Stealing some verbiage from Claude Berube’s excellent post, I cannot help but be struck by reports that Mohamed ElBaradei, the erstwhile UN Nuclear Watchdog, is looking to partner with the Muslim Brotherhood in the creation of a Unity Government in Egypt that does not include the National Democratic Party of current President Hosni Mubarak.

While some immediately grasped such a possibility as a way out of the current unrest in Egypt, to the less optimistic, the historical parallels give pause, even alarm. ElBaradei, a moderate secularist, partnering with an Islamist organization with questionable allegiances and associations, seems an unlikely alliance to be certain. ElBaradei has shown no inclination for ruthlessness in seeking power, while the Muslim Brotherhood has never shown the slightest tendency for compromise, in fact, none other than the eventual seizure of absolute power.

A coalition in which someone like Mohamed ElBaradei will be able to contain the ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood has been tried before. In the dying days of the Weimar Republic, as Germany teetered again on the edge of chaos, such a dangerous and improbable partnership was formed between a moderate with little taste for political violence and a fanatical and ruthless political party with no such inhibitions, with a leader bent on absolute power. When elderly President Paul von Hindenburg dismissed General Kurt Schleicher on 28 January 1933, the Weimar Republic came to an end. Franz von Papen, the Roman Catholic monarchist and erstwhile Chancellor, talked Hindenburg into appointing Adolf Hitler to the Chancellorship, with the promise that he, Papen, as Vice-Chancellor could control Hitler and his Nazis once Hitler was in the government. Papen’s underestimation, and Hindenburg’s acquiescence, remain some of the most tragic miscalculations in all of history.

That something similar might happen in Egypt, with the Muslim Brotherhood pushing a moderate ElBaradei aside, gaining and consolidating power as an Islamist government likely friendly to Iran, Syria, and other Islamist states largely unfriendly to the United States and her interests, would be a diplomatic disaster of considerable proportions. Control of the Suez Canal, and the loss of one of the few US allies in the Arab world, hangs in the balance.

The Canadian Press reported that Hamman Saeed, leader of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, recently declared that “unrest in Egypt will spread across the Mideast and Arabs will topple leaders allied with the United States.”

Incidentally, the Hitler Cabinet was formed on 30 January.

*****************************************************

While this post was not intended primarily to compare the Muslim Brotherhood to the Nazis, but rather to illustrate the historical trend that moderates and extremists rarely share power for long, it remains a historical fact that the Muslim Brotherhood aligned with Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists, and their rabid anti-Semitic policies and views. While the Nazis are gone, the Muslim Brotherhood remains, with views largely untempered.

To pretend otherwise is unwise in the extreme, and verges on intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

******************************************************

Update on 1 December 2011

True to form, ten months hence, we see the Muslim Brotherhood “entering the political process” and quickly reneging on nearly every promise they made.

A minority party formed around street thugs and extremists wins a minority of the Parliamentary seats, and demands to be the entity to form a new government?

What could go wrong?




Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Foreign Policy, History, Homeland Security, Maritime Security, Uncategorized


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  • http://cdrsalamander.hotmail.com CDR Salamander

    I think there is another cabal of Leftists who liked uniforms besides your German fellas that may be more appropriate WRT the Muslim Brotherhood and El Baradei.

    From the Spanish Civil War and on – the Communists loved the concept of The Popular Front. Built of what The Mensheviks had developed during the Russian Revolution, the path is rather simple.

    Join early with more “acceptable” parties, and then once you have access to power, eliminate the less bloody-minded.

    I am not sure many realize it yet, but my money is that we just left the post-Cold War status-quo. We started off the center-line post 911, but this I think signals something new.

    I’m not sure where this will go – but when it gets there, I don’t think we’ll like it.

  • Endre Lunde

    Oh come on, if we are to debate these issues rationally, let’s all agree that starting out with Nazi parallels is a poor way to go. This simply has to be one of the worst postings I have seen on this blog. For all its faults, the Muslim Brotherhood is not the NSDAP, and making this sort of pointless parallels is not shedding any light on the situation.

    Will however increased political power for the Brotherhood in Egypt be a troublesome development? Absolutely, and it may escalate the Gaza-issue again. There are however plenty of moderate forces in Egypt which will seek to balance the most aggressive elements of the Brotherhood, and this goes beyond the deceptively soft-spoken ElBaradei.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Point being, Sal, that from an alliance of moderate with a non-moderate, be it Bolshevik/Menshevik or Centrist/National Socialist, only one emerges, and it is the one most willing to ruthlessly seize power. This despite any words or platitudes that were intended to calm fears and convince people to include them in a coalition government in the first place.

    Something about a tiger not changing his spots.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Wait! I think I saw John Stewart talking about this last week.

    Amazing that Godwin’s Law can come out not in the comments, but from the first post.

    The thing that really strikes me about the situation in Egypt is the return to our real-politik of the Cold War. If you are against Islamic extremists, then we will support you, no matter what your politics, internal repression or peculiar approach to democracy is.

    That worked so well for us back then. Why is it that we just can’t learn that preaching self-determination sometimes means we have to let people choose their own mistakes?

  • Matt Yankee

    Does anyone know why the Muslum Brotherhood isn’t on the terrorist list? I don’t understand how AQ #2’s original terrorist org. isn’t on the list.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    Matt,
    Here is the State Dept. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).

    http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm

    I don’t see them.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Godwin’s Law” is so much intellectual jabberwocky. The point of the post being that a moderate sharing power with an absolutist doesn’t do so for long.

    And that doesn’t even mention that the Muslim Brotherhood did indeed align with the Nazis during the Second World War. Unless you aren’t allowed to talk about the Nazis when you are talking about World War II because Jon Stewart says you can’t.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    URR – I don’t think you watch Jon Stewart, or if you do you miss some of the sarcasm. He ran a lengthy piece on the overuse of the Nazi analogy and how it is usually inapt and hurts the argument. And I think he’s funny. That’s all.

    Now, the issue with a moderate shairng power with an absolutist, that is important to discuss…as is our own propensity to focus on single subject issues (anti-Communist, anti-Islamic Fascist, etc).

    I find it of the height of intellectual dishonesty that there are those in this country who either won’t call Mubarak a dictator or who actually believe that he is a democratically elected president.

    And I don’t know enough about el Baradei to know if he would be good or bad for Egypt…and the Muslim Brotherhood has too much bad press dogging at their heels to be anything but “smoke ergo fire”. But, if not them, then who? If the US backs Mubarak, do we end up with another Pahlavi or Aquino?

    Lots to think about, but, again, I don’t know enough to speak about it any more than I put here so I will follow Abu Muqawama’s advice – http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2011/01/egypt-humble-request.html and http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2011/01/egypt-people-who-might-actually-know-what-theyre-talking-about-updated.htm

    If, as I have been told happens, what I wrote comes across as snarky, snooty, or swarmy – that is not the intent and I am open to critical review of my tone at any point and time.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    URR,
    It could also be intellectual Bandersnatch, but I’m not sure. ;)

  • UltimaRatioRegis

    Yeah, SalN there’s that too!

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Frabjous, just frabjous ;)

  • http://www.stratfor.com nhughes

    Whatever the case, I’d argue that this is an important conversation to be having. All too much of the public discussion in the media is too far off in the opposite direction and reflect — perhaps only unconsciously — the belief that demonstrations against an autocratic regime are protests by oppressed masses that are more liberal and western-oriented in their thinking than the regime they loathe. The idea being that if only that oppression was removed that the country would be more amenable to western-style, secular democracy and that those English-speaking, cosmopolitan elites with contacts in the western media are representative of their country’s politics.

    The question about the Muslim Brotherhood is an important one. It is not that there are not flaws in making too direct or overt a parallel to Nazis or Communists. It is that if the Muslim Brotherhood is more Islamist and more radical than the public perception it has crafted over the years in the midst of broad, concerted and long-term repression; if it is more coherent than the public disagreement about what the movement is or what it wants would suggest and if the non-secular strains of support that exist in Egyptian society but that has been managed by the Mubarak regime for three decades, then democracy could lead to the election of an Islamist-oriented government (as URR points out, perhaps despite the inclusion of a more secular figurehead) in a country that has been an under-appreciated lynchpin of American foreign policy in the Middle East for decades, and has been an important ally in efforts against transnational terrorism.

    Our hopes for a more democratic Egypt must be balanced by a realistic and clear-headed assessment of the risks of allies of Hamas taking the reigns. It is not clear that the Muslim Brotherhood is that Islamist or extremist or that they could come to power in the way URR suggests. But it is a risk that deserves further examination and further discussion.

  • Matt Yankee

    Hitler is even smiling…:)

    Now seriously,

    I do agree Nazi camparisons are more often than not totally BS.
    But not this time and it says something about how well we know our enemy when the connection is real and direct for an enemy we have been at war with for almost a decade, yet it is completely unkown for most Americans and never mentioned by leaders who are supposed to wage war by all means especially in the fight for hearts and minds.

  • richardb

    Nazism was ardently supported in Egypt and other Arab countries during WWII so the comparison is apt. The ascension of the Muslim Brotherhood will bring Nazi ideals to the forefront of the Middle East. The other part of the comparison is economic. Hilterism was a byproduct of the Weimar hyper inflation. We are seeing Egyptian revolution fueled by high commodity inflation that has priced basic foods outside the reach of the Egyptian poor. Where does this inflation come from? Why the feverish printing of trillions of dollars by the Obama Administration since it took power in Jan 2009.

    Obama has lit the fuze with his insane monetary policy. The explosion to come will affect generations. It is likely to include Nazi-like genocide against Jews, along with a messanic crusade to expand the faith against Christians, Hindus and others outside the orthodoxy Muslim faith.

    Obama is so foolish and uneducated, what a tragedy we have unleashed upon the world. The man is ignorant of history, economics and politics. The result is likely to be a decade or more of diminished American power, wealth and security. If we are lucky.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    m ittleschmerz,

    Jon Stewart is not nearly as funny as Jon Stewart thinks he is. He is no Craig Kilbourne.

    As for a “single issue”, is the possibility of an Islamic fundamentalist group seizing power in a place that controls one of the world’s strategic choke points not a fairly big one? If not, please tell me one that is…

  • Mittleschmerz

    I didn’t make my point clearly enough.

    The issue is not that an Islamic fundamentalist group would seize power, but instead that we as a governmental policy speak about democracy and then turn around and support dictators when it pleases us.

    And then wonder why some in the world think of us as hypocrites.

    If we are truly democratic, and believe in democratic ideals, then we would condemn Mubarak’s election shenanigans and press for a real republican form of democracy. And if an Islamic fundamentalist government was elected (and somehow still held to democratic process and ideals) we’d just accept it.

    Our history shows that we preach self-determination, and then ignore it if the choice made is not to our liking.

    And, of course, if the Muslim Brotherhood seized power, then this would be a different discussion.

    But they haven’t. And they haven’t been able to keep the “terrorist” stink on them, nor have they been able to get it off, either.

    It’s a messy situation no matter how it shakes out, and part of that is our fault for supporting a dictator for 30 years. We always reap what we sow. Each and every time.

  • Jay

    Our support for Pres Mubarak (early on) should be seen through the lens of the Cold War, and the shock of seeing Pres Sadat assassinated. “the devil you know” may be our reason for 30 years of support, as well as a stable, protected, and open canal. The Nazi analogy is fairly ridiculous, but comforting, I guess, especially when you know how that story ended… It will be interesting to see what form of government arises in Egypt. A coalition, even with a faction that is anti-American, is not unexpected. Lots of bad indicators in this area of the world for the ability of a true democracy to function and flourish, given the poisonous mixture of religion and politics. As I write this (might even be OBE…or incorrect…) we haven’t seen the Egyptian Army take a completely active role in attempting to determine the outcome. Or, perhaps they have, by not backing the police. That seems good news, initially. Should be an interesting week/month… I wonder if demonstrations may kick off again in Iran?

  • RedneckJamesinTN

    Mitt,

    More like our children reap what we sow. Imagine 2 irans to deal with and a general war.

    I hate the words just deal with it.

    If a war goes nuclear in the ME and millions die i guess thats also reaping…

    Bah what a mess.

  • Lowly USN Retired

    The United States must intervene in this mess going on in Egypt. Control of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist organizations will result in an Iranian take over Egypt. The United States has thirty years of military equipment and technology transfer and thirty billion USD at stake in this matter not to mention the semi stability in the Region the current government affords.

    The lessons learned from the Islamic Revolution/Iranian Revolution of January 1978 through February 1979 must be applied in this crises by the U.S. We must not allow the toppling of the Egyptian Government by the young secular populous flooding into Egypt. These terrorist are all hell bent for leather to overthrow and control Egypt so they can destroy the State of Israel and the Christian world.

    The direction Egypt goes in this prelude to another Islamic Revolution will determine the direction the Egyptian military goes. Should Egypt fall a domino effect will occur starting with the occupation of Egypt by terrorist such as the Islamic Republic of Iran for the purpose of invading, destroying and occupying Israel, gaining control of the Suez Canal, the eviction of U.S. Forces from Bahrain, by our so called Bahraini friends and Persian/Arabian Gulf and Middle East Regions; thus requiring U.S. Forces to withdraw to Iraq and Israel, if Israel will allow the staging of U.S. Armed Forces in their country.

    Whatever the solution or fix may be, this mess in Egypt can not be allowed to result in a coup d’état.

  • Flashman

    I’d be careful with the slippery slope theories and equating Egyptian politics to European politics (or Iranian politics). Egypt should be understood for its history and current crossroads. It’s easy to overemphasize MB, due to its concern to U.S. national security and nexus to terrorism, at the expense of understanding the domestic influences that have created the current event (the vast poor on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez couldn’t have been silenced by Mubarak’s supporters forever whatever their party politics).

    Additionally, to mention that the MB supported Nazism without also recalling that Nazism was a bright shiny ideal (for awhile) when compared to oppressive colonial policies will also send you tilting at windmills. MB has moved along quite a bit ideologically from supporting Nazism and I don’t think discussion of MB’s espousal of Nazism is helpful to the analysis. The past 30 years off MB opposition to Mubarak – during which, not unlike Hamas, they’ve espoused a range of programs to achieve policy aims – is far more material to the discussion of Egypt’s direction in the next six months.

    Additionally, it is not possible for any government to form in Egypt – even a continuation of Mubarak’s party – without engaging with MB. This is not pandering by ElBaradei…simply reality.

    Finally, the fact still stands — Mubarak announced that he would hold ‘free and fair’ elections in the past and he didn’t come through. His regime has been oppressive and Egypt faces widespread unemployment, with the youth particularly effected by political and economic disenfranchisement. The U.S. playing a hard hand, in these conditions, at this point would be self-nullifying. If you want to make allegories, I’d make them to the Carter administration’s inability to effectively deal with the fall of the shah.

  • richardb

    Obama and Hillary has a foreign policy problem, of highest consequences, to solve. Like many Presidents before him, weakness at home resulted in challenges to American interests abroad. Should Egypt fall to an anti-American group, our entire position in the Middle East will face assault. Our oil supply will be threatened and our economy will suffer before our economic recovery gets entrenched. Obama will have to answer for his own war on fossil fuels while heating oil and gasoline surge to undreamt of heights.

    Before Egypt became an American ally it fermented revolt in Saudi Arabia and fought a poison gas war in Yemen and allowed the Soviet Union’s military access to the Middle East.

    There is no question of Egypt discarding Mubarak for a democratic state. With vast uneducated poor whipped with Islamic bigotry there is no hope of that. Instead the anti-Mubarak will be distinctly anti-American as a matter of philosophy and legitimacy. What if the successors to Mubarak were helped by Iran and other radical forces operating in the Middle East. It will be they who influence the new leadership. China as a patron to Iran and intent on super power status, is no doubt attempting to influence events in ways hostile to American interests

    An anti-American Egypt could attempt to unite the various medieval Sunni Islamic groups roaming from Algeria to Pakistan. Arm them and train them with their American trained military and equipment, then send them to subvert Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Emirates and Iraq. If successful in overthrowing these regimes, then Israel will get its turn to face Islamic militaries armed and trained by the United States.

    Even if they fail to overthrow Saudi Arabia et al, the perpetual chaos of sky high oil prices guarantee political upheaval throughout the Western world. Given China’s manifest friendship to Iran and Pakistan, the stakes for the West in secure energy supplies could not be higher. China’s quest for oil matches the Wests and China will be unhindered by our morals in securing their supplies.

  • Sacto43

    “The direction Egypt goes in this prelude to another Islamic Revolution will determine the direction the Egyptian military goes. Should Egypt fall a domino effect will occur starting with the occupation of Egypt by terrorist such as the Islamic Republic of Iran for the purpose of invading, destroying and occupying Israel, gaining control of the Suez Canal, the eviction of U.S. Forces from Bahrain, by our so called Bahraini friends and Persian/Arabian Gulf and Middle East Regions; thus requiring U.S. Forces to withdraw to Iraq and Israel, if Israel will allow the staging of U.S. Armed Forces in their country.”

    After this then Vietnam will fall.

  • Matt Yankee

    To say the domino effect is not true here is to ignore the fact that this started in Tunisia, and now we are seeing revolts in Egypyt, Jordan, Yemen which all are interestingly Allies. It is also very interesting that we have seen nothing in Iran, Syria or Lebanon.

    I have read about how Hamas purposefully started the antifadas with an ambush on the Israelis and then sent their people to the streets (most were unkowing puppets) to violently protest Israeli responses. If Hamas knows this play obviously it is within the capacity of Iran to replicate on a larger scale. They know how to play our media like a violen. I will believe this is not such a scheme only when we see Iran, Syria or Lebanon experiencing the same revolts. Timing is also a red flag…we are supposed to be focusing on Iran and Lebanon right now.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Flash,

    I would suggest that the MB supported the Nazis out of more than just an anti-colonial fervor. And that they are considered an enabler of Islamic fundamentalists across the region. Or at least that is the conclusion of several terror assessments.

    Having been a force in Egyptian politics is far different from being an acknowledged partner in Egypt’s government, which is what is at stake here. To ignore that, and the trend that moderates sharing power with absolutists tend not to last long, is a much more slippery slope.

  • Wharf Rat

    What worries me is this: there are some posters here that downplay the nazi/MB link. As I read through the posts, one thing I didn’t pick up was simply that I truly believe the MB aligned with the nazi’s because it fit their anti-semitism views. They were probably/absolutely a fan of the ‘final solution’. Fast forward to today, and now there’s posts here saying we have to deal/negoiate with these same clowns.

    There are posts talking about the threat to the Suez Canal. Uh, anyone here ever heard of the United States Navy? Last I heard we have 10 LHA/LHD’s each that can be used as harrier carriers, and 11 CVN’s. At some point you simply have to be tough enough to say this isn’t going to happen. Oh wait, Obama is in office. Funny, and strange how I have more confidence in Hillary than I thought I would, and certainly more than our president.

    Additionally, while a significant about of commerce and oil goes through it, what’s to stop us from turning those tankers to the east and approach the West Coast? We have come up with simple answers to complex questions before, we can do it again. We have what, 1,500 to 2,000 fighters in the US Air Force? How far is it from Aviano? There are things we can do to assure the world that some things will not happen, and some things – like commerce through the canal will. I wish we had a president who would communicate this.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    What worries me the most about so many of the comments here are that they brook no opposition, see no other options than the one they choose to believe, and, frankly, seek to shut down the voices of anyone who chooses to disagree with them.

    The Canal has been closed before, and the world didn’t end. And the Navy seizing the Canal would not make things any better, and likely get the same result as a terrorist organization seizing it – a reduction in traffic as ships rerouted because of the instability.

    The idea of direcly linking the Muslim Brotherhood to Nazism is patently ridiculous – and something worth discussing only in it’s relationship to the political fallout of the end of World War II, the failure of the Balfour Plan, the idiocy of the Arab world in not accepting the partition plans of the 40s and so on and so forth.

    What is very important, and gets lost as soon as the MB=Nazi link get brought up, is the questionable renunciation of violence on the part of the MB. If they are truly, as an organization, against violence in all it’s forms, then they have the opportunity to fix the sixty year old mistakes of the military coup that replaced a monarchy with a monarchy.

    But, if they are either a front for a violent group, or allow those with truly violent thoughts and actions to remain within their organization, then there is a different problem at play in Egypt.

    And NONE of us KNOW which it is. Which is why it is important that we stand by our avowed ideals and let the Egyptians choose which way they want to go and not seek to force them one way or the other.

  • UltimaRatioRegis

    “Patently ridiculous”?

    Do you plan to intentionally ignore the views and statements of the MB over the course of the last two decades?

    And you consider the MB’s open admiration of Hitler and his regime since WWII to be unworthy of mention?

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Can you point me (i.e link) to statements that support your contention rather than blithely dismiss everything else I wrote?

    I’ll do some of my own research in the interim…be back soon, but I am interested in you supporting your points.

  • Matt Yankee

    This is from an AP ariticle today 2/2/11:

    “The fundamentalist Brotherhood advocates the introduction of strict Islamic sharia law, close relations with Muslim nations and Israel’s destruction.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110202/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_jordan

    Our media constantly promotes an Islam that is different than reality I am sorry to say. Even the Suffi sect of Islam which is supposedly the “moderates” recently called for the release of the assasin who gunned down the Governor of Punjab Province, Pakistan, whom he was supposed to protect as he was on the Governor’s security detail. The “crime” the Governor was killed for was “blasphemy”. Google it, the whole story just gets better. The Suffi “moderates” are the same sect building the infamous Ground Zero Mosque.

    I wish that Islam was different and totally peaceful but reality is stark. Not saying ALL Muslums are terrorists but I have seen and heard enough to understand very many of them take the Quran literally and we must come to terms with what that means for the rest of us “Infidels”.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Well, there’s the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

    And the MB’s founder in Egypt:

    http://www.mideastweb.org/Middle-East-Encyclopedia/hassan_al-banna.htm

    And the statements of its religious leader, al-Qaradawi:

    “But the balance of power will change, and this is what is told in the Hadith of Ibn-Omar and the Hadith of Abu-Hurairah: “You shall continue to fight the Jews and they will fight you, until the Muslims will kill them. And the Jew will hide behind the stone and the tree, and the stone and the tree will say: ‘Oh servant of Allah, Oh Muslim, this is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him!’ The resurrection will not come before this happens.”

    And this gem (to AP):

    “There should be no dialogue with these people [Israelis] except with swords.”

    And:

    “the patch of the Muslim state will expand to cover the whole earth and that the strength of this state will grow and become obvious to all. This also denotes good news for the long-cherished hope of revival of Muslims unity and rebirth of Islamic Caliphate.”

    http://www.investigativeproject.org/profile/167

    Then, there’s everybody’s favorite MB figure, Sayyid Qutb.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/nov/01/afghanistan.terrorism3

    I will let you look for the rest.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    So, being an enemy of Israel is enough to be called a Nazi now?

    Again, read the rest of what I wrote…and, what happened to
    “While this post was not intended primarily to compare the Muslim Brotherhood to the Nazis, but rather to illustrate the historical trend that moderates and extremists rarely share power for long…”

  • Flashman

    URR – the two are the same. MB sought to oppose Jewish occupation of Palestine perpetrated by colonial rule. Yep, they distributed Nazi propaganda. They also weren’t fans of the other colonial powers (and friends) that sought to control the political and economic agenda of the Middle East. Go figure.

    So, that was the 1930s/40s.

    In present day Egypt, the MB is a political party with a great deal of suasion due to the fact that they spent a great deal of effort meeting the needs of the people. They’ve renounced violent overthrow of Egypt (repeatedly) and forced some distance between themselves and members/former members that espoused open violence. The alternative would be to shoot everyone or continue to support a nonexistent option of supporting a strongarm dictator — I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    How do you feel about the AK Party in Turkey? Erdogan did his time in prison as a dissident…the AKP openly pledges support to HAMAS and entertains global MB leaders…yet Turkey has had more economic prosperity in past 10 years of AKP rule than they had in the previous 30 years. They are democratic and engage in realpolitik about their foreign interests (sometimes it works with the U.S., sometimes their interests don’t). I’m not comforted by some of their social policies, but I’m not Turkish. But the AKP were “extremists” too….

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Flash,

    The Grand Mufti’s enthusiastic support of Hitler’s “Final Solution” goes far deeper than anti-colonialism or issues with Jews in Palestine.

    Today’s MB in Egypt is perhaps politically savvy enough to espouse their views in acceptable terms, but I doubt seriously if, fundamentally, those views have changed significantly since their founding.

  • Flashman

    The Grand Mufti was deeply anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish, no doubt. He was also sidelined by his Arab brothers after WWII and not openly and widely embraced subsequent to his period as a Nazi collaborator. Basing a political estimate of current day Egypt, and choosing him as being representative of the majority of MB in Egypt, will probably send us off tilting at windmills. MB is not a bunch of Jeffersonian, American-loving democrats ready to embrace their Jewish brothers, but I think this linkage is a bit selective of history and misses some of the salient issues and trends affecting the Middle East. I have as much fear as an MB takeover in Egypt as I do the fruition Mufti’s plans for pan-Arab unity. Both will be, and have been, undermined by other political realities in the region.

    Fixating on the MB/Nazi issue as reductionist when it comes to Egypt’s political spectrum. You have more players than MB and elBaradei. At the end of the day, when Mubarak exits, you’ll have an Egypt that will have elements of MB, but also elements of Kafaya and ElBaradei. None of those actors, ElBaradei included, are particularly thrilled with Israel, but it’s hard to say that they’ll want to go on the attack against Israel or the U.S. Again, I haven’t seen too many U.S. or Israeli flags burnt this past week…the anger is directed at Mubarak and is largely about food, jobs, and the distribution of wealth.

    I don’t at all disagree with having concerns for Egypt-US relations in the future. Egyptians could easily elect — with no MB takeover at all — and administration that is anti-Israel / anti-US. Kefaya, MB, elBaradei….none are particularly fond of Israel. That said, I think this view of MB is a tad reductionist. What will we do with a democratically elected Islamist-leaning, anti-Israeli regime?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Flash,

    As stated above, the intent of the post was to warn that moderates and extremists do not share power long. That said, the MB has interestingly never repudiated the Grand Mufti’s collaboration with the Third Reich, nor his enthusiasm for the Holocaust, which many deny. To this day.

    Not sure if “this view” of MB is not a correct one. That we are looking at a more skilled and savvy political face of an old mantra. What is also of concern is that, should the MB end up in the driver’s seat, Egypt is not exactly a representative democracy in which alternate views will have a voice in governing. And that, I believe, is reality, and not reductionist. None of those other competing interests matter a whole lot should they not wind up with the keys to power.

    As for what MB seems to be today, do we, in this country, somehow embrace the Ku Klux Klan as being somehow rehabilitated because their public statements of the last couple of decades have been more tempered and less racist? If not, why not?

  • Wharf Rat

    For me, I have no faith left in that, without the stabilizing force of the US military and the millions who’ve served since WWII, I’m convinced that humanity has the capacity to be guilty of another holocast. No, I’m not convinced that the MB has changed their stripes.

    Thank God for the US Military. Thank God that the USS Enterprise CVN 65 is in the 6th Fleet AOR right now.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    m ittleschmerz,

    “So, being an enemy of Israel is enough to be called a Nazi now?”

    No. But an enthusiastic alliance with the Nazis is probably enough to be called a Nazi sympathizer.

  • Matt Yankee

    Surely there is no disagreement that Hamas, Taliban, AQ, Hezbollah and many others if given the oppurtuntiy would absolutely committ a second holocaust. So why is it so far fetched that the very first islamic terrorists, the Muslum Brotherhood, wouldn’t do the same? I think it’s their name…uninformed people think it sounds nice…brotherhood…I would be fine with letting Nazi sympathizers suffer till they are dead under any regime.

    The only thing standing in their way is us and our allies. The stakes are real even if the threat is distant because of our technical superiority among many other advantages.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    70 years ago…

    OK, I’ve done enough reading of both what you posted and other sources to know that I do not at all agree with you, that you are choosing not to read most of what I wrote, and that nothing will sway from a point you originally claimed had nothing to do with your post other than a tangential link but has now become the overall thrust of your argument.

    In closing, I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler. And neither is El-Baradei or Muhammad Badi’e.

  • Matt Yankee

    This leader of the MB was speaking yesterday.

    http://en.rian.ru/world/20110203/162433368.html

    Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood movement has unveiled its plans to scrap a peace treaty with Israel if it comes to power, a deputy leader said in the interview with NHK TV.

    Rashad al-Bayoumi said the peace treaty with Israel will be abolished after a provisional government is formed by the movement and other Egypt’s opposition parties.

    “After President Mubarak steps down and a provisional government is formed, there is a need to dissolve the peace treaty with Israel,” al-Bayoumi said.

  • Flashman

    URR…

    Frankly, so what? Based on the Nazi-MB linkage, and the current MB repudiation of a Jewish state, your policy prescription for Egypt is what….? Based on the presumption that they’re Nazi sympathizers, should we could simply go on the warpath and try and lay waste to everyone who objects to Israel’s existence?

    As far as MB, treating it as a monolith will lead down the wrong path. MB in recent years has been relatively consistent on participating in elections in Egypt, but divided as to the protection of minorities – including attempting to address the question of whether women can be elected and Christians. The point is — they’re divided, not monolithic, and not nearly as extreme as al Qaida. Whether they become HAMAS or AKP, time will tell. MB has bumbled and fumbled. They clearly did not seem to lead the protests when they started despite having done so (somewhat successfully) in the past (these protests have also lacked many of the markings of being inspired by Islamist elements…I’ve seen very few signs or symbols of the standard Islamic extremist propaganda). Further, Al Qaida has directly criticized the MB for not being supportive of violent overthrow or their broader political schemes.

    I don’t disagree that Egypt’s political future is a question mark…and tilts in a direction of being anti-Israel. MB and Kefaya (which, due to a more diverse base, has a larger following) are both anti-Israel. An election today, without the “MB takeover” scenario, will likely bring to power a regime that is not as willing to work with Israel. Is that any surprise? Frankly, I wonder how much mileage we were getting out of Mubarak’s regime as part of the Middle East Peace Process, anyway. Al Jazeera’s Palestinian Papers would suggest that it was Israeli intransigence rather than Arab/Palestinian stalwarts that have complicated the peace process successively over the recent course of events.

    So, yes, lots of things to be concerned about in Egypt….but I don’t share the view that you can broad brush MB as “extremist” based on the Grand Mufti’s collaboration with the Nazis or because of MB’s anti-Israel stance and disregard for many minorities as these attitudes, although far from universal, are widely held in the Middle East. Furthermore even without “extremist” intervention/takeover, you will almost certainly see a less pro-Israel position in Israel. Should the government become more fundamentalist, there will be a further erosion of support for protection of minorities – the Copts, or women – and I’m relatively certain this will complicate U.S. foreign policy. Again, it is yet to be seen, however, whether what emerges is closer to the Turkish AKP, something akin to HAMAS, or an Ayatollah Khoemeini.

    At the end of the day, U.S. policy should not be based on trust of MB or their ilk, but we’ll have to deal with the power structure emerging from the protests. Embracing Mubarak is behind us. The most plausible action for the U.S. in the near term is to further a process towards democracy, even to the point that we support a democratic process whereby MB members will likely gain a significant number of seats. It’s not ideal (yet, similarly, we’ve had to get used to the notion of the Sadr Trend in Iraq holding significant political power despite clear linkages to verifiable extremists in Iran), but it probably runs the best course in the present to stem the strength of the highly conservative, more violently radical elements of MB and Egyptian society. Oversimplification of the aims of the political actors in this current wave of revision of Egyptian politics, however, could lead to militaristic policies that would push moderates to the extreme and create the exact situation that you describe.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Flashman,

    Not suggesting any particular policy. Nor “laying waste” to anyone opposed to Israel.

    The “so what?” is something about a leopard not changing its spots. And to recognize it for what it is instead of treating it as we hope it might be.

    This from Muhammed Ghannem, considered a leader of the MB in Egypt:

    “Muhammad Ghannem reportedly told Al- Alam that the Suez Canal should be closed immediately, and that the flow of gas from Egypt to Israel should cease “in order to bring about the downfall of the Mubarak regime.” He added that “the people should be prepared for war against Israel,” saying the world should understand that “the Egyptian people are prepared for anything to get rid of this regime.”

    So we shall see.

  • Flashman

    URR,

    So, we shall.

    While you may characterize it as “wishful thinking,” I would similarly caution against jingoistic analysis that presents MB for what it is not and suggest that we guard heavily against moderates taking power lest that power is taken away by MB. Finally, correlation is not causation; Egypt is not the Weimar Republic and much as transpired since the Grand Mufti had a role within MB. Without a more complete analysis of Egypt, its political landscape, and the MB’s players, this argument isn’t much more than a paper tiger.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Flashman,

    Here is your “paper tiger”.

    “A senior member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has expressed gratitude to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for his support of the Egyptian revolution.

    Kamal al-Halbavi made the remark in an interview with the state-funded BBC Persian on Sunday night.

    Halbavi further expressed hope that Egypt would have “a good government, like the Iranian government, and a good president like Mr. Ahmadinejad, who is very brave.”

    Read the rest of the interview. http://www.abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=224769

    Then maybe we can discuss realistically what is, and not euphemistically what we would like to be.

  • Byron

    Flashman, every time I hear the word, “jingoistic” I instantly label the user as someone who hates the US and thinks we’re all a bunch of earth-raping imperialists.

    /ignore.

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