For the first time, a U.S. government supports granting a government role to an extremist Islamic organization: the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
On Monday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Egypt's new government will have to include a "whole host of important non-secular actors." Most prominent among these is clearly the Muslim Brotherhood – which has made Islamic world domination one of its ultimate goals. It also opposes Egypt's 30-year-old peace treaty with Israel.
Gibbs said the Muslim Brotherhood must reject violence and recognize democratic goals for the U.S. to be comfortable with it assuming a role in the new government. This caveat does not significantly alter the new American approach, which is very different than that of the previous Administration, in which George W. Bush pushed Mubarak for democratic reforms but never publicly accepted a role for Islamists.
Today, new White House chief of staff William Daley moderated the position very slightly, saying the U.S. hopes for a "strong, stable and secular Egyptian government." Noting that the strengthening of the Muslim Brotherhood is "some people's expectation [and] some people's fear," Daley acknowledged that the situation in Egypt is largely out of American control.
Obama's new position, while not totally surprising, is worrisome to many. "The White House appears to be leaving Hosni Mubarak, an ally for three decades and lynchpin of Mideast stability, twisting slowly in the wind," writes David Horowitz of the Freedom Center. "And worse, it appears to be open to allowing the Muslim Brotherhood to play a key role in a 'reformed' Egyptian government, as long as the organization renounces violence and supports democracy. If the Obama White House really believes this is possible, it is even more hopelessly incompetent than we imagined!"
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, with 600,000 members, is not on official U.S. terrorism lists, as are Hamas and Hizbullah, but the American government has had no contact with it because of what Gibbs said were "questions over its commitment to the rule of law, democracy and nonviolence."
It stands for the re-establishment of the Islamic Empire (Caliphate), the takeover, spiritually or otherwise, of the entire world, and jihad and martyrdom. It has front organizations in the UK, France, and the United States.
A former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Dore Gold, writes of a fear that the Muslim Brotherhood, widely seen as having become moderate over the years, will "exploit a figure like [Mohammed] ElBaradei in order to hijack the Egyptian revolution at a later stage." Gold noted that ever since the Brotherhood was founded over 80 years ago, it has engaged in political terrorism, assassinating Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Nuqrashi Pasha in 1948, trying to kill President Abdul Nasser several years later, and more.
"A former Kuwaiti Minister of Education, Dr. Ahmad Al-Rab'i, argued in Al-Sharq al-Awsat on July 25, 2005 that the founders of most modern terrorist groups in the Middle East emerged from 'the mantle' of the Muslim Brotherhood," Gold writes.
Even Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, says that the prospect of the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to power "would be calamitous for U.S. security… The [Brotherhood] supports Hamas and other terrorist groups, makes friendly noises to Iranian dictators and torturers, would be uncertain landlords of the critical Suez Canal, and opposes the Egyptian-Israeli agreement of 1979, widely regarded as the foundation of peace in the Mideast. Above all, the [Brotherhood] would endanger counter terrorism efforts in the region and worldwide… The real danger is that our experts, pundits and professors will talk the Arab and American worlds into believing we can all trust the [Brotherhood]..."