Tag Archives: Mohamed Morsi

Report: Egypt Preparing Large Assault Against ISIS in Libya Despite Opposition From Obama

President Abdel Fatah al Sisi,

President Abdel Fatah al Sisi,

Egypt is getting ready to launch a large air and ground attack against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in eastern Libya DebkaFile reports, quoting military and intelligence sources.

The Obama administration is reportedly opposed to the operation.

“Egypt is massing large-scale ground and air forces in the Western Desert along the Libyan border, in preparation for a military campaign to capture eastern Libya — Cyrenaica — from the Islamist State of Syria and Iraq — ISIS — occupation,” reports DebkaFile.

“The substantial naval and marine forces assembling at Egypt’s Mediterranean ports indicate the possible launching of the offensive by dropping Egyptian marines on the Libyan coast around Derna (pop: 100,000), which ISIS has made its provincial capital,” it added. “They may be accompanied by simultaneous landings of paratroops from the air.”

Some officials have warned that ISIS may use Libya to launch attacks against Europe.

The DebkaFile report notes that the Obama administration is against a direct invasion of Libya by Egypt, but would support Cairo taking action through local Libyan militias.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi was not convinced by CIA Director John Brennan who related Obama’s position on April 19.

“President El-Sisi was not surprised to hear from the CIA director that the Obama administration objects to a direct Egyptian invasion of Libya, but would not oppose Cairo acting through local Libyan militias,” said DebkaFile.

“Brennan leaned hard on the Egyptian president to follow Washington’s line, but El-Sisi refused,” it added later.

President El-Sisi did tell the CIA director that he does not plan to keep the Egyptian army in Libya. He is planning to pull his troops out after the jihadists are defeated. Ultimately, El-Sisi said he would hand power back to the elected Libyan government.

ISIS’ presence in eastern Libya and Sinai poses an unacceptable threat to El-Sisi’s country, noted the report.

“He has been warned in a number of intelligence reports that the Islamic State’s terrorists have already penetrated some Egyptian towns and even infiltrated certain army units,” it said.

ISIS is reportedly beefing up its presence in eastern Libya with reinforcements from Syria and Iraq to counter Egypt’s planned assault.

“From Syria, they are traveling by air or sea through the Mediterranean; from Iraq, through the Sinai Peninsula, whence oil and drug rings smuggle them across the Suez Canal and Egypt,” said DebkaFile.

Libya has been engulfed in unrest since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and executed in 2011 with the support of the Obama administration. Various tribes, militias, and political groups are competing for power in Libya.

The country has been split by two warring factions. One is led by the elected government operating out of Tobruk and the other by militias in Tripoli.

The Obama administration and other Western nations have been reluctant to intervene.

Egypt, without the support of the U.S., launched airstrikes against ISIS targets in Libya after the jihadist group beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians.

Egypt’s Mubarak calls on Egyptians to stand behind Sisi

 former president Hosni Mubarak

former president Hosni Mubarak

Egyptian citizens should stand behind their leader Abdel Fatah al Sisi, President Hosni Mubarak said Sunday during a rare phone interview on private television channel Sada El-Balad.

“The sons of the armed forces, with President [Abdel Fatah] al-Sisi at the forefront today, know exactly the meaning of national sovereignty and the sacredness of national territory,” Mubarak said.

“We [Egyptians] should trust our army’s capabilities and stand behind it,” especially in this “difficult, complex stage,” Mubarak added.

Mubarak also stressed the importance of maintaining ties with “Egypt’s friends.”

During the interview, which coincided with the commemoration of the 33rd anniversary of the liberation of Sinai, the former president spoke about the withdrawal of Israel from the tiny peninsula in 1982.

Mubarak, was interviewed by TV host Ahmed Moussa.

In November 2014, Mubarak was cleared of charges of complicity in the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising.

ISIS – Why USA can and Egypt can’t?

The ISIS beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts on a beach in Libya has generated rage and disdain among the international community, as well as in the Arab world and a strong reaction from Cairo. The Egyptian and Emirates Air Force attacks on several sites of the group’s stronghold in Derna, killed over 50 jihadists and destroyed a good part of their infrastructure. In addition, on Wednsday, Egyptian special forces raided Derna and captured a vast number of ISIS members.

The Obama Administration immediately condemned the Egyptian and Emirate attacks in retaliation for the slaughter of the Christian Copts. According to Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, the U.S. believes the crisis in Libya must be solved politically and without outside interference:

“We discourage other nations from taking a part in Libya’s issues through violence,” Kirby said. “We want the issues solved in Libya to be done peacefully and through good governance and politics and not violence.” [1]

At this point it is more than legitimate to raise a question: why would the United States be allowed to strike wherever they want, such as Iraq for instance, while other countries like Egypt, who are facing eminent threats, shouldn’t be authorized to attack?

According to Kirby the circumstances that brought Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to carry out airstrikes in Libya were different from U.S. airstrikes against ISIS as the U.S. was acting in Iraq, in a “very targeted” manner, at the request of Baghdad’s government and not with some unilateral decision.

As more details emerge, it seems that the U.S. went beyond the condemnation of the attacks. In fact, according to former US Marines officer, Oliver North, the Obama administration refused to assist Egypt with information on ISIS targets in Libya; same thing with Jordan in relation to the raids carried out by Amman in retaliation for the brutal execution of its Air Force pilot Moaz al-Kasabeh, burnt alive by ISIS.

Obama’s links with the Muslim Brotherhood count more than an alliance with Egypt

Kirby’s explanation makes no sense since the Obama administration has been constantly targeting objectives in various countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but going beyond Kirby’s poor justification, it is more than obvious that Obama and his entourage have two major reasons to object Egypt’s intervention against ISIS:

1. In the first place Obama cannot digest the recent deal between Russia and Egypt. In fact it is essential to recall that Abdelfattah al-Sisi has recently received in Cairo Russian President Vladimir Putin and the two countries signed an agreement for military and economic cooperation, that includes the construction of a nuclear energy plant in the northern city of El-Dabaa; an extremely important project for a country like Egypt, that often has to deal with energetic blackouts.

Al-Sisi is well aware that Russia is a serious and reliable ally that has always been in first line against terrorism and facts speak out: Russia outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood and several other terror organizations in far 2003 with a law of the Supreme Court, while in the West several of them (including the MB) are still free to operate. In the northern Caucasus, Russia has responded firmly and strongly against the Caucasus Emirate, crushing the organization and eliminating its historical leader Dokku Umarov. Operations against what’s left of the jihadi jamaats in the northern Caucasus are constantly underway with positive results.

In addition it is important to keep in mind that two Isis high members, Umar al-Shishani (who had threatened to bring jihad in Russia), and Abu Saad al-Daghestani (who was filmed in a video handing a gun to a young boy who executed two Russian citizens in Syria), were both eliminated.

Egypt needs a strong and reliable economic and military partner as, since the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherood-led government, the country has been facing a wave of terror attacks perpetrated by Islamist terrorists.

2. The reason why Egypt slipped out of the United States’ hands also must be attributed to Obama and his stubborn alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact it is important to recall that during the July 2013 protests in Egypt, when the people, led by the Tamarrod movement, took the streets to ask for the resignations of the Muslim Brotherhood government led by Mohamed Morsy, the Obama administration refused to recognize the popular demands and supported the Islamist government until the last minute. When the Egyptian army intervened, the Obama administration immediately condemned the so called “coup” but forgot to keep in mind that millions of people took the streets to ask for new democratic elections. Quite strange for a nation that has always insisted on “exporting” democracy.

The Egyptian people in the streets were so upset by the behavior of former US ambassador to Cairo, Anne Patterson, who sided with the Morsy’s government up to the point, that she had to quickly leave Egypt.

A few fat facts

The same Obama administration refused to take strong action when a group of Jihadists attacked the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya and slaughtered former ambassador Chris Stevens. Incredibly, while it was obvious that the attack had been coordinated and perpetrated by a large number of militants with trucks and RPG’s, the Obama administration tried to define it as a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo; a violent protest that had taken place in reaction to a video that had offended Muslim sensibility (Innocence of Muslims). [2]

Hence it is evident that Obama preferred to remain loyal to his Muslim Brotherhood fellows, even if it meant losing a key regional ally such as Egypt and for those who still have doubts about it, there are more interesting facts.

In the last week of January 2015, the US State Department hosted a delegation of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood-aligned leaders for a meeting about their ongoing efforts to oppose the current government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The delegation included Waleed Sharaby, Gamal Heshmat, Abdel Mawgoud al-Dardery e Maha Azzam, all well-known MB activists. Sharaby even took a picture in front of the US State Department logo while flashing the four-finger symbol in front of the camera. The same gesture was also performed in a recent event by former US ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson.

These facts should not be a surprise; in fact another Muslim Brotherhood-aligned member, Mohamed Elbiary, had made it all the way to a high position in the United States Homeland Security Department and had to resign in September 2014 after some embarrassing comments in favor of the Caliphate, of the Muslim Brotherhood and against the protests of Egyptian Copts in Egypt. Elbiary had also taken part in the DHS Countering Violent Extremism Working Group and in the DHS Faith-Based Security and Communications Advisory Committee.

Another interesting member is Dalia Mogahed, Obama’s advisor to Islamic issues, Muslim Brotherhood supporter and associate of Georgetown University professor John Esposito, who has also expressed strong positions in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood on several occasions.

In 2009, Dalia Mogahed appeared in a London-based television broadcast presented by Ibtihal Bsis, deputy media representative for Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organization that has been black listed in several countries including Russia. [3] [4]

At this point it is not hard to understand why Obama does not want to support Egypt and does not want other state-actors to attack jihadists in Libya. The US Administration discourages any type of military intervention, which is the same message that has been given to Italy by the Arabic website of the Muslim Brotherhood. [5]

1] http://cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/pentagon-egypt-uae-attacking-islamists-libya-differs-us-bombing-isis

[2] http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/11/16/flashback-what-susan-rice-said-about-benghazi/

[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/6274387/Obama-adviser-says-Sharia-Law-is-misunderstood.html

[4] http://icsr.info/2009/10/obama-must-fire-dalia-mogahed/

[5] http://www.ikhwanonline.com/Article.aspx?ArtID=223170&SecID=480

 

1yr in US custody as ‘civilian detainee’: Declassified files shed light on mysterious ISIS leader

A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

The leader of ISIS jihadist group and self-proclaimed “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spent nearly a year in US custody in Iraq in 2004 as a “civilian detainee,” declassified military documents have revealed.

The files were obtained by Business Insider through a Freedom of Information Act request, revealing new details about the mysterious jihadist leader. The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL ) chief was identified by his birth name, Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Al Badry, in the detainee information records, viewed by the website.

The documents helped determine the time, spent by Baghdadi in US custody, more precisely as there had previously been conflicting reports on the issue.

According to the records, his “capture date” was February 4, 2004, with the detention taking place in Fallujah in central Iraq. Baghdadi was then held in several prison facilities in the country, including Camp Bucca and Camp Adder, with the date of his “release in place” being December 8, the same year.

The papers list him as a “civilian detainee,” meaning that he was not considered a member of any militant group at that time, but was still held for security reasons.

The declassified records identified Baghdadi’s “civilian occupation” as “administrative work (secretary).”

The book called “ISIS: Inside The Army of Terror” by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan claims that Baghdadi was arrested together with Nessayif Numan Nessayif, who was the real target of the US military.

he date of his birth was redacted in the files received by Business Insider, but the website said that the current IS leader was listed as having been 43 years old in 2014. The paper also included details on Baghdadi’s family, revealing that he was married and next of kin was an uncle. However, the names of his family members were also redacted.

The Islamic State has declared a caliphate, with Baghdadi as its ruler, after capturing large parts of Iraqi and Syrian territory last summer. The jihadist group is notorious for its brutality, ethnic cleansings of minorities and executions of Western hostages.

A US-led coalition has been conducting regular airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since August 2014, with several unconfirmed reports stating that Baghdadi might have been injured in one of the raids.

 

Egyptian president to visit China On Dec 22

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 24. File photo/

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 24. File photo/

“We are looking forward to developing our strategic relations with our friends in China,” said Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Chinese state media on Thursday at the presidential palace in Cairo.

Ahead of his official four-day visit to Beijing, which is scheduled to kick off on Dec. 22, the Egyptian president described Chinese-Egyptian ties as “very special, strong and stable” and commended China’s balanced policies toward other countries.

“China has balanced policies and does not interfere in other countries’ domestic affairs, which is one of the reasons for China’s success,” Sisi said.

Egypt has recently established a cabinet task force specifically for China led by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, including a number of key ministers as members, to study fields of cooperation with China. “I hope cooperation with China will be at the highest level,” Sisi said. “Cooperation between Egypt and China is not new and the purpose of the visit is to confirm and develop this cooperation and discuss Chinese investment opportunities in Egypt,” the president said.

“Egypt’s geographic location is strategic and distinguished and China has relations with the whole world. So, both Egypt and China have the right to cooperate, using the Chinese industrial and investment capabilities and the Egyptian distinguished locations,” Sisi added.

“We should work on benefiting from the depth and size of relations between Egypt and China,” Sisi told the Chinese reporters, adding that the Egypt-China cooperation is not targeted against any other countries.

Sisi said Egypt supports and encourages China’s initiative to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, adding that it represents a great chance to enhance cooperation between the two countries and that Egypt will have an important role in implementing this initiative.

“Egypt is the portal for the Arab world, for Europe through the Mediterranean Sea and for Africa, and we want the Chinese side to approach Egypt strongly,” the president continued. “The Egyptian people are ready to cooperate with the Chinese people for development, progress and peace.”

Over the past four years, Egypt has gone through two uprisings that led to the ouster of two heads of state. The political turmoil then dramatically affected the country’s economy and Sisi’s administration is struggling to put it back on track.

“It has cost us dearly,” Sisi said referring to the 2011 and 2013 uprising that led to deteriorating tourism, prevailing chaos and growing terrorist activities.

“But now the course of security and stability is noticeably increasing, so we are on the right track,” Sisi said.

In August, President Sisi gave the go-ahead for digging a 72-km expansion of the original Suez Canal as a national project to boost the country’s ailing economy, ordering “the New Suez Canal” to be open for ship navigation in early August 2015.

The Egyptian president said that the Chinese companies have great opportunities to invest in the Suez Canal Corridor projects.

Navigation for trade ships coming from China and Southeast Asia will be a lot easier, Sisi continued. “We are developing projects around the Suez Canal Corridor to provide ships with services like fuel and food etc.”

“Egypt is currently establishing a huge road network of 3,400 km within one year, besides the new Suez Canal project,” said Sisi, adding that Egypt is taking the necessary measures to facilitate a friendly investment environment to reassure foreign investors.

“We are trying to restore trust in Egyptian, Arab and foreign investors and send them a reassuring message that investment in Egypt is safe and stable and that the state is committed to its obligations with investors,” the president said.

The trade volume between Egypt and China exceeded US$10 billion for the first time in 2013, more than 80% of which is represented in Chinese exports to the North African country.

Sisi, who will soon make his first visit to China since his election in June, said that China has achieved tremendous progress over the past 40 years, adding that Egypt needs to benefit from the Chinese development experience.

“The Chinese experience is very fruitful and wonderful. It is not only us but I believe the whole world looks at China with respect and pride,” the president added. “You proved to the world that a Chinese person can accomplish what’s impossible.”

“We invite our brothers in China to come and join us quickly to put our hands together and work together for the best of our two peoples,” Sisi said.

BOOM! Witness Tells Benghazi Select Committee Chairman to Ask Former U.S. Ambassador To EGYPT Why Stevens Was in Benghazi

Muslim brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and US Ambassador Anne Patterson in Cairo - Archive

Muslim brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and US Ambassador Anne Patterson in Cairo – Archive

The second House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing took place today. In many ways, it was sadly more uneventful than the first hearing, which took place in September. However, there was ONE MAJOR EXCEPTION and it had to do with a name given by one of the witnesses, who was being questioned by Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).

When Asst Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr – who testified at the first hearing – was asked by Gowdy who the Committee needed to get answers from about why Ambassador Christopher Stevens was in Benghazi, Starr attempted to point Gowdy to the Near East Asia or Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) Bureau. Gowdy told Starr he wanted a name. After suggesting that the individual he was about to identify might not ever speak to him again, Starr invoked the name Anne Patterson, the Assistant Secretary of NEA.

Starr then rightly pointed out that Patterson was the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt at the time of the Benghazi attacks.

The relevant portion of the exchange begins at the 2:45 mark.

As has long been maintained, in the “Ironclad” Report, there is an indisputable Egyptian connection to the Benghazi attacks that political leaders and media have gone out of their way to downplay and avoid.

The admission by Starr that the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt at the time of the Benghazi attacks – who has been despised by Egyptians who demanded the removal of Mohammed Mursi in 2013 – is more than just slightly significant. Evidence of Egyptian involvement in Benghazi, coupled with Patterson’s alleged collaboration with that Muslim Brotherhood government could have serious implications. Hopefully, this admission by Starr will prompt the committee to call Patterson to testify. If that happens, the questions had better be sharper than they were in either the first or second hearing.

If Gowdy really wanted the answer to that question as to why Stevens was in Benghazi, he would depose House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI). In November of last year, Rogers confessed to Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly that Stevens met with his committee in the days before his murder. In so doing, Rogers has already tacitly and publicly admitted to knowing more about why Stevens was in Benghazi than Patterson has. Here is the video:

 

As has been reported, if Gowdy is truly interested in a bi-partisan hearing, the deposition of a Republican in Rogers should help him achieve just that.

Noteworthy but less newsworthy was Gowdy’s reference to the ‘smoking gun’ email released by Judicial Watch earlier this year and analyzed. In fact, it was this email that served as the straw that broke the camel’s back and caused Speaker Boehner to name a Select Committee to investigate Benghazi. Gowdy invoked the document prior to the more explosive exchange that culminated with Starr naming Patterson, but referred to it as a “memo” and avoided our discovery that revealed the background of one of the recipients of that email as being tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Instead, Gowdy referenced the more commonly referred to second bullet point item, which references Ben Rhodes’ instruction for then UN Ambassador Susan Rice to point to the anti-Muhammad video as the impetus for the attacks. As has been reported, that video likely had more to do with the attacks in Benghazi than conservatives are willing to admit but that’s an argument for another day.

After the first hearing, Chairman Gowdy made a surprise appearance on Fox News Channel’s Special Report with Bret Baier and the Fox News panel. During the panel, Gowdy pledged that future hearings “will be sharper”. Today’s hearing was not. In fact, it was less so.

Again, the second hearing was largely uneventful. Based on Gowdy’s pledge that it not become a “circus”, much of that likely has to do with his desire to tightly control the proceedings and keep tight parameters around the committee members’ line of questioning. Another factor could have to do with the fact that technically, the committee is set to expire at the end of the current session of Congress. Speaker John Boehner must hold a voe in the House to ensure the Committee’s work continues in 2015 and beyond.

A major blunder by one of the members could have conceivably caused problems on that front, especially in light of some reports that Boehner knew much more about what was going on in Benghazi than he is letting on. Giving him a reason to discontinue the Committee would not be advisable.

Nonetheless, it was interesting to consider that the current Inspector General of the State Department was the other witness that testified. His name is Steve A. Linick.

Prior to Linick being confirmed, a man by the name of Harold Geisel served as the Acting Inspector General at State. One of the Benghazi Select Committee members – Rep. Lynn Westmoreland – is all too familiar with this reality. On June 13, 2012, Westmoreland joined Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and four other three other Congressman in signing a letter to Geisel that inquired about Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the State Department. Close adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin was named.

Geisel was given exactly 90 days to respond to that letter and never did. As was reported, Westmoreland is the ONLY one of those five Congressmen who sits on the Benghazi Select Committee and who knows the dangers of Muslim Brothehrood infiltration of the State Department.

The Benghazi attacks took place exactly 90 days later. Westmoreland knows this. Yet, he spent the majority of his time in the second Benghazi hearing questioning Starr. Toward the end of his time, Westmoreland questioned Linick but those questions were largely innocuous:

Here is Part 1 of Westmoreland:

Here is Part 2 of Westmoreland:

Of the Republicans on the Committee, Gowdy, Westmoreland and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) are the only ones who demonstrated the bare minimum requirement of knowledge when it comes to understanding the Muslim Brotherhood threat to western civilization. As has been reported, other than Gowdy, Westmoreland and Jordan every other Republican on the Committee voted to arm the Syrian rebels as recently as this past September; this should disqualify all but those three from serving on the Committee.

In a semi-interesting exchange with Sarr, Rep. Jordan asks why the U.S. was in Benghazi and why the U.S. installation was identified by a term that was something completely different from all of the 285 diplomatic facilities across the world. Jordan’s reason for pounding on this had to do with concerns that re-naming the compound could help to prevent it from being required to meet certain standards. One thing to watch out for is how Jordan tweaks Starr’s ego by suggesting that despite having the opportunity to demand a seat at the adult table, Starr chose to remain silent and remain seated at the children’s table.

Starr did not like that.

Here is Part 1:

Here is Part 2:

Here is video of Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL). Again, mildly interesting but not as explosive as is warranted. He also makes reference to the tweaking of Starr’s ego by Jordan:

Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood

President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Oval Office with a group of Muslim delegates, 1953. Said Ramadan is second from the right.

As US-backed strongmen around North Africa and the Middle East are being toppled or shaken by popular protests, Washington is grappling with a crucial foreign-policy issue: how to deal with the powerful but opaque Muslim Brotherhood. In Egypt, the Brotherhood has taken an increasingly forceful part in the protests, issuing a statement Thursday calling for Mubarak’s immediate resignation. And though it is far from clear what role the Brotherhood would have should Mubarak step down, the Egyptian president has been claiming it will take over. In any case, the movement is likely to be a major player in any transitional government.

Journalists and pundits are already weighing in with advice on the strengths and dangers of this 83-year-old Islamist movement, whose various national branches are the most potent opposition force in virtually all of these countries. Some wonder how the Brotherhood will treat Israel, or if it really has renounced violence. Most—including the Obama administration —seem to think that it is a movement the West can do business with, even if the White House denies formal contacts.

If this discussion evokes a sense of déjà vu, this is because over the past sixty years we have had it many times before, with almost identical outcomes. Since the 1950s, the United States has secretly struck up alliances with the Brotherhood or its offshoots on issues as diverse as fighting communism and calming tensions among European Muslims. And if we look to history, we can see a familiar pattern: each time, US leaders have decided that the Brotherhood could be useful and tried to bend it to America’s goals, and each time, maybe not surprisingly, the only party that clearly has benefited has been the Brotherhood.

How can Americans be unaware of this history? Credit a mixture of wishful thinking and a national obsession with secrecy, which has shrouded the US government’s extensive dealings with the Brotherhood.

Consider President Eisenhower. In 1953, the year before the Brotherhood was outlawed by Nasser, a covert US propaganda program headed by the US Information Agency brought over three dozen Islamic scholars and civic leaders mostly from Muslim countries for what officially was an academic conference at Princeton University. The real reason behind the meeting was an effort to impress the visitors with America’s spiritual and moral strength, since it was thought that they could influence Muslims’ popular opinion better than their ossified rulers. The ultimate goal was to promote an anti-Communist agenda in these newly independent countries, many of which had Muslim majorities.

One of the leaders, according to Eisenhower’s appointment book, was “The Honorable Saeed Ramahdan, Delegate of the Muslim Brothers.”* The person in question (in more standard romanization, Said Ramadan), was the son-in-law of the Brotherhood’s founder and at the time widely described as the group’s “foreign minister.” (He was also the father of the controversial Swiss scholar of Islam, Tariq Ramadan.)

Eisenhower officials knew what they were doing. In the battle against communism, they figured that religion was a force that US could make use of—the Soviet Union was atheist, while the United States supported religious freedom. Central Intelligence Agency analyses of Said Ramadan were quite blunt, calling him a “Phalangist” and a “fascist interested in the grouping of individuals for power.” But the White House went ahead and invited him anyway.

By the end of the decade, the CIA was overtly backing Ramadan. While it’s too simple to call him a US agent, in the 1950s and 1960s the United States supported him as he took over a mosque in Munich, kicking out local Muslims to build what would become one of the Brotherhood’s most important centers—a refuge for the beleaguered group during its decades in the wilderness. In the end, the US didn’t reap much for its efforts, as Ramadan was more interested in spreading his Islamist agenda than fighting communism. In later years, he supported the Iranian revolution and likely aided the flight of a pro-Teheran activist who murdered one of the Shah’s diplomats in Washington.

Cooperation ebbed and flowed. During the Vietnam War, US attention was focused elsewhere but with the start of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, interest in cultivating Islamists picked up again. That period of backing the mujahedeen— some of whom morphed into al-Qaeda—is well-known, but Washington continued to flirt with Islamists, and especially the Brotherhood.

In the years after the September 11 attacks, the United States initially went after the Brotherhood, declaring many of its key members to be backers of terrorism. But by Bush’s second term, the US was losing two wars in the Muslim world and facing hostile Muslim minorities in Germany, France, and other European countries, where the Brotherhood had established an influential presence. The US quietly changed its position.

The Bush administration devised a strategy to establish close relations with Muslim groups in Europe that were ideologically close to the Brotherhood, figuring that it could be an interlocutor in dealing with more radical groups, such as the home-grown extremists in Paris, London and Hamburg. And, as in the 1950s, government officials wanted to project an image to the Muslim world that Washington was close to western-based Islamists. So starting in 2005, the State Department launched an effort to woo the Brotherhood. In 2006, for example, it organized a conference in Brussels between these European Muslim Brothers and American Muslims, such as the Islamic Society of North America, who are considered close to the Brotherhood. All of this was backed by CIA analyses, with one from 2006 saying the Brotherhood featured “impressive internal dynamism, organization, and media savvy.” Despite the concerns of western allies that supporting the Brotherhood in Europe was too risky, the CIA pushed for cooperation. As for the Obama administration, it carried over some of the people on the Bush team who had helped devise this strategy.

Why the enduring interest in the Brotherhood? Since its founding in 1928 by the Egyptian schoolteacher and imam Hassan al-Banna, the Brotherhood has managed to voice the aspirations of the Muslim world’s downtrodden and often confused middle class. It explained their backwardness in an interesting mixture of fundamentalism and fascism (or reactionary politics and xenophobia): today’s Muslims aren’t good enough Muslims and must return to the true spirit of the Koran. Foreigners, especially Jews, are part of a vast conspiracy to oppress Muslims. This message was—and still is—delivered through a modern, political party-like structure, that includes women’s groups, youth clubs, publications and electronic media, and, at times, paramilitary wings. It has also given birth to many of the more violent strains of radical Islamism, from Hamas to al-Qaeda, although many of such groups now find the Brotherhood too conventional. Little wonder that the Brotherhood, for all its troubling aspects, is interesting to western policy makers eager to gain influence in this strategic part of the world.

But the Brotherhood has been a tricky partner. In countries where it aspires to join the political mainstream, it renounces the use of violence locally. Hence the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt says it no longer seeks to overthrow the regime violently—although its members there think nothing of calling for Israel’s destruction. In Egypt, the Brotherhood also says it wants religious courts to enforce shariah, but at times has also said that secular courts could have final say. This isn’t to suggest that its moderation is just for show, but it’s fair to say that the Brotherhood has only partially embraced the values of democracy and pluralism.

The group’s most powerful cleric, the Qatar-based Youssef Qaradawi, epitomizes this bifurcated worldview. He says women should be allowed to work and that in some countries, Muslims may hold mortgages (which are based on interest, a taboo for fundamentalists). But Qaradawi advocates the stoning of homosexuals and the murder of Israeli children—because they will grow up and could serve as soldiers.

Qaradawi is hardly an outlier. In past years, he has often been mentioned as a candidate to be the Egyptian branch’s top leader. He is very likely the most influential cleric in the Muslim world—on Friday, for example, thousands of Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square listened to a broadcast of his sermon. He has also declared those demonstrators who have died defying the government to be martyrs.

That is an indication of the Brotherhood’s growing influence in the wave of protests around the region. In Egypt, the Brotherhood, after a slow start, has become a key player in the anti-government coalition; on Thursday, the new vice president, Omar Suleiman, invited the Brotherhood for talks. In Jordan, where the group is legal, King Abdullah met with the Brotherhood for the first time in a decade. And in Tunis, the Islamist opposition leader Rachid Ghanouchi, who has been a pillar of the Brotherhood’s European network, recently returned home from his London exile.

All of this points to the biggest difference between then and now. Half a century ago, the West chose to make use of the Brotherhood for short-term tactical gain, later backing many of the authoritarian governments that were also trying to wipe out the group. Now, with those governments tottering, the West has little choice; after decades of oppression, it is the Brotherhood, with its mixture of age-old fundamentalism and modern political methods, that is left standing.

* The appointment book and details of Ramadan’s visit are in the Eisenhower presidential archives in Abilene, Kansas. See my book A Mosque in Munich, pp. 116-119, for details of the visit. On the use of the Brotherhood post-9/11, see pp 222-228.

 

President Mubarak : Egypt court drops charges over 2011 uprising deaths

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An Egyptian court has dropped all charges against Hosni Mubarak in relation to ordering the killing of protesters during the January 25 revolution in 2011.

The Court also cleared former Minister of Interior Habib El-Adly and his six aides of all charges.

Meanwhile, Hosni Mubarak and his sons Gamal and Alaa Mubarak and businessman Hussein Salem were also cleared of all charges in relation to embezzlement and corrupt gas deals.

According to the Court, the charges had related to the deaths of 239 people and injuries of 1,588 across 11 governorates in Egypt. The Court added that of these deaths, 36 occurred in Egypt’s squares.

The Presiding judge urged the media and onlookers to consider the verdict, of which a 280 page summary will be uploaded online, before expressing either support or offence to the verdict.

In the last court session, the Court showed a video of the case’s evidence, which compromise 160,000 pages. The video was produced by private satellite channel Sada El-Balad, which has exclusive rights to broadcast the trial.

Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for thirty years, had been accused alongside Egypt’s former Minister of Interior Habib El-Adly and six others of involvement in the killing of protesters during the January 25 revolution that saw him resigning after 18 days of protests.

The Court of Cassation had overturned his initial life sentence over technical faults in the initial trial.

The former President had declared in the previous court session that had never ordered the killing of protesters who participated in the 2011 uprising.

“Mubarak, who stands in front of you, would never order the killing of protesters … or any Egyptian under any conditions,” he had said in August.

The former president had also denied he was behind the security vacuum during the 18 days of protests.

Kenya police : Al-Shabab militants kill 28 non-Muslims in bus

Prove you’re a Muslim — or die.

Islamic extremists hijacked a bus in Kenya on Saturday and singled out non-Muslim passengers who could not recite the Shahada, an Islamic creed that declares oneness with God. Those who failed to recite it correctly were forced to lie on the ground.

Two gunmen opened fire. One was firing from the left and the other blasting from the right. Twenty-eight people were killed — 19 men and nine women.

Miraculously, one man survived.

Douglas Ochwodho lay frozen, as the doomed victims — 17 of them teachers — were killed on either side of him. Ochwodho told The Associated Press that each of the gunmen mistakenly thought the other had shot him.

When the extremists left, Ochwodho, a non-Muslim head teacher of a private school who was heading home for Christmas vacation, ran back to the road and hitched a ride on a pickup truck to Mandera. He was later treated at a hospital for shock.

Al-Shabab, an Islamic gang of terrorists, claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred around dawn in northeastern Kenya. The Al Qaeda-affiliated group said the mass slayings were in response to raids by Kenyan police on mosques last week.

“The Mujahedeen intercepted a bus, which had on board a group of Christians that enjoyed the killing and the maiming of Muslims,” Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rageh said in a statement.

Sixty passengers were traveling to Nairobi before the bus was forced off a road, said Kenyan police chief David Kimaiyo.

Kenya’s military responded to the merciless killings by launching air strikes later Saturday, destroying the attackers’ camp in Somalia and killing 45 rebels.

The terrorists first tried to wave the bus down, but when it didn’t stop, they started firing at it, according to police. When spraying the bus with bullets didn’t work, they launched a rocket-propelled grenade at the vehicle.

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Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said the U.S. condemns the attack and offers sympathy to the victims and their families.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the 28 individuals killed,” Meehan said. “The United States stands with our Kenyan partners in the effort to counter the threat of terrorism and affirms our ongoing commitment to working with all Kenyans to combat these atrocities.”

In September, the International Crisis Group warned that Al-Shabab is becoming “more entrenched and a graver threat to Kenya.”

Since Kenya sent troops into Somalia in October 2011, authorities say there have been at least 135 attacks by Al-Shabab, including the 2013 Westgate Mall shooting that left 67 people dead.

 

Qatar and Terror | The Counter Jihad Report

Qatar finances terrorists with one hand, while the other joins hands with the West. Above: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in New York City on September 25, 2014. (Image source: U.S. State Department)

Gatestone Institute, by Denis MacEoin, Nov. 22, 2014:

Although outwardly more liberal than the Saudis, the Qataris have surpassed them as financiers of extremism and terrorism.

U.S. officials reckon that Qatar has now replaced Saudi Arabia as the source of the largest private donations to the Islamic State and other al-Qaeda affiliates.

Qatar, the world’s wealthiest country per capita, also has the unsavory reputation for the mistreatment and effective slavery of much of its workforce.

Leaders of Western states threatened by jihadi advances are happy to sit down with the largest financiers of terrorism in the world, offer them help, take as much money as they can, and smile for the cameras.

There is a central weakness in the coalition against the Islamic State [IS] in Syria, as pointed out by Bryan Bender in the Boston Globe. There are 62 members of the coalition, some of which are Arab states: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq, and Qatar. The U.S., however, carries the greatest weight in the air campaign against the self-proclaimed Caliphate. America had carried out 3,589 sorties by August 8, its partners 8; between September 23 (when most partners joined in attacks) and November 3, U.S. sorties numbered a further 3,320, with 1,090 by other coalition members.

The U.S., therefore, flies over 75% of missions — an indication of American intent? It’s not quite that simple.

One of those partners, Qatar, seems to be committed to the mission in other ways. It hosts the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East, the regional headquarters of U.S. Central Command, and stations American and British aircraft and personnel at al-Udeid Air Base.

The U.S. Congress has authorized and appropriated many millions of dollars over the years in return for use and maintenance of this important base.[1]

Qatar is now prepared to pay in full for the U.S. military presence during the campaign in return for American protection.[2]

Except, as a recent headline in the New Republic put it: “Qatar Is a U.S. Ally. They Also Knowingly Abet Terrorism. What’s Going On?” Other views are harsher: “Qatar’s overall cooperation, however, is the worst in the region.”

Qatar is one of the world’s smallest states with a miniscule population. A Saudi prince once said that it is made up of “300 people and a TV Channel” (referring to Al Jazeera, based in the capital, Doha). Qatar has only 278,000 citizens and 1.5 million expatriates who make up 94% of the workforce. Qatar, the world’s wealthiest country per capita, also has an unsavory reputation for the mistreatment and effective slavery of much of its workforce.

Qatar is also imprisoning Matthew and Grace Huang, an American couple sentenced to three years in prison on charges of child endangerment, for allegedly murdering their adopted daughter, Gloria, 8, even though she apparently had health issues prior to the adoption. The Huangs continue to protest their innocence, and claim that the Qataris do not understand how an Asian couple could adopt three children, who happen to be black, from Africa.

Given Qatar’s economic and political clout, created by its sovereign wealth fund, its oil, and its ownership of the world’s third largest natural gas reserves, Qatar plays a role on the world stage and does much to enhance its public image. In a bid for international kudos, the emirate acted to ensure the award of the soccer World Cup for 2022, only to find itself mired in controversy.

In other spheres, Qatar is the single largest donor to the Brookings Institution, a major U.S. think tank. Payments included $14.8 million after the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, blamed Israel for the failure of the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; and it has given money to many universities in the U.S. and Europe.[3] Qatar also hosts eight international university campuses near Doha (Virginia Commonwealth, Weill Cornell, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Northwestern, HEC Paris, University College London, Calgary), and finances the RAND Policy Trust. It owns expensive properties in London, the Barcelona Football Club, and dabbles in other areas worldwide.

While all this increases Qatar’s influence, most of it seems to be for show, to present an amiable face to the world. Qatar is not all gleaming towers, bars for non-Muslims, and a modern approach to sexual relations. It remains the only other Wahhabi country in the world next to Saudi Arabia. The problem here is the Qatar paradox. Although outwardly more liberal than the Saudis, the Qataris have surpassed them as financiers of extremism and terrorism. As with its neighbor, it is traditional, devoted to a highly conservative form of Islam, and an underlying commitment to Islamic values.

Although praised for its liberalism in many areas, Freedom House reported in 2013 that “civil liberties and political rights are severely restricted for residents and citizens alike, foreign workers face especially repressive conditions.” Aside from a short period between 1976 and 1988, Qatar has remained categorized as “Not Free” since 1972, and has a particularly bad reputation for its brutal treatment of poor foreign workers.

Although non-Muslims are free to worship there, Qatari law bans any form of proselytization or outward show of faith (such as crosses on churches). There are severe laws against homosexuality, adultery (technically a capital crime, with provisions for flogging and stoning), and public criticism of the regime. As of 2011, the Democracy Index describes Qatar as an “authoritarian regime” with a score of 3.18 out of ten, and it ranks 138th out of the 167 countries covered.

Nowhere is this tendency clearer than in Qatar’s support for international networks of terrorist organizations. While U.S. planes bomb outposts of ISIS from their Qatar airbase, Qatar is reputed to be sending money to ISIS, Hamas, Libyan jihadists, and others. Of course, the Qataris deny this. Standing beside German Chancellor Angela Merkel on September 27, Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani declared that, “What is happening in Iraq and Syria is extremism and such organizations are partly financed from abroad, but Qatar has never supported and will never support terrorist organizations”.

Clearly, al-Thani either knows little about the country he rules or is trying to put one over on the world. One is reminded of how, after Black September’s 1973 murders of three diplomats (two American and one Belgian) in Khartoum, the PLO “privately… threatened reprisal if the Sudanese continued to hold them [the killers] or put them on trial,” while publicly disavowing the killings.[4]

The fundamentalist anti-Semitic Islamic preacher, Shaykh Yusuf ‘Abd Allah al-Qaradawi, regarded by many as the leading scholar of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been living in Qatar on and off since the 1960s, while preaching a fundamentalist and often pro-terrorist message there through his website, Islam Online, and his Shari’a and Life television show on Al Jazeera. The Qatari government has never sought to rein him in.

Qatar’s major international charity, the Qatar Charitable Society (now simply Qatar Charity) has acted as a financier and agency for terrorist outfits in several countries. It has funded al-Qaeda in Chechnya, Mali and elsewhere, was a key player in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and funded Syria’s Ahfad al-Rasul Brigade. Qatar has also financed terrorists in northern Mali operations, including Ansar Dine, alleged to be linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [North Africa]; and it retains contacts with (and no doubt still funds) al-Qaeda.

According to David Blair and Richard Spencer, writing for London’s Daily Telegraph, four branches of the Qatari government handle relations with armed groups in Syria and Libya. These are the Foreign and Defense Ministries, the Intelligence Agency, and the personal office [al-Diwan al-Amiri], of the Emir, who, as we have seen, flatly denies financing terrorism. The Amiri Diwan, as in Kuwait, appears in the lists of government ministries and offices.[5] Of course, Qatar does nothing directly. It prefers to use middlemen and to permit private individuals to do the work for it. Large sums are passed to middlemen in Turkey (itself no stranger to support for terrorism), and this money is used for the purchase of weapons from other countries (notably Croatia). The weapons are then transferred to rebel groups in Syria. It has also been claimed that money owed to British companies operating in Qatar has been siphoned off to Islamic State. This may require some ingenious application of the dark arts of bookkeeping, but it does provide another means of evading condemnation of the state.

One of the most obvious examples of government support for jihadi groups is that the international base of the Gazan terrorist group Hamas has been located in Doha since 2012. Khaled Mashaal, Chairman of Hamas’s Political Bureau, is reportedly living an opulent lifestyle in a five-star hotel in Doha. Qatar has given generously to Hamas. In October, Ma’mun Abu Shahla, the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Labor, stated that the government of Qatar had given $30 million to provide staff with their first salary payments in several months, a distribution of largesse that will give half of the former Hamas government employees in Gaza their unpaid wages. This payment was arranged with Qatar by Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, despite fears of a backlash from international donor countries, including the U.S., which considers Hamas a terrorist organization.

Apart from cash advances to terrorist entities, the Qatari government seems to be directly involved in other activities, notably the shipping of planeloads of arms to Libyan jihadists. These shipments include a C-17 cargo plane carrying weaponry to a militia loyal to a warlord who had fought alongside Osama bin Laden; arms supplies to the jihadist coalition that now controls Tripoli after the launch of Operation Libya Dawn, and some $3 billion and 70 planeloads of arms to rebel forces in Syria.

Private fundraisers who coordinate donations from individual or corporate donors in Qatar are never detained or subjected to restrictions in Qatar, a privilege that means the transfer of considerable sums to al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Hamas, Jabhat al-Nusra and other Syrian Islamist groups.

The U.S. Treasury has given details of terrorist financiers operating in Qatar. The best known is ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Nu’aymi, an academic and businessman who is a key link between Qatari donors and al-Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor of today’s Islamic State. At one time, Nu’aymi transferred $2 million per month to the organization. He has also sent around $576,000 to Abu Khalid al-Suri, al-Qaeda’s Syrian representative, and $250,000 to the Somali jihadist group, al-Shabaab.

The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned Nu’aymi and other Qatari financiers in recent years. U.S. officials reckon that Qatar has now replaced Saudi Arabia as the source of the largest private donations to Islamic State and other al-Qaeda affiliates. The Qatari government has taken no steps to detain or punish al-Nu’aymi or anyone else, even though Islamist politics are, in theory, illegal in Qatar.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was warned by many people, before his meeting with the Emir of Qatar, that he had to tackle the issue of Qatar’s funding of terrorism. The two men met on October 29. Here is part of the official government news briefing on the meeting:

On international affairs, they discussed the role both countries are playing in the coalition to tackle ISIL, and the importance of all countries working to tackle extremism and support to terrorist organisations. The Prime Minister welcomed the recent legislation passed in Qatar to prevent terrorist funding and looked forward to the swift implementation of these new measures. They also agreed that both countries should do more to share information on groups of concern.

Need one add that among the matters discussed by these world leaders was Qatar’s recent £20 billion investment in the U.K., and Cameron’s offer of British expertise in construction to assist the Emirate in building the 2022 World Cup events? Money talks, and in supine Western countries just coming out of a major recession, it talks very loudly. Al-Thani walked away from his meeting with Cameron covered in glory for his country’s supposed work to defeat Islamist terrorism worldwide.

Leaders of Western states threatened by jihadist advances are happy to sit down with the largest financiers of terrorism in the world, offer them help, take as much money as they can, and smile for the cameras. They then sell their publics for crumbs from oil-rich monarchs who watch, wreathed in smiles, as the West abases itself out of greed and a total lack of concern for the human rights issues that dog these sheikhdoms in almost everything they do. The Qataris have money, they have power and influence, and they have an abiding love for fundamentalist Islam. They know what they are doing and they wait for their day to come.

Denis MacEoin is a former lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.


[1] Here is a short list of these payments: From FY2003 to FY2007, Congress authorized and appropriated $126 million for U.S. military construction activities in Qatar. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (P.L. 110-181) authorized $81.7 million in FY2008 spending to build new Air Force and Special Operations facilities in Qatar. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (P.L. 110-417) authorizes $69.6 million in FY2009 spending to build new Air Force and Special Operations facilities. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (P.L. 111-84) authorizes $117 million in FY2010 spending to build new Air Force recreational, dormitory, and other facilities at Al Udeid. The Administration’s FY2011 military construction request for Qatar was $64.3 million, for Air Force facilities and a National Security Agency warehouse. The FY2012 request includes $37 million to continue the dormitory and recreation facility project. See “Congress Appropriations and Authorizations”, in “Al-Udeid Air Base,” Wikipedia.

[2]Qatar says ready to pay ‘in full’ for US military presence: Amr Moussa,” Press TV, 1 December 2012 (accompanied by many condemnation of Qatar for doing so).

[3] For some details about its donations to the UK, see Robin Simcox, “A Degree of Influence“, London, The Centre for Social Cohesion, 2009.

[4] Joshua Muravchik, Making David into Goliath, New York, 2014, p. 49, citing David Korn.

[5] See also State of Qatar Ministry of Interior, “Ministries”.

via Qatar and Terror | The Counter Jihad Report.