Islamic State’s Sinai ‘province’ claims simultaneous attacks on Egyptian military, police

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 5.39.21 PM-thumb-560x356-5596LWJ, By

Wilayat Sinai, or the Sinai Province of the Islamic State, claimed responsibility for a series of attacks throughout the Sinai yesterday via posts on Twitter. In a statement released earlier today, the organization said the operations were revenge against the Egyptian government for imprisoning the “sisters.” Two pictures of the attacks, one of which can be seen above, were posted with the statement.

The same justification has been offered by Ajnad Misr (“Soldiers of Egypt”) for its operations in Cairo and elsewhere. The jihadists claim that devout Muslim women are being oppressed by the government and, therefore, need to be avenged.

Wilayat Sinai says in its statement today that complex assaults were carried out against the Egyptian military and police in El Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah. The raid in El Arish appears to have been the most sophisticated, as it involved three explosives-laden vehicles.

Interestingly, the group says that it launched the assaults, utilizing almost one hundred fighters (a claim that cannot be independently verified), after nighttime curfews went into effect. It did so to supposedly minimize the loss of civilian life.

The Islamic State and its so-called “provinces” are not known for their concern for civilian casualties in the Muslim majority world. Al Qaeda and its branches have attempted to steer their violence away from Muslim civilians, however. And, interestingly, Wilayat Sinai’s claim in this regard is again similar to how Ajnad Misr says it carries out its operations inside Egypt.

Ajnad Misr, which was designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department in December, is an offshoot of Ansar Bayt al Maqdis (“ABM”) and has not sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization.

ABM’s Sinai faction pledged allegiance to the Islamic State last November and was quickly rebranded as the group’s Sinai “province.”

The number of casualties caused by the attacks varies across press accounts.

According to an Egyptian health official who spoke with Agence France Presse (AFP), at least 40 people were killed and dozens more were injured. Other reports say the number of casualties was lower. Wilayat Sinai’s statement implies that the number of people killed or wounded is much higher.

Regardless, the attacks are clearly the deadliest ones conducted by the group since it swore allegiance to the Islamic State.

The New York Times reports that the series of raids were carried out on the North Sinai security directorate headquarters, an army base, various security checkpoints, a hotel, the capital of the province, and a security camp.

Wilayat Sinai claimed several terrorist operations in late December, one on a natural gas pipeline that extends into Jordan and two others on Egyptian military vehicles.

The group has repeatedly targeted the Egyptian military in the Sinai, and killed dozens of soldiers in October, leading security forces to impose curfews in the North Sinai. Wilayat Sinai specifically mentions those curfews in today’s statement.

According to CNN, hundreds of police and troops have been killed in the last year and a half, since the military’s ouster of President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013.

According to one report in the Financial Times, Wilayat Sinai’s large-scale operations may have spurred smaller cells in other cities to also strike out in Suez, Cairo, and Port Said.

Despite the military’s crackdown since October, security forces are clearly unable to prevent these types of significant, multi-stage assaults from happening, highlighting flaws in Egypt’s ability to combat the jihadists.

Following Thursday’s raids, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) released a statement on the army spokesman’s Facebook page announcing it would ramp up operations to crackdown on militants in the Sinai. And President Abdul Fattah al Sisi cut his trip to an African Union summit in Ethiopia short due to the attacks.

In addition to the photo shown above, Wilayat Sinai released this photo from yesterday:

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Islamic State Affiliate Attacks Sinai as Muslim Brotherhood Calls for Jihad

The flag of the Sinai-based terror group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis flag. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The flag of the Sinai-based terror group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis flag. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

CSP, by Aaron Kliegman, Jan. 30, 2015:

Islamic State’s Sinai Province, formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, took credit via Twitter for coordinated attacks against the Egyptian military and police on Thursday killing at least 26 people and wounding 60 more.

According to security officials, the terrorists first targeted a military base, military hotel, and police offices in el-Arish, the capital of North Sinai. A car bomb went off by the rear of the military base while militants fired rockets at each building. Army checkpoints were also attacked throughout the city.

The terrorists targeted two additional towns, nearby Sheik Zuwayid and Gaza-bordering Rafah.

Despite the claim of responsibility, Egypt’s military spokesman blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, with whom the military has been locked in a struggle with since the military ousted the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of Mohammed Morsi. There is a potential historical link between the Brotherhood and Sinai Province.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (ABM) was inspired by al-Qaeda and formed during the January 2011 uprisings against Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s long-time ruler. Some believe the Muslim Brotherhood is connected to Sinai Province and that the former was and is instrumental in creating and aiding the latter.

This is in part because the ISIS-affiliated group increased its activity after Morsi was brought down, with one security expert stating that the group was “avenging the Brotherhood.” Additionally, Nabil Naeem, founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, said in a 2013 article that ABM had been funded by the Brotherhood. Refaat Said, leader of the Socialist Party, Tagammu, went further to say that Morsi himself placed ABM in Sinai and released some members from prison. Moreover, Brotherhood Without Violence, a group with Brotherhood ties, states that ISIS in Sinai is the Brotherhood’s military wing.

The Egyptian government does have motivation to lay an ISIS-affiliated group at the Brotherhood’s feet but the possibility is important to note.

The Brotherhood also relates to the developing Sinai situation due to a recent visit to the U.S. State Department this week by a delegation of its leaders. This group met with State Department officials in Washington, DC to discuss their continuous opposition to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government.

Soon after the State Department meeting and just two days before the coordinated terror attacks in Sinai, the Muslim Brotherhood called for a “long, uncompromised jihad.” It is unclear if there is a link between this call for jihad and ISIS affiliates causing violence in Sinai, but the timing certainly makes for an interesting coincidence considering the Obama Administration’s insistence that the Muslim Brotherhood maintains a commitment to non-violence.

Egypt is an important ally for the West in its fight with global jihad and President Sisi’s efforts in this endeavor are essential, but his government is being challenged by this entrenched insurgency. The United States should be working with al-Sisi to fight jihad in all forms, whether from the Muslim Brotherhood or the spreading Islamic State.

Muslim Brotherhood: Prepare for Jihad

1122by IPT News  •  Jan 30, 2015

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, hailed as a moderate voice andwelcomed by officials in the Obama administration just this week, issued separate statements on its English and Arabic websites this week that appear to contradict each other.

A call for “a long, unrelenting Jihad” appeared on the Brotherhood’s Arabic language website Tuesday. The statement, first reported Friday by the Washington Free Beacon‘s Adam Kredo, starts by invoking a passage from the Quran: “And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of God and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know but whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of God will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.”

On its English language website Friday, the Brotherhood struck a dramatically different tone in an article in which it “Reiterates Commitment to Non-Violence.”

“The Brotherhood should not have to – every day – reiterate its constants, its strategic stance and chosen path of civil peaceful struggle to restore legitimacy…,” it said.

It does when it posts a call to prepare for jihad invoking assembling the “steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of God.”

The English posting says Brothers who stray from non-violence “no longer belong in the Brotherhood, and the group no longer accepts them, no matter what they do or say.”

As the IPT has shown, offering mixed messages in Arabic and English is routine for the Brotherhood.

On Thursday, a speaker on a Brotherhood-affiliated television station warned foreign tourists and business interests to leave Egypt next month, or risk becoming a “target for the revolutionary punishment movements.” A similar statement was posted on Facebook.

The dueling statements come just after the four-year anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak and led to the Brotherhood’s rise to dominate Egyptian government in his wake. But that rule was short-lived, as President Mohamed Morsi was forced from office by Egypt’s army in July 2013, after millions took to the streets to protest the government’s performance.

This week, dozens of people were killed in protests marking the 2011 revolution. A delegation of exiled Brotherhood officials visited Washington this week, urging support to return Morsi to power.

It was in that context that the Arabic call for jihad was published. According to the Free Beacon, it invoked Brotherhood founding ideologue Hasan al-Banna, who “prepared the jihad brigades that he sent to Palestine to kill the Zionist usurpers…”

“For everyone must be aware that we are in the process of a new phase,” the statement concludes, “in which we summon what of our power is latent within us, and we call to mind the meaning of Jihad, and prepare ourselves and our children, wives and daughters, and whoever marches on our path for a long, unrelenting Jihad. We ask in it the abodes of the martyrs.”

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The Last Refuge:

As Predicted – Muslim Brotherhood Calls For Open Jihad Against President Fattah al-Sisi In Egypt….

Why do they hate al-Sisi so much?

◾Disbanded the Muslim Brotherhood as a political terror entity. (link) (link)
◾Arrested those who burned churches and attacked Coptic Christians. (link) (link)
◾Jailed or banished the extremist forces. (link)
◾Supported Israel’s right to exist and defend it’s borders. (link) (link)
◾Defeated Hamas in the border region. (link) (link)
◾Destroyed the border terror tunnels used by Hamas (link) (link)
◾Pressured Hamas and the PA to negotiate the ceasefire, and forced the PA and Hamas to assemble ONE negotiating group for their interests. (link) (link)
◾Fought extremism in the Sinai region, and fought against ISIS infiltration.
◾Fought the Libyan new al-Qaeda network “Libyan Dawn”. (link)
◾Charged and prosecuted the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, who fled to Qatar. (link)

◾Followed the MB to Qatar and initiated sanctions against Qatar until they stopped financing and harboring terror. (link)
◾Formed a coalition against Qatar including the UAE and Saudi Arabia who withdrew their ambassadors and isolated Qatar in the region. (link) (link)
◾Won reelection with almost 70% of the vote. (link) (link ) (link)
◾Holds an 80%+ job approval rating among ALL Egyptians. (link)
◾Shut down Qatar financed Al Jazerra propaganda machine. (link)
◾Supported the framework for a new constitution which supports minority protections. (link)
◾Won a victory against Qatar as they finally conceded and stopped safeguarding terrorists. Sending the MB leadership to the new safe harbor of Turkey. (link)
◾United the moderate (non violent) Arab coalition, the Gulf Security Council, and constructed a unity principle that supports the safety of Jordan and formed a coalition to defend if needed. (link)
◾Faced down and quietly defeated Turkey’s bid for a security council seat in the United Nations. (link) (link)
◾Negotiated a safe passage coalition for Israel and Greece to form an energy based economic trade agreement.
◾Continues to fight the Islamist extremists inside Libya. (link) (link)
◾Continues to fight ISIS in the Northern Sinai region. (link) (link) (link)
◾Expanded the border safety zone with Gaza to insure greater control and protection from weapons smuggling. (link)

Open Jihad Declared in Egypt Following State Dept. Meeting with Muslim Brotherhood-Aligned Leaders

AP

AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Jan. 30, 2015:

The Muslim Brotherhood called for “a long, uncompromising jihad” in Egypt just one day after a delegation of the Islamist group’s key leaders and allies met with the State Department, according to an official statement released this week.

Just days after a delegation that included two top Brotherhood leaders was hosted at the State Department, the organization released an official statement calling on its supporters to “prepare” for jihad, according to an independent translation of the statement first posted on Tuesday.

The statement also was issued just two days before a major terror attack Thursday in Egypt’s lawless Sinai region that killed at least 25.

“It is incumbent upon everyone to be aware that we are in the process of a new phase, where we summon what is latent in our strength, where we recall the meanings of jihad and prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons, our daughters, and whoever marched on our path to a long, uncompromising jihad, and during this stage we ask for martyrdom,” it states.

Preparation for jihad is a key theme of the Brotherhood’s latest call for jihad.

An image posted with the statement shows two crossing swords and the word “prepare!” between them. Below the swords it reads, “the voice of truth, strength, and freedom.” According to the statement, “that is the motto of the Dawa of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The statement also invokes the well-known Muslim cleric Imam al-Bana, who founded the Brotherhood and has called for the death of Jews.

Imam al-Bana prepared the jihad brigades that he sent to Palestine to kill the Zionist usurpers and the second [Supreme] Guide Hassan al-Hudaybi reconstructed the ‘secret apparatus’ to bleed the British occupiers,” the statement says.

The Brotherhood’s renewed call for jihad comes at a time when current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is cracking down on the group and imprisoning many of its supporters, who notoriously engaged in violence following the ouster of Brotherhood-ally Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt experts said the timing of this declaration is an embarrassment for the State Department.

“The fact that the Brotherhood issued its call to jihad two days after its meeting at the State Department will be grist for endless anti-American conspiracy theories about a supposed partnership between Washington and the Brotherhood,” said Eric Trager, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). “The State Department should have foreseen what an embarrassment this would be.”

One member of that U.S. delegation, a Brotherhood-aligned judge in Egypt, posed for a picture while at Foggy Bottom in which he held up the Islamic group’s notorious four-finger Rabia symbol, according to his Facebook page.

“Now in the U.S. State Department. Your steadfastness impresses everyone,” reads an Arabic caption posted along with the photo.

Other members of that group included Gamal Heshmat, a leading member of the Brotherhood, and Abdel Mawgoud al-Dardery, a Brotherhood member who served as a parliamentarian from Luxor.

When asked on Tuesday evening to comment on the meeting, a State Department official told theWashington Free Beacon, “We meet with representatives from across the political spectrum in Egypt.”

The official declined to elaborate on who may have been hosted or on any details about the timing and substance of any talks.

The meeting was described by a member of the delegation, Maha Azzam as “fruitful,” according to one person who attended a public event in Washington earlier this week hosted by the group.

The call for jihad, while surprising in light of the Brotherhood’s attempts to appear moderate, is part and parcel of organization’s longstanding beliefs, Trager said.

“Muslim Brothers have been committing violent acts for a very long time,” Trager explained. “Under Morsi, Muslim Brothers tortured protesters outside the presidential palace. After Morsi’s ouster, they have frequently attacked security forces and state property. “

“But until now, the official line from the Brotherhood was to support this implicitly by justifying its causes, without justifying the acts themselves,” he added. “ So the Brotherhood’s open call to jihad doesn’t necessarily mean a tactical shift, but a rhetorical one.”

Terrorism expert and national security reporter Patrick Poole said he was struck by the clarity of the Brotherhood’s call.

“It invokes the Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist past, specifically mentioning the ‘special apparatus’ that waged terror in the 1940s and 1950s until the Nasser government cracked down on the group, as well as the troops sent by founder Hassan al-Banna to fight against Israel in 1948,” he said.

“It concludes saying that the Brotherhood has entered a new stage, warns of a long jihad ahead, and to prepare for martyrdom,” Poole said. “Not sure how much more clear they could be.”

Poole wondered if the call for jihad would convince Brotherhood apologists that the group still backs violence.

“What remains to be seen is how this announcement will be received inside the Beltway, where the vast majority of the ‘experts’ have repeatedly said that the Brotherhood had abandoned its terrorist past, which it is now clearly reviving, and had renounced violence,” Poole said. “Will this development be met with contrition, or silence? And what says the State Department who met with these guys this week?”

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment before press time.

Muslim Brotherhood-Aligned Leaders Hosted at State Department

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Jan. 28, 2015

The State Department hosted a delegation of Muslim Brotherhood-aligned leaders this week for a meeting about their ongoing efforts to oppose the current government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, who rose to power following the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, an ally of the Brotherhood, in 2013.

One member of the delegation, a Brotherhood-aligned judge in Egypt, posed for a picture while at Foggy Bottom in which he held up the Islamic group’s notorious four-finger Rabia symbol, according to his Facebook page.

That delegation member, Waleed Sharaby, is a secretary-general of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council and a spokesman for Judges for Egypt, a group reported to have close ties to the Brotherhood.

The delegation also includes Gamal Heshmat, a leading member of the Brotherhood, and Abdel Mawgoud al-Dardery, a Brotherhood member who served as a parliamentarian from Luxor.

Sharaby, the Brotherhood-aligned judge, flashed the Islamist group’s popular symbol in his picture at the State Department and wrote in a caption: “Now in the U.S. State Department. Your steadfastness impresses everyone,” according to an independent translation of the Arabic.

Screen-Shot-2015-01-27-at-2.43.16-PM

Another member of the delegation, Maha Azzam, confirmed during an event hosted Tuesday by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID)—another group accused of having close ties to the Brotherhood—that the delegation had “fruitful” talks with the State Department.

Maha Azzam confirms that ‘anti-coup’ delegation, which includes 2 top [Muslim Brothers], had ‘fruitful’ conversations at State Dept,” Egypt expert Eric Trager tweeted.

Assam also said that the department expressed openness to engagement, according to one person who attended the event.

Trager, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), said that the State Department is interested in maintaining a dialogue with the Brotherhood due to its continued role in the Egyptian political scene.

“The State Department continues to speak with Muslim Brothers on the assumption that Egyptian politics are unpredictable, and the Brotherhood still has some support in Egypt,” he said. “But when pro-Brotherhood delegations then post photos of themselves making pro-Brotherhood gestures in front of the State Department logo, it creates an embarrassment for the State Department.”

When asked to comment on the meeting Tuesday evening, a State Department official said, “We meet with representatives from across the political spectrum in Egypt.”

The official declined to elaborate on who may have been hosted or on any details about the timing and substance of any talks.

Samuel Tadros, an Egypt expert and research fellow at the Hudson Institute who is familiar with the delegation, said that the visit is meant to rally support for the Muslim Brotherhood’s ongoing efforts against to oppose Sisi.

“I think the Muslim Brotherhood visit serves two goals,” Tadros said. “First, organizing the pro Muslim Brotherhood movement in the U.S. among the Egyptian and other Arab and Muslim communities.”

“Secondly, reaching out to administration and the policy community in D.C.,” Tadros said. “The delegation’s composition includes several non-official Muslim Brotherhood members to portray an image of a united Islamist and non-Islamist revolutionary camp against the regime.”

The delegation held several public events this week in Maryland and Virginia, according to invitations that were sent out.

Patrick Poole, a terrorism expert and national security reporter, said the powwow at the State Department could be a sign that the Obama administration still considers the Brotherhood politically viable, despite its ouster from power and a subsequent crackdown on its members by Egyptian authorities.

“What this shows is that the widespread rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East, particularly the largest protests in recorded human history in Egypt on June 30, 2013, that led to Morsi’s ouster, is not recognized by the State Department and the Obama administration,” Poole said.

“This is a direct insult to our Egyptian allies, who are in an existential struggle against the Muslim Brotherhood, all in the pursuit of the mythical ‘moderate Islamists’ who the D.C. foreign policy elite still believe will bring democracy to the Middle East,” Poole said.

Four years on from Egypt’s uprising, are Copts better off?

Voice of the Copts, by Asma Ajroudi-Al Arabiya News, Jan.25, 2015
coptic-christians

coptic-christians

It has been four years since hundreds of thousands of Egyptian protesters gathered in the capital’s Tahrir Square in a popular uprising that ousted then-president Hosni Mubarak.

Like the majority of Egyptians living under Mubarak’s 30-decade rule, Egypt’s Coptic Christians, who account for estimated 10 percent of the country’s 85 million population, demanded change.
But as Egypt marks its fourth anniversary of the Jan.25 revolution, many within Egypt’s Christian minority say the country is now better off. In fact the situation for Egypt’s Christians is “better than what it was under the Muslim Brotherhood rule, Hosni Mubarak, and even their predecessors,” according to Charl Fouad El-Masri, editor-in-chief of Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm.
While the Mubarak state promoted itself as one of coexistence, the regime cracked down on building new churches and Christian worship sites. Christians were seldom assigned to leading positions in the government and especially in the military, in what many critics described as an official discrimination by the state. And like Muslim Egyptians, a significant number of Christians lived under poverty line and worried about unemployment and lack of freedoms.
But with the rise of religious extremism in the Arab world in the 1970s and with the emergence of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda calling Arab Christians “legitimate targets,” the Christian minority found itself a target of violent sectarian attacks and a victim of an indifferent state. The 2011 revolution coincided with the deadliest year of sectarian violence in decades, including the bombing of an Alexandria church and the killing of two dozen Coptic protesters by Egyptian security forces.
Following the fall of the Mubarak regime and the beginnings of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi’s rule, however, security became a pressing priority in Christians’ demands. Attacks on Copts, who make 95 percent of Egypt’s Christian population, and their institutions have been widely reported on by the national and international media.
The emergence of ultra-conservative groups in post-revolution Egypt brought about a new wave of sectarian clashes that the government, according to critics, did not pay attention to. In 2013, a video emerged online showing Egyptian police standing idly by as a mob attacked a cathedral during a mass funeral.
“Egypt’s Copts suffered during the Muslim Brotherhood rule greatly,” El-Masri added.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party won the majority of seats in the 2011 parliamentary election; and its member Mursi became Egypt’s fifth president in June 2012.
Mursi’s decree, which granted him unlimited powers, reports about violent crackdowns on journalists, liberals and demonstrators were among many issues that brought thousands of Egyptians back out on the streets calling for the president’s resignation. On June 30, 2013, and in response to the new wave of clashes that paralyzed Egypt, the Egyptian army, led by General Abdelfattah al-Sisi, ousted Mursi.
Since then, the Muslim Brotherhood was pronounced a “terrorist organization,” and its members became targets of a violent state crackdown, resulting in hundreds of deaths among Mursi supporters. Sisi became Egypt’s president on June 8, 2014.
“The outcome of the January 25 uprising was a disaster for Egyptian Christians who participated in the uprising as citizens of Egypt demanding democracy and liberty,” said Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, the founder and president of Voice of the Copts.
“When the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group achieved power, it became a nightmare not only for Christians but for anyone opposed to them,” Ramelah added.
Under Mursi, Egypt’s Christians were “unwanted, targeted, and about to face the same terror Iraqi and Syrian Christians face under Islamist terrorism there.”
“I feel Egypt would have gone in that exact direction if the Egyptian army had overlooked the people’s demands to overthrow Mursi,” Ramelah added.
Recently, Sisi has promised to rebuild damaged churches in the country.
Also see:

Sisi’s Brave New Egypt?

El-Sisi (1)Frontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, Jan. 21, 2015:

Originally published by PJ Media.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi continues to be the antithesis of longstanding mainstream media portrayals of him.

First there was his historic speech where he, leader of the largest Arab nation, and a Muslim, accused Islamic thinking of being the scourge of humanity—in words that no Western leader would dare utter. This remarkable speech—which some say should earn him the Nobel Peace Prize—might have fallen by the wayside had it not been posted on my website and further disseminated by PJ Media’s Roger L. Simon, Michael Ledeen, Roger Kimball, and many others, including Bruce Thornton and Robert Spencer.

Instead, MSM headlines on the day of and days after Sisi’s speech included “Egypt President Sisi urged to free al-Jazeera reporter” (BBC, Jan 1), “Egyptian gays living in fear under Sisi regime” (USA Today, Jan. 2), and “George Clooney’s wife Amal risks arrest in Egypt” (Fox News, Jan. 3).

Of course, the MSM finally did report on Sisi’s speech—everyone else seemed to know about it—but, again, to portray Sisi in a negative light. Thus, after briefly quoting the Egyptian president’s call for a “religious revolution,” the New York Times immediately adds:

Others, though, insist that the sources of the violence are alienation and resentment, not theology. They argue that the authoritarian rulers of Arab states — who have tried for decades to control Muslim teaching and the application of Islamic law — have set off a violent backlash expressed in religious ideas and language.

In other words, jihadi terror is a product of Sisi, whom the NYT habitually portrays as an oppressive autocrat—especially for his attempts to try to de-radicalize Muslim sermons and teachings (as discussed in this article).

Next, Sisi went to the St. Mark Coptic Cathedral during Christmas Eve Mass to offer Egypt’s Christian minority his congratulations and well wishing. Here again he made history as the first Egyptian president to enter a church during Christmas mass—a thing vehemently criticized by the nation’s Islamists, including the Salafi party (Islamic law bans well wishing to non-Muslims on their religious celebrations, which is why earlier presidents—Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak, and of course Morsi—never attended Christmas mass).

Accordingly, the greetings Sisi received from the hundreds of Christians present were jubilant. His address was often interrupted by applause, clapping, and cheers of “We love you!” and “hand in hand”—phrases he reciprocated. Part of his speech follows:

Egypt has brought a humanistic and civilizing message to the world for millennia and we’re here today to confirm that we are capable of doing so again. Yes, a humanistic and civilizing message should once more emanate from Egypt. This is why we mustn’t call ourselves anything other than “Egyptians.” This is what we must be—Egyptians, just Egyptians, Egyptians indeed! I just want to tell you that Allah willing, Allah willing, we shall build our nation together, accommodate each other, make room for each other, and we shall like each other—love each other, love each other in earnest, so that people may see… So let me tell you once again, Happy New Year, Happy New Year to you all, Happy New Year to all Egyptians!

Sisi stood side-by-side with Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II—perhaps in remembrance of the fact that, when General Sisi first overthrew President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, Pope Tawadros stood side-by-side with him—and paid a heavy price: the Brotherhood and its sympathizers unleashed a Kristallnacht of “reprisals” that saw 82 Christian churches in Egypt attacked, many destroyed.

It is also significant to recall where Sisi came to offer his well-wishing to the Christians: the St. Mark Cathedral—Coptic Christianity’s most sacred church which, under Muhammad Morsi was, for the first time in its history, savagely attacked, by both Islamists and the nation’s security (see pictures here).

Once again, all of this has either been ignored or underplayed by most mainstream media.

There is, of course, a reason the MSM, which apparently follows the Obama administration’s lead, has been unkind to Sisi. One will recall that, although Sisi led the largest revolution in world history—a revolution that saw tens of millions take to the streets and ubiquitous signs and banners calling on U.S. President Obama and U.S. ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson to stop supporting terrorism (i.e., the Brotherhood)—U.S. leadership, followed by media, spoke only of a “military coup” against a “democratically elected president,” without pointing out that this president was pushing a draconian, Islamist agenda on millions who rejected it.

So what is the significance of all this—of Sisi? First, on the surface, all of this is positive. That Sisi would criticize the Muslim world and Islamic texts and thinking—in ways his Western counterparts could never—and then continue his “controversial” behavior by entering the Coptic Christian cathedral during Christmas mass to offer his greetings to Christians—a big no-no for Muslim leaders—is unprecedented. Nor can all this be merely for show. In the last attack on a Coptic church, it was two Muslim police officers guarding the church who died—not the Christian worshipers inside—a rarity.

That Sisi remains popular in Egypt also suggests that a large percentage of Egyptians approve of his behavior. Recently, for instance, after the Paris attacks, Amru Adib, host of Cairo Today, made some extremely critical comments concerning fellow Muslims/Egyptians, including by asking them “Are you, as Muslims, content with the fact that today we are all seen as terrorists by the world?… We [Egyptians] used to bring civilization to the world, today what? — We are barbarians!  Barbarians I tell you!” (More of Adib’s assertions here.)

That said, the others are still there—the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafis, those whom we call “Islamists,” and their many sympathizers and allies.

Worst of all, they have that “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas” that has been “sacralized over the centuries” (to use Sisi’s own words) to support them—texts and ideas that denounce Sisi as an “apostate” deserving of death, and thus promising a continued struggle for the soul of Egypt.

Also see:

Sisi Is Just Another Caliphate-Idealizing Apologist For Islam Whose In-Actions Speak Louder Than His Hollow Words (andrewbostom.org)

Egypt Warns of Muslim Brotherhood Organizations in U.S.

Egypt warns of Brotherhood groups like CAIR. Nihad Awad (C), Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Ibrahim Hooper (L), National Committee Director of CAIR during a press conference in Washington. Photo © Reuters

Egypt warns of Brotherhood groups like CAIR. Nihad Awad (C), Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Ibrahim Hooper (L), National Committee Director of CAIR during a press conference in Washington. Photo © Reuters

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Jan. 15, 2015:

An Egyptian government website features a warning that the Muslim Brotherhood has a lobby in the U.S. disguised as civil society organizations. The United Arab Emirates has made similar statements and the U.S. Justice Department has confirmed the existence of a Muslim Brotherhood branch in America.

The Egyptian government’s State Information Service has an entire section devoted to documenting the violence and terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt is furious with the U.S. for its stance on the Brotherhood. President El-Sisi told the Washington Post in December 2013, then as Defense Minister, that the U.S. has turned its back on Egypt and is misunderstanding the Islamist group.

The documentation includes a timeline  of violence perpetrated by Brotherhood members since July 2014, a statement from the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood condemning the Brotherhood’s exploitation of children, and  many videos documenting the Brotherhood’s extremism and the justifications for overthrowing it and banning it.

Most importantly, the section prominently features an article about the Muslim Brotherhood operating in America and influencing U.S. policy through various fronts. It cites a study done by the Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development Studies, a highly-respected organization in Cairo.

“She [Center executive director Dalia Zeyadah] warned that the MB has a network based in the US and operating through civil society organizations engaged in community service domains there. These organizations, she also warned, aim to spread the MB’s extremist ideologies in the US,” the Egyptian government website says.

The article from June 2014 states that the Brotherhood is moving to Turkey to set up the “nucleus of its European headquarters which would be operating under the cover of charity work to carry out terrorist acts across the region.”

The Cairo Post reported in February 2014 that the Ibn Khaldoun Center director Dalia Zeyadah “[asserted] that the Brotherhood are still trying to impact decisions of the White House, noting that campaigns against Brotherhood ‘terrorism’ must continue.”

The Egyptian government often talks about the International Muslim Brotherhood to emphasize that it is not just an Egyptian organization. In his interview with the Washington Post, El-Sisi said it operates in 60 countries and that Hamas is one of its branches. He warned that the group is “based on restoring the Islamic religious empire.”

The Clairon Project’s research into the Brotherhood sympathies of a senior adviser to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was covered in the Egyptian media in 2013, specifically by the Al-Nahartelevision network.

The U.S. government confirmed the existence of a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood with a network a fronts under different names during the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, one such trial.

The Justice Department’s list of unindicted co-conspirators in that trial includes a list a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities and members. The list includes the Islamic Society of North America, the North American Islamic Trust and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The lattermost organization was listed as an entity of the U.S. Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a sub-section set up to support Hamas.

The United Arab Emirates caused a stir recently when it banned the Brotherhood and some of its most powerful affiliates in the U.S. and Europe, including CAIR, the Muslim American Society and Islamic Relief.

The UAE justified its designation of the U.S-based groups as terrorist organizations despite the immense backlash. The Foreign Minister of the country said it was based on the group’s incitement and funding of terrorism.

Another UAE official said the objective is “putting a cordon around all subversive entities.” And UAE State Foreign Affairs Minister Anwar Gargash said the backlash was being orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood lobby in the West.

“The noise (by) some Western organizations over the UAE’s terrorism list originates in groups that are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and many of them work on incitement and creating an environment of extremism,” Gargash tweeted.

The U.S. Justice Department, countless terrorism experts and the governments of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have confirmed the existence of a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. The U.S. Brotherhood’s own documents are even publicly available.

Yet, those who point this out are ridiculed by these Islamist groups and their allies as bigoted “Islamophobes.” The accusation is even nonsensically made about Muslims who point this out.

The refusal of the U.S. government to recognize the toxic ideology of the Brotherhood is undermining America’s ability to have a frank discussion about the issue of Islamism.

Muslim governments are providing verifiable evidence about the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, but their warnings are ignored or rejected. Americans (Muslim and non-Muslim) who voice these same concerns are personally attacked.

Terms like Islamism and Political Islam are used regularly in the Muslm world and even on the Brotherhood’s own website, but the U.S. Brotherhood and its apologists say we can’t.  CAIR has waged a campaign to make the media stop using the “Islamist” term.

America is in the middle of a heated debate about the defining the threat. We should listen to our Muslim allies and let the facts speak for themselves, instead of letting Islamists and their apologists edit our vocabularies.

Egyptian president has more guts to speak out about radical Islam than Obama [VIDEO]

al-sisi-egypt-elec_2921226bBy Allen West, Jan. 10. 2015:

Last night, I watched the movie “Fury” which depicts the brutality of fighting total war in close combat in the armor and infantry against the enemy — the final days of World War II against Germany. I found it rather strange and somehow timely to watch this film after what happened this past week in France. Sometime, someplace, there will have to be a leader who steps forth and understands the concept of civilizational warfare. There has to be one who can define and face the enemy and inspire a nation to seek victory. We are looking for such a leader in the West, but perhaps someone will come from another place to inspire us.

As reported in The Washington Times by my friend Charles Ortel, “The biggest story not yet covered appropriately in mainstream media plays out now in Egypt, where President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi attacks the root causes of continuing conflict between certain adherents of Islam and freedom-loving secularists, in defiance of President Obama and of fierce critics.”

 

“Living in a nation of 87 million persons, where an estimated 90 percent are Muslim, President el-Sisi is certain that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization, or a force for good and so his government holds hundreds of members of that organization in prison, where many face death sentences, including former President Mohammed Morsi. To see what President el-Sisi confronts now, peruse the still-operating English language website of the brotherhood.”

It is truly fascinating that here is the one leader in the Muslim world who has the courage not only to confront the enemy, but also its ideology. After all, it was el-Sisi who has taken on the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists in Egypt, the Sinai and in neighboring Libya.

The former general has also stood against the Islamic terror group Hamas. But what confounds me is not his actions –truly heroic — but the actions of our own president, Barack Hussein Obama. It was Obama who in 2009 went to the University of Cairo and delivered a speech where he requested Muslim Brotherhood members should appear front and center. It was Obama who applauded the ascension of Mohammad Morsi as Egypt’s president. And it has been Obama who has seemingly turned his back on Egypt since its ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood. There’s that nagging question of allegiance again.

When it came down to choosing between Hamas, Turkey, and Qatar as opposed to Israel and Egypt — under el-Sisi — our president chose the former, not the latter. And now, it is el-Sisi who is calling out the Islamists and the clerics, mullahs, imams who are causing strife globally.

As Charles writes, “President el-Sisi plays for his life against determined internal and external opposition while President Obama merely preens before friendly partisan crowds. Recently this year, the fully engaged leader of Egypt began a drive to reform Islam from within. His address to religious authorities at Al-Azhar University in Cairo on Jan. 1 is a stunning “must-read” and “must-share” development that only now is getting attention it so richly deserves. Wednesday, President el-Sisi put in a public appearance at a Christmas mass in Cairo — an historic first in Egypt’s modern history.” Funny, here in America we’re struggling in some places just to say Merry Christmas.

There couldn’t be any bigger contrast in leadership at a critical time such as this.

From the events this week in Paris we must learn that we cannot shy away from defining this enemy. The cultural jihadist apologists must no longer be given a platform. It is unbelievable that anyone would refer to the Islamic terrorists who wrought savage carnage this week as “activists.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah e-Sisi has shown us that we must fight the ideology which fuels the jihad. We cannot win this battle by denying who the enemy is — and if it takes the Egyptian president to show us the way — well, Molon Labe!

Report: Qatar to banish Hamas’ Mashaal, who will relocate to Turkey

Hamas’ political bureau, is expected to leave his base in the Qatari capital of Doha and relocate to Turkey, Turkish press reports indicated on Tuesday.

Qatar has reportedly been under pressure from the international community to cease serving as a host of organizations considered by the West to be terrorist groups.

Hamas on Tuesday denied reports that Mashaal has been expelled from Qatar.

“There is no truth to what some media outlets have published over the departure by brother Khaled Meshaal from Doha,” Hamas official Ezzat al-Rishq told Reuters by telephone.

Another Hamas source confirmed that Mashaal was still in Doha and has no plans to leave the country.

The ruling family in Doha has been accused of providing financial and political support to Hamas and other extremist groups in the Middle East.

Last year, the emir of Qatar denied accusations that the Gulf sheikhdom is a sponsor and supporter of Islamist terrorist organizations.

In an interview with CNN, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani rejected suggestions that the groups that Doha was backing were terrorist in nature.

“We have to see the difference between movements,” Al-Thani told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “I know that in America and some other countries they look at some movements as terrorist movements. In our part of the region, we don’t.”

The Qatari leader did say that his government opposed “certain movements in Syria and Iraq,” a reference to the Islamic State. He denied accusations that Qatar was funding IS or that his government was turning a blind eye to private citizens’ activities in support of the group.

In the interview, Al-Thani never mentioned Hamas by name, despite the fact that his government is known to provide financial support to the Palestinian Islamist movement.

Israeli officials have denounced Qatar for backing Hamas.

Earlier this year, Israel’s envoy to the UN, Ron Prosor wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in which he deemed Qatar “the Club Med for terrorists.”

“In recent years, the sheikhs of Doha, Qatar’s capital, have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Gaza,” Prosor wrote. “Every one of Hamas’s tunnels and rockets might as well have had a sign that read ‘Made possible through a kind donation from the Emir of Qatar.’”

Also see:

Epic Call by Egypt, Tunisia Leaders for Islamic Reformation

Supporters of Tunisia's new president, Beji Caid Essebsi, from the the Nidaa Tounes (Call for Tunisia) secular party movement. Photo: © Reuters

Supporters of Tunisia’s new president, Beji Caid Essebsi, from the the Nidaa Tounes (Call for Tunisia) secular party movement. Photo: © Reuters

An ideological battle in the Muslim world between secular-democratic reformers and Islamists is happening. The question now is which side will win.

By Ryan Mauro:

The newly elected President of Tunisia Beji Caid Essebsi and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi recently issued loud calls for progressive reformations in Islamic thought to modernize outdated doctrine. Both of them explicitly identify the Islamist ideology as the core problem.

Raymond Ibrahim reports that Egyptian President El-Sisi gave a momentous speech during the celebrations of the birthday of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, where he told Muslims to have a “religious revolution” to change Islamic “thinking.”

The location is equally as important as the timing. He did this at Al-Azhar University, the world’s most prominent Sunni school of learning.

El-Sisi confronted Islamist propaganda that changing Islamic doctrine is tantamount to blasphemy. He emphasized that there’s a difference between the interpretation of the religion and the religion itself. He argued that the ones who are actually hurting Islam are those who oppose the reformers.

“That thinking—I am not saying ‘religion’ but ‘thinking’—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!” El-Sisi declared.

He did not blame the troubles of the Muslim world on Western influence or a wild Zionist conspiracy against Islam as Islamist do. On the contrary, El-Sisi said the source of global conflict originates in ideologies from the Muslim world.

“I say – and repeat again – that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move … because this ummah is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands,” he said.

Last year, El-Sisi declared that “Religious discourse is the greatest battle and challenge facing the Egyptian people.” He said that an Islamic reformation is necessary to modernize doctrines that have not been revised for 800 years.

“In Islam, there was a civil state, not an Islamic one,” El-Sisi said. His government formed an independent commission that recommended banning Islamist political parties, “reforming religious discourse” and various measures to minimize the influence of political Islam (Islamism).

He also apologized to a woman who was sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square and said her “honor” was violated; a challenge to the cultural theme of “honor” that forms the basis of women’s rights abuses.

Separately, the Tunisian presidency was won by a secular-democratic candidate named Beji Caid Essebsi who defeated a pro-Hamas secularist with 55% of the vote versus 45%.

Shortly after his victory, Essebsi wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post crediting Western influence, specifically the Enlightenment and the separation of religion and state, with providing the basis for Tunisia’s secular-democratic transition.

***

The momentous symbolism of what is happening in Tunisia and Egypt is difficult to exaggerate.

Tunisia is where the “Arab Spring” was born and where the subsequent “Islamist Awakening” won its first electoral victory. It was first-hand experience that led to the removal of Islamists from power and their replacement with secular-democrats advocating a progressive reformation in Islamic doctrine.

Read more at Clarion Project

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Egypt’s Sisi: Islamic “Thinking” Is “Antagonizing the Entire World”

By Raymond IbrahimJanuary 1, 2015:

Speaking before Al-Azhar and the Awqaf Ministry on New Year’s Day, 2015, in connection to Prophet Muhammad’s upcoming birthday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a vocal supporter for a renewed vision of Islam, made what must be his most forceful and impassioned plea to date on the subject.

Among other things, Sisi said that the “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years” are  “antagonizing the entire world”; that it is not “possible that 1.6 billion people [reference to the world’s Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live”; and that Egypt (or the Islamic world in its entirety) “is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

The relevant excerpt from Sisi’s speech follows (translation by Michele Antaki):

I am referring here to the religious clerics.   We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before.  It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma[Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.  Impossible!

That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world.  It’s antagonizing the entire world!

Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!

I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.

All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it it from a more enlightened perspective.

I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.

Note: It is unclear if in the last instance of umma Sisi is referring to Egypt (“the nation”) or if he is using it in the pan-Islamic sense as he did initially to refer to the entire Islamic world.

Breaking News: Interpol Alert Seeks Arrest of MB’s Qaradawi

Youssef Qaradawi

Youssef Qaradawi

by IPT News  •  Dec 5, 2014

Interpol issued a bulletin Friday seeking the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood’s most influential cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The bulletin was sparse on details but said that Egypt wanted the 88-year-old Qaradawi “to serve a sentence” for crimes including “incitement and assistance to commit intentional murder.”

Qaradawi lives in Qatar. He also is alleged to have had a hand in a massive prison break of Brotherhood members and others during the revolution against then-dictator Hosni Mubarak. Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood official who went on to become Egypt’s president in 2012, was among those who escaped.

Qaradawi has been a fierce critic of Egypt’s new government and of Morsi’s July 2013ouster after one year in office. “From the day he (new President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi) came, all we saw is killing and bloodshed, detention and women being raped,” Qaradawi before elections in May.

In February, Egyptian officials demanded that Qatar extradite Qaradawi. They also asked Interpol to arrest Qaradawi a year ago.

Qaradawi described the recent acquittal of ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak as “the saddest day in the history of human justice and a disgrace on Egyptian judiciary.”

According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, Interpol issued a “red notice” which is both its highest level alert, and a move subject to later review by the international police agency.

Sisi is not Mubarak

Sisi-300x203By Caroline Glick:

It was due to Mubarak’s refusal to act that the Palestinians in Gaza were able to begin and massively expand their projectile war of mortars, rockets and missiles against Israel. From the first such attacks, carried out 14 years ago, the Palestinian projectile campaigns could never have happened without Egypt’s effective collaboration.

On countless occasions, Palestinian terrorist commanders were able to escape to Sinai and avoid arrest by Israeli forces, only to return to Gaza from Sinai and continue their operations.

Mubarak believed that Israel was his safety valve. By facilitating jihadist operations against Israel from Egyptian territory, he assumed that he was securing Egypt from them. As he saw things, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran would be so satisfied with his cooperation in their jihad against the Jews that they would leave him alone.

It was only in 2009, when Egypt announced the unraveling of a terrorist ring in Sinai comprised of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hamas and Hezbollah operatives planning attacks against Israel and Egypt, and seeking the overthrow of the regime, that Mubarak began signaling he may have misjudged the situation. But even then, his actions against those forces were sporadic and half-hearted.

Hamas’s continued assaults against Israel in the years that followed, and the build-up of Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida forces in Sinai, were a clear sign that Mubarak was unwilling to contend with the unpleasant reality that the very forces attacking Israel were also seeking to overthrow his regime and destroy the Egyptian state.

In stark contrast, Sisi rose to power as those selfsame forces were poised to destroy the Egyptian state. The Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power owed in part to the support it received from Hamas.

During the January 2011 rebellion against Mubarak, Hamas operatives played a key role in storming Egyptian prisons in Sinai and freeing Muslim Brotherhood leaders – including Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi – from prison. In 2012 and 2013, Hamas forces reportedly served as shock troops to quell protests against the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Those protests arose in opposition to Morsi’s moves to seize dictatorial powers Mubarak never dreamed of exercising, and his constitutional machinations aimed at transforming Egypt into an Islamic state and hub of a future global caliphate.

Sisi and his generals overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood with Saudi and UAE support in order to prevent Egypt from dissolving into a Sunni jihadist axis in which Hamas, al-Qaida and other jihadist movements were key players, and Iran and Hezbollah were allied forces.

Due to the events that propelled him to power, Sisi has adopted a strategic posture far different from Mubarak’s. As Sisi sees things, Sunni jihadist forces and their Iranian-led Shi’ite allies are existential threats to the Egyptian state even when their primary target is Israel. Sisi accepts that Israel’s fight against them directly impacts Egypt. He recognizes that when Israel is successful in defeating them, Egypt is more secure. When Israel is weak, the threat to Egypt rises.

Like Israel, Sisi acknowledges that the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is shared by Hamas, al-Qaida and all other significant Sunni jihadist groups renders all of these groups threats to Egypt. And because of this acknowledgment, Sisi has abandoned Mubarak’s policy of enabling their war against Israel.

Not only has he abandoned Mubarak’s policy of enabling them, Sisi has acted in alliance with Israel in combating them. This is nowhere more evident than in his actions against Hamas in Gaza.

After seizing power in July 2013, Sisi immediately ordered the Egyptian military to take action to secure the border between Gaza and Sinai. To this end, for the first time, Egypt took effective, continuous steps to block the smuggling of arms and people between the two areas. These steps had a profound impact on Hamas’s regime. Hamas went to war against Israel this past summer in a bid to force Egypt and Israel to open their borders with Gaza in support of the Hamas regime and its jihadist allies.

Hamas was certain that footage of suffering in Gaza would force Egypt to oppose Israel, and so open its border with Gaza. It would also lead to US-led pressure on Israel that would make Israel succumb to Hamas’s demands.

Against all expectations, and previous precedents of Egyptian behavior under both Mubarak and Morsi, Sisi supported Israel against Hamas. Moreover, he brought both Saudi Arabia and the UAE into the unofficial alliance with Israel. The bloc he formed was powerful enough to surmount US pressure to end the war by bowing to Hamas’s demands and opening Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel.

Since the cease-fire came into force three months ago, Sisi has continued to seal the border. As a consequence, he has denied Hamas the ability to rebuild Gaza’s terror infrastructure. In its reduced state, Hamas is less able to facilitate the operations of its jihadist brethren in Sinai that are primarily involved in waging an insurgency against the Egyptian state.

To be sure, the most significant strategic development in recent years is the US’s strategic realignment under President Barack Obama. Under Obama the US has switched sides, supporting Iran and its allies, satellites and assets, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, against America’s Sunni allies and Israel.

But the alliance that emerged this summer between Israel and Egypt, with the participation of Saudi Arabia and the UAE , is also a highly significant strategic development. For the first time, a major regional power is basing its strategic posture on its understanding that the threats against itself and against Israel stem from the same sources and as a consequence, that the war against Israel is a war against it.

Israelis have argued this case for years to their Arab neighbors as well as to the Americans and other Western states. But for multiple reasons, no one has ever been willing to accept this basic, obvious reality.

As a consequence, everyone from the Americans to the Europeans to the Saudis long supported policies that empower jihadist forces against Israel.

Sisi is the first major leader to break with this consensus, as a result of actions Hamas took before and since his rise to power. He has brought Saudi Arabia and the UAE along on his intellectual journey.

Sisi’s reassessment of the relationship between the war against Israel and the war against Egypt has had a profound impact on regional realities generally and on Israel’s strategic posture specifically.

From Israel’s perspective, this is a watershed event.

The government must take every possible action, in economic and military spheres, to ensure that Sisi benefits from his actions.

Egypt Commission Concludes: Political Islam Must Be Banned

Egyptian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11, 2012 The Egyptian commission concluded that Brotherhood supporters are often violent. (Photo: © Reuters)

Egyptian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11, 2012 The Egyptian commission concluded that Brotherhood supporters are often violent. (Photo: © Reuters)

A gov’t report concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood ‎and other political Islamists favor armed ‎confrontation and not peaceful dialogue.

By Ryan Mauro:

An Egyptian government commission investigating the crackdown on pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators last year has come to a bold conclusion: Egypt must ban political parties subscribing to Political Islam.

“We highly ‎recommend that political Islam parties be dissolved in ‎accordance with Article 74 of Egypt’s 2014 Constitution ‎and also in order to safeguard society against the ‎reactionary ideology of these factions which like to mix ‎religion with politics,” the study concludes.

It says, “The ‎lesson we must learn from this experience is that ‎political Islam forces must not be allowed to exercise ‎politics in this country” and the “Muslim Brotherhood ‎and other political Islam factions usually favors armed ‎confrontation at the expense of peaceful dialogue.”

How the Brotherhood Came to Power

The report states that the military’s removal of former President Hosni Mubarak was necessary to avoid civil war but former Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who ran the country afterwards, erred in not taking action against the Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood was the most organized political force, enabling it to win the parliamentary and presidential elections and achieve a monopoly on power within the government. Tantawi was subsequently dismissed by Morsi.

Evaluation of the Overthrow of Morsi

The official presentation of the report opened with a video designed to expose the Brotherhood’s deception and hijacking of the democratic process and how it threatens every segment of society. It began with footage of President Morsi promising to abide by the constitution.

The film then chronicles Morsi’s dictatorial actions. It features how the Brotherhood preached against virtually every part of society — Coptic Christians, secular Muslims, the ruling government, the military, the judiciary, the media and Al-Azhar University, the top school of Sunni jurisprudence.

The commission determined that the military’s overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood at the request of millions of Egyptian protestors was necessary because the group “adopted the strategy of scorched earth and were about to plunge Egypt into a civil war.”

Read more at Clarion Project

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