Amir Taheri Still Flush with Spring Fever

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Rose-tinted revisionism: Islamic supremacism was not imposed on Egyptians; it was chosen by Egyptians.

By Andrew C. McCarthy:

My great respect for Amir Taheri notwithstanding, his hopes for democratic transformation of the Middle East cause him, yet again, to misinterpret the most recent developments in Egypt.

There, the initial draft of a new constitution is about to be published, the product of a committee overseen by the military, which has run Egypt’s government since Mohamed Morsi’s ouster. The new constitution will reportedly preserve sharia (Islam’s societal framework) as the country’s main source of law. It will also codify the “special status” of the armed forces as protectors of the state vested with supreme power in matters of national defense, foreign relations, and economic affairs — possibly including, the Washington Post reports, the discretion to try civilians (such as Muslim Brotherhood operatives) in military courts.

In a recent New York Post column, Taheri argues that the new constitution will thus be an insidious pact between the generals and the “Salafists” — Muslim supremacists who, like their Brotherhood political rivals, are determined to create a caliphate beholden to Islam’s repressive principles. It will betray hopes for real democracy that are shared, Taheri insists, by the vast majority of Egyptians.

Adopting the conveniently pliable passive voice, Taheri writes (the italics are mine):

The coup that returned the military to power after a year-long interval was presented as an attempt to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from imposing an Islamist dictatorship with a constitutional facade. Highlighted were two articles in the Morsi constitution that identified the Islamic sharia as the source of legislation in Egypt and gave Al-Azhar, the official seminary, a virtual veto on certain issues.

The crowds that for weeks filled Tahrir Square called on the army to intervene to save the nation from a burgeoning sharia-based dictatorship. Well, when the new draft constitution — written by a 50-man committee appointed by the military — is published, the Tahrir Square crowds are likely to be disappointed. The two controversial articles will still be there, albeit under different numbers and with slight changes in terminology.

This is rose-tinted revisionism. Yes, the coup “was presented” by democracy romantics as a rejection of Islamic totalitarianism. But that did not make it one. Egypt is a big, complex country, and there was no single rationale for Morsi’s ouster, which was supported by some important Salafist factions — groups that could not be more opposed to Western liberalism. The impetus for removing Morsi that came closest to a societal consensus was not the desire for real democracy; it was — as our colleague David Goldman has observed — that Egypt is an economic basket-case that Morsi and the Brothers were steering toward failed-state status.

Read more at PJ Media

Egyptian military’s pact with Islamists

EGYPT-POLITICS-UNREST-DEMOBy Amir Taheri:

Sometime next week, Egypt’s military-run government will publish the “first draft” of a new constitution to replace the one worked out by the government of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

The coup that returned the military to power after a year-long interval was presented as an attempt to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from imposing an Islamist dictatorship with a constitutional facade. Highlighted were two articles in the Morsi constitution that identified the Islamic sharia as the source of legislation in Egypt and gave Al-Azhar, the official seminary, a virtual veto on certain issues.

The crowds that for weeks filled Tahrir Square called on the army to intervene to save the nation from a burgeoning sharia-based ­dictatorship. Well, when the new draft constitution — written by a 50-man committee appointed by the military — is published, the Tahrir Square crowds are likely to be disappointed. The two controversial articles will still be there, albeit under different numbers and with slight changes in terminology.

“Egyptians want to retain their Islamic identity,” says Kamal Halbawi, a former Brotherhood member who co-chaired the army-appointed drafting committee with Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister during the earlier military governments.

Thus Islamists, including the Salafist Nour ( Light) Party sponsored by Saudi Arabia will have no reason to be unhappy with the proposed draft.

The difference this time is that the new constitution also gives the military what the text drafted by Morsi denied it. The armed forces will get recognition for their “special status” and given a virtual veto on key aspects of security, foreign and even economic policies.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the junta formed after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, will be recognized as a constitutionally sanctioned state organ with “special responsibilities and prerogatives,” including the appointment of the defense minister and the supervision of the military budget, which will be spared public submission to the parliament.

Put brutally, the proposed draft constitution is a pact between a section of the military led by Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi and a section of the Islamic movement spearheaded by Salafists.

The faction led by Sisi represents a segment of the officers’ corps reluctant to abandon a system under which the army acted as a state within the state and seized control of perhaps 20 percent of the national economy. As always during the past 100 years, the military is using a pseudo-nationalistic discourse full of xenophobic shibboleths.

The Salafist faction hopes to seize the opportunity of its collaboration with the military to build its position within the Islamist constituency. With the Muslim Brotherhood banned and most of its leaders under arrest, the Salafists hope to seduce some of their followers, especially with the help of a deluge of Saudi money.

However, even when they add their respective bases of support, the Sisi faction of the military and the Salafist faction do not represent more than a third of the Egyptian electorate.

Read more at NYP

 

 

 

Breaking News: Egyptian Court Bans Brotherhood

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The Egyptian Pyramid Scheme

ObamaP-266x350By :

Deserts are funny things. A big wide open space in which nothing moves can play tricks on the mind. Spend enough time looking at a desert and you will see things moving in it because your mind needs to believe that there is life in it. Look hard enough and you will see democracy, progress and change.

But when you close your eyes and open them again, you will see that there is only a desert. And that there only ever was a desert.

Everything else was a mirage.

Egypt has gone back to what it was before the Arab Spring. It is now once again a country ruled by the military and bureaucratic institutions that are the legacy of British colonialism. Mubarak will not return to power again, but there are plenty of other military men to squat on top of a bankrupt oligarchy that lives on foreign aid and pride.

The mirage of Tahrir Square, the fireworks, fires and social media protesters brandishing smartphones and throwing down with riot police, is fading away. There will be more riots and fires and rapes. But that false sense of history being made will never return.

The truth about the Arab Spring is that it never existed. The term was coined by Marc Lynch, a George Washington University professor, who had spent years urging engagement with Hamas and championing the role of the Muslim Brotherhood as a “firewall” against Al-Qaeda “radicalism.”

This Arab Spring had nothing to do with democracy or freedom. It was a scheme to split the Islamist ranks by turning over the Middle East to political Islamists. It was Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Green Belt strategy practiced on a grander scale than Iran. Instead of Jimmy Carter hoping that the Ayatollah Khomeini would checkmate the USSR, there was Barack Obama counting on Muslim Brotherhood election victories to make the practice of international terrorism passé.

The Arab Spring was a cheerful brand, a shiny media package, covering up an ugly truth. The optimistic implications of its name kept many from looking at the list of ingredients and finding out that the only things inside were Islamists and more Islamists.

The pyramid scheme would keep investing in new Islamist governments and they would pay us back by discrediting Al Qaeda’s campaign of terror and that, the liberal foreign policy mavens insisted, would allow us to bring an end to the War on Terror.

Read more at Front Page

 

Five Lessons from Egypt and the Arab Spring

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The Muslim world cannot use processes from more advanced societies until it accepts the social and moral premises behind them.

By :

1. Don’t Believe Anything You Hear

Egyptian liberals allied with the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow Mubarak and challenge the military. In those heady Tahrir Square days, they ridiculed the idea that Mubarak’s overthrow would benefit the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now those same liberals have teamed up with the military to take down a Muslim Brotherhood government that they told us would never come to power. But don’t be surprised if a year from now, after the military develops too crushing a grip on power, they don’t run back to the Muslim Brotherhood and Tahrir Square repeats itself a third time with the banners and fireworks and chants about the will of the people.

And when it does happen, neither the liberals nor the Muslim Brotherhood will ever remember the time when they were deadly enemies. Instead they will pretend it never happened, the way that Egyptian liberals once pretended that the Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t part of the protests.

Middle Eastern politics is reality-selective. It’s conspiratorial and it’s based around shaky alliances between mortal enemies to achieve short term victories. That’s why the Muslim Brotherhood has done so well; it’s one of the few factions to practice long-term thinking.

Everyone else just thinks as far as winning the next battle, getting to power and then letting the unambiguous genius of their vision and the adoration of the people carry them to their destiny.

And then it all falls apart. Again.

2.  It’s Not Democracy, It’s Permanent Chaos

Democracy in the Middle East is just another means of political change. It’s not any different than mob action, a coup or an invasion. It’s just a way that one government replaces another.

The voting booth depends on a sense of law and order. It carries very little weight in lawless societies.

In Egypt, mass protests really are as legitimate a means of political change as the ballot box. Probably better. It’s harder to rig rallies of millions of people than it is to fake millions of votes.

The Arab Spring represented political chaos in a lawless society, not social change or cultural enlightenment.

Whoever runs Egypt will still leave it a corrupt place where family connections matter more than merit, where the poor struggle to get by, where everyone resents everyone else, where political alliances fall apart in the blink of an eye and everyone waits around for a tyrant to take matters into his hands and usher in some stability.

Read more at Front Page

Is Yusuf al-Qaradawi under house arrest?

There has been very little information to come out about Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader Yusuf Al-Qaradawi since it was reported earlier this month that Qatar was going to expel him. The most recent report on his status comes from Ahlul Bayt News Agency, which cites ‘unconfirmed reports’ that Qaradawi’s fate is not all that dissimilar from that of Mohammed Mursi.

Via ABNA:

Unconfirmed reports say head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has been put under house arrest.

This is according to Tofiq Akasha, an Egyptian media activist who wrote in his weblog that Egypt’s security forces have searched Al-Qaradawi’s house and put him under house arrest, Buratha news agency reported.

He wrote that the radical cleric who is banned from travelling was forced to return home from the airport by army units.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Mohammed Mursi: Are both of these men under house arrest?

Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Mohammed Mursi: Are both of these men under house arrest?

We know that Qaradawi was set to be expelled from Qatar but not what his destination would be. This ABNA report doesn’t specifically state where Qaradawi is but seems to imply he’s in Egypt. If Qaradawi is under house arrest in Egypt, this would be significant.

Just two years ago, Qaradawi spoke to millions from Tahrir Square:

 

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Clare Lopez has been writing a series of important articles on the pattern of an al-Qaradawi pronouncement quickly followed by White House action and the backing of Al Qaeda. In case you missed them here they are:

 

White House Hosts Array of Muslims With Terrorist Links – The White House has welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood, Gama’at al-Islamiyya and a Saudi clan whose sons fight for al-Qaeda

America Joins the Jihad – US foreign policy closely follows Qaradawi’s fatwas

… the current administration consistently and repeatedly appeared to respond eagerly to the calls for revolution from the Muslim Brotherhood’s senior Islamic scholar, Yousef al-Qaradawi. When al-Qaradawi said that Mubarak had to go, the U.S. waited a whole three days before throwing America’s key ally in the Middle East for over three decades under the bus. When al-Qaradawi called for Libyan rebels to kill Muammar Qaddafi (so the al-Qa’eda jihadis in his jails could get out and join the revolution), the U.S. led the Western military campaign that brought al-Qa’eda, the MB, and chaos to Libya. And when al-Qaradawi issued a call for jihad in Syria, in early June 2013, the U.S. quickly issued an invitation to Abdullah bin Bayyah (al-Qaradawi’s vice president at the International Union of Muslim Scholars), who told an Al-Jazeera reporter that, “We demand Washington take a greater role in [Syria].” It took the U.S. less than one week after al-Qaradawi’s fatwa to announce authorization of stepped-up military aid to the al-Qa’eda-and-Brotherhood-dominated Syrian rebels. The White House announcement came just a single day after bin Bayyah met with National Security and other senior administration officials.

U.S. Keeps Joining the Forces of Jihad – US backing Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda

America Joins the Jihad

"Behead all those who insult the Prophet." The 'Istanbul Process', in which the State Dept. is taking a leading role, aims to achieve international-level legislation that would curtail free speech about Islam. (Source: WikiMedia Commons)

“Behead all those who insult the Prophet.” The ‘Istanbul Process’, in which the State Dept. is taking a leading role, aims to achieve international-level legislation that would curtail free speech about Islam. (Source: WikiMedia Commons)

by Clare M. Lopez:

Instead of presenting a firm defense of American principles based on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the entire U.S. national security leadership simply caved in to this attempt to suborn the government. The FBI submissively complied with these jihadist demands, purging its anti-terrorist curriculum of hundreds of pages that an undisclosed group deemed “offensive to Muslims.” Next demand? The removal of HAMAS from the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations list.

It is not just that the United States government has aligned itself with the avowed vanguard of Islamic jihad — the Muslim Brotherhood [MB] — or committed American troops to battle (in Libya, and maybe soon in Syria) to ensure the victory of al-Qa’eda-linked militias. It is not just that whenever an opportunity has arisen, as in Iran in 2009, or pre-and-post revolutionary Egypt, or the Syrian civil war, the U.S. deliberately has chosen to side with the forces of jihad and shariah law and against the voices of civil society and genuine democracy.

The current U.S. administration has actually managed to flip from one side to the other, from “for the people in the streets” to “against the people in the streets,” as recently became evident in late June 2013, when protests mounted against the incompetent, oppressive regime of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. The U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, reportedly asked Coptic Pope Tawadros II, “to urge the Copts not to participate” — as well as other groups, apparently — in the demonstrations planned for June 30. There had been no such request reported two years earlier when Muslim Brotherhood supporters thronged Tahrir Square to demand that long-time U.S. ally President Hosni Mubarak step down. Nor did Ambassador Patterson pressure Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government to return power to Hosni Mubarak, an American ally for three decades, after those street demonstrations prompted the Egyptian military to remove him from power in February 2011. She also did not protest even after Morsi seized power outright from that military command in August 2012. Patterson has, however, reportedly been pressuring the Egyptian military command to reinstate Morsi after it stepped in once again on July 3, 2013 to remove chaos from the streets by removing Morsi from office.

What these policies make painfully obvious that the United States of America has apparently abandoned the core principles of its Founding Fathers and capitulated to the forces of jihad and shariah.The vision of America as “Shining City on a Hill,” an exceptional nation whose leaders champion the natural rights of the individual against the liberty crushing oppression of totalitarian theocracy, for the moment at least, has been suborned to a different vision: the vision of an America as a force for harm in the world, that apologizes for its exceptionalism, abandons its friends and allies, emboldens its enemies, and seeks unilateral disarmament so as to better meet its president’s desire to be just another “citizen of the world.”

The years from 2009-2013 have witnessed the remaking of the map of the Middle East and North Africa [MENA] region. The driving forces behind the Islamic uprisings were powerful indeed: beginning no later than the summer of 2010, al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood meshed their tactics and timing in a synchrony that previously had only characterized their identical Islamic ideology. Absent any serious groundwork over the preceding years by the U.S., whether official or by NGOs, to nourish genuine pro-democracy voices, once al-Qa’eda’s July 2010 Inspire magazine call for jihad had been met with MB Supreme Guide Muhammad Badi’sanswering declaration of war in the cause of Islam [jihad] in late September 2010, and al-Azhar had provided thefatwa [Islamic religious edict] of approval for offensive jihad in January 2011, there was no one capable of standing effectively against the tidal wave of popular pro-shariah sentiment. Perhaps no one could have held back that long suppressed desire for Islamic Law.

But the U.S. did not even try. To the contrary, the current administration consistently and repeatedly appeared to respond eagerly to the calls for revolution from the Muslim Brotherhood’s senior Islamic scholar, Yousef al-Qaradawi. When al-Qaradawi said that Mubarak had to go, the U.S. waited a whole three days before throwing America’s key ally in the Middle East for over three decades under the bus. When al-Qaradawi called for Libyan rebels to kill Muammar Qaddafi (so the al-Qa’eda jihadis in his jails could get out and join the revolution), the U.S. led the Western military campaign that brought al-Qa’eda, the MB, and chaos to Libya. And when al-Qaradawi issued a call for jihad in Syria, in early June 2013, the U.S. quickly issued an invitation to Abdullah bin Bayyah (al-Qaradawi’s vice president at the International Union of Muslim Scholars), who told an Al-Jazeera reporter that, “We demand Washington take a greater role in [Syria].” It took the U.S. less than one week after al-Qaradawi’s fatwa to announce authorization of stepped-up military aid to the al-Qa’eda-and-Brotherhood-dominated Syrian rebels. The White House announcement came just a single day after bin Bayyah met with National Security and other senior administration officials.

Read more at Gatestone Institute