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Forgetting the Danger of the Muslim Brotherhood

Forgetting the Danger of the Muslim Brotherhood

Mideast Media Sampler – 08/15/2013 – The situation in Egypt is bad; could it have been worse?

What should the American response to the latest outbreak of violence in Egypt be?


Not entirely surprisingly, the editors in the New York Times call for a complete cutoff of aid in Military Madness in Cairo:

But the major blame rests with General Sisi. He seized power from a democratically elected government. He controls the security forces that have persecuted and brutalized political opponents. And he approved orders for heavily armed forces to use deadly force against peaceful protesters with a very legitimate political grievance — the ouster and secret detention of Egypt’s first democratically elected president.

Washington’s influence on Egyptian public opinion generally is limited. That has less to do with the low-key tone Mr. Obama has taken than with the preceding decades of uncritical United States support for past dictators like Mr. Mubarak and the military forces supporting them, to the neglect of most of Egypt’s 84 million people. It is past time for Mr. Obama to start correcting that imbalance. Suspending assistance to Egypt’s anti-democratic military would be a good place to start.

While the editorial had some mild criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood, the criticism was limited to blaming them for not negotiating a peaceful end to the confrontation and failing to reach out to minorities. Morsi’s incompetence, his power grabs, his brutal suppression of protests and his indifference to Copts are all ignored. (This was much worse than simply failing to reach out.)

The editorial reflected the reporting of its Cairo correspondent, which was generally sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. (See memeorandum for more.)

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross writes that the interim military government has crossed a line, and now It’s Time to Threaten Egypt’s Aid:

Instead, the U.S. should offer a firm and concrete ultimatum that future aid is conditioned on Egypt’s undertaking a series of changes. For starters, the Egyptian regime should unequivocally apologize for the slaughter of protesters; the officers who ordered Wednesday’s massacre should be held to account and court-martialed; and there should be no further willful mass killings. If Egypt doesn’t comply, 100 percent of the U.S.’s military aid should be suspended.

There are costs to cutting off aid. The U.S. would lose its leverage over Egypt — although leverage seems to have no value if it can’t be used at a time like this. The U.S. also risks losing valuable intelligence that Egypt’s military would otherwise provide about jihadist groups in the Sinai.

But the costs are worth it. The status quo is simply too problematic, pragmatically and morally. It’s time to threaten Egypt’s aid — and, if necessary, to suspend it.

Gartenstein-Ross’s suggestion sounds reasonable but what if conditioning the aid on real reforms, has a negative side effect?


Ralph Peters, on the other hand declares, This blood is on the hands of Muslim Brotherhood:

Is the Egyptian military an ideal ally? Nope. But it’s a far better bet than Obama’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood turned out to be.

The danger now is that the administration and naïfs in Congress will cut aid to the Egyptian military and curl up into a snit. That would only make the Egyptians who want a reasonably free, generally tolerant and ultimately democratic Egypt even madder at us. And Egypt’s the most important Arab country.

Do we really need to make additional enemies in the region? Of moderates and secularists? In a quest to be “fair” to fanatics?

Last week Barry Rubin made a related point:

Let’s be frank: the Egyptian army did a great service not just to Egypt’s people but also to the U.S. government, because it saved its strategic balance in the Middle East.


While it’s hard to be sympathetic to Egypt’s military government after yesterday’s violence, is it really the worst option for Egypt? Is it really the worst option for America’s strategic interests? Did the Muslim Brotherhood make violence inevitable? Would cutting aid simply send a signal to the current government or would it strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood? It’s important to recall that despite Morsi being the first democratically elected president of Egypt, he effectively engineered a coup of his own last year.

The certitude with which some commentators insist that the current situation is intolerable contrasts with their relative silence over Morsi’s power grab last year. It also ignores Erdogan’s consolidation of power and erosion of freedoms in Turkey. It ignores the ongoing targeting of opposition figures in Tunisia, too.

Both Turkey and Tunisia are ruled by supposedly moderate Islamist parties. Would the continued rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt follow the same trajectory of increasing government power and decreasing liberty if the army hadn’t intervened?


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Well, I vote for sending more ammo to the Good Egyptians so they can kill more Bad Egyptians. Perhaps the DHS here can spare some of their stash???

Squeeky Fromm
Girl Reporter

First, the rush to democracy in Egypt is largely to blame. Had a slower approach been the case, we might well not be facing what is nearly impossible to resolve given the attitudes to the parties involved.

Second, anything advocated by the NYT carries little weight based on the paper’s nearly total loss of credibility.

Third, the conduct by the Obama administration has been wrong at each stage of the changes in Egypt. Worse, they are largely responsible for the character of these changes.

So, now that the inevitable has occurred, the administration is still clinging to the Muslim Brotherhood although it is clear that the Egyptian public doesn’t want this group to prevail.

So, what next Mr. President???

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to GrumpyOne. | August 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Well nobody wants to live in chaos & struggle. But they did not want to live in highly ordered military Mubarek World either.

    It is like Chauncey Gardiner – with military assault vehicles.

    Yukio Ngaby in reply to GrumpyOne. | August 16, 2013 at 4:51 am

    Exactly when has the slow-go crawl toward democracy been effective?

      rabidfox in reply to Yukio Ngaby. | August 17, 2013 at 1:39 am

      South Korea. I’m old enough to remember when Park was the leader of S.K. and a lot of people considered him to be something of a dictator – yet, Korea grew into a vibrant democracy. Same thing with Taiwan – Chang Kai Check wasn’t a democratic leader by any measure, yet again Taiwan is now a democracy.

Imagine there are 80 million people all living right along the Mississippi River in Louisana… and then a fight breaks out.

That’s what you’ve got in Egypt. I’m surprised it took this long.

What’s this with “war games?” Israel was locked out of some “war gaming” a few months ago. While the USA held “war games” with Jordan. Jordan is getting an enormous infusion of American muscle and might. Including the setup of training camps that are very sophisticated.

There’s soon to be a “no fly” zone over syria. Again, we have generals running (behind) Kerry, schmoozing up generals in the IDF. And, then running to Jordan. Running back and forth doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

Egypt? It’s local. Their economy is in shambles. There’s too much street violence, which has shut off the spigot of tourism. Which kills jobs. (Let’s say at hotels. But also camel drivers, who need passengers, so they can send home photos of “having been there.” And, “done that.”)

My mom used to say it was harder to bring back an old customer who walked out in a huff, than to ever be able to apologize enough that they decide to come back in, and shop, again.

Even Mubarak survived when tourism was good. And, he still had to underwrite the cost of bread and cooking fuel.

The saud’s are really the guilty party, because they’ve been working for decades, now, at tossing out mom and pop imams. And, supplanting them with crazy radicals.

We’re reaping “that” harvest.

And, now we have Obama. Let’s say he’s talking “no fly” zone. Does that mean he intends to put his pants on backwards?

You think a “no fly” zone over syria will work out well?

The Mideast has 3 choices. The USA. Russia. And, the newcomer: The Chinese.

The arabs usually don’t get along with each other … so how exactly should obama behave towards Egypt? They get billions each year. Obama says he’s cutting aid as a response to Egyptian violence. So what? The “gulf states” have pitched in lots more money. Which they take from us, anyway, at the gas pump.

If Putin gets angry he’s gonna us “H” bombs. Don’t know what things will look like “after.”

Is Obama harder to hit because he’s not involved?

Beats me. I still have no idea why Bibi released 26 murderers. And, why Israel can’t change the way the game gets played when Israel is involved.

There will always be ‘muslim brotherhoods.’

Much more dangerous are the crazy people at the top of our government, and the non-crazy cowards who will not oppose them.

    Yukio Ngaby in reply to | August 16, 2013 at 4:55 am

    And there’s always going to be evil in this world. Should we leave it unconfronted? Should we hitch our political wagon to it politically?

    Yeah there’s big problems in the US but that doesn’t mean we suddenly turn a blind eye to our interests in the Middle East and our allies like Israel.

      Yukio Ngaby in reply to Yukio Ngaby. | August 16, 2013 at 4:56 am

      Should be “hitch our wagon to it politcally?” Sorry. I’m typing with a broken finger and am making some silly mistakes.

It’s at DEBKA! In Egypt, El Sisi just refused to take Obama’s call.

Obama loves to call world leaders and lash them about. He did this to Mubarak, when he told Mubarak to “step down immediately.” When Mubarak (who took Obama’s call), asked for 4 days to stop the violence. (That led to Mubarak’s ouster.)

Gosh, I hope Bibi is listening! (I’m sure someone in his office checks in with what DEBKA posts.)

True, Israel got into this “we talk so beautifully” box when Ben Gurion sent the silver-tongued Abba Eban to the UN.

So, today, people can ask “who the heck was Abba Ebban?”

But it started with “flourising talk.”

And, Bibi’s big mistake was in letting 26 murderers loose. Sending them back to the enemy. Who well make a big deal of “not” using “flourishing talk” to win the day.

El Sisi is now my hero!

Oh, yeah. Obama threatened to cut off his nose to spite his face … And, aid will be “cut, cut, cut.”

Given that the arabs were never friendly. All they wanted from the USA was technology. Military equipment. And, lots of money. To which the arabs are great at showing, i return, their hindquarters.

At least events are overshooting Kerry … Probably not lost on him that El Sisi refused to take his boss’s phone call.

Let us remember the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood: “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.”

If they are getting shot to pieces, it must be the will of Allah, His Name be praised. It is their highest aspiration.

El Baradi is no loss. Gen. Sisi is thinking clearly. Now is not the time for an Egyptian leader to be seen as chummy with the US. We’ve lost Egypt. Again. Hopefully 1) Israel’s military is up to its usual standards and 2) Egypt has too much on her plate to entertain advernturism.

Israel’s added walls. First, there was an influx from Africa. Helped along the route by Bedouins in the sinai.

Now the wall is FANTASTIC. Solved the problem.

Plus, you should see the wall going up along the Golan! Sure, you can see through it. But it is so sophisticated. Full of electronic towers. And, sophisticated military equipment. Not made of concrete. And, only about 15 miles left to go … to make Israel impenetrable.

Walls and technology works just fine.

Plus, Israel’s military has a working relationship with Egypt’s military.

What went wrong was Obama’s demand to Mubarak to step down. Now Egypt’s “experienced” the Muslim Brotherhood. As much bloodshed as you see, a majority into the millions hate the Brotherhood. Know it’s not Egyptian. (It’s saudi funded at its base.) And, America has turned out to be less than a trustworthy ally.

Do you lose a country overnight?

Well, Obama’s call to El Sisi was REFUSED by El Sisi. He didn’t need a Mubarak type lecture. And, Obama’s love for the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t in his favor because all he can use is his tongue.

You’re dealing with the Mideast! Where has America’s military shown any capabilities in that area?

Yeah, sailors come into ports. And, gals come out to meet the ships. All this crap is just limited to port cities. And, doesn’t give our military a leg up anywhere.

Plus, look at Libya. How do you lose 400 missiles? How come, if Gaddafi had those 400 missiles … How come he ended up dead?

I’ll bet that Egypt has a better security arrangement for itself than Libya had. And, IF they need re-supplies … what makes you think El Sisi can’t call Putin?

Oh, you think the Chinese are shy?

My take — thank God there are still people willing to actually kill islamofascist terrorists like the MB. Let’s send the Egyptian military more bullets and a few hundred cases of cold beer.

Remember what Bin Laden said about the strong horse? Well the military in Egypt is the strong horse and we would be fools not to feed it and groom it. Instead of farting around with kid gloves and appeasing radical islam they are delivering righteousness through the muzzle of the proverbial gun.

The US should be pushing protection of the Christian minorities, not the MB SHPOS.

Selective outrage. End the occupation of Egypt. Send a flotilla, or something.

As for a so-called “democratic” election, the process is illegitimate when executed under duress.

We should increase their aid, and wish them well in their task.

The MB is a murderous cult of islamofascist extremists. They killed Sadat and inspired most of the Sunni extremist groups of today.

Morsi released at least one of the Benghazi attack leaders just days before the attack. MB is not our friend.

Violence was predicted by the Muslim Brotherhood immediately following the ouster of Morsi. The Brotherhood’s sit-in was more of an AK-armed mob occupation. Violence followed. Go figure.

The only way Egypt was not going to erupt in violence would be if Morsi was reinstated as de-facto dictator– which was pretty much what he was making himself out to be– and then all remained docile as Morsi’s government ran out of food to distribute. This docile outlook by starving Egyptians seems quite unlikely.

Violence seemed unavoidable in Egypt, and frankly I’m a little surprised it wasn’t even worse than we’re seeing. Well, things could still escalate. We’ll see.