There is a long history of Western powers believing that they could manipulate or work with radical Arabic-speaking states or movements to redo the regional order. All have ended badly.
– During the 1880s and 1890s, Germany became convinced that it could turn the forces of jihad against British, French, and Russian rivals. The kaiser presented himself as the Muslim world’s friend, and German propaganda even hinted that their ruler had converted to Islam.
– In World War One, the Germans launched a jihad, complete with the Ottoman caliph’s proclamation. Wiser heads warned that the Ottoman ruler didn’t have real authority to do so, or that the raising of the jihad spirit could cause massacres of Christians in the empire. They were ignored.
As a result, few responded to this jihad; Armenians were massacred, at times with at least the passive complicity of the German government.
– Nevertheless, Adolf Hitler, whose close comrades included many veterans of the earlier jihad strategy, tried the same approach in World War Two. This time, the Jews in the Middle East were to be the massacred scapegoats. Yet despite close collaboration by the leader of the Palestine Arabs Haj Amin al-Husseini and the Muslim Brotherhood, among others, the defeat of the German armies along with other factors (incompetence, unkept Arab promises, and German priorities) prevented this alliance from succeeding.
By the way: the Nazi collaborators were the same Muslim Brotherhood to which the United States is allied today. There are huge amounts of archival evidence, including documents showing not only Nazi payments to the Brotherhood but also that the Nazis provided them with arms for a rebellion to kill Christians and Jews in Egypt.
There is no evidence that the Brotherhood has changed its positions. The story above is told in a new book I wrote with the brilliant scholar Wolfgang G. Schwanitz — Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East – which will be published by Yale University Press in January 2014. It will be an explosive rethinking of Middle Eastern history which could not be more timely.
Incidentally, might one think that the Western mass media should mention that the chief U.S. ally in the Arab world — one of whose branches is now receiving American weapons — were Nazi collaborators who have never abandoned their anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish views? How much has the Brotherhood visibly reconsidered its ideology since the man who is still its leader, Muhammad al-Badi, explained in October 2010 that the Egyptian regime would be overthrown and then the Brotherhood would wage jihad on a weak and retreating America?
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