Why Is America Midwiving a Muslim Brotherhood-Ruled Syria?

By Andrew Bostom

Following significant military successes and diplomatic gains by Syria’s anti-Bashar Assad Sunni Muslim insurgency over recent weeks, Moscow, a key Assad regime ally, announced Tuesday 12/18/12 its preparations for an evacuation of Russian citizens living in Syria.

While the Assad regime’s ruling Alawite minority sect retained a firm hold on their indigenous base in the coastal Syrian provinces, the predominantly Sunni Muslim Syrian rebels have seized the northern and eastern border zones, near Turkey and Iraq, respectively, and dominate wide swathes of rural Syria. The continued rebel assault is even advancing on Assad’s seat of power, Damascus, near the western frontier of Lebanon, having just seized the pro-Assad Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, on the southern edge of the Syrian capital.

By Wednesday, the rebels had reportedly captured at least six towns in the central Hama governorate (Latamneh, Helfaya, Kfar Naboudah, Hasraya, Tibat al-Imn, and Kfar Zita), with skirmishes erupting in the city of Hama itself. As of Friday, the Sunni insurgents were besieging Morek, an Alawite stronghold in Hama governorate, a province which contains dozens of Alawite and Christian villages among Sunni towns, igniting fears of increased sectarian violence.

During an interview with Barbara Walters on December 11, President Obama announced the U.S. would formally recognize the recently established Syrian National Coalition of Revolution and Opposition Forces (SNCROF), an umbrella group seeking to depose Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Obama extolled the SNCROF for its inclusiveness, allegedly being open to various ethnic and religious groups, and bonds to local councils participating in the fight against Assad’s security forces.  He opined:

At this point we have a well-organized-enough coalition — opposition coalition that is representative — that we can recognize them as the legitimate representative of Syrian people.

SNCROF

Independent analysts sympathetic to the anti-Assad forces, have concluded that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood remains the dominant force in SNCROF, as it had been in the earlier Syrian National Council opposition front. London-based Syrian journalist Malik Al-Abdeh noted:

The Muslim Brotherhood seems to be in the dominant position … However, the West feels compelled now to legitimize the Syrian opposition in whatever guise it may take, simply because of the fast pace of events on the ground in Syria.

Andrew Tabler, cofounder and former editor-in-chief of Syria Today, maintained: “The [Muslim Brotherhood-dominated] SNC [Syrian National Council] is still a major player.” Tabler also expressed this ominous concern:

And that’s just the civil end. The armed groups within the country are not included in this coalition directly. How is that going to work?

Apropos to Tabler’s worry and concurrent with President Obama’s recognition of SNCROF on December 11, the U.S. State Department designated the Syrian jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra a terrorist organization, amending the 2004 designation of al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq (AQISI), and declaring there was “sufficient factual basis” to conclude AQISI, under the guise of Jabhat al-Nusra, was operating in Syria. Justifying the designation, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland stated the group had claimed responsibility for almost 600 attacks in several cities during the past year, including homicide bombings, which had caused the deaths of “numerous innocent Syrians.” She added:

[Al Nusra] has sought to portray itself as part of the legitimate Syrian opposition while it is, in fact, an attempt by AQI [i.e., AQISI, Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq] to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes.

Public Syrian denunciations of the State Department’s formal labeling of Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group were swift and often fierce, running the gamut from the Syrian opposition website Sooryoon.net, and the mass vox populi demonstrations of anti-Assad Syrian civilian populations,  to the SNCROF leadership itself (including comments by SNCROF’s anti-Western, antisemitic, titular leader, Sheikh Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib).

Anticipating the State Department’s 12/11/12 designation of Jabhat al-Nusra as terrorists, Sooryoon.net had posted articles (on December 6 and 7, 2012) which recognized Jabhat Al-Nusra’s efforts in damaging Assad’s regime, while objecting to the motives of the (then) looming U.S. action. Sooryoon.net claimed the U.S. sought to blunt the burgeoning support and gratitude Jabhat Al-Nusra has garnered among the Syrians. Moreover, regarding Jabhat Al-Nusra’s avowed goal of establishing a strictly Sharia-compliant Islamic state following removal of the Assad regime, the Syrian opposition website insisted there was “nothing wrong” with this openly proclaimed aspiration, acknowledging it was shared by multitudes of Syrians, especially members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Sooryoon.net also warned the SNC/SNCROF leadership not to accept Jabhat Al-Nusra’s terrorist designation, while urging vigorous opposition to the U.S. action, and encouraging FSA leaders and members, and all Syrians, to declare their solidarity with Jabhat Al-Nusra. By December 11, Sooryoon.net cautioned the U.S. against intensifying its hostility toward Jabhat Al-Nusra, adding such measures would be counterproductive at any rate, and would swell the jihadist group’s popularity among the Syrian Muslim masses. The website further chastised the U.S. for allegedly missing opportunities to be effectively involved in Syria, and even forewarning that any direct U.S. commitment now would transform the country into an American graveyard.

*******

Conclusion

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her subordinate State Department advisers and minions have recklessly eschewed Wafa Sultan’s June 2005 wise, experience-based tocsin of looming calamity. The Clinton State Department also apparently never learned, or chose to ignore, the frank, unchanged truths conveyed in the State Department’s own December, 1947 assessment of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Ms. Clinton’s likely replacement as Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry, judging from his own uninformed statements about the parent Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, will not change America’s delusive and dangerous empowerment of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood as “policy.” Tragically, America seems hell bent on midwiving a post-Assad Muslim Botherhood-ruled Syria.

Read more at PJ Media

Andrew G.  Bostom is the author of The  Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The  Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism ”  (Prometheus, November, 2008)

You can contact Dr. Bostom at info[@]andrewbostom.org

Pentagon Islamic Adviser Reappears as Political Leader for Syrian Muslim Brotherhood-Dominated Group

by Patrick S. Poole

The questions raised by Rep. Michele Bachmann and four of her congressional colleagues over the potential influence of Muslim Brotherhood operatives in Washington D.C. have been met with widespread scorn from the political chattering class and the establishment media.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has denounced Bachmann from the Senate floor, Speaker of the House John Boehner has called the charges “dangerous,” and House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers is now trying to force her out. (Bachmann serves on the Intelligence Committee, whose members are selected at the sole discretion of the Speaker.)

And that’s just on the GOP side of the equation.

But the notion that the U.S. government is influenced by Muslim Brotherhood operatives is absolutely nutty, right?

Take, for example, the case of Louay Safi, a Syrian-American Islamic leader who has been actively involved with groups close to the Obama White House.

Safi himself has been fairly influential in government circles. For several years, he was only one of two endorsing agents for the Pentagon’s Muslim military chaplain program as Director of Leadership Development for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). He was also responsible for teaching about Islam to American troops deploying to Afghanistan and Iraq.

So it was particularly curious last year when Safi reappeared last August as the director of the political office of the newly-formed Syrian National Council (SNC). His profile appears on the SNC’s website, and pictures taken at the unveiling of the SNC in Istanbul shows Safi front and center of the leadership.

His new SNC role and his connections to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood were first reported by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report.

Now Safi’s presence on Al-Jazeera is nearly ubiquitous when it comes to matters concerning Syria and the efforts of the SNC and its subordinate Free Syrian Army to topple the regime of Bashar Assad:

But what is the relationship between the SNC and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, historically one of the most violent Muslim Brotherhood offshoots in the world?

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies have complete control of the SNC–as testified to in multiple media reports, including the New York Times and the Washington Post.

One May 2012 Reuters report observes the pervasive control of Muslim Brotherhood over SNC operations and policies:

At a meeting of Syria’s opposition, Muslim Brotherhood officials gather round Marxists colleagues, nudging them to produce policy statements for the Syrian National Council, the main political group challenging President Bashar al-Assad.

With many living in the West, and some ditching their trademark beards, it is hard to differentiate Brotherhood from leftists. But there is little dispute about who calls the shots.

From annihilation at home 30 years ago when they challenged the iron-fisted rule of Hafez al-Assad, the Brotherhood has recovered to become the dominant force of the exile opposition in the 14-month-old revolt against his son Bashar.

The report goes on to note one incident picked up by the Arab media (see also John Rosenthal’s report at the National Review) of Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leaders touting in meetings with other Middle East leaders their control of the SNC and how they positioned a “liberal” leader up front to maintain an illusion for Western leaders:

Careful not to undermine the council’s disparate supporters, the Brotherhood has played down its growing influence within the Syrian National Council (SNC), whose public face is the secular Paris-based professor Bourhan Ghalioun.

“We chose this face, accepted by the West and by the inside. We don’t want the regime to take advantage if an Islamist becomes the Syrian National Council’s head,” former Brotherhood leader Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni told supporters in a video.

The footage is now being circulated by Brotherhood opponents, seeking to highlight its undeclared power.

“We nominated Ghalioun as a front for national action. We are not moving now as Muslim Brotherhood but as part of a front that includes all currents,” said Bayanouni.

Here is the video of Bayanouni’s comments:

The SNC leadership also traveled to Doha, Qatar (where Safi is now based), back in February to receive the blessing of Yusef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood.

Thus, it’s not a surprise that the non-Islamists opposing Assad have openly complained about the Muslim Brotherhood’s tight grip on the SNC.

Which brings us back to Louay Safi. How does someone who served as one of the Pentagon’s top Islamic advisers turn up as a political leader for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood front group waging a bloody civil war against the Assad regime?

Perhaps someone should ask John McCain, John Boehner and Mike Rogers that question, as well as where their outrage was when an Egyptian terror group member was given a visa in violation of federal law, flown to the U.S. on the taxpayer’s tab, and escorted into the White House to meet with members of Obama’s national security staff to demand the release of the terror group’s leader imprisoned in the U.S.?

In the past Safi has cast himself as a neutral, objective academic, but his Muslim Brotherhood pedigree in the U.S. goes back a long way.

His ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood became an issue when Safi’s relationship with the Pentagon became public after the November 2009 Fort Hood shootings.

At the time of Major Nidal Hasan’s lethal attack, Safi was teaching Islam to deploying soldiers at Fort Bliss. He had also been teaching a class, “Theology of Islam,” at Fort Hood. It is unknown whether Safi had any contact with Maj. Hasan.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the classes taught by Safi were overseen by the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and Safi served as a sub-contractor to Hunstville, Alabama-based Camber Corp., which had a $17.7 million Pentagon contract to teach Islamic theology as part of the U.S. Army’s Islamic education program.

After the Fort Hood attack, Safi appeared with a group of U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders at a press conference announcing the formation of a “Fort Hood Family Fund” under the auspices of Safi’s ISNA.

But Safi’s visibility and his ties to the Army’s Islamic education program brought considerable public criticism.

Read the rest at Breitbart