Morsi Following Khomeini’s Gameplan

Hamas jihadists in Gaza celebrate Morsi’s election to the Egyptian presidency. (Photo: Reuters)

by Clare M. Lopez

Clearly emboldened by U.S. validation of his role in handling Hamas during the Pillar of Defense operation, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi wasted no time in issuing a decree granting himself dictatorial powers. On November 22, 2012, Morsi sacked the prosecutor general and replaced him with his own man, thereby brushing aside the last branch of government that stood between him and the status of a “new pharaoh.”

Justifying his move as a defense of the Egyptian revolution itself, Morsi declared to thousands of cheering supporters that “[T]he constitutional declarations, decisions and laws issued by the president are final and not subject to appeal.

Parallels with the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution in Iran are striking enough that it must be wondered whether a tour of Iran’s nuclear facilities was all Morsi was given during his August 30, 2012 visit to mark the turnover of the Non-Aligned Movement presidency. It would seem that perhaps the Iranians also gave Morsi the blueprint for seizure of state power.

As Egypt scholar Raymond Stock put it, Morsi’s “warp-speed takeover of total state power in Egypt” since his June 24 election victory has astonished many observers who so foolishly greeted the so-called “Arab Spring” with childish delight.

What is looking more by the day like the “Islamic Awakening” the Iranians have always called it actually launched its power takeover phase two years ago with al-Qa’eda’s 2010 call to the Muslim Brotherhood to turn the page as it were “from Mecca to Medina.” Supreme Guide Muhammad Badi’ responded with an October 2010 declaration of jihad against the U.S., Israel and Arab/Muslim regimes unfaithful to sharia, the U.S. nodded favorably—and the putsch was on.

Parliamentary elections (in which the Brotherhood at one point supposedly wasn’t even going to contest more than 30-40% of the seats, much less run a presidential candidate) already had awarded the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and its Salafist Nour party allies a better than two-thirds dominance of Egypt’s legislature by early 2012.

The constituent assembly that is writing Egypt’s new constitution likewise is under Brotherhood control. The move that really solidified Morsi’s power followed barely weeks after his presidential victory: His August 11, 2012 coup d’état that replaced Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi and the rest of the Egyptian Supreme Command of the Armed Forces with his own hand-picked Brotherhood officials.

Even for those somehow still ignorant of the Muslim Brotherhood’s widely available jihadist agenda and history, this should have sounded an alarm. And yet, with only a few notable exceptions—among them, Daniel Pipes here, Barry Rubin here—few understood at the time how quickly Egypt was moving towards an Islamic dictatorship.

The U.S. State Department and White House seemed swept along by events—or maybe this was their blueprint, too. After all, the opening punch against the regime of Hosni Mubarak was delivered at the al-Azhar University by President Barak Obama in June 2009, where Obama snubbed Mubarak and insisted that Muslim Brotherhood lawmakers be in attendance.

And so, with the judiciary now down as well, and despite some rear-guard action demonstrations by Egypt’s defeated secularists, Morsi’s sweep is nearly complete. His confidence comes not from the ballot-box so much as from the knowledge that the most powerful organization in Egypt—the Muslim Brotherhood—and the most influential sharia jurist in the Islamic world—Yousef al-Qaradawi—stand behind him.

Just as in 1979, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Tehran after years in exile, senior American diplomatic and intelligence officials as well as the mainstream media have shown themselves completely clueless about the inevitable horror that is the invariable objective of all Islamic jihadis.

As Clifford May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, recalled in his February, 2011 National Review Online column, “Re: Re: Willful Blindness, Etc.,” (itself echoing the always-prescient Andrew McCarthy), William Sullivan, the U.S. Ambassador in Tehran during the country’s 1979 revolution, compared Khomeini to Ghandi.

Andrew Young, who was President Jimmy Carter’s UN Ambassador, called Khomeini “some kind of saint.” The Feb. 12, 1979 issue of Time magazine gushed about the democratic aims of Khomeini’s revolution and assured everyone that the Ayatollah surely would return soon to Qom to “resume a life of teaching and prayer.”

Well, he didn’t. And by now, it should be fairly obvious that neither Morsi nor al-Qaradawi has any intention of retiring anywhere anytime soon either.

Read more at Radical Islam

Clare Lopez is a senior fellow at RadicalIslam.org and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez served for 20 years as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

See RadicalIslam.org’s related article: Morsi Becomes Egypt’s New Pharaoh

Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood Bomb?

by Raymond Stock:

“We [Egyptians] are ready to starve in order to own a nuclear weapon that will represent a real deterrent and will be decisive in the Arab-Israeli conflict.” — Dr. Hamdi Hassan, Spokesman, Muslim Brotherhood Parliamentary Caucus, 2006

When Egypt’s first civilian, democratically elected dictator,[1] Mohamed Mursi became his country’s first head of state to visit Iran since its own Islamic revolution in 1979 for the annual meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on August 30, the two leaders might have gone beyond the scheduled turnover of NAM’s leadership from Mursi to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran: they most probably discussed Egypt’s quietly reviving drive to acquire nuclear power — possibly including nuclear weapons — and how Iran might be of help.

Since taking office on June 30, Mursi has reportedly offered to renew diplomatic relations with Tehran, severed for more than three decades — but then repeatedly denied that he had planned to do so. His visit for the NAM conference, however, along with his sudden recent proposal to set up a committee of four nations including Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to try to end the fighting in Syria, and Egypt’s refusal to inspect an Iranian ship passing through the Suez Canal en route to Syria, all indicate that Cairo’s relations with Tehran are improving dynamically. Meanwhile, in advance of Mursi’s arrival, Iran was said to have offered to assist Egypt in developing a nuclear program.

Almost completely overlooked in Mursi’s warp-speed takeover of total state power in Egypt since his election victory, was that on July 8, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MoEE) handed him a feasibility study for the creation of a nuclear power plant at El-Dabaa in the Delta[2] — possibly the first of four nuclear power plants around the country, the last of which would be brought online by 2025, according to a plan announced by MoEE in spring 2011. (Under the plan, El-Debaa would reach criticality—become operational–in 2019.) While Mursi has not yet announced his decision on whether to proceed with the projects, a number of international companies from Canada, China, France, Russia, South Korea and the U.S. have expressed interest in the bidding for them. In his trip to Beijing just prior to heading for Tehran, Mursi requested $3 billion for “power plants” from the Chinese, according to the geostrategic analysis firm Stratfor. Meanwhile, the website israelhayom.com reported on August 30 that the previous day Mursi had told a group of Egyptian expatriates living in China that he was considering the revival of Egypt’s nuclear power program.[3] Now comes the possibility that Iran will transfer its nuclear capabilities to Egypt. As Stephen Manual reported from Tehran on August 26 for the website allvoices.com:

“Mansour Haqiqatpour, a member [vice-chairman] of the country’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, told the state-run television station, Press TV, that Iran also plans to invite heads of states to visit the country’s nuclear facilities on sidelines of NAM summit. The purpose of the visit is to counter the propaganda unleashed by Western countries that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. He said that Iran was ready to share experience and expertise on nuclear facilities with Egypt and there was no harm in it. One can easily infer from the statement of Haqiqatpour that Iran is indirectly urging Egypt to go for the nuclear technology.[4]

Iran later denied that it had invited any foreign heads of state to visit any of its nuclear sites during the NAM conference—but not, apparently, the offer to assist Egypt’s nuclear program.[5] Although in Tehran Mursi also renewed Egypt’s long-standing call for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East, since at least 2006 the Muslim Brotherhood (MB, in which Mursi served as a major leader before his election) has called for Egypt to develop its own nuclear deterrent.[6] This view is so popular that in an interview on the Cairo channel ON-TV, on August 21, 2011, a retired Egyptian army general, Abdul-Hamid Umran said that it was “absolutely necessary” for the nation’s security to have “a nuclear program.” By this, he made clear, he did not mean a purely civilian program to produce electric power, to which Egypt is technically entitled as a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). He said, rather, that Egypt should declare the program’s peaceful purposes, and then systematically fool the international inspectors to achieve the needed levels of uranium enrichment to manufacture bombs — citing Iran as an example of how this can be done, and providing detailed steps to accomplish it.[7] In another interview (for Egypt’s Tahrir-TV) on August 6, 2012, Umran again demanded that Egypt develop its own nuclear weapons, stressing that if Israel finds itself in a “difficult situation,” it would use its own nuclear shield: in that instance, Egypt must also have one to defend itself. The unmistakable implication is that Egypt would need nuclear weapons against Israel’s expected atomic retaliation in the event that Egypt went to war against the Jewish State.[8]

Given the MB’s extreme hostility to Israel, its anti-Semitic and anti-Western ideology, and its recent, apparently complete takeover of the military and the rest of state power in Egypt, the possibilities raised are deeply unsettling. While none of this is conclusive, it definitely points to questions that have long been overlooked or too-easily dismissed in the debates about nuclear proliferation in a region that may soon explode in military conflict over Iran.

However it turns out, a review of the history and capabilities — past, present and future — of Egypt’s 58-year nuclear program will quickly reveal why approval of the El-Dabaa plant could signal the rise of a whole new level of danger in the already fraught Middle East, following the Islamist Spring.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

U.S. Abandons Israel as Iran Crosses into ‘Zone of Immunity’

by: Clare Lopez

Before our eyes, Iran is slipping into what Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has termed “the zone of immunity” – the position where the critical elements of its nuclear weapons program are so far advanced and so well-protected in underground bunkers that they cannot be destroyed by conventional means.

The latest report from the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) notes that the number of centrifuges installed just since May 2012 at the deeply-buried Fordow enrichment site has doubled (to 2,140 from 1,064 in May, even though all of them are not yet up and running). Enrichment at the Natanz enrichment facility continues as do conversion activities at Isafahan and construction at the Arak heavy water research reactor.

Significantly, Iran also seems to be focusing on increasing its output of uranium enriched close to the 20% level, from which it is not difficult to go all the way to the 90% or above needed for weapons grade uranium. All of these activities are in violation of IAEA Board of Governors and UN Security Council resolutions.

Additionally, the new IAEA report describes extensive clean-up activities visible in satellite imagery at the Parchin military site, where Iran built a large containment vessel in which to conduct hydrodynamic experiments (explosives experiments for nuclear warhead triggers). At least five buildings at Parchin have been demolished; power lines, fences and all paved roads have been removed; and “significant ground scraping and landscaping have been undertaken over an extensive area.” Despite repeated requests, Iran has not permitted the IAEA to visit and inspect Parchin.

In contrast to the IAEA’s permissive stance towards Iran under former Secretary General Mohamed ElBaradei, recent reporting from the IAEA candidly addresses the “possible military dimensions” of the Iranian program and once again in the August 2012 report also cites “activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile” and “activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”

There are other alarming developments as well. Towards the end of the late August 2012 , at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting in Tehran (attended by Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi and featuring a turnover of the group’s leadership from Egypt to Iran), North Korea and Iran signed a new technology agreement.

While the two long have cooperated in both nuclear weapons and ballistic missile delivery systems development, a July 2012 report from veteran national defense reporter Bill Gertz focused attention on a Chinese military journal article about a North Korean program to develop a “super-EMP,” a small-scale nuclear warhead that produces massive emissions of high-powered gamma rays that could disrupt or destroy all electronics in its range.

Meanwhile, the Iranian nuclear scientist considered by Western observers to be Tehran’s top “nuclear guru,” according to the Wall Street Journal, is back in action after having worked out of the public eye for a number of years. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is a senior officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the elite Iranian military organization charged by the Ayatollah Khomeini in the mid-1980’s to “get the bomb.” In 2000, he began working at Parchin; now, Fakhrizadeh has opened a new research facility in Tehran’s northern suburbs which is focused on nuclear weapons work.

Evidence that Iran is closing in on the capability to produce and deliver nuclear weapons, possibly including the devastating “super-EMP,” is mounting. Further, evidence that Iran increasingly is protecting this capability in deep, underground sites that soon may be invulnerable to a conventional air strike is unavoidable. The Jewish State of Israel has never been more vulnerable to existential threat—and yet, now too, the distance between Jerusalem and Washington, D.C. has never been greater.

Despite protestations by President Obama that “we’ve got your back,” White House actions speak louder than words. The U.S. has drastically scaled back its troop and equipment commitment to the annual joint U.S.-Israel military exercise, called “Austere Challenge 12.” First postponed from early 2012 to October, the exercise now looks likely to go forward just before the November U.S. presidential election; but the U.S. has slashed the number of its troops that will be participating by more than two-thirds, Patriot anti-missile systems are to be sent without crews to operate them and even the two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense warships promised as a replacement are not a definite.

Jeffrey Feltman (second from left)

Jeffrey Feltman (second from left)On the diplomatic front as well, the Obama administration is sending signals that align its policy more closely with that of Tehran than Jerusalem. When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon ignored an Obama request not to lend legitimacy to the mullahs’ regime by visiting Iran and attended the NAM meeting, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State went along, too. Jeffrey Feltman (who now works for Ban Ki-Moon at the UN), was photographed at an August 30 meeting (looking distinctly uncomfortable), seated on a couch between Ahmadinejad’s senior Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Moon during an audience with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

As journalist-in-residence at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Claudia Rosett wrote at PJMedia on August 29, “This is a diplomatic coup for Iran’s regime, which tops the U.S. list of terrorist-sponsoring states, thumbs its nose at UN and U.S. sanctions, and continues to pursue nuclear weapons, coupled with threats to America and America’s allies — including the genocidal threat to annihilate Israel.” It’s also a slap at U.S. ally Israel, which will not have missed the message from its erstwhile friend and protector.

Finally, lest it be thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse, there’s the craven comment from the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who told reporters in London during a late August visit that he thought Israel could damage but not destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities—and then added, “I don’t want to be complicit if they choose to do it.”

Bottom line: Israel can be in no doubt that it is being abandoned in its hour of supreme need by its sometime champion, the former defender of the free world—a United States of America now willingly implementing policies that embolden and empower the forces of Islamic jihad and shariah, whether Sunni or Shi’a, which are dedicated to the destruction of us all.

Clare Lopez is a senior fellow at RadicalIslam.org and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez began her career as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).