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

Also see:

Egypt’s War on Terrorism: World’s Double Standards

Gatrestone Institute, by Khaled Abu Toameh, November 3, 2014:

Egypt’s crackdown in Sinai once again exposes the double standards of the international community toward the war on terrorism. While it is fine for Egypt to demolish hundreds of houses and forcibly transfer thousands of people in the name of the war on terrorism, Israel is not allowed to fire back at those who launch rockets and missiles at its civilians.

The Egyptians have finally realized that the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip has become one of the region’s main exporters of terrorism.

What is perhaps more worrying is the fear that the security clampdown in Egypt will drive Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip to resume their attacks on Israel.

Needless to say, the international community will continue to ignore Egypt’s bulldozing hundreds of houses and the forcible eviction of hundreds of people in Sinai.

Three months after the military conformation between Hamas and Israel, the Egyptians are also waging their own war on terrorism in north Sinai.

But Egypt’s war, which began after Islamist terrorists butchered 33 Egyptian soldiers, does not seem to worry the international community and human rights organizations, at least not as much as Israel’s operation to stop rockets and missiles from being fired into it from the Gaza Strip.

The Egyptian army’s security crackdown includes the demolition of hundreds of houses along the border with the Gaza Strip and the transfer of thousands of people to new locations.

A building is blown up by Egypt’s army as part of an operation to clear all buildings out of a “buffer zone,” along Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip. (Image source: PressTV video screenshot)

Egypt’s goal is to establish a security buffer zone along its shared border with the Gaza Strip in order to prevent terrorists from using smuggling tunnels to launch attacks on Egyptian soldiers and civilians. In other words, the Egyptians are tightening the blockade on the Gaza Strip and collectively punishing the Palestinians living there, not only Hamas.

All this is happening before eyes of the international community and media. Nonetheless, the UN Security Council has not been asked to hold an emergency meeting to condemn what some Egyptian human rights activists describe as the “transfer” and “displacement” of hundreds of families in Sinai.

Egyptian lawyer and human rights activist Gamal Eid said that the Egyptian security measures were “unconstitutional.” He noted that Article 63 of the Egyptian constitution prohibits the forcible and arbitrary transfer of citizens in all forms.

Egyptian security experts warned this week that the “displacement” of Sinai residents would not stop terrorist attacks on the Egyptian police and army.

Former General Safwat al-Zayyat said he expected the terrorists to intensify their attacks not only in Sinai but also in other parts of Egypt, including Cairo, to prove that the Egyptian army’s measures are ineffective. He also predicted that the transfer of thousands of families and the demolition of their homes would play into the hands of the terrorists.

Egyptian activist Massad Abu Fajr wrote on his Facebook page that the forcible eviction of families from their homes in Egypt was tantamount to a “declaration of war by the Egyptian authorities” on the three largest and powerful clans in Sinai. He too predicted that the security crackdown would boomerang and further strengthen the terrorists.

But what is perhaps more worrying is the fear that the unprecedented security clampdown in Egypt will drive Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip to resume their attacks on Israel.

The Egyptians, of course, are entitled to wage a ruthless war on the various terror groups that have long been operating in Sinai. However, by tightening the blockade on the Gaza Strip, the Egyptians are also giving Hamas and Islamic Jihad an excuse to resume their attacks on Israel.

The two Palestinian terror groups are not going to retaliate by attacking Egypt. They know that Egypt’s response to such an attack would be more severe than Israel’s military response. That explains why Hamas and other Palestinian groups have been cautious in their response to Egypt’s measures — no condemnations or protests thus far.

In fact, Hamas is already in a state of panic in the wake of allegations by some Egyptians that Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were involved in the killing of the soldiers in Sinai.

Once again, Egyptian journalists are calling on their president to go after Hamas in response to the Sinai attack. A previous attack on Egyptian soldiers in Sinai earlier this year prompted similar calls.

Reham Noaman, a prominent Egyptian journalist, called on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to “crush” Hamas and its armed wing, Ezaddin al-Qassam. “Israel is not better than us,” she said. “When Israel wants to hit Hamas because of a rocket that is not worth a penny, it does not seek permission from the Security Council.”

The Egyptians have finally realized that the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip has become one of the region’s main exporters of terrorism. Israel reached this conclusion several years ago, when Hamas and other terror groups began firing rockets and missiles at Israeli communities.

The Egyptians have also come to learn that the smuggling tunnels along their shared border with the Gaza Strip work in both directions. In the past, the Egyptians believed that the tunnels were being used only to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip. Now, however, they are convinced that these tunnels are also being used to smuggle weapons and terrorists out of the Gaza Strip.

Now that the Egyptians have chosen completely to seal off their border with the Gaza Strip, the chances of another military confrontation between Hamas and Israel have increased. Hamas will undoubtedly try to break out of its increased isolation by initiating another war with Israel.

The Egyptians, for their part, are not going to mind if another war breaks out between the Palestinians and Israel — as long as the military confrontation is taking place on the other side of the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt.

And of course, the international community will once again rush to accuse Israel of “genocide” against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Needless to say, the international community will continue to ignore Egypt’s bulldozing hundreds of homes and the forcible eviction of thousands of people in Sinai.

If anything, the Egyptian security crackdown in Sinai has once again exposed the double standards of the international community toward the war on terrorism. While it is fine for Egypt to demolish hundreds of houses and forcibly transfer thousands of people in the name of the war on terrorism, Israel is not allowed to fire back at those who launch rockets and missiles at its civilians.

Also see:

Egyptian Gov’t Says ISIS Came from Muslim Brotherhood

Islamic-State-10-IPEgyptian President El-Sisi is forcefully arguing that the U.S. is erring in focusing only on the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda

BY RYAN MAURO:

The Egyptian Minister of Religious Endowments says that the Islamic State terrorist group (also known as ISIS or ISIL) was birthed from the Muslim Brotherhood movement, according to an October 13 report  in an Egyptian newspaper called the Seventh Day.

Other Egyptian leaders have made the case in recent days that the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist terrorist groups belong in the same category as the Islamic State. The Egyptian government has banned the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, Hamas, as terrorist groups.

According to the report, Dr. Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said that the Muslim Brotherhood is the progenitor of the Islamic State and similar terrorist groups. He accused the Brotherhood of disrupting education at Egyptian universities and said the group is harmful to Islam.

The Islamic State used to be Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq. Al-Qaeda’s leaders are known to have been influenced by the Brotherhood, but the two groups sparred over the latter’s relative restraint and involvement in elections.

The Islamic State is publicly hostile to the Brotherhood, though the two have nearly identical goals. In a new Islamic State video, the group pledges to overthrow the Turkish government and derided it as the “Caliph of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

In May, Gomaa told a reporter that Egypt’s Al-Azhar University should promote a “centrist form of Islam” that is different from Political Islam, otherwise known as Islamism.

“Islam should not be part of politics because the role of religion should only be about preaching a moral public life and for the betterment of society,” he was quoted as saying.

Last month, Gomaa warned that released Muslim Brotherhood leaders would instigate violence and instability and collaborate with terrorist groups.

“[Muslim Brotherhood will] incite from Qatar, conspire from Libya, mobilize the international organization in Turkey and ally with the Islamic State,” he said.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

Egypt’s President Backs Global Campaign Against Islamic State Extremists

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in New York. Jason Andrew for The Wall Street Journal

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in New York. Jason Andrew for The Wall Street Journal

By GERARD BAKER and JAY SOLOMON:

NEW YORK—Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi pledged his support for the U.S. war against Islamic State militants, but called on President Barack Obama to widen his campaign against extremism well beyond Iraq and Syria.

The former Egyptian military commander, in his first interview in the U.S. since formally taking power in June, also cautioned the administration against “washing its hands” of the Middle East at a time when the region’s borders are in flux and the threat of militancy is growing with the instability.

Mr. Sisi cited terrorist threats in Libya, Sudan, Yemen and the Sinai Peninsula as mirroring the danger posed to the Middle East and the West by Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL.

He also said he is pursuing economic development, education and the promotion of religious tolerance as tools that were just as important for neutralizing Islamic State and other radical groups as military strikes.

“We can’t reduce the danger lurking in the region to ISIL. We have to bear in mind all the pieces of the puzzle,” Mr. Sisi said in a nearly hourlong interview at a Manhattan hotel. “We can’t just limit the confrontation to checking and destroying the Islamic State.”

Mr. Sisi, 59 years old, is attending the annual United Nations General Assembly this week as a sort of coming out party for one of his region’s most important new leaders.

Since taking office, Egypt’s sixth president has cut energy subsidies in a bid to revitalize his country’s economy, continued a broad crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood movement and worked closely with Israel to broker a tenuous cease-fire with the Palestinian militant group and political party, Hamas.

Leading Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have rallied behind Mr. Sisi as a central part of their effort to contain the political instability that has swept the region since late 2010 and toppled long-standing strongmen such as Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak.

The Obama administration, despite stating concerns about Cairo rolling back democratic reforms and the freedom of the press, has also increasingly sought to woo Mr. Sisi as a key ally in the fight against Islamic State.

To support this effort, the U.S. is preparing to deliver 10 Apache helicopters to Egypt that were placed on hold after Mr. Sisi and his military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood politician, in July 2013.

Mr. Sisi said he supports the U.S. military campaign against Islamic State. But he cautioned against his government getting significantly involved militarily. U.S. officials have talked of the possibility of the Egyptian military training Iraqi forces in counterterrorism tactics.

The Egyptian leader said Iraq’s military and countries closer to Iraq and Syria—particularly Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia—should play the most direct role in combating Islamic State.

“The physical assets for a coalition to be formed are there,” Mr. Sisi said. “The symbolism of a united coalition is very important.”

Mr. Sisi also suggested that Egypt will maintain its right to independently combat extremism and other threats to Cairo’s security.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Also see:

Salafis Return to Egypt’s Mosques and Media

by Raymond Ibrahim:

In a move that has many anti-Islamist Egyptians concerned, the government has again allowed the Salafis to return to preaching in mosques and on television.

They’re back

They’re back

Soon after the June 2013 revolution in Egypt, which saw the ousting (and subsequent imprisonment) of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic supremacist groups—chief among them the Salafis—were banned from preaching.Salafis are Muslims who profess to follow as literally as possible the teachings and habits of Islam’s prophet and his companions.

The logic was that they were the primary actors responsible for inciting the nation’s more zealous Muslims to attack government targets, Coptic Christian churches, etc.

Accordingly, their access to mosques and other outlets were severely curtailed.

According to Nabil Zaki, the former spokesman for Assembly Party of Egypt, this new  move allowing the Salafis, particularly the Nour party, to make a comeback

is a major setback that will make it that much harder for the government to combat reactionary thinking—and this, after the Egyptian public had made great strides against such thinking….  Permitting the Salafi sheikhs to ascend to the pulpits again revives the bitter experiences of confronting this form of thinking, bringing us back to square one.

Zaki and others also warned that this decision coincides with parliamentarian elections, meaning that the Salafi clerics will again use their influence and religious rhetoric to sway voters towards a more “reactionary,” that is, Islamic, agenda.

Caroline Glick: President Sisi’s Gift

Egyptian Minister of Defense Abdel-Fattah al-SissiBy Caroline Glick:

Something extraordinary has happened.

On August 31, PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told an audience of Fatah members that Egypt had offered to give the PA some 1,600 kilometers of land in Sinai adjacent to Gaza, thus quintupling the size of the Gaza Strip. Egypt even offered to allow all the so-called “Palestinian refugees” to settle in the expanded Gaza Strip.

Then Abbas told his Fatah followers that he rejected the Egyptian offer.

On Monday Army Radio substantiated Abbas’s claim.

According to Army Radio, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi proposed that the Palestinians establish their state in the expanded Gaza Strip and accept limited autonomy over parts of Judea and Samaria.

In exchange for this state, the Palestinians would give up their demand that Israel shrink into the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, surrendering Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Sisi argued that the land Egypt is offering in Sinai would more than compensate for the territory that Abbas would concede.

In his speech to Fatah members, Abbas said, “They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [and are saying] ‘Let’s end the refugee story.’” “But,” he insisted, “It’s illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it.”

In other words, Sisi offered Abbas a way to end the Palestinians’ suffering and grant them political independence. And Abbas said, “No, forget statehood. Let them suffer.”

Generations of Israeli leaders and strategists have insisted that Israel does not have the ability to satisfy the Palestinian demands by itself without signing its own death warrant. To satisfy the Palestinian demand for statehood, Israel’s neighbors in Egypt and Jordan would have to get involved.

Until Sisi made his proposal, no Arab leader ever seriously considered actually doing what must be done. Indeed, the rejection of this self-evident Israeli claim has been so overwhelming that in recent years, every Israeli suggestion to this effect was met with raised eyebrows and dismissal by Israelis and foreigners alike.

So what is driving Sisi? How do we account for this dramatic shift? In offering the Palestinians a large swathe of the Sinai, Sisi is not acting out of altruism. He is acting out of necessity. From his perspective, and from the perspective of his non-jihadist Sunni allies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian campaign against Israel is dangerous.

Facing the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and the rise of jihadist forces from al-Qaida to the Islamic State to the Muslim Brotherhood, the non-jihadist Sunnis no longer believe that the prolongation of the Palestinian jihad against Israel is in their interest.

Egypt and Jordan have already experienced the spillover of the Palestinian jihad. Hamas has carried out attacks in Egypt. The Palestinian jihad nearly destroyed Lebanon and Jordan. Egypt and Saudi Arabia now view Israel as a vital ally in their war against the Sunni jihadists and their struggle against Iran and its hegemonic ambitions. They recognize that Israeli action against Sunni and Shi’ite jihadists in Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran serves the interests of non-jihadi Sunnis. And, especially after the recent conflict in Gaza, they realize that the incessant Palestinian campaign against Israel ultimately strengthens the jihadist enemies of Egypt and Saudi Arabia like Hamas.

Apparently, Sisi’s offer to Abbas is an attempt to help the Palestinian people and take the Palestinian issue out of the hands of Palestinian jihadists.

Unfortunately for Sisi and his fellow non-jihadist Sunnis, Abbas is having none of this.

In rejecting Sisi’s offer Abbas stood true to his own record, to the legacies of every Palestinian leader since Nazi agent Haj Amin el-Husseini, and to the declared strategic goal of his own Fatah party and his coalition partners in Hamas. Since Husseini invented the Palestinians in the late 1920s, their leaders’ primary goals have never been the establishment of a Palestinian state or improving the lives of Palestinians. Their singular goal has always been the destruction of the Jewish state, (or state-in-themaking before 1948).

Sisi offered to end Palestinian suffering and provide the Palestinians with the land they require to establish a demilitarized state. Abbas rejected it because he is only interested hurting Israel. If Israel is not weakened by their good fortune, then the Palestinians should continue to suffer.

For Israel, Sisi’s proposal is a windfall.

Read more at Front Page

Also see:

Egypt Strikes Jihadis After Decapitation Video

ansar-bayt-al-maqdis-israel-mossad-beheadingjpg (1)Breitbart, By KATIE GORKA, Sep. 1, 2014:

Within just days of a video surfacing showing the decapitation of four Egyptian nationals, the Cairo government took decisive military action and killed the leader of the Jihadist group alleged to have been responsible

Several sources have reported that on Sunday, August 30, Egyptian forces carried out two successful operations against Islamist militants in Sinai. In Al Arish, a city on the northern coast of Sinai, members of a joint police-military action killed Fayez Abdallah Hamdan Abu-Sheta, believed to be a leader of the terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), thought responsible for the May 2013 kidnapping of 7 police officers and a border guard.

In a separate operation 32 miles away, in the town of Rafah, which borders Gaza, Egyptian forces killed 6 and arrested 10 others, Daily News Egypt reported. It has not yet been revealed whether those killed or arrested are members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, but this raid occurred three days after the Jihadi group released a very graphic video of the beheading of four Egyptians in Sinai for allegedly spying on behalf of Israel. The video is similar to that of U.S. journalist James Foley, whose beheading by ISIS on August 19, 2014, was also posted online.

While the world’s attention has been focused on the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and their aggressive sweep across Iraq and Syria, Egypt has been waging its own battle against violent jihadists, particularly in the Sinai.  This is a conflict kindled under the Muslim Brotherhood leadership of Mohamed Morsi and which exploded with his ouster in July 2013. When the Muslim Brotherhood announced at a rally on May 1, 2012 that their candidate for president would be Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian Cleric Safwat Higazi declared the following in his impassioned speech to the crowd of thousands (broadcast on Al-Nas television and translated by MEMRI TV):

We can see how the dream of the Islamic Caliphate is being realized, Allah willing, by Dr. Muhammad Mursi, and his brothers, his supporters, and his political party.  We can see how the great dream—shared by us all—that of the United States of the Arabs…the United States of the Arabs will be restored, Allah willing.  The United States of the Arabs will be restored by this man and his supporters. The capital of the Caliphate—the capital of the United States of the Arabs—will be Jerusalem, Allah willing.  Mursi will liberate Gaza tomorrow….Our capital shall not be Cairo, Mecca or Medina.  It shall be Jerusalem, Allah willing. Our cry shall be: ‘Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.’  Banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews. Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas. Forget about the whole world, forget about all the conferences. Brandish your weapons…Say your prayers….And pray to the Lord.

 

 

As Thomas Joscelyn, senior editor of the Long War Journal, testified before Congress in February 2014, with the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt in January 2011, Al Qaeda and other violent jihadist groups saw an opportunity for proselytizing and rebuilding the ummah, or Muslim community of believers. Not only was the new government of Mohamed Morsi not going to crack down on jihadists, but he greatly aided their cause by releasing many of them from prison, including members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and Gamaa Islamiyya (IG). Egypt became fertile ground for their activities, and the Sinai took on a particular importance because it was the perfect launching ground for renewed attacks on Israel. This suggests that there is also a strong correlation between the terrorism in the Sinai and the fighting in Gaza. The Muslim Brotherhood promised to free Gaza and to rebuild the Caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which translates to “Champions of Jerusalem,” began operations in January 2011 with the uprisings that led to the overthrow of the Egyptian government. Initially, they targeted Israel. In July 2012, they blew up a pipeline that served Israel, calling it treason to send Egyptian resources to Israel, according to an article in Egypt News Daily. But following the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government on July 3, 2013, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis stepped up their attacks and directed the majority of them against the Egyptian police and military. Their near-daily attacks included the execution of 24 unarmed policemen on August 19, 2013, the attempted assassination of Interior Minister Muhammad Ibrahim in September 2013, an attack on South Sinai’s Security Directorate, and an attack on the military intelligence building in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya in October 2013.

The attacks by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis as well as other terrorist groups operating in the Sinai are explicitly carried out in retaliation for the Egyptian military’s role in helping to oust Mohammed Morsi and for their subsequent crackdown by military and police on groups engaging in violence. Indeed, the relationship between groups such as the violent Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and the “non-violent” Muslim Brotherhood may be more than ancillary. According to the BBC, some have identified Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis as the military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Several different sources, including Nabil Naeem, founder of the Islamic Jihad, allege that Khairat al-Shater, the deputy supreme guide of the Brotherhood, directly supports Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.

Katie Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security. Follow her on Twitter@katharinegorka.

 

What Obama Really Wants in Gaza

Screen-Shot-2014-07-29-at-1.50.36-PMby :

While Israelis are fighting and dying, families huddling in bomb shelters and soldiers going off to face death, the men and women in suits and power suits moving through the great halls of diplomacy are using them as pawns in a larger game.

During the Cold War, Israel was a pawn in a larger struggle between the US and the USSR. Now it is back to being a counter in a larger game.

Israel’s function within the great halls of diplomacy was always as a lever on the Arab states. It was not an end, but a means of moving them one way or another. When the Arab states drifted into the Soviet orbit, the “Special Relationship” was born. The relationship accomplished its goal once Egypt was pried out of the Soviet orbit. It has lingered on because of the emotional and cultural ties of Israel and the US.

Now Obama is using Israel as a lever to push Egypt back into the Islamist camp. Egypt’s rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood broke the Arab Spring. Political Islam, which seemed to be on the ascendance, is back to being a freak show represented by terrorists and Turkey’s mad mustachioed dictator.

Egypt was where Obama went to begin the Arab Spring. Egypt is still his target. Israel is just the lever.

The reason Israel was never allowed to truly win any wars was because it was being used as a lever. By being a “good lever” during the Cold War, it could damage Egypt enough that the latter would come to the negotiating table overseen by the US and move back into the Western sphere of influence.

Israel couldn’t be allowed to win a big enough victory because then there would nothing to negotiate. Likewise, Israel wouldn’t be allowed to keep what it won because then there would be no reason for Egypt to come to the negotiating table. Sometimes Israel would even be expected to lose, as in the Yom Kippur War, to force it to come to the negotiating table.

Swap Egypt for the PLO and that’s how the disastrous peace process happened. Then swap the PLO for Hamas and that is where we are now.

Obama’s initial support for Israel’s war on Hamas was only to the extent necessary to bring the terrorist group to the negotiating table. And then once Hamas comes to the negotiating table, the White House will back its demands against Israel in exchange for getting the Brotherhood on board with its agenda.

Israel is just the means; the Muslim Brotherhood and political Islam are the objective. That objective may mean the end of the West, but those striding boldly through the halls of diplomacy are not worried.

The real target of the Hamas campaign wasn’t Israel; it was Egypt.

Read more at Front Page

Also see:

Egyptian TV Accuses Hamas Leaders of Living in Luxury While Their People Die

Front Page, by Daniel Greenfield:

Considering Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Egyptian soldiers and their involvement in the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt, they’re not exactly that country’s favorite terrorist organization.

And you can see that in these TV clips in which Egyptian hosts accuse Hamas leaders of living in luxury, dining out, sitting at swimming pools with their four wives, while the fighting goes on.

 

They also point out that their rocket squads operate from civilian areas and are bringing a new “Nakba” on their people.

An image of Khaled Mash’al exercising at a gym: You can see how Khaled is waging Jihad in Qatar.

Image of Mash’al eating a lavish meal: This is brother Khaled Mash’al’s version of Jihad. Khaled, the Jihad is in Gaza…

Image of Mash’al watching TV: Or, of course, he is watching their TV channel. This is the Jihad of Khaled Mash’al and his comrades, the honorable and great mujahideen. As they wage this sort of Jihad, they abandon the people to get killed. If you were a real man, you would be back in Gaza first thing tomorrow morning.

Image of Haniya sitting next to a blond young woman: This is his Jihad, Allah be praised… This is the greatest Jihad performed by Isamil Haniya and his brothers in Hamas.

Of course Khaled isn’t going to Gaza.

Why do you, in the Al-Qassam Brigades, [hide] among civilians? Why do you use people’s homes? You should keep your hideouts away from people’s homes. You know full well that when you launch a missile form a home, a missile will land on that home within one minute. You are bringing another nakba upon your people.

Another show was even more explicit about the luxurious Hamas lifestyle.

Talk show host Mazher Shahin: We are not prepared to sacrifice even a single hair from the eyebrow of an Egyptian soldier or civilian, for the sake of Hamas and all the people who wage Jihad, while indulging themselves in all kinds of dishes at the swimming pool…

They goad people into fighting, terrorism, and violence, under the pretext of “Jihad,” while they themselves sit at a hotel, a swimming pool, or a nudist beach, eating a variety of dishes, marrying four wives, and driving the latest model luxury cars. What is this?! What kind of men are you?

You know where the border between Israel and Palestine is. If there is a real man among you, I am willing to drive him in my own car and at my own expense to the Gaza border. I will drop him there and say: “Go. May God be with you. Gaza is there. Jihad awaits you. Go in and show us you’re a real man.”

The more “moderate” suggestions out of Saudi Arabia meanwhile propose that Hamas disaffiliate itself with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Also see:

The Watchman: Jihadists on the March

Published on Jul 8, 2014 by The Christian Broadcasting Network

On this week’s edition of The Watchman, we sit down with Middle East experts Raymond Ibrahim and Tawfik Hamid to discuss the latest developments with the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iran and what can be done to counter the jihadist.

Egyptians Hoping Israel Will Destroy Hamas

by Khaled Abu Toameh:

Over the past week there are voices coming out of Egypt and some Arab countries — voices that publicly support the Israeli military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

They see the atrocities and massacres committed by Islamists on a daily basis in Iraq and Syria and are beginning to ask themselves if these serve the interests of the Arabs and Muslims.

“Thank you Netanyahu and may God give us more [people] like you to destroy Hamas!” — Azza Sami of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram.

Isolated and under attack, Hamas now realizes that it has lost the sympathy of many Egyptians and Arabs.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has thus far turned down appeals from Palestinians and other Arabs to work toward achieving a new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Sisi and urged him to intervene to achieve an “immediate ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas. Abbas later admitted that his appeal to Sisi and (other Arab leaders) had fallen on deaf ears.

Sisi’s decision not to intervene in the current crisis did not come as a surprise. In fact, Sisi and many Egyptians seem to be delighted that Hamas is being badly hurt.

 

An uncomfortable moment during an April 2014 meeting between PA President Abbas and Egyptian President Sisi. (Image source: Video from President Abbas’ Office)

Some Egyptians are even openly expressing hope that Israel will completely destroy Hamas, which they regard as the “armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.”

Sisi’s Egypt has not forgiven Hamas for its alliance with Muslim Brotherhood and its involvement in terrorist attacks against Egyptian civilians and soldiers over the past year.

The Egyptians today understand that Hamas and other radical Islamist groups pose a serious threat to their national security. That is why the Egyptian authorities have, over the past year, been taking tough security measures not only against Hamas, but also the entire population of the Gaza Strip.

These measures include the destruction of dozens of smuggling tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization.

True, there are still many Egyptians and Arabs who sympathize with Hamas, mainly because it is being targeted by Israel. But over the past week, there are also different voices coming out of Egypt and some other Arab countries — voices that publicly support the Israeli military operation against the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip.

This is perhaps because a growing number of Arabs and Muslims are fed up with the Islamist terrorists who are imposing a reign of terror and intimidation in the Arab world, particularly in Iraq and Syria. They see the atrocities and massacres committed by Islamists on a daily basis in Iraq and Syria and are beginning to ask themselves if these serve the interests of the Arabs and Muslims.

Sisi and other Arab leaders are now sitting on the fence and hoping that this time Israel will complete the job and get rid of Hamas once and for all. Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah are certainly not going to shed a tear if Hamas is crushed and removed from power in the Gaza Strip.

The reaction of some Egyptians to the Israeli military operation has shocked Hamas and other Palestinians. As one Hamas spokesman noted: “It’s disgraceful to see that some Egyptians are publicly supporting the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip while Westerners are expressing solidarity with the Palestinians and condemning Israel.”

Addressing the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Egyptian actor Amr Mustafa said that they should not expect any help from the Egyptians. “You must get rid of Hamas and we will help you,” he said. He also called on Hamas to stop meddling in the internal affairs of Arab countries. “Pull your men out of Egypt, Syria and Libya,” Mustafa demanded. “In Egypt, we are today fighting poverty that was caused by wars. We have enough of our own problems. Don’t expect the Egyptians to give more than what they have already given. We’ve had enough of what you did to our country.”

Read more at Gatestone Institute

El-Sissi Takes the Reins: 3 Big Things to Know about Egypt’s New Pharaoh

Egyptians gather outside the presidential palace to celebrate former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's victory in the presidential vote in Cairo on June 5, 2014.Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egyptians gather outside the presidential palace to celebrate former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s victory in the presidential vote in Cairo on June 5, 2014.Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

by Raymond Stock, Fox NewsJune 8, 2014

On Sunday June 8, Egypt’s former defense minister, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, was inaugurated as the sixth president–a de facto pharaoh, though chosen by the people–of the oldest nation-state on earth.

As expected, Egyptians overwhelmingly voted May 26-28 to elect him to lead the country, which he as ruled indirectly since overthrowing his predecessor, Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), in the face of massive popular demand last July 3.

From the moment he ousted Morsi–who had turned a narrow electoral mandate in June 2012 into a brutal Islamist dictatorship almost overnight, alienating the vast majority of the country–the hugely popular El-Sissi has been ceaselessly attacked by a wide array of forces both at home and abroad.

These attacks have come not only from the Al Qaeda-allied MB and its Salafi allies in an increasingly violent insurgency that has so far claimed nearly 2,000 lives, but also from many Western journalists, Middle East experts, government officials and even key members of Congress, who have accused him of being just another military strong man who has usurped an elected leader.

Some even see him as holding onto a clandestine vision of religious rule of his own, and as a person far less popular than his cult of the personality suggests.

Though there are some elements of truth in this criticism, driving much of it is a combination of ideological blindness and ignorance (or denial) of the basic facts about both El-Sissi and his country, plus an idealistic demand for perfect democracy in a time of bloody upheaval in a land that has known essentially harsh, pharaonic-style rule for the past five millennia.

Here are three big things to know about the new president of the largest Arab country, which since 1979 has been America’s closest ally in the Middle East after Israel.

1. Despite claims to the contrary, El-Sissi does have an electoral mandate.

With the MB and most Islamists, plus some of the original 2011 secular liberal activists boycotting the vote, about 35% of the population turned out to vote on May 26-27, in the midst of a searing heat wave.

This was roughly the same percentage for Morsi’s December 2012 Constitutional referendum, and for the vote on a de-Islamistized version of it that passed–by a far higher margin–in January 2014.

Still, this was not deemed enough, so balloting was extended to a third day on May 28 with the threat of fines for those who stayed away from the polls, an unusual move.

Egypt, like 21 other countries–including a number in Europe–has a compulsory voting law, though it is not usually enforced.

In the end, participation officially reached 47.5%–and a delegation of monitors from the European Parliament declared the election was run in a “democratic and free” manner, though it was “not necessarily fair,” due to self-censorship among some in the media.

This compares well with the 46% who turned out for the first round of presidential voting in May 2012, and the 52% in the second round that June—when there were no major boycotts, amid considerable suspense about who would win, while in this case, El-Sissi was a shoo-in.

A separate Election Observation Mission (EOM) from the European Union, while saying that the vote “fell short of constitutional principles,” stopped short of further criticism and added that the media atmosphere around it was “fair.”

Egypt’s election commission announced on June 3 that El-Sissi had won 96.91% of the votes, versus 3.09% for his only opponent, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi.

El-Sissi gained 23.78 million votes, 10 million more than the 13 million won by Morsi in June 2012, in which he narrowly beat Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq–who later complained that the vote count was fixed.

Sabahi earned but 318,000 votes, fewer than the 1.4 million spoiled ballots cast.

El-Sissi, whom the late pre-election opinion polls put at 74%-to-86% approval (roughly twice that of President Barack Obama’s at home at present), could not campaign in person due to the ongoing violence, as well as at least two alleged plots on his life.

This was compounded by the famously quiet (and deeply private) field marshal’s failure to even issue a detailed electoral program, fueling yet more speculation about what he really intends to do in office.

For its part, the MB has dismissed the current election as “null and void.”

2. Despite excesses, El-Sissi’s war against the Islamists is ours as well.

Some have argued that Morsi’s removal and El-Sissi’s election prove the validity of Al Qaeda’s objection to the MB’s strategy of gaining power through democratic means.

Hence, more of their followers will turn to AQ and similar groups out of frustration with the results from the use of peaceful means—which they say has happened in Egypt.

The assumption is that the Egyptians–not to mention the rest of us at war with Islamist terrorists–should accept whatever the fanatics do so long as they are elected, including quickly laying the groundwork for what was an obvious coup of their own, in which future elections either would not happen, or be meaningless if they did.

By this logic, perhaps to avoid alienating the MB’s base, we should have hoped for the Islamists to keep winning elections, as they did in the first parliamentary contests and the first presidency post-Hosni Mubarak–and then do nothing if they brazenly abuse the power they gain in this fashion.

That said, there have indeed been many abuses in the crackdown on the MB and its Salafi allies launched by the interim government that was appointed by El-Sissi.

Yet the first violence came from the opposition, as the MB wrongly blamed Egypt’s large Coptic Christian minority for Morsi’s ouster, inciting an immediate orgy of looting and burning of Christian churches, schools and homes by its supporters in July, the sabotage of public buildings, plus brutal attacks on police and others.

After a long standoff, roughly 700 to 1,000 persons died in operations to remove pro-Morsi demonstrators from two Cairo squares on August 14, though it later emerged from credible sources that armed provocateurs among them had opened fire first, and the graves of at least eighty people, tortured and murdered as suspected informants, were found at these sites when they were cleared.

Since then, the majority of deaths have come from the almost daily bombings and shootings launched by the insurgents, as well as continued violent demonstrations, prompting the government to formally ban the MB, and to label it — as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also done — a terrorist organization.

Even more strikingly, the MB’s Palestinian branch, Hamas, listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S., Europe and Israel, but formerly a darling of Egyptian popular opinion, was also banned due to its suspected role in aiding the insurgents — to popular acclaim.

What was heroic to inflict on Israeli civilians was suddenly insidious when done to Egyptians — but still it is a refreshing change.

Laws have been passed banning unauthorized demonstrations, professors and liberal activists have been charged with dubious offenses, more than a thousand accused Islamists have been summarily condemned to death for murder and pillage, mostly in absentia (though these will be automatically overturned when the condemned are apprehended), burning the nation’s flag or failing to stand for the national anthem have been criminalized, and “Egypt’s Jon Stewart,” political satirist Bassem Youssef, has canceled his TV program due to threats from persons unknown.

Critics of these steps were largely silent when the previous regime blatantly overrode the Constitution, terrorized the opposition and attempted to impose a permanent, one-party Islamist state at breathtaking speed and thoroughness.

And the MB — wrongly considered “moderate” — and its Salafi allies are in fact radical groups committed to the overthrow of less militant regimes and the destruction of America and the West, even while gladly accepting our assistance in the meantime.

Yet instead of cutting aid to the Muslim Brotherhood government, Obama increased it, while his then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, overrode human rights objections from Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who tried to put it on hold pending review.

As a result, most Egyptians now disdain our president, who reached out to the MB in his June 4, 2009 speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, as a hypocrite, and have applauded El-Sissi’s recent agreement to buy an unprecedented $2 billion in military equipment from Russia, signaling that our more than three-decades old alliance is now in serious danger.

Obama effectively froze aid to post-Morsi Egypt in October 9, and when Congress this year passed a $1.5 billion mostly military package for Cairo, Leahy again put it on hold. But in contrast to what happened under Morsi, current Secretary of State John Kerry has failed to counteract it, though he did allow the transfer of 24 previously-blocked Apache helicopters to help fight the terrorists in Sinai.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to pay $400 million per year to the Palestinian Authority, even though it now includes Hamas, and is planning to arm and train Syrian insurgents who will likely include many members of the MB and other Islamists, and who also pose a threat to Egypt, our European allies and ourselves.

And we haven’t even talked about handing 5 top Taliban commanders temporarily over to Qatar, the MB’s biggest financial backer and a patron of the Taliban, in exchange for a probable deserter who might also be a collaborator.

These are all serious mistakes that we may someday rue while wondering what happened to our former favored access to the Suez Canal, the Egyptian peace with Israel and key cooperation with Cairo in our common war against terror.

3. El-Sissi is pious, but probably not–as some have claimed–a “secret Islamist.”

In August 2012, Morsi appointed then-General al-El-Sissi as defense minister, based on his seemingly pro-MB views—and was no doubt shocked when his protégé turned on him for behaving like a president from the MB.

However, though born into a conservative, not militant, religious family in the Gamaliyah district in the heart of the Islamic Cairo, the native district of the late Egyptian Nobel laureate in literature, Naguib Mahfouz, El-Sissi, like Mahfouz, was also raised as a fervent nationalist.

When Morsi freed and even elevated terrorists who had made war on the Egyptian state, worked covertly with terrorists killing Egyptian troops in Sinai, offered to possibly hand over Egyptian land along the border with Sudan to the Islamist regime in Khartoum, and seemed poised to declare jihad against the Assad regime in Damascus, he undoubtedly viewed him as betraying Egypt’s most basic national interests.

Since then, he has vowed to completely destroy the MB and its fellow proponents of political Islam, has spoken in praise of Egypt’s persecuted Christians, and—most intriguingly of all—called in late January for a comprehensive modernization of Islam as a whole.

In a daring speech, quoted here by U.S. Marine Lt. Col. (ret.) James Zumwalt of UPI on January 28, he challenged the Muslim world to give up centuries of dogmatic thinking and for the Islamists to abandon the call to war:

“Religious discourse is the greatest battle and challenge facing the Egyptian people, pointing to the need for a new vision and a modern, comprehensive understanding of the religion of Islam — rather than relying on a discourse that has not changed for 800 years.”

As Zumwalt noted, this means that El-Sissi believes Islam has been intellectually–and even spiritually — frozen since 1258.

That was the year the Mongols sacked Baghdad, ending Islam’s Golden Age, and was roughly the time when religious scholars had agreed that “the science is settled,” and there would no more great debate on what the faith is, a process that began centuries before.

By making this bold statement—and by waging his own holy struggle against the forces of evil—he is putting his own life on the line as well.

We should indeed watch him closely now that he grasps the reins of power directly, for the first time, to see if he follows these bold words, as well as what they mean in reality, and if he rules oppressively in person.

But for the time being, he is fighting our enemies — who are also Egypt’s own — and has even increased cooperation with our friends, the Israelis.

Some now say that’s just where we were under Mubarak — whom Obama deliberately helped push from pharaoh’s palace in Heliopolis in 2011.

But Mubarak, now 86, was an aging oligarch who became president only when his predecessor, Anwar Sadat, was shot dead by Islamists while standing next to him in 1981, and who had no itch for change.

El-Sissi may yet go the way of his hero Sadat, who he has said came to him in a dream that seemed to prophecy he would one day be president of Egypt.

Like El-Sissi, Sadat–“the believing president”–started out close to the Muslim Brotherhood, but soon had to combat them — and wound up murdered by one of their offshoots as a result.

And like Sadat, especially given who might follow him, we may very much miss El-Sissi when he is gone.

Let’s try for a better ending this time.

Raymond Stock, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a former Assistant Professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies at Drew University, spent twenty years in Egypt, and was deported by the Mubarak regime in 2010. He is writing a biography of 1988 Egyptian Nobel laureate in literature Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006) for Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and is a prolific translator of his works, most recently “Before the Throne” (Anchor Books/Random House, July 2012).

 

Iran’s Plan to Destabilize Egypt

by Anna Mahjar-Barducci:

Iran is planning an offensive against Egypt from the west and from the south.

The Iranian government has long-term plans.

The Iranian regime’s new enemy, it seems, is Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Iran’s mullahs apparently fear Sisi’s secular stance against Islamist movements, and see him as an obstacle to Iran’s future influence in the Middle East.

According to the Jordan-based media outlet Al-Bawaba, Iran is determined to put an end to Al-Sisi’s rule by training the Libya-based Islamist group known as the Free Egyptian Army [FEA]. The FEA is composed of both Egyptian jihadists who went to fight in Syria during the rule of Egypt’s former President, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi, as well as other Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood militants who fled from Egypt to Libya after Morsi was removed from power.

 

Then Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi embraces then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upon his arrival in Cairo on February 5, 2013. Ahmadinejad was Iran’s first leader to visit Egypt since the two countries cut diplomatic relations in 1980. (Image source: Ahmadinejad official handout)

According to Al Bawaba, personnel of the Quds Force — the special-forces arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] — arrived in Libya to train the FEA in Misrata, northwestern Libya. Quds Force officers met with FEA leaders — reportedly Abu Dawud Zouhairi and Karam Amrani. There, Lebanese jihadists coming from Syria and led by Abu Fahed Al-Islam also joined the FEA.

Iran is planning an offensive against Egypt not only from the west (Libya), but also from the south.

The Egyptian newspaper El-Watan reports that the Iran has also deployed Quds Force personnel to Sudan, to take advantage of the deterioration of the relationship between the Islamist-led Sudanese government and Sisi’s Egypt, and is now training Muslim Brotherhood militants in Sudan.

A Jordanian newspaper, Al-Arab Al-Yawm, confirmed the news, and reported in addition that Iran is organizing violent operations to destabilize Egypt from Libya and Sudan.

Although in the Middle East, Sunni and Shia factions usually fight each other, this time an unholy Sunni-Shia alliance has been formed between Shia Iran and the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood to fight their common enemy: Al-Sisi.

For years, Iran’s regime has dreamt of seeing the Muslim Brotherhood rise in Egypt as part of a plan to Islamize the Middle East. In this vision Iran would take the leadership role — brushing aside that for years, Iran and Saudi Arabia have jockeyed over who would assume the leadership of the Muslim world. As the Muslim Brotherhood has always been opposed to the Saudi Kingdom, it was taken for granted that an Egypt governed by the Muslim Brotherhood would be the natural ally of Iran.

As Iranian author and journalist Amir Taheri describes in the Saudi-owned newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, Iran cherished Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-backed former President, Mohamed Morsi. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Morsi, Taheri writes, were supposed to symbolize the triumph of radical Islam. The leadership in Tehran apparently also felt that it had to “profit from its political, propaganda and even financial investment” in ensuring Morsi’s election.

Read more at Gatestone Institute