Theft of US weapons in Libya involved hundreds of guns, sources say

download (16)By Adam Housley:

EXCLUSIVE: The recent theft of massive amounts of highly sensitive U.S. military equipment from Libya is far worse than previously thought, Fox News has learned, with raiders swiping hundreds of weapons that are now in the hands of militia groups aligned with terror organizations and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The equipment, as Fox News previously reported, was used for training in Libya by U.S. Special Forces. The training team, which was funded by the Pentagon, has since been pulled, partly in response to the overnight raids last August.

According to State Department and military sources, dozens of highly armored vehicles called GMV’s, provided by the United States, are now missing. The vehicles feature GPS navigation as well as various sets of weapon mounts and can be outfitted with smoke-grenade launchers. U.S. Special Forces undergo significant training to operate these vehicles. Fox News is told the vehicles provided to the Libyans are now gone.

091113_hn_housley2_640Along with the GMV’s, hundreds of weapons are now missing, including roughly 100 Glock pistols and more than 100 M4 rifles. More disturbing, according to the sources, is that it seems almost every set of night-vision goggles has also been taken. This is advanced technology that gives very few war fighters an advantage on the battlefield.

“It’s not just equipment … it’s the capability. You are giving these very dangerous groups the capability that only a few nations are capable of,” one source said. “Already assassinations are picking up in Tripoli and there are major worries that the militias are using this stolen equipment to their advantage. All these militias are tied into terrorist organizations and are tied to (salafists).”

The “salafists” are a jihadist movement among Salafi Muslims. This growing movement in Libya directly endangers the U.S.-supported government, and sources worry that this sensitive equipment is now going to be used by these groups in an attempt to overthrow the government and install a more hardline Muslim leadership.

Some diplomats, who asked to remain anonymous, say they are seeing the kinds of conditions that opened the door to the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack now appearing in Tripoli and across the rest of Libya.  They worry that American convoys and western convoys will be attacked using these stolen weapons and vehicles.

Read more at Fox News

 

Who’s Who in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

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By Eric Trager, Katie Kiraly, Cooper Klose, and Eliot Calhoun

Given its growing control over key government institutions and its unmatched mobilizing capabilities, the Muslim Brotherhood will likely remain Egypt’s most consequential political actor for many years to come. But who are the men who make up this uniquely cohesive and secretive “society,” and what impact will they have on the country’s domestic and foreign policy?

 

Introduction

Since Hosni Mubarak’s February 2011 ouster, the Muslim Brotherhood has emerged as Egypt’s most potent political force. It won a decisive plurality in the winter 2011–2012 People’s Assembly elections and a majority in the January 2012 Shura Council elections, thus gaining control over both houses of parliament and the committee that is writing the next constitution. And in June, the group successfully campaigned to elect Brotherhood leader Muhammad Morsi as Egypt’s first civilian president.

Since taking office, Morsi has moved quickly to consolidate the organization’s power, appointing fellow Muslim Brothers to head key ministries and cracking down on media criticism of the group. His boldest moves came on August 12, when he sacked the generals who posed the greatest threat to his authority, promoted new generals who now answer to him, and issued a constitutional declaration that gave him full executive, legislative, and constitution-writing powers. Although Morsi and the Brotherhood may yet face challenges from non-Islamists, Salafists, former regime elements, and, perhaps, the judiciary, the group’s unmatched mobilizing capabilities and control over key government institutions will likely make it Egypt’s most consequential political actor for many years to come.

For this reason, it is worth taking a closer look at the individuals who make up the Brotherhood’s organizational and political leadership. After all, the group views itself not as a political party directed by a single chairman, but as a cohesive “society” that operates on the basis of internal consultation, or shura. Accordingly, its strategic and policy decisions will be guided not only by Morsi and Supreme Guide Muhammad Badie, but also by a team of longtime Brotherhood officials who will coordinate efforts across the various political bodies the group now dominates.
Who are these individuals? While the profiles in this compendium demonstrate that Brotherhood leaders come from many different educational and professional backgrounds, their stories illustrate three important points about the organization.

First, the Brotherhood’s leadership is composed almost exclusively of longtime members. Most were recruited during high school or college and, in many cases, served in top administrative positions within the Brotherhood’s nationwide structure before being promoted to the Guidance Office (the organization’s top executive authority) or nominated for political office. To some extent, this is typical of any political organization: veteran members tend to lead. But for the Brotherhood, having longtime members in top posts ensures that its leaders have all been vetted over the course of decades for their willingness to comply with the internal shura committee’s decisions. This does not mean that internal divisions are impossible, but the tight, time-tested circle in which decisions are made makes this highly unlikely. As a result, the Brotherhood maintains a unity of purpose that other Egyptian political groups have yet to achieve.

Second, in addition to their positions within the group, most Brotherhood leaders were active in important societal organizations under the Mubarak regime, serving on the boards of professional syndicates, heading labor unions, running religious charities, and/or participating in key social clubs. These positions enabled them to build their stature at a time when avenues for more direct political participation were often blocked. Such activity also helped the group expand its outreach networks, through which it gained popular support by providing social services and increasing its recruitment efforts.

Third, almost all of the Brotherhood’s top leaders were directly persecuted under the Mubarak regime, and many served time as political prisoners. To some extent, this enhances their unity, particularly among those who were imprisoned together. More important, it makes them unlikely to tolerate competing centers of power, since the Brotherhood’s ouster could invite a new era of repression against the organization.

Individual profiles suggest other important points about the Brotherhood as well. In particular, the group’s recruitment networks clearly have international reach, since three of its top leaders (including Morsi) came aboard while living in the United States. The Brotherhood’s internal promotion structure is also somewhat nepotistic, given that its top leaders frequently are related to each other through marriage or are professional colleagues. Finally, despite the fact that Brotherhood officials have never run a government ministry or wielded meaningful political power until recently, the group is confident that it has the expertise to lead Egypt because its members come from many different professional backgrounds.

This first installment of Brotherhood profiles examines top figures from the Guidance Office, the Freedom and Justice Party (the group’s political arm), the parliamentary leadership, and members of Morsi’s presidential office. These profiles will be updated as new information surfaces, and new ones will be added over time.

(Note: To see quotation sources and photographs for each individual profiled, download the PDF version of the compendium.)

Index:

  • Saber Abouel Fotouh
  • Salah Abdel Maqsoud
  • Saber Abdul Sadeq
  • Sabri Amer
  • Sheikh Sayyed Askar
  • Khaled al-Azhari
  • Muhammad Badie
  • Muhammad al-Beltagy
  • Amr Darrag
  • Essam al-Erian
  • Mahmoud Ezzat
  • Ahmed Fahmi
  • Ali Fath al-Bab
  • Mahmoud Ghozlan
  • Essam al-Haddad
  • Mahmoud Hussein
  • Saad al-Husseini
  • Hussein Ibrahim
  • Farid Ismail
  • Saad al-Katatni
  • Mahmoud el-Khodary
  • Hassan Malek
  • Muhammad Morsi
  • Mustafa Mosaad
  • Gen. Abbas Mukhaymer
  • Al-Sayyed Negidah
  • Subhi Saleh
  • Akram al-Shaer
  • Khairat al-Shater
  • Ahmed Suleiman
  • Muhammad Tousoun
  • Tareq Wafiq
  • Osama Yassin

Top Leaders

Muhammad Morsi

محمد مرسي

  • Born: August 1951
  • Position: President of Egypt; formerly member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Office, parliamentarian (2000–2005), and chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party
  • Education: Doctorate in engineering from University of Southern California (1982), master’s degree in engineering from Cairo University (1978), bachelor’s degree in engineering from Cairo University (1975)
  • Occupation: Engineer

Morsi was first recruited to the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States while studying for his PhD in engineering at the University of Southern California. His children were born in California and are U.S. citizens. After receiving his doctorate in 1982, he taught as an assistant professor at California State University–Northridge until 1985.

He then returned to Egypt to teach at Zagazig University, where his colleagues included current Brotherhood deputy supreme guides Mahmoud Ezzat and Mahmoud Ghozlan. Some sources report that Morsi’s rise in the MB began in 2000, when he was elected as a member of the People’s Assembly and served as the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc leader from 2000 to 2005. After losing his parliamentary race in 2005 due to Mubarak regime forgery, he became leader of the Brotherhood’s political division. From 2007 onward, he was also the key point of contact between the MB and the regime’s repressive State Security apparatus (and, according to MB political leader Saad al-Husseini, between the Brotherhood and Hamas).

Morsi has been arrested at least twice: he was detained for seven months in 2006 after protesting alongside several judges who had been targeted by the regime, and again during the January 2011 uprising, along with several other Brotherhood leaders. Following the uprising, the MB leadership appointed him chairman of the newly formed Freedom and Justice Party. In April 2012, he was chosen as the group’s backup presidential candidate in the event that its initial candidate, Khairat al-Shater, was barred from running. When Shater was indeed excluded due to a previous conviction, Morsi became the MB’s presidential nominee. In the first round of Egypt’s presidential election, Morsi won 24.78 percent of the vote, securing his position in a runoff against Ahmed Shafiq in mid-June. On June 24, Morsi was declared president, having won 51.73 percent of the vote.

Read the rest at The Washington Institute

Egypt’s Christians fear ‘a season of blood’

By Betsy Hiel

CAIRO — In the Shubra El Kheima section of this  sprawling capital’s outskirts, a herd of goats and three rail-thin horses pick  through garbage piles.

Rattling old cars and exhaust-belching buses honk at  darting three-wheeled “tuc-tuc” taxis.

On a narrow dirt street, four police officers guard  brick pillars rising from the mud.

This was going to be a Coptic Christian community  center — until ultra-Islamist Salafis seized it and declared it a Muslim mosque,  according to Emad El Erian, a spokesman for a Coptic rights organization.

“They threatened to burn some of the Coptic houses in  the neighborhood,” he said.

Salafis occupied the site every night until a  prosecutor ruled that the land belonged to the Copts and ordered a police guard,  local residents say.

“It’s as if (they) are challenging the police, the  government and the general prosecutor, and that they want to drag the Coptic  Christians into sectarian violence, a season of blood,” El Erian said.

Last week’s incident was the latest attack on Egypt’s  Christian minority — but not the week’s only one: A veiled woman sheared a  Christian girl’s hair in Cairo’s subway.

Such attacks — like crime in general — have risen in  number and intensity since last year’s ouster of dictator Hosni Mubarak.  Christian churches, homes and shops have been looted or torched; Christians have  been forced to flee some villages.

The situation seems to contradict President Obama’s  assertion in the Oct. 22 presidential debate that Egyptian officials must “take  responsibility for protecting religious minorities, and we have put significant  pressure on them to make sure they’re doing that.”

President Mohamed Morsy, a former Muslim Brotherhood  leader, insists Egypt is open to Muslims and Christians. Yet many Christians,  who make up 10 to 15 percent of Egypt’s 85 million people, believe the Islamist  government is not protecting them.

“Nothing has been done to reform or achieve equality  among Egyptians,” said Youssef Sidhom, the editor of Watani, a Christian  newspaper. He dismisses Morsy’s commitment as “superficial.”

The post-Mubarak rise of the Salafis, who are akin to  Saudi Arabia’s ultra-religious Wahhabis, frightens Christians and less-fanatical  Muslims.

On Friday, thousands of Salafis marched here to  demand “implementation of the Shariah,” or Islamic law. The mostly bearded crowd  waved green Saudi flags and the black banners of al-Qaida and other jihadi  groups.

One veiled Salafi woman carried a sign congratulating  Obama on his re-election as president. Other posters demanded freedom for Omar  Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian “Blind Sheikh” who is in a U.S. prison for his role  in the 1993 bombing of New York’s World Trade Center.

‘A dangerous, slippery slope’

Sherif Rushdy

Sherif Rushdy, chief judge of a Cairo appeals court,  describes Copts as “a ship in the middle of a sandy hurricane.” Many are trying  to leave the country, he said.

Eighteen months ago, a fight erupted between a Muslim  and a Christian in Abu Qorqas, a village in Upper Egypt. Muslims then rampaged  for days, looting and burning 36 Christian homes and shops.

Rushdy’s brother Ala’a owned a restaurant that was  torched and a small cafeteria that was ransacked. Soldiers guarded Ala’a’s home  from a mob shouting, “God is great!”

Twenty people were arrested: 12 Christians, including  Rushdy’s brother, and eight Muslims.

“They investigated him and accused him of owning  machine guns, but they didn’t find any,” Rushdy said. “They accused him of  attempted murder.”

At a trial nine months later, an Egyptian general  called the charges nonsensical, Rushdy said. Yet Ala’a and the other Christians  were convicted and given life sentences; the eight Muslims were acquitted.

“We were shocked,” Rushdy recalled. “We had brought  his clothes (to the courtroom) because we thought he was coming home with us.”

He continues to file legal appeals but said that only  a presidential pardon will free his brother.

“We are on a dangerous, slippery slope,” he said. “The extremists have a principle: Whoever is not with us is against us.”

He dismisses the possibility of any help from the  Obama administration: “They didn’t do anything for their own ambassador, who was  killed in Libya. What will they do for us?”

Read more at Trib Live

 

A New Year of “Dhimmitude” for Egypt’s Copts

by Raymond Ibrahim at Stonegate Institute:

As usual, it took the army an hour to drive two kilometers to the village. “This happens every time. They wait outside the village until the Muslims have had enough violence, then they appear.”

For Egypt’s Christian Copts, the New Year began with threats that their churches would be attacked during Christmas mass (celebrated on January 7). Because many people were watching what might happen—several Coptic churches were previously attacked, including last Christmas (8 dead) and New Year’s day (23 dead), not to mention ominous episodes around the world, such as the Nigerian Christmas day church bombings (40 dead) —the Muslim Brotherhood proclaimed it would “protect” the Copts during their church services. Happily, Coptic Christmas came and went without incident.

Church of St. Mary and St. Abram, recently besieged by 20,000 Muslims.

However, if the Muslim Brotherhood “protected” Coptic churches when many around the world were watching, as soon as attention dissipated, it was business as usual: a large number of Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood members entered a church, asserting that it had no license and no one should pray in it — accompanied by hints that it might be turned into a mosque: an all too typical approach in Muslim countries where building, or even renovating, churches is next to impossible.

Currently, 2012 appears to be unfolding as the “Year of Dhimmitude” for Egypt’s Christians. Consider the following incidents from just last January alone, all of which demonstrate an upsurge in the treatment of Egypt’s Copts as dhimmis – the legal term for Islam’s “protected,” barely tolerated non-Muslim minorities—”protected,” that is, as long as they agree to a number of debilitations, such as those that follow, that render them second-class citizens:

Insulting Islam

According to the Pact of Omar (also one of the earliest sources banning the construction or renovation of churches), dhimmis must “respect Muslims” and never insult them or their religion. Accordingly, a prominent Christian, Naguib Sawiris, is charged with “contempt of religion,” for twittering a cartoon of a bearded Mickey Mouse and a veiled Minnie: “The case has added to fears among many that ultraconservative Islamists may use their new found powers to try to stifle freedom of expression.” Nor are the double standards in Egypt’s “contempt of religion” law set aside: Christianity is daily disparaged in Egypt with impunity.

Similarly, a 17-year-old Christian student accused of posting a drawing of Islam’s prophet on Facebook—which he denies doing, saying it was posted without his permission—triggered days of Muslim violence and havoc, including the burning of three Christian homes to cries of “Allahu Akbar” ["Alah s the Greatest."] The student, who was beaten, is to be “held” for fifteen days, “pending investigation.” Muslim leaders agree “that priests should publicly apologize for the images, and that the student, as well as his family, should move out of the governorate.”

Conversion Issues

Also according to the Pact of Omar, non-Muslims “shall not prevent” any of their family members from converting to Islam. Accordingly, some 20,000 Muslims just attacked a Coptic church, demanding the death of the pastor, who, along with “nearly 100 terrorized Copts sought refuge inside it, while Muslim rioters were pelting the church with stones in an effort to break into the church, assault the Copts and torch the building.” They did this, apparently, because a Christian girl who, according to Islamic law, automatically became a Muslim when her father converted to Islam, had fled from her father and was rumored to be hiding in the church. This would not be the first time churches were attacked on similar rumors.

Collective Punishment

Traditionally, if one dhimmi transgresses, all surrounding dhimmis are collectively punished. As the jurist al-Murtada writes: “The agreement [presumably to "protect" the dhimmis] will be cancelled if all or some of them break it;” another jurist, al-Maghili, taught that “the fact that one individual (or one group) among them has broken the statute is enough to invalidate it for all of them.”

Accordingly, a mob of over 3000 Muslims attacked Christians in an Alexandrian village because a Muslim barber accused a Christian of having “intimate photos” of a Muslim woman on his phone (Sharia bans non-Muslim men from marrying Muslim women). Terrified, the Christian, who denies having such photos, turned himself in to the police. Regardless, Coptic homes and shops were looted and set ablaze. Three Christians were injured, while “terrorized” women and children, rendered homeless, stood in the streets with no place to go. As usual, it took the army an hour to drive two kilometers to the village: “This happens every time,” a man said: “They wait outside the village until the Muslims have had enough violence, then they appear.” None of the perpetrators was arrested.

After the initial attacks, and in an apparent effort to empty the village of its 62 Christian families, Muslims attacked them again, burning more Coptic property. According to police, the woman concerned has denied the whole story, and no photos have been found.

Jizya

Koran 9:29 commands Muslims to “Fight … the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] until they pay the jizya [monetary tribute] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” Although abolished under Western pressure during the colonial era, Muslim demands for jizya are back. Even though it has currently not been reinstated, some Muslims have taken matters in their own hands by extorting money from Christians in lieu of jizya. (Who can forget Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini’s lament that Muslims could alleviate their economic woes if only they returned to the good old days of Islam, when plundering, abducting, and selling/ransoming infidels was a great way of making a living?) Thus, Two Christians were killed “after a Muslim racketeer opened fire on them for refusing to pay him extortion money.” The local bishop said, “I hold security forces and local Muslims fully responsible for terrorizing the Copts living there, who are continually being subjected to terror and kidnapping.”

Read the rest

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


 

No Freedom in Islam, Says Egypt’s Presidential Candidate

by Raymond Ibrahim

In a recent TV interview, Hazim Abu Ismail, a candidate for Egypt’s presidency with affiliations to both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis, made clear that the hijab, or veil for women, would be enforced under his leadership. More importantly, along the way he exposed his general views—that there is little freedom under Islam. Especially telling is the military analogy he used: being a Muslim is like being a member of the military; you must obey all its dictates, including dress codes. He fails to add, however, that, whereas much military service is voluntary, in Islam, if you are simply born to Muslim parents, then you have joined Islam—whether you like it or not. Hence, all the persecution of Muslim apostates. But, as Abu Ismail puts it, “This is Islam.” Translated excerpts of the interview follow:

Abu Ismail: "I have nothing to do with it!... This is Islam."

 

Host: You have already begun to try to impose a particular dress code for us.
Abu Ismail: I’ve begun to? It’s the Lord of the Worlds [Allah] who said so. I have nothing to do with it!
Host: Allah left it for me to decide as a personal freedom.
Abu Ismail: Who said that? Where’d you get that from? See, that’s the whole point: If you claim that Allah considers it your personal freedom, show me your reference. Nobody has ever said that—except for people who have no understanding of Sharia.
Host: There is “no coercion in religion” [Koran 2:256].
Abu Ismail: This is concerning the creed, you don’t force someone to convert to Islam.
Host: So when Allah in the Koran mentions “religion,” it is synonymous with “creed”?
Abu Ismail: Exactly.
Host: So when He says “today I have perfected your religion for you” [Koran 5:3], He is only talking about the “creed.”
Abu Ismail: Yes; for example, when you say “no coercion to join the Military Academy,” it means that you are free to join or not—but if you do join, then you are obliged to wear their uniform, to attend their classes, to attend the training with them, and to obey their leader.
Host: There is a problem here—shall I say to the unveiled woman who wants to avoid hijab that she should change her creed?
Abu Ismail: Exactly, bravo. If she is a Muslim. You see, this is the difficulty; this is Islam. Does she want to be a Muslim and not obey Allah’s rules? Let them say so; that’s all I ask; let them be honorable and just speak up.

A bold challenge, considering that “speaking up” about not wanting to follow “Allah’s rules” in Muslim countries can get one attacked, hounded, imprisoned, and killed.