian instigation of the local population, as seen in the recent “pro-Hezbollah” (actually, pro-Iran) rally, may blackmail the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia away form American influence and to a subject’s embrace of the Shia hegemon.

Yet, happily, merely be supporting the Bush doctrine for democracy we are able to address the honest aspiration of Shia while preventing such overpowering, regional country. As I already wrote, we should

Such a change would reorder the Middle East on democratic lines, allow Shia, religious Sunnis, tribal Sunnis, and global elements to live in a rational balance of power

A Democratic Middle East

Even the “Big Iran” scenario of the first map is a major improvement from the Arab National-Secularist sewer that existed before President Bush. But a democratic, rational Middle East still lays before us.

A New Middle East, a tdaxp series
A New Middle East 1: Our Vanquished Enemies
A New Middle East 2: Iran
A New Middle East 3: Israel
A New Middle East 4: Islam is the Answer

The Muslim Sisterhood

Brotherhood Wins 20 Pct. of Egypt Vote,” by Nadia Abou El-Magd, Associated Press, 16 November 2005, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051116/ap_on_re_mi_ea/egypt_election_2.

Good news from Egypt, as The Society of the Muslim Brothers fares well in the parliamentary elections

An Egyptian woman shows her thumb, marked by red ink, after voting at a polling station in Cairo 15 November 2005. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said it had won 34 seats in the first phase of legislative elections, in a breakthrough for the banned but tolerated Islamist group.

The Muslim Brotherhood won 20 percent of the overall vote in the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, according to initial official results released Wednesday after a day of intense runoff balloting.

The Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition group, is officially banned as a political party in Egypt but fielded candidates as independents. It won 30 seats, while the ruling National Democratic Party won 50 seats, the semi-official Middle East News Agency reported, quoting judges in counting stations.

The results of Tuesday’s runoffs and last week’s polling — the first round in the four-week elections — mean the Brotherhood has already captured 34 seats in parliament, more than double the 15 it held in the outgoing assembly. This confirms its position as the biggest single opposition group to President
Hosni Mubarak’s government.

An Egyptian woman receives assistance on finding her voting station during the runoff election on 133 out of 164 seats that were not decided last week during the first phase of parliamentary elections in Cairo, 15 November 2005. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said it had won 34 seats in the first phase of legislative elections, in a breakthrough for the banned but tolerated Islamist group

This in spite of widespread voter intimidation by the present government, Hosni Mubarrak’s NDP….

Human rights groups and election monitors reported widespread irregularities, including ruling party supporters attacking and intimidating opposition supporters at polling stations and busing in voters from outside the constituency.

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said it saw “increasing instances of election bribes … collective voting, and in some cases assaults on voters for not supporting NDP candidates.”

A female Muslim Brotherhood supporter stands outside a polling station in Cairo’s suburb of Nasr City before voting in Egypt’s reruns parliamentary elections, Tuesday Nov. 15, 2005.

The Muslim Brothers are an important tool in defeating terrorism. They have a lot to gain from free-and-fair elections in Syria and in a federal Sunni Arab Iraq. As I wrote earlier

Every success in the Cold War came from using nationalists against ideologues. In China and Yugoslavia we helped turn a radical ideology into a patriotic party. We can do so against in Egypt.

Female Muslim Brotherhood supporters chat outside a polling station in Cairo’s suburb of Nasr City before voting Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005, in Egypt’s runoff parliamentary elections. The poster for Brotherhood candidates, Makarim el-Deeri, right, the only female Brotherhood candidate, and Issam Mukhtar, carries Brotherhood logo and their election campaign slogan ‘Islam is the solution.’

The Muslim Brothers run, and, as much as they could, won.


A Catastrophic Failure

The attacks of September 11th,” by Dan, tdaxp, 24 March 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/02/15/may_allah_protect_the_syrians_-_or_-_the_wolfowitz_plan.html.

US ‘will risk’ Middle East reforms,” Aljazeera, 13 April 2005, http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/31ADB105-68FC-4BE8-BC40-90107F2678EF.htm (from Liberals Against Terrorism).

Me, last month:

The attacks of September 11th showed that the United States is very “close” to the Middle East — in some ways closer than Europe. As far as America is concerned the middle east has “blown up” — we experienced a catastrophic failure of our Greater Middle East foreign policy. (The U.S. pre-9/11 policy was heavily influenced by Atlanticism and European-style Realism, but I disgress.)

American Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Doha, J Scott Carpenter, yesterday:

He said the US policy was not to interfere in every detail of the democratic process, but only help the pro-reform forces in the region. Referring to the Arab Human Development Report, he spoke about three possible scenarios – the worst being maintaining the status quo and the best being people reforming themselves.

Now if only we encourage the Muslim Brothers to run

“At the task force meetings of this forum, many raised the question whether America is prepared to accept the consequences of democracy in the region.

“The answer is yes,” he said, indicating the possibility of Islamist forces coming to power in Arab countries through democratic elections.

“We didn’t interfere in the election results in Iraq. The person who has now been elected president is an Islamist,” Scott said in reply to a query from the audience about the US stance towards groups such as Hamas and Hizb Allah.

Woot. Apparently tdaxp is conducting a shadow foreign policy. This blog is going great!

Muslim Brothers Want to Run

Syrian Muslim Brotherhood slams Baathists,” AFP, 5 April 2005, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=13996 (from Liberals Against Terrorism).

Those famous democrats, the Muslim Brothers, want elections now

The Muslim Brotherhood, banned in Syria on pain of death since 1980, called on Monday for an end to the ruling Baath party’s 42-year grip on power and for the organization of free and fair elections. The movement, which was behind an armed uprising in the 1980s that marked the biggest challenge to the Damascus regime to date, called for a national congress of all political parties to ward off what it said was a “threat of invasion,” an allusion to growing U.S. pressure on the government.

The Muslim Brotherhood urges the organization of an inclusive national congress that would represent all political tendencies and religious and ethnic groups, whether based inside Syria or in exile, to form a national force capable of facing the challenges,” the group said in a statement

Bush has invented Baghdad Rules — government change through free and fair elections in the Arab countries.

Baby Assad’s father invented another type of rules — Hama Rules. After Daddy Assad was almost assassinated by the Muslim Brothers, he destroyed the fourth largest city of his own country to root them out.

Of course, if Baghdad Rules don’t work — the Muslim Brothers can play that game, too

The Baath party, which has led the country for 42 years, bears the sole responsibility for the destruction it will cause if it insists on continuing its policies and ignoring honest appeals.” The group said it was acting “not out of fear that the regime might fall but out of concern for the losses to the country if it slides into anarchy.” Washington has stepped up its pressure for democracy in Syria in recent weeks, receiving a small U.S.-based opposition group at the State Department and calling for democratic reforms.

Praktike says this is a threat disguised as a warning. Praktike’s right.

Let Muslim Brothers Run

Al Qaeda’s Grand Strategy,” by Tigerhawk, Tigerhawk, 31 March 2005, http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2005/03/al-qaedas-grand-strategy.html (from Glittering Eye).

After the Iraqi elections, I blogged President Bush’s olive-branc to the Muslim Brotherhood. It is important that the Muslim Brethren be allowed to contest Egyptian elections fairly. If they are engaged as a democratic organization, the Jamiat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun will begin the integration of significant portions of Egyptian society with the rest of the world. Else, the Society of Muslim Brothers could revert back to terrorism.

I’m not alone in this belief

How do al Qaeda intellectuals explain what has happened in Afghanistan?

“They do not explain this well. This is why I think we will win in the long run. There are some things they do not think well about. They don’t trust the average Muslim. They do not have a good example. Whenever something bad happens to them, they say ‘The situation is clarified.’ They always say this. They also do not think very clearly about the sectarians. They are going to lose in Iraq because their message is not attractive to the Kurds and the Shiites.”

How is this going to play out in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood is advocating democracy?

“There is a difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and the radicals. It is kind of the tap root of these organizations, but it is not itself radical. Al Qaeda hates the Brotherhood, because it operates within a nationalist framework, which al Qaeda is very much against.”

Dr. was reportedly denied tenure by a Leftist academic department for his critical work on al-Qaeda. He isn’t some dove.

Every success in the Cold War came from using nationalists against ideologues. In China and Yugoslavia we helped turn a radical ideology into a patriotic party. We can do so against in Egypt.

In the new Egyptian elections, let the Muslim Brothers run.

Free and Fair Egyptian Elections?

Earthquake in Egypt!!,” by GM, Hello From the Land of the Pharoahs Egypt, http://bigpharaoh.blogspot.com/2005/02/earthquake-in-egypt-i-never-imagined.html, 26 February 2005.

Hello From the Land is to Egypt what Iraq the Model is to mesopotamia: a great source for native, on-the-ground news and opinion. I first heard the news this morning, but GM’s description speaks for itself

I never imagined what President Mubarak said today. He asked the parliament to amend the Egyptian constitution to allow multiple candidates to run for the presidency. This means that Muabark will have opponents running against him.

Now, I am not stupid nor am I living in la la land. Mubarak’s decision today came after immense pressure from the US and the current earthquakes (the purple revolution in Iraq and the Hariri revolution in Lebanon) that shook the region days ago. However, I credit US pressure as the number one reason. Condoleezza Rice cancelled a trip to Egypt scheduled for next week because of the arrest of Ayman Nour and Mubarak’s failure to “change”. Well, it seems that Bush turned out to be bloody serious about this democracy in the Middle East thing. It also seems that Bushie will in fact make it to the history books that my grandchildren will be reading at school 50 years from today. If Syria or Iran fell, Bush can rest assured that he will add his name to the Lincoln-Wilson-Roosevelt-Reagan quartet.

Well, what do I think about all this? I mentioned before that I didn’t want Egypt to rush to the ballot box. I wanted Mubarak to be pressured to open up the civil society of Egypt so that alternatives to his rule start to pop up. We simply do not know better and we needed time in order to see the alternatives and decide who is better.

Unless I am 100% sure that one of the candidates who will compete with Mubarak will be better than him, I’ll probably vote for Mubarak next October whom I believe will win because of the resources he has as the country’s sole authority.

GM speaks of the events of the last few days, but Bush’s actions in the last few years have been even more important. The Big Bang strategy took down Saddam and ushered in Baghdad Spring. Lebanon may slip out of Syria’s orbit and the big prizes of Iran and Eastern Arabia are just out of reach. And maybe we will get Egypt too!

I’m assuming Collounsbury‘s take will be biting, sarcastic, and informative, but for now I will be happy too!