Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood vs. Al-Qaeda

Israel/PalestineMiddle East
on 60 Comments

All of a sudden, middle-aged American men in suits who couldn’t find their way, unaided, from Cairo’s Ramses Station down Talaat Harb to Midan Tahrir, are posing as experts, appearing on U.S. television to insinuate that the Muslim Brotherhood is violent and extremist.

Fortunately, the Brothers have an English-language website.  Scroll down it to the lower left and you will see the feature: “MB vs. Qaeda.”  This segment is one more sign of the organization’s decades-long commitment to nonviolence, even though over the years the Mubarak regime has arrested and tortured thousands of its members.

One current post notes happily, “Al-Qaeda losing supporters in jihadi groups across the Arab world.”  There’s also an open lettter that starts off, “Dear ‘Muslim’ Terrorist.”  “Sister Jannah” pointedly asks jihadists who planned attacks on civilians, “But did you even bother to ask a single real scholar of Islam? Like the hundreds and thousands of mainstream Islamic scholars out there. — Guess what they say — That killing innocent people is Haram.”

Ignorance about the Brotherhood’s true views and recent history is one more failing by the Western mainstream media.  If thousands of members of secular, liberal organizations in Egypt had been regularly arrested in recent years, the names of their leaders would be household words.

60 Responses

  1. justicewillprevail
    January 30, 2011, 2:05 pm

    True, but it is central to the Israeli/US neocon warmongers’ project that Muslims are constructed as the terrifying ‘other’. Like the old Soviet Russia it then functions as a means of enforcing domestic surveillance, political interference and alliances with dictators, not to mention unsustainable military expenditure and conflict. It is therefore irrelevant to these people, who will be dragooned by the hawks in the Pentagon and various thinktanks to infect the media with their scary propaganda and keep the populace in ignorance. Thus even though you are correct, there is no interest in the truth but, as Rumsfeld used to say, ‘our constructed reality’.

    • Surcouf
      January 30, 2011, 2:57 pm

      Bang on!

      The implied association between the MB and AQ has been a recurrent meme on the part of US right wing Israeli supporters and Israel itself. For them, there is no shade between black and white when it comes to political Islam. In fact, moderate political Islam is seen as even more dangerous because they participate in the political process and hence gain legitimacy which is difficult to deny afterwards (Hamas 2006, Hezbollah 2009, Turkey AKP 2007).

      Knowing full well that the American polity reacts quite easily to the boogeyman scheme, the military-industrial complex, pissed off at the fact that the Soviet Union wittered away without a fight, needed to create a new ”ism” that allowed for the continuation of unfettered militarism. As both Chas Freeman and Andrew Bacevich have demonstrated in their respective books, this unchecked militarism is about to bring the American economy on its knees.

      How else could you whip into submission an uninformed American public more interested by infotainment than real news.

      • Potsherd2
        January 30, 2011, 3:26 pm

        MB = AQ = Hamas

        And often Iran

        And Shariah law and terrorist mosques in NY and dhimmis

        This is what Americans are taught about Islam

    • Psychopathic god
      January 30, 2011, 3:33 pm

      I listened to Phyllis Bennis on RealTV,
      link to

      and her objective, non-angry discussion (ie. she had words of praise for Hillary Clinton’s and Obama’s approaches and statements) forced me to wonder if it’s wiser to ‘accentuate the positive’ in an effort push policy decisions in that direction, or if it’s more important to ‘expose the negative’, with the goal of cleaning out the cesspool, exposing institutions that have become corrupted to the cleansing power of sunlight.

      Whichever. Bennis does the positive thing, I think it’s important to expose corruptness.

      C Span Washington Journal — or at least many of its moderators — have become seduced by the establishment and their exalted position in it. Steve Scully is far too eager to grant affirmation and validation to thugs like Tom Ridge and a whole host of neocons who have learned how to flatter C Span hosts into thinking they’re swell guys, in exchange for an inordinate share of time at the microphone.

      It’s time for C Span Washington Journal to bring in some fresh voices and fresh viewpoints; “the old order’s rapidly changin’ ”

      The American people are entitled to see more of John Entalis, John Tirman, John Mueller, Ginadomenico Picco, Phil Weiss, Flynt Leverett, Hillary Leverett, Phyllis Bennis, and less, far less, never again the smirking faces of Ruel Gerecht, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Josh Muravchik; never again the sociopathic Mike Ledeen, Richard Perle, Daniel Pipes, Newt Gingrich, Paul Wolfowitz — or, only if they are being interviewed from their jail cells.

      “Come gather ’round people wherever you roam
      And admit that the waters around you have grown.
      And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
      If your time to you is worth savin’
      Then you’d better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
      For the times they are a changin’.

      Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call
      Don’t block at the doorway Don’t block up the hall.
      For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled.
      There’s a battle outside and it’s ragin’!
      It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
      For the times they are a-changin’.”

  2. Richard Witty
    January 30, 2011, 2:06 pm

    So far James, you’ve accused the world of not knowing what the Muslim brotherhood says and is (exemplified by its actions), but you haven’t done the positive side, of declaring what they actually are and do.

    I recently did some research on another Islamic site, that described its commitment to peace, and its commitment diversity.

    But, then in another part of its site, declared that it was just to assault Israel and Israelis. In other words, that the site advocated for willingly suspending its admonition to pursue peace at all costs, except…

    • James North
      January 30, 2011, 2:17 pm

      Where is your link to this “Islamic site,” so we can see for ourselves?

      • Richard Witty
        January 30, 2011, 2:32 pm

        Where is your summary of what the Muslim Brotherhood stands FOR, rather than only condemnation of those that have any other reaction?

        This is the website that I observed. I was inquiring into the use of the term “jihad”. I googled, “jihad spirituality”, noting that I’ve heard sufis that I’ve known speak of the term jihad in the same usage as tantra (struggle), and of Jewish concepts, referring to an inner struggle to surrender to God in fact, in contrast to more trivial habitual or personal emotional drives.

        I couldn’t find the posts on that site that described permission to resist, in what conditions, in what manner, and in what scope.

        link to

        Its apparently a Shia site, not the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood.

      • James North
        January 30, 2011, 2:37 pm

        In other words, you slandered the Muslim Brotherhood, and then, when asked politely for documentation, you directed us to a site that you admit doesn’t say what you said it did.

      • Cliff
        January 30, 2011, 2:41 pm

        Predictable Witty.

      • Richard Witty
        January 30, 2011, 2:48 pm

        That is my predicted response from you James.

        Do you think that the Muslim Brotherhood advocates for acceptance of Israel, negotiation to realize a common peace, or some other approach.

        I don’t know the specific views on the Muslim Brotherhood. I was sincerely hoping that you would feel responsible enough to summarize them.

        You only seem interested in condemnation though.

        If you bothered to ask, you’d find that my impression is mixed. That I respect their sobriety, their commitment to spirituality, their commitment to social service, that it is the selection of animosity towards Israel and by extension to Jews that I object to, as well as a theme that the whole world should adopt Islam (patiently though at least).

      • Shingo
        January 30, 2011, 4:24 pm

        Do you think that the Muslim Brotherhood advocates for acceptance of Israel, negotiation to realize a common peace, or some other approach.

        It’s not up to James to explain it to you Witty. You made a claim that the MB declared that it was just to assault Israel and Israelis.

        That sounds like you’re only interested in condemnation. So where is that statement Witty? Why don’t you quote it here for us, right now?

        Fir you make a bold claim about what the MB says with regards to Israelis, then when challenged, you say I don’t know the specific views on the Muslim Brotherhood. So which is it?

      • tree
        January 30, 2011, 4:41 pm

        And of course Richard’s got his double standard going again. Is there any political party in Israel that didn’t condone and support both Cast Lead and the attack on the Mavi Marmara, outside of Hadash (Communist Party) and the Arab parties? No, there is not. But that doesn’t seem to bother Richard. As long as Jewish Israelis aren’t the ones being threatened with it, Richard has no problem supporting talk of violence.

      • rosemerry
        January 30, 2011, 5:22 pm

        Please Witty do not go on as though nobody in the world matters except jews and israel, even if you think it. get a life.

      • Richard Witty
        January 30, 2011, 6:00 pm

        I was VERY clear that the site I linked to was “another” Islamic site.

        That a number of you attributed that to be equivalent of a slander of the Muslim Brotherhood, is indicative of your carelessness, and actual slander.

      • MHughes976
        January 30, 2011, 6:00 pm

        A new (really new) Egyptian government would have lots of immediate and urgent Egyptian problems to sort out. It might use unfriendly language towards Israel and the West but it would not move to shattering confrontation with Israel as its first (or second or hundredth) act and even as it asserted its well deserved independence of Western domination it would still need some kind of constructive relationship with us.

      • Donald
        January 30, 2011, 6:08 pm

        RW, you challenged James on the Muslim Brotherhood by citing an unnamed Islamic site and you can’t even find the part which says it is okay to assault Israelis. That’s sloppy.

        Anyway, Richard, we’ve all seen your double standards on human rights and violence so many times it hardly matters what you say anymore, unless you have a drastic change of heart. I’d like to see that, but don’t expect it.

      • Shingo
        January 30, 2011, 6:26 pm

        I was VERY clear that the site I linked to was “another” Islamic site.

        And we were very clear in asking you to produce a quote that backs up your claim that the OTHER Islamic site includes calls for violence against Israel and Israelis.

        Just a quote will do Witty. What are you trying to hide?

    • Koshiro
      January 31, 2011, 6:39 am

      Well, it’s certainly no secret that the MB views Israel as an oppressor of Muslims. They definitely believe in Palestinians’ right to resist that oppression, and they do not recognize Israel’s legitimacy as a state.
      So what? That doesn’t make them enemies of the world. They do not call for violence against Jews per se and they carefully distinguish between Zionists and Jews.
      There views are not what you’d call ‘moderate’, but they are not ax crazy genocidal. I certainly wouldn’t vote for them, but they are no less credible players than, say, Israeli parties who deny the individual rights of Palestinians, which is just about all of them.

      • Richard Witty
        January 31, 2011, 3:53 pm

        link to

        The Muslim Brotherhood has a very similar mix of peace and spirituality and selective authorization for rage and force, as the shia site that I referred earlier.

        Some notable exceptions to the claim that they are a strictly humane organization include citation of their active distribution of Mein Kampf and Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

        I assume that you don’t regard that as actions to emulate, James?

        Also, the Muslim Brotherhood has been antagonistic towards Egyptian regimes, since it was implicated/accused of assassinating Nasser.

        Are these not true, James? Are they inconsequential?

        I guess its possible to get along with them, if…

        And yes, they certainly are more moderate than Al-Quaida, as Hamas presents itself in Gaza and the West Bank.

      • annie
        January 31, 2011, 3:58 pm

        richard, if you are going to use wiki as a source for the MB could you copy paste the sections you’re using so we can check the sources for the allegations. thanks

      • annie
        January 31, 2011, 4:03 pm

        for example richard what is your source for selective authorization for rage

      • Richard Witty
        January 31, 2011, 4:10 pm

        There is a lot there Annie. Much of it relevant to the description of their character.

        Like Chabad includes saints and opportunistic bigots (I’ve met both), I assume that the Muslim Brotherhood is similar.

        Read of them, not simplistically in praise, nor in condemnation.

      • Shingo
        January 31, 2011, 4:10 pm

        Why are you refusing to provide the link which includes the statement that the Muslim Brotherhood promotes killing Israelis and attacking Israel Witty?

        Why are you stalling? Did you make it up?

      • annie
        January 31, 2011, 5:32 pm

        yeah, i read a bunch of it. nothing about selective authorization for rage. care to back that up?

        and wiki notes

        Links to the Nazis began during the 1930s and were close during the Second World War, involving agitation against the British, espionage and sabotage, as well as support for terrorist activities orchestrated by Haj Amin el-Hussaini in British Mandate Palestine, as a wide range of declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German governmental archives, as well as from personal accounts and memoires from that period, confirm.[2] Reflecting this connection the Muslim Brotherhood also disseminated Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and Western societies generally.[3]

        so were talking the 30’s thru ww2. is this what you’re referencing? and do you know who the reference was for this? one Jeff Herf in his book Nazi Propaganda For The Arab World .

        check this out:

        Nazi Propaganda is exactly what it sounds like, a deep-digging close reading of the under-studied Nazi courting of Arabs during World War II.

        Since little has been written in English on the subject, Herf is as much providing a guide to the archives as crafting an overall narrative. The larger story is how the Third Reich redefined its definition of “anti-Semitic” to mean specifically “anti-Jewish,” in the hopes of rousing Muslim (“Semitic”) countries into revolt.

        oh, and what narrative might that be? we find out from this interview w/heff

        This new evidence comes from the files of the American Embassy in wartime Cairo

        plus, all of these authors mention in [2] wiki are the one’s mentioned in new republic article, all books written in the last 3-4 years when the push to associate nazism= islam. it’s the blown up propaganda mufti crowd.

        now get me a normal citing, nothing from the last 5 years if you do not mind. nothing ‘discovered’ in cairo recently at the american embassy during the reign of our dictator puppet.

        the arabs weren’t the nazis and you can’t recreate history to make the so. get current richard, ww2 is so last century.

      • James North
        January 31, 2011, 5:44 pm

        Nasser wasn’t assassinated — by anyone. Your sloppiness is intolerable.

      • annie
        January 31, 2011, 5:47 pm

        wiki said they did. maybe they learned it their yeshiva wiki editing classes.


      • Richard Witty
        January 31, 2011, 6:43 pm

        “The Brotherhood has been an illegal organization, tolerated to varying degrees, since 1954 when it was convicted of the attempt to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser, head of the Egyptian government.”

        Correction, “attempted assassination”. To which Nasser responded by jailing and torturing their leaders. Noone knows the truth.

      • James North
        January 31, 2011, 6:57 pm

        Richard is citing an event from 56 years ago, which does not contradict the assertion in my original post about the Brotherhood’s “decades-long commitment to nonviolence.”

      • Shingo
        January 31, 2011, 7:14 pm

        The Brotherhood has been an illegal organization, tolerated to varying degrees, since 1954 when it was convicted of the attempt to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser, head of the Egyptian government

        By Witty’s standards, the British should be at war with the Israeli Likud government over the bombing of the King David Hotel.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 5:59 am

        Its why I ask you sincerely, “what IS the Muslim Brotherhood now?”

        You regard that question as either a distraction or an affront, rather than an opportunity to understand and convey.

        Instead, you only engage in the thought-police approach. “Anyone that criticizes the Muslim Brotherhood is a bigot.”

        I am asking. Be a responsible intellectual and bother to answer rather than just condemn.

        I can still being reticent about trusting them, even after understanding.

      • Shingo
        February 1, 2011, 7:07 am


        Stop beating arond the Bush. You made a claim about the MB endorsing attacks on Israelis and Israel and have didged and weaved and refused to back up your claim.

        That’s what a responsible intellectual would do.

        Are you going to provide your source, or just waste everyone’s times with your verbose stonewalling?

      • Donald
        February 1, 2011, 7:52 am

        Salon has a piece on the Muslim Brotherhood. This is for general information, not for RW, who is posturing here as he usually does.


  3. Les
    January 30, 2011, 2:13 pm

    These are likely the same “experts” who keep our cable systems from carrying Aljazeera English. The further moronization of the American public is their goal. What could be worse for those running things than Americans who are able to think for themsleves!

  4. bijou
    January 30, 2011, 2:39 pm

    Al Jazeera English reports:

    8:53pm (Cairo time) The Muslim Brotherhood continues to call for all opposition groups to unite and has said that they’ll support Mohamed ElBaradei as the lead opposition negotiator. The Brotherhood has also said that Hosni Mubarak is responsible for the current Egyptian political mess.

    • Shingo
      January 30, 2011, 4:25 pm

      The Muslim Brotherhood continues to call for all opposition groups to unite and has said that they’ll support Mohamed ElBaradei as the lead opposition negotiator.

      There goes another one of WJ’s claims that ElBaradei has no political capital. it seems the Zionsits are batting ZERO with their predictions and analysis.

  5. MHughes976
    January 30, 2011, 2:55 pm

    So the policy suggested here 24 odd hours ago by annie, against some maybe excessive scepticism from me, of making Baradei the in-effect interim leader looks like it may be put into effect!

  6. yonira
    January 30, 2011, 2:55 pm


    I was looking on the site on the MB’s opinion on the peace treaty and what their reaction would be to the treaty if they were to be elected. I wasn’t able to see much about Israel and their opinion toward the peace treaty. I’ve heard that their first order of business would be the ‘rip up the peace treaty.’

    I have also been hearing a lot about the military being a much more powerful force in Egypt than anyone reports. Will there be a military coup in Egypt, like happened in Turkey, if they aren’t happy with the democratic reforms in the country?

    • Shingo
      January 30, 2011, 4:29 pm

      I’ve heard that their first order of business would be the ‘rip up the peace treaty.’

      Maybe tey’ll neogtiate a real one that doesn’t involve selling out to Washington. Perhaps more in line with the Arab peace initiative. Of course, Israel will reject it.

      Will there be a military coup in Egypt, like happened in Turkey, if they aren’t happy with the democratic reforms in the country?

      Seeing as military personel and participating in the demonstration, perhaps not.

  7. Jim Haygood
    January 30, 2011, 2:59 pm

    Heard an interview on Al Jazeera today with a Muslim Brotherhood member in Mansoura. He was scrupulously even-handed in welcoming other opposition parties to participate in a proposed coalition — not a trace of radical religious rhetoric.

    It’s becoming evident that our notions of Egyptian culture, including the nature of its leading opposition party, were years if not decades out of date. Americans have been absurdly, systematically misinformed. Anyone who watches the raw feeds of interviews, blogs and tweets coming out of Egypt will see practically a model of ecumenicalism, social tolerance and cooperation; people pulling together across class and religious lines in a crisis. Who knew?

    One important result of the youth-tilted demographic bulge in the Islamic world is that its culture changes faster than the grey-haired gerontocracies of the West. While a huge slice of Islamic teens and young adults was being exposed to outside, secular ideas via the web, Islamophobes insisted that a handful of elderly, radical clerics still spoke for and ran entire countries. Right before our eyes, this claim has been revealed as nonsense.

    Neocons and the Lobby have been promoting the ‘Islamic peril’ theme for a couple of decades now. Obviously they don’t want to write off their massive effort in shaping public opinion, not to mention government policy. But anyone who reviews the contemporary evidence for themselves can see that Islamophobia was a Big Lie, valued for its utility in starting wars, extracting foreign aid, and padding the pockets of ‘defense’ contractors.

    • Psychopathic god
      January 30, 2011, 3:58 pm

      close but no cigar, Jim Haygood; gotta take exception to this:

      While a huge slice of Islamic teens and young adults was being exposed to outside, secular ideas via the web, Islamophobes insisted that a handful of elderly, radical clerics still spoke for and ran entire countries. Right before our eyes, this claim has been revealed as nonsense.

      the implication is that Middle Eastern/Muslim/(dare I add) Iranian societies are enlightened and palatable to the extent that they are exposed to “outside” views via technology.
      1. Flip that: “Western young people are [ie. more acceptable to the world’s regard] to the extent that they are exposed to ISLAMIC views, via the internet, etc.” Does that make you uncomfortable? (imo, it’s preferable to understand and respect people on their own terms, rather than to the degree that they conform to my imposed expectations and values).

      2. Have you considered that Islamic youth are devoted to their Islamic-centered values and government style, and seek rather to reform it to be more just, more fair, much like some Americans think that the base of US value system is (vaguely) Enlightenment/Christianity, as understood by America’s founders, and seek a return to a form of government and civil society more closely aligned with those values?

      3. What if, what earthshaking IF it turns out that Islamic culture, with its Shari’a finance laws that support more fair dealing, less usurious interest, is actually a better way for people to live together in this world?

      4. Given the glaring evidence of the implosion of western nations where business is run on the predatory capitalist model, can anyone say with a straight face and unassailable logic that “secular, capitalist democracies” are superior?

      • Jim Haygood
        January 30, 2011, 5:06 pm

        “Western young people are [ie. more acceptable to the world’s regard] to the extent that they are exposed to ISLAMIC views, via the internet, etc.” Does that make you uncomfortable?

        No, it doesn’t. In fact, it’s happening now with all the unaccustomed exposure to Egyptian events.

        My intent wasn’t to sound ethnocentric, but to point out how well-versed Egyptian youth have become in theories of democracy and republican government (whether they choose to be religious or secular) and in their ability to reach out to the world.

        Chinese youths in Tiananmen Square in 1989 put up a ‘Statue of Democracy,’ but seemed to have only vague notions of what it would mean in real life. Our only way to know what they were thinking was via the mediation of reporters such as Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof, who’s in Tahrir Square now. China has changed a lot since then, but Egypt may well be more advanced than China in its readiness for political pluralism.

        Agree with your point no. 3 — after the coming sovereign debt restructurings, Islamic finance could be a worthy alternative. Central banking is a badly flawed western export.

  8. Lydda Four Eight
    January 30, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Some EXCELLENT thoughts from Tabula Gaza’s blog, reporting from Tahrir:
    link to

    here is some EXCELLENT video Tabula Gaza posted on Vimeo, much of the video looks like from Tahrir St in Dokki: link to

  9. Amar
    January 30, 2011, 3:05 pm

    The MB is probably the equivalent to the religious parties in the Israeli govt. They couldnt give a rats ass about peace either if it involves compromise on stolen land or Jerusalem.

    • yonira
      January 30, 2011, 3:18 pm

      So in your opinion Amar, If MB gets a majority the peace treaty w/ Israel will be null and void?

      • Taxi
        January 30, 2011, 3:51 pm

        Ask israel yonira.

      • yonira
        January 30, 2011, 3:58 pm

        What does Israel have to do with it?

        quit the deflection, why can’t anyone answer this question?

      • Surcouf
        January 30, 2011, 4:21 pm

        This article by Gideon Levy in Haaretz might shed some light for you.

        The Egyptian masses won’t play ally to Israel

      • Shingo
        January 30, 2011, 4:31 pm

        What does Israel have to do with it?

        What did Israel do with teh Arab peace initiative Yonira?

      • syvanen
        January 30, 2011, 4:00 pm

        That question is not relevant today, maybe in a few months. But if that treaty is so important to Israel why did they continue stealing WB land for the last 30 years which more than any other factor is what is undermining it today. It is called look in the mirror time, dear zionist.

      • annie
        January 30, 2011, 4:31 pm

        perhaps you can answer a question for me i am curious about. is there anything in that treaty that requires egypt to participate in the blockade of gaza?

      • Potsherd2
        January 30, 2011, 4:53 pm

        Anything but. The Camp David accords on which it was based included a withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and a self-governing entity there.

        And there was nothing about Egypt defending Israel from infiltrators, either.

        I suspect that Egypt may return to the original, literal terms of the treaty. It will be up to Israel to prove it wants peace to continue.

      • wondering jew
        January 30, 2011, 11:06 pm

        One step at a time. First comes Mubarak’s resignation, which is not coming as quickly as we thought. If indeed his family has relocated to London, Mubarak’s stubbornness is partially a function of his age and disease. He only has a short time left on this planet and he is not so eager to have his final closeup taken entering some hospital in Europe. A mortal man may prove to be more stubborn than a man with many years and wishes other than history.

        But again first comes resignation, then comes interim leadership. It seems (according to the NYT) that the opposition is consolidating around El Baradei as their interim leader. Not because he is the chosen leader of the Egyptian people, but because he is not the chosen leader of the Egyptian people.

        Then comes elections for both president and legislature, not necessarily on the same day. Which would probably mean a non Muslim Brotherhood president and a possibly Muslim Brotherhood parliament.

        How dependent will the new Egypt be on US and other supporters? It is a terribly poor country and its problems will not be solved overnight. (try two to three generations) What will be needed over the short term. Certainly American support or European support. Ripping up signed peace treaties would be satisfying for an hour, it would not help getting support from America or Europe.

        Are there any signs in Tahrir Square about ripping up the peace treaty with Israel? No. That is not what the protestors have in mind. First comes the image of Mubarak, then comes corruption, dictatorship and the lack of freedom. Then comes poverty. And support for the Palestinians may be an emotional issue that draws attention, but it really is not foremost on their minds. (I am not in Egypt and my Arabic is too poor to understand what they’re saying, but no one has reported anything that would contradict my statements.)

        So first comes Mubarak’s resignation, then comes an interim leadership, then comes elections with a non Brotherhood president and a Brotherhood legislature and then comes a Brotherhood president. That’s 4 to 7 years down the line. That gives us plenty of time to speculate about ripping up the peace treaty.

        As far as Gaza goes, there will be more open borders between Gaza and Egypt. Which means more “evil actors” and weaponry entering Gaza, but also much more people exiting Gaza, much more of a relationship between Gaza and Egypt and a lessened relationship between Gaza and Israel and between Gaza and the West Bank. Certainly the “evil actors” and weaponry will put Israel in danger, but an Israel that is not ready to sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians on the West Bank is an Israel that prefers the lessening of the relationship with Gaza.

      • Shingo
        January 31, 2011, 12:07 am

        You’re in denial if you think the protesters are not concerned or driven by the IP conflict. The fact that the these protests have coincided with the release of the Palestine papers might present the illusion that they are not an issue, but that is delusional.

        El Baradei has been mentioned because he is clearly regarded as a moderate and credible figurehead.

        As someone else mentioned, there might not be any need to rip up the preace treaty. Refusing to participate in the siege and blockade of Gaza, perhaps even opening the Rafah crossing, will have enormous ramifications.

        I know you wish for the tied between Gaza and the West Bank to go way, but that’s wishful thinking. With Abbas’ days surely numbered,. Hamas will be the leaders the Palestinians in the WB will likely turn to. Without the PA to drive them out, Hamas will likely establish a presence in the WB.

        And yes, the weaponry. Oh that lovely weaponry. Expect the flights leaving Tel Aviv airport to start filling up.

  10. lobewyper
    January 30, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Jim Haywood wrote:
    “Americans have been absurdly, systematically misinformed. Anyone who watches the raw feeds of interviews, blogs and tweets coming out of Egypt will see practically a model of ecumenicalism, social tolerance and cooperation; people pulling together across class and religious lines in a crisis. Who knew?”

    Jim, I agree that we have been misinformed about Muslims for years (or rather, “informed” in accordance with the power elite’s wishes). As for the current model of social tolerance, etc. currently seen in Egypt, this stems partly from to the need to unite against the common enemy. Post-Mubarak, I would expect pre-existing differences to surface among the several parties.

  11. annie
    January 30, 2011, 4:27 pm

    thanks for a really important post james. i ran into this MB link @ helena’s the other day. there’s so much riding on smearing the MB it seems almost inconceivable they will get any kind of rationale airing in the US which is bombarded w/hasbarists determined to perpetuate islamophobia not to mention the organized well funded assault on the american population thru various forms of media. i look forward to more light being shed, not darkness.

  12. David Samel
    January 30, 2011, 5:10 pm

    Thanks James for this very important information. Misstatements about the MB are just another part of the fear-mongering and excuses to oppose democracy.

  13. piotr
    January 30, 2011, 7:08 pm

    I think that the answer to Witty’s question is: MB is not committed to the existence of Israel.

    I do not think that they are committed to “wiping out Israel”. Neither is Iran, for that matter. Iranian official position is two-fold: (a) it is up to Palestinian people, and (b) they advocate (but see a) “one state” and “full right of return”, and then the new majority should be as just toward the minority as it is the case now. Actually, this is not stated, but this is the “genocidal program”: treat Jews in Palestine the way Arabs are treated now.

    However, how many parties in Israel are “committed to the existence of a viable Palestinian state”? Perhaps Meretz. Kadima is committed to manifestly unviable Palestinian state (at least, it was their position). Barakista are “Dependent on Likud”, and we know what that means (Lieberman can say it, they are just implying).

    Most importantly, the policy/politics of tagging political movements as “terrorist” and making a priority to contain/isolate them is like cancer. In one direction, isolation of Hamas requires to promote brutality in the government of PA and Egypt, and in the case of Hezbollah, isolation of Hezbollah, Hezbollah and Syria, Hezbollah and Syria and Iran, then Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and Russia, then we throw in China, and then the ball becomes to heavy and we drop it on the ground.

    Progression of this “anti-terrorism” goes toward support of torture, mass intimidation, assassinations, and repression of pacifist movements (including domestic repressions in USA).

    Mubarak regime has no redeeming features: brutal, cleptocratic, enforcing retrograde features of Islam (if in a less bloody manner than Pakistani regime), vehemently opposed to change (the veneer of democracy resemblance badly peeling paint).

    • Potsherd2
      January 30, 2011, 7:20 pm

      The enforcement of “antiterrorism” is egregiously selective. Any group is labeled “terrorist” just because we say so, which means “just because Israel wants it that way.”

      Aid to Jewish terrorist groups goes unprosecuted and unremarked.

      • piotr
        January 30, 2011, 9:45 pm

        Relatively recently there were no “terrorists” but “fighters of freedom” and “enemies of freedom”, and the first group included UNITA, Contras, Cuban anti-Castro terrorists, precursor of Taliban etc. Then we had 9/11 and the history of the world started from a clean state.

        Still, keeping track of what is good and what is bad requires some mental agility. For example, it appeared that while killings by “unauthorized” folks are bad, assassinations by the state are OK, and we even discussed the concept of super-duper-good assassinations called “decapitation”. Hamas and Hezbollah were decapitated, Iraq was supposed be decapitated, and some pius figures were proposing decapitation in Venezuela. Then “decapitation” in Lebanon is bad, even if it was performed by a state. I think it is still not explained when assassinations are good and when they are bad. (Lebanon is a salient case, because many leaders of March 8 either have assassinated fathers, or predecessors, and we either do not care or approve, and we are totally aghast that they do not treat seriously the quest for justice.)

        One thing is clear: in our foreign policy we reject the concept of double standards. Instead, we have as many standards as we have situations.

      • RoHa
        January 31, 2011, 4:39 am

        ‘Relatively recently there were no “terrorists”’

        What’s your idea of “recently”? I recall the IRA, the Mau Mau, Eoka, the FLN, the Quebec Liberation Front, the Viet Cong, the Red Brigade, and Sendero Luminoso being branded as terrorists. But the history of terrorism goes back well before them.

        link to

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