View Full Version : Muslim Brotherhood

04-20-2006, 05:28 PM
Moderator's Note

In April 2011 I merged four threads, one large and three small. Today April 2014 I have merged five other threads, including a RFI and a thread relating to the MB in the USA (ends).

20 April Counterterrorism blog - State Department’s Flirting with the Muslim Brotherhood (http://counterterrorismblog.org/2006/04/state_departments_flirting_wit.php) by Lorenzo Vidino.

Over the last weeks there have been numerous signs of a new attitude at Foggy Bottom in relation to the international movement of the Muslim Brotherhood. While scores of moderate Muslims and Islamic scholars, the 9/11 Commission, and European security officials point to the Muslim Brothers as the forefathers of modern Islamist terrorism, the State Department is, in fact, flirting with them. As noted by Doug Farah here, last month the State Department sent its head of counterterrorism, Ambassador Hank Crumpton, to be the keynote speaker at a conference co-sponsored by the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), an infamous Brotherhood-linked Northern Virginia outfit. And in two weeks, as Rachel Ehrenfeld reported, the U.S. Embassy in Rome will co-sponsor a high-profile two-day symposium about immigration and integration where the highly controversial Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan has been invited as a keynote speaker.

Isolated blunders? Unfortunately not. Two weeks ago the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing on Islamist Extremism in Europe where various government officials outlined their initiatives to reach out to European Muslims. Particularly interesting was the testimony of the US Ambassador to Belgium, Tom Korologos, who explained how, over the past few months, together with the State Department, has been promoting various seemingly laudable initiatives in which American and European Muslim organizations meet with US officials, opening a dialogue that, in the Ambassador’s hopes, will “break stereotypes and foster networking opportunities.”

Dialogue with Muslim leaders, both in the West and in the rest of the world, is a crucial aspect of America’s war on terror, which, in the long run, is more important than any military or anti-terrorist operation. Yet Ambassador Korologos, and the State Department with him, seems to have completely missed the mark. The organizations that have been chosen to participate in his initiative, in fact, represent the gotha of the Muslim Brotherhood’s network on both sides of the Atlantic, raising serious doubts as to whether a genuinely open and constructive dialogue is being fostered...

06-12-2006, 03:03 PM
Is it possible that the Muslim Brotherhood is a solution to what ails us in the Middle East? A group of socially conscious individuals who have demonstrated a desire and willingness to work within given political systems, propensity to address poverty and education, and thus who have earned the hostility of al Qa'ida?

Before anyone calls the FBI, no they are not on the FTO list for 2005-2006.

Tom Odom
06-12-2006, 04:56 PM

Not to worry about phone calls. The MB started in Egypt, a prototype Sunni fundamentalist and POLITICAL party. They have had their ups and downs over the decades; at times, they have become more fundamentalist than political, matched later by a reversal of that swing. Their tactics also fluctuate; they have worked within the system and they have attacked the system.

They remain of concern in Egypt because in the recent elections that made significant headway, using proxy parties to buffer MB affiliation.

They were a primary threat to the Alawite (shia) regime in Syria with its Sunni majority. Then in 1982 Asad's regime surrounded the MB stronghold of Hama and leveled it (literally). I went through there in early 88 and our Syrian tour guide (referred to the area as the scene of earlier disturbances). The MB remain an opposition force in Syria, albeit from abroad.

And in the larger context, the MB were and are a protoype for al Quaeda, though the MB has not taken its cause outside the Arab/Muslim arena. The MB's instead have largely targeted/attacked Arab regimes whom they consider apostate and corrupt.


06-12-2006, 05:59 PM
Tom, thanks for the quick reply. You referenced just about everything that came to mine mind as well. They have been on-again - off-again within the Egyptian political landscape, to include securing 88 parliamentary seats as independents recently. They have drawn considered criticism from most of the al-Qa'ida theorists/spiritual guides, and thus could be a useful model in the Middle East.

As you stated, Hafez Asad destroyed the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in 1982, and thus the Brotherhood is not fond of the continued Alawite rule. This too could be useful to the US.

Though Hamas has serious baggage concerning its use of suicide bombings, they have shown in the past a propensity for humanitarian assistance and social projects within the PA. Again, I am not forgiving or over-looking any of their actions; however, given the back and forth between the Palestinians and the Israelis, I can easily understand some of the violence.

Finally, the Brotherhood had considerable influence in Sudan, and was instrumental in working out a deal to keep Turabi under house arrest.

I am of the impression that it is time to look "out-side the box," look for potential Muslim allies that have mass appeal, and yet at the same time, disrupt al Qa'ida. Wouldn't this be a good way to potentially further divide Sunni Muslims?

After reading much that was written by several of Al Qa'ida's theorists, they admit that the are vulnerable to US proxy forces - regardless if it they are social, military, or political.

Steve Blair
06-12-2006, 06:28 PM
Both the wiki entry and the FAS information on the Muslim Brotherhood points towards them being fairly fundamentalist in their take on Islam, although perhaps not to the degree of al-Qa'ida. Perhaps al-Qa'ida views them more as a threat to their recruiting pool than anything else, or something to keep destabilized in case they should get more organized. The wiki entry is especially interesting. Looks like they've been around for a good while, and seem to be able to "reproduce" themselves in a way similar to al-Qa'ida.

Information aside, I'm not sure exactly how you'd "use" a group like this. Depending on which faction you work with, some may be more willing to meet US interests halfway. It would involve some unpleasent pressure on some of our less acceptable 'allies' in the Middle East (such as the Saudis), but the return might be worth the risk.


06-12-2006, 06:59 PM
MB or not, "solution" or not, the key point to keep in mind is that many of the opposition groups to the less-than-democratic regimes in the region are Islamist in nature. If we truly support the emergence of democracy in the region, we are going to end up with more Islamist-tinged governments rather than less. It is in our best interests to learn how to work with these groups as they emerge - if we refuse to, we end up tarred as democracy-hypocrites.

As far as Islamists in government, the relatively mild version in the Turkish ruling AK party is probably a best-case example - the current difficulties with HAMAS are close to being a worst case. Hizbollah in Lebanon, although far from being the ruling party, do have a voice in Parliament and an influence in policy. Given electoral trends and the current operational environment, we can't afford to completely cut off communications with any of them.

Tom Odom
06-13-2006, 01:17 PM
I am impressed.....

First an interesting thread on a subject few know much about

Second all respondees looked at the issue through analytical eyes

My own take on MB and others are they are indeed the targets we need most to influence, dialogue, and accomodate/compromise with.

I say that because they are there and they are gaining ground. Extremists groups of any ilk ususally have a more centrist core that they themselves spun off of at some stage. And the reverse is equaly true, extremist movements overtime either explode/implode or move back toward a central axis.

The issue is one of targeting/effects: we seek a moderate Islam. Do we target the extremists with IO? I submit that is largely a waste of time and effort. Do we target the Muslim majority? Yes and then no. Yes we do but the group is so large and diverse, messages have to be generalized. My answer is we target the groups like the MB who have stepped into the extremist camp and stepped back from time to time. They are already politicized; they have been (and still have the capacity) militarized; they are the bridge between the extremists and the majority.


06-13-2006, 02:01 PM
In the context of the current discussion, this older (Jul 05) paper from CEIP is still a good read:

The Key to Arab Reform: Moderate Islamists (http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/pb40.hamzawy.FINAL.pdf)

...U.S. and European officials understandably worry that Islamists might jettison democratic transition if and when they gain significant power. While understandable, these fears ignore the diversity of the Islamist spectrum. More importantly, policy makers must recognize the more immediate point that democracy cannot come to Arab societies without the participation of movements that command huge popular support. Rather than resisting Islamists, Western governments should develop policies to positively engage the moderates among them...

06-13-2006, 06:03 PM
It's my opinion that the Muslim Brotherhood is just using Mao's precepts to gain further ground in Egypt. Mao stated that he believed in a three phase war: first organization and subversion ops, second terrorism and guerrilla warfare, and finally the progression to a conventional army. While this may not perfectly descride the brotherhood, they have been moving between phase one and two as Mao said may be nesscary, depending on the situation. Thus, more pressure they have inverted and worked on portraying them selves as a political alternative, less pressure they have tried to destabilize the Egyptian regimes. Therefore, i don't belive we can work with such groups, as try to take away their base of support by trying to effect substatial political reforms that get to the heart of the problems in the Middle East. One of the biggest factors is econmic liberalization. Oil Regimes and dictatorships around the region have no economic progress to put forth to the poeple allowing them to look on religion and ponder on the corruption in their regions. If we can open their economies and then apply some political reforms, i think we can look past supporting quazi fundimentalist groups.

06-13-2006, 06:37 PM
Therefore, i don't belive we can work with such groups, as try to take away their base of support by trying to effect substatial political reforms that get to the heart of the problems in the Middle East.
We can't afford not to work with the Islamist opposition. As the "substantial political reforms" take place, which will include free elections, these groups will either end up in power or, at a minimum, with a significant presence in the country's parliament.

One of the biggest factors is econmic liberalization. Oil Regimes and dictatorships around the region have no economic progress to put forth to the poeple allowing them to look on religion and ponder on the corruption in their regions. If we can open their economies and then apply some political reforms, i think we can look past supporting quazi fundimentalist groups.
Your point here isn't quite clear. The continuing corruption in most of those countries is a huge factor in the support for the Islamist movements. Also, economic liberalization isn't always linked with political reform and enjoying the benefits of free trade won't necessarily result in the people dropping support to Islamist political movements. As previously stated, in the current environment, political openings will most likely result in their being filled with Islamist representatives of varying shades.

06-13-2006, 07:38 PM
We can't afford not to work with the Islamist opposition.

I completely agree. It is not like we have not dealt we these types of folks in the past. We should not forget our past relationship with both the Pakistani ISI and Afghani Mujahideen.

After WWII, we found a way to deal with former Nazis to include General Heinrich Muller, Head of the Gestapo, to name but one, thus I think we can find some Islamists to deal with that are palatable. BTW, how long did we deal with Saddam before deciding to put him into "time-out?"

Steve Blair
06-13-2006, 09:01 PM
The trick, in my opinion, for dealing with them is to go into the process with both eyes wide open and understanding that there may not be a perfect solution overnight. We shouldn't expect them to suddenly alter their beliefs any more than we would alter ours to deal with them.

That said, the MB does not as a whole seem to prefer violence to achieve its goals. That alone makes them attractive from a "let's make a deal" standpoint. It's also better to get in now when it's still possible to have an influence on at least a small part of their programs. Maybe then we'll be in a better position to influence some democratic reforms once they are elected to positions of power (since given the trend of autocratic Middle East governments it's only a matter of time before they do reach office).

It's also important to keep in mind that working with a group doesn't mean you support ALL of their goals, aims, and programs. But also remember that these groups are often the only ORGANIZED opposition in many areas of the Middle East. We can't create little political parties in our own image and expect them to gain any sort of popular support. Sometimes you just have to play the hand you're dealt.

06-14-2006, 03:23 AM
Sorry I should have been more clear. It is true democratic reforms due not always follow economic liberalization, but democracies do not stand long with out it. IF any thing i belive we should push economic liberalization before political reforms. After such time we may start to push for changes or look to make in-roads with reform movements.

However, the M.B. is a bad choice. They are diametrically oppossed to the US and belive or state publically that 9/11 was a CIA/Zionist conspiracy. Further, they have many shady contacts with terrorist organizations throughout the region and probably funnel funds for many of these groups. They have toned done their retoric, but this has been becuase of substantial pressure from the current Egyptian Regime. Further, it is true they are gaining ground in the country and may one day take power if elections occur.

As far as other groups go. If we can find some that have a base and want positions that are in our intrest and are not to radical then we may be able to work with them. However, keep in mind our track record at this has not been stellar in this region and those we have supported have cost us allot to clean up.

Also, the total lack of an effective I.O. campian in this region has hurt our efforts. The inclusion of an I.O. campain with economic reforms, and then possible support of reformist groups is probably our best bet. It will be intresting to say the least. IN all Oil Regimes and resource based economies are just too unstable. We have to change this before we can work at greater stabilization.

06-14-2006, 10:09 AM
Generically speaking I think it is a good idea to being fringe groups, whether they are violent or not, into government. Obviously this is not always practical; but when it is I think it benefits society to have these groups forced to deal with day to day governance. This forces them to be more responsive to the society and gives them a stake in the government, theoretically making them less interested in its destruction. Of course you have to remember there are some people you just can’t reason with.

06-14-2006, 12:11 PM
However, the M.B. is a bad choice. They are diametrically oppossed to the US and belive or state publically that 9/11 was a CIA/Zionist conspiracy. Further, they have many shady contacts with terrorist organizations throughout the region and probably funnel funds for many of these groups. They have toned done their retoric, but this has been becuase of substantial pressure from the current Egyptian Regime. Further, it is true they are gaining ground in the country and may one day take power if elections occur.

Do you have a group or example in mind? Given the choices, if not the MB, then whom? Hizbollah? Al Qaida?

I think I is good to review the Palestinian scenario. Yes, Hamas comes with serious baggage; however, they were democratically elected. Furthermore, given what happened to Shayhk Ahmed Yassin or Dr. Rantissi, I think most of us understand the hatred and desire to respond with violence. While there are many who believe Dr. Mahmoud Abbas is the answer, he received his PhD for a dissertation discussing how the Holocaust was a myth, and was a member of Black September in the 1970s. If we can deal with him, then we can surely deal with the others.

Steve Blair
06-14-2006, 02:51 PM
It's also important to remember that the MB is not exactly a united front. There are many sub-factions of this organization, as pointed out in the wiki article I linked to in an earlier post. It's always important to remember that terrorist groups, as well as their political offspring and offshoots, are typically NOT under a "central command" in the sense that we understand it. Their ties are often hazy, united more by a common (or semi-common) idology. This can make them vulnerable to isolation, and also makes them easier to work with once you find a faction that is more compatible with what you want to accomplish.

With regard to Hamas, I do think that we mishandled that one to a degree. They were elected, so if we are the champions of democracy we claim to be then we have a certain obligation to at least make a good faith attempt to deal with them. I don't think it's in our best interest to see the Palestinian situation fall apart, which seems to be happening right now.

06-14-2006, 03:57 PM
I think the value in dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood is the possibility of establishing personal relationships between our foreign service professionals and its influential members. Those ties will make dealing with the MB a lot easier should they come to power - and will provide us with some fair warning of their intentions should they think about committing to a course of violent actions. We can safely ignore their rhetoric, although pointing out that it is painful and embarassing to us. Trying to censor the discussion outright, on rationalist Western terms, won't have any effect.

However, I don't believe that providing financial or material assistance to Hamas (or a Hamas lead Palestinian Authority) is a wise course of action. Hamas is involved in active violence against a long standing US ally. Every dollar we give to them, even if it isn't spent on weapons, frees up another dollar for them *to* spend on weapons. The whole point of money is that it's fungible, after all. Similar logic applies to humanitarian relief - if we're shipping over antibiotics, that's money they're free to spend on high explosives.

We support elections, and a representative Palestinian government. However, that government has decided to make statements and take actions overtly hostile to the United States of America. While declaring war on them isn't in our interests, neither is it in our interests to *give* them weapons with which to clobber us. The Palestinians had a choice between a Fatah lead government that would placate the United States and Israel, and a Hamas lead government that would clear up the endemic corruption in the Palestinian state. That's a crappy choice, but they made it. Continuing to fork over money and aid to Hamas is basically paying them not to hurt us - a strategy that will not succeed. Cutting them off, on the other hand, is treating them as a peer - a fellow nation - and not some helpless bunch of refugees whose words and actions have no meaning for us.

06-14-2006, 04:52 PM
I see that supporting reform groups is a popular idea, but you must remember that Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic platforms must be used in conjunction to effect change. Assuming the military is out of the question we should progress on a diplomatic, information, and economic front in the region.

As far as groups we might work with, Hamas as an elected entity must be confronted and handled as the elected body of the Palestinian people. We should not take away their funds or use sanctions. Sanctions rarely work and tend to cause insular conditions to setup with in a society. Look at Cuba, Iran, and our ineffectual dealings with Venezuela. Economic pressure by the U.S. will only harden Hamas’ position allowing it to gain an out for lack of progress within the country. However, with money and subtle maneuvering we may be able to get Hamas to establish security, provide jobs, and have a stable government within the West Bank and Golan Heights. These conversely must be followed by reforms by Israel. If we separate the military and political elements of these groups we might see reform in the situation, but because of the networked structure of these groups, they rarely can control all elements with in their networks, requiring substantial political restraint.

Other groups such as Hezbollah might work as with the rise youth groups in Iran pushing for democratic reforms. However, U.S. cooperation with these groups is often a death blow for their leaders. Abbas was substantial hurt in more fundamentalist circles by his perceived partnership with the Bush administration and corruption of Arafat. Any of these actions will have to be back door or through covert contacts. As far as M.B. or Al Qaeda, they are too radical and have to much hate for the U.S. and too widely over arching goals to contend with them. Their might be moderates in the M.B. we could establish contacts with, but I don’t see that as a promising option. As far as hate for Israel and Holocaust denial, that is to wide spread an idea in the M.E. to become to much a factor. Wether we like it or not we will have to move past this to gian any ground in the region, while still ensuring Israels viability.

Lastly, we can not expect any group we support to operate with out a viable economy. Without it, it is like asking a one legged man to run a marathon. Large groups of young men allowed to cluster in mosques and tea shops, without a promising future, educated or not, allows them to sit and think, far too much. Employment with security and an economy to create prosperity is a must for the region. If they don’t have this, no reforms will succeed.

06-14-2006, 08:51 PM
With regard to Hamas, I do think that we mishandled that one to a degree. They were elected, so if we are the champions of democracy we claim to be then we have a certain obligation to at least make a good faith attempt to deal with them. I don't think it's in our best interest to see the Palestinian situation fall apart, which seems to be happening right now.

Agreed we do more damage to ourselves by appearing as hypocrites who do not truly support democracy than we would by dealing, cautiously, with Hamas.

Tom Odom
06-15-2006, 01:12 PM

Excellent discussion. The 800 pond gorilla in the room, however, is the U.S. relationship with Israel and attempts to balance that with approaches to organizations/parties/groups ala Hamas and the MB. To use an analogy, negotiations are like a playground see saw; it is difficult to achieve balance when you are sitting on one end.

As a point and not trying to stick a finger in RE Jones eye, I would offer this:

Every dollar we give to them, even if it isn't spent on weapons, frees up another dollar for them *to* spend on weapons. The whole point of money is that it's fungible, after all. Similar logic applies to humanitarian relief - if we're shipping over antibiotics, that's money they're free to spend on high explosives.

The exact same paradigm applies to U.S. funds supplied to Israel that are not accounted for and have served as offsets for projects like settlements on the West Bank and in Gaza.

So in applying a degree of real politik to Hamas or the MB, a DIME approach must look at all nodal linkages with an equal degree of realism.



Adam, here come the phone calls:cool:

Steve Blair
06-15-2006, 02:20 PM
Couldn't agree more, Tom. If memory serves, one of the few ways that the U.S. has been able to convince Israel to "play ball" when it comes to policy decisions is to threaten to cut off either loans or direct aid. And that usually creates a backlash. I'm working off memory here, so I can't really provide any detailed examples.

06-15-2006, 03:46 PM
I recall a political cartoon (run sometime after Operation Desert Storm), that depicted Prime Minister Rabin kicking an Uncle Sam ATM only to find no money coming out.

Tom, you're absolutely right about US foreign assistance to Israel. Personally, I think we should have cut that off a long time ago - its continued operation plants an implicit stamp of approval on *every* action Tel Aviv may take which obviously has done us no good whatsoever.

Note that I'm *not* suggesting economic sanctions against any party, here. What I *am* suggesting is that maybe we shouldn't be paying these guys to fight (which is what a policy of supplying either Tel Aviv or the Palestinian Authority with free money from the US does).

06-15-2006, 03:46 PM
While not consistent with the US's current ME policies, what would the ramifications of US support for the "one man - one vote" idea across the area? While we know AQ disdains democracy, by supporting it, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hizbollah in Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Hamas - the Palestinians in general, and MMA in Pakistan would all come out potential winners. Would this somehow take the wind out of the AQ sails globally, and provide a potential "in" for the US to exploit with all these groups? Would potential "grievance guerillas" or "economically - socially motivated terrorists" not side with these groups as they gained influence, instead of AQ?

Second, what if we "pushed" Israel to except the one man one vote idea across all of Israel / PA? Imagine if we could get the Israelis to accept this in exchange for Palestinian disarmament?

We can all dream.

06-15-2006, 07:55 PM
One man one vote doesn't seem to be too much of a problem in Egypt. The issue is who is allowed to be on the ballot! Opening up all elections to fully competitive races is the main issue - and one on which the US would decisively lose to most of those governments. They know their policies aren't sufficiently popular.

Of course, demanding one man one vote from Israel would get them to draw up final borders with amazing swiftness!

But yes, opening up more elections in the Middle East and more broadly would indeed give these groups the choice to side with someone besides AQ. And that could only be good for us (and the world) long term.

Tom Odom
06-16-2006, 07:33 PM
Note that I'm *not* suggesting economic sanctions against any party, here. What I *am* suggesting is that maybe we shouldn't be paying these guys to fight (which is what a policy of supplying either Tel Aviv or the Palestinian Authority with free money from the US does).


I would apply a different wrinkle on assistance. When signed Camp David was a geostrategic breakthrough because it removed the Israeli-Egyptian struggle from the Cold War game board; we paid for them not to fight and at the time (1978) that was a good thing. In 2006, I believe that across the board, all assistance and development monies should be on an established schedule according to need as set by an international body like the Wold Bank. That would be hard thing for a lot of folks to get used to--many of whom who see assistance as leverage and many who seek such assistance with no intention of accepting such leverage. As an influence and image tool, assistance according to need gets us more for each buck. The tsunami relief effort, the Pakistan earthquake, and other such actions completed without agenda do more as a global IO tool. Put another way, apolitical assistance I believe is more effective politically than the pursuit of political leverage through assistance.

But I will also say that in my experience, the absolute worst tactic is to hold out assistance until a recipient complies--especially if the perspective assistance recipient is truly in need. In some ways I see that in our reactions to Hamas; we stated our "new" policy was to encourage democracy. The Palestinians voted and Hamas won. We said recognize Israel or we cut off funds. Israel had already labeled Hamas a terrorist organization and refused to deal with it. Big surprise, Hamas said no to recognition and we suspended funds. Though of economic importance certainly to the Palestinians, the amount of money compared to that routinely directed to Israel without condition made the face issue to the newly victorious Hamas more important.

In the case of the post-genocide Rwandan government the assistance issue was even more convoluted. The new government (that stopped the genocide) could not get World Bank help until arrears on loans to the old government (the one that planned the genocide) were paid. France played a large role in blocking UN and European assistance to the new government until that government proved it sought to preserve human rights and justice. The same French government was closely aligned with the old government and helped train the folks who committed genocide. Meanwhile the UN, the US, and the West poured relief monies into assisting the "refugees" who were responsible for genocide. The last figure I heard for the Int Tribune for Rwanda was that the court would try less than 100 people for genocide at a cost of $25 million per conviction. Rwanda with well over 100,000 prisoners in its jails could not get funding to speed justice because it the existence of the prisoners and the poor conditions was used as a sign the new government was not committed to human rights. And if it released those same prisoners and they were killed out of revenge, then the issue of revenge killings was also raised as a human rights issue to block assistance.

It was rather like a bizarre marriage of Catch 22.

"Do you think you are crazy, Yosarian?"
"Yes, I do"
"Then you are not because this war would drive anyone crazy. Anyone who thinks he is crazy is not. Anyone who thinks he is sane is crazy."

Have you stopped beating your wife?
then applied to foreign assistance.


06-16-2006, 08:35 PM
Perhaps putting the aid money through a third party would be the best idea: the neutral criteria provide political cover to deal with regimes who are unpopular with certain factions in Congress, for example.

However, I think we need to ditch the term "human rights" as a qualifier in our international relations. Why? Because it's ambiguous. Which rights? And what policies, lack of policies or courses of action or inaction lead to being a promoter or abuser of same?

The US is roundly blasted by the human rights crowd for its judicial system - despite having some of the more elaborate criminal law protections and better trained (and less corrupt) police forces around. You can never do enough to please folks on this score, in my opinion. The Europeans treat their immigrants like crap - the otherwise excellent German school system routes ethnic Turks into institutions so bad half the graduates are functionally illiterate and therefore can't work even the simplest of modern jobs.

Instead, I think we should set out a few concrete principles:

1) Failure to act is not sufficient grounds to deny aid. After all, if a country has the resources to put up a functioning education, health and criminal justice system then it doesn't need foreign assistance! I could say the same thing about drug production and domestically located terrorist groups - countries with the ability to control these matters are probably with it enough to get by without help.

2) Official corruption is not sufficient grounds to deny aid. Let's face it - graft is a universal human vice. We find it in the frickin' US House of Representatives, so maybe we ought to be willing to overlook it in a country without running water.

3) Lack of representative government is not sufficient grounds to deny aid. The fully democratic governments, by and large, can take care of themselves.

But what criteria should stop us from sending over aid dollars, food, medicine or supplies? What justifies permitting human death and suffering on a national scale?

(I'll throw out the easy one right away: because of the action or inaction of a nation's government, the aid is not being received by those who need it. In this case, the human suffering involved doesn't increase by the drop in aid, because international aid wasn't getting to those who need it in the first place.)

Bill Moore
06-17-2006, 03:32 PM
Well said Tom, and I will buy you a case of beer if you can sell that idea to that Congress. Every idea that emerges alive from that place comes complete with parasitic riders, which means there will always be compliance requirement. Maybe the up and coming generation of new leaders will have a different outlook on how the world works.

09-04-2006, 03:05 PM
We received the following lengthy platform statement via the Small Wars Council's "Contact Us" form, under the Site Feedback option. To propogate this to us, someone had to care enough to find us, verify an image, then cut and paste. It is nice to be loved. The message, and the website cited, are both serious vehicles for conveying their message.

The statement is longer than our allowed 10,000 character post count. Look for it in two parts in this thread. This is a direct cut & paste - no editing of any sort, although it could certainly use a little formatting.

IKhwanweb is the Muslim Brotherhood's only official English web site. The Main office is located in London, although Ikhwanweb has correspondents in most countries. Our staff is exclusively made of volunteers and stretched over the five continents.
The Muslim Brotherhood opinions and views can be found under the sections of MB statements and MB opinions, in addition to the Editorial Message.
Items posted under "other views" are usually different from these of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ikhwanweb does not censor any articles or comments but has the right only to remove any inappropriate words that defy public taste Ikhwanweb is not a news website, although we report news that matter to the Muslim Brotherhood's cause. Our main misson is to present the Muslim Brotherhood vision right from the source and rebut misonceptions about the movement in western societies. We value debate on the issues and we welcome constructive criticism.
www.ikhwanweb.com (http://www.ikhwanweb.com)
Dr. Mohamed El-Sayed Habib, First Deputy of the Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, affirmed that the artificial uproar over the feared establishment of a so-called religious state and the related allegations concerning a resulting threat to Copts’ rights and to arts and creativity, following the big Brotherhood electoral victory in the latest legislative elections in Egypt, is no more than an artificial, unfounded controversy.
He talked about the Brotherhood’s vision of the political and economic reform, how to bring about development in its broadest sense, the Brotherhood’s relations with the U.S. administration and other topics that we discussed with him in this interview.
Q: The latest period has witnessed a clear ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood on the political scene as a result of which it garnered 88 seats in the People’s Assembly -Egypt’s parliament. What are the issues that the Brotherhood will be interested in raising in the People’s Assembly?
A: I would like first to confirm that the presence in the People’s Assembly of 88 Muslim Brothers will not substantially affect the form or composition of the assembly where the ruling party enjoys, in its own words, a more than comfortable majority. The difference there is that the debate will be serious, the discussions will be fruitful and constructive and the oversight and law-making roles will be more distinguished. This could have a favorable effect on the decisions of the People’s Assembly, enhancing its effectiveness and restoring citizens’ confidence in it.
Regarding the main issues that preoccupy the Brotherhood deputies, they revolve around three major questions:
First, the question of political reform and constitutional amendment, bearing in mind that it represents the true and natural point of departure for all other kinds of reforms; Second, the question of education, scientific research and native development of technology since this constitutes the mainstay of resurgence and the basis for progress and advance.
Third, the question of comprehensive development in all its dimensions: human, economic, social, cultural, etc.
In this regard, we cannot fail to emphasize the societal problems from which the Egyptian citizenry suffers, i.e. unemployment, inflation and increasing prices, housing crisis, health problems, environmental pollution, etc.
Q: There are some people who accuse Muslim Brothers of being against arts and creativity and are concerned that your deputies in parliament will take an attitude against everything implying culture and creativity. What do you think?
A: In principle, we are not against culture, arts and creativity. On the contrary, Islam strongly encourages refining the public taste and confirms the need to shape one’s mind, heart and conscience in such a way as to bring forth man’s potentialities and prompt him to invent and innovate in all fields of life. There is no doubt that the atmosphere of freedom is conducive to a creative culture and creative arts, particularly if the latter express the daily concerns of the citizen and the challenges he faces and if they reflect the values of society and the public morality observed by people of good nature and sound minds.
On the other hand, the atmosphere of dictatorship and despotism produces a kind of culture and art that is more inclined towards abject trivialities, indecencies, depreciation of people’s minds and deepening their ignorance. A nation that is capable of innovation and creativity is necessarily capable of bringing about resurgence, advance and progress. Some people consider that creativity is born from the womb of suffering. Every society has peculiar cultural identity and has its values, traditions and customs. I think it is the right of the people’s deputies, or rather their duty, to maintain that peculiarity and to play their role in bringing to accountability those bodies or institutions that promote pornography, homosexuality or moral perversion under the guise of creativity. It is essential to subject those so-called creative works to examination and review by specialized and expert people in various fields. Ultimately, it is the judiciary that has the final say as to whether or not those works should be allowed.
Q: Do you have an integral program for the uplifting of the political and economic situation of Egypt?
A: We believe that the political reform is the true and natural gateway for all other kinds of reform. We have announced our acceptance of democracy that acknowledges political pluralism, the peaceful rotation of power and the fact that the nation is the source of all powers. As we see it, political reform includes the termination of the state of emergency, restoring public freedoms, including the right to establish political parties, whatever their tendencies may be, and the freedom of the press, freedom of criticism and thought, freedom of peaceful demonstrations, freedom of assembly, etc. It also includes the dismantling of all exceptional courts and the annulment of all exceptional laws, establishing the independence of the judiciary, enabling the judiciary to fully and truly supervise general elections so as to ensure that they authentically express people’s will, removing all obstacles that restrict the functioning of civil society organizations, etc.
We cannot forget in this regard the need to make constitutional amendments, including modifying the text of article 76 of the Constitution with a view to ensuring equal opportunities and free and true competition among all citizens, through the annulment of all impossible conditions that were arbitrarily inserted in the latest amendment of that article - conditions which have emptied that amendment from its substance. The reform should also include changing the wording of article 77 of the Constitution so as to limit the tenure of the presidency to just one four-year term, extendable only by one more term; changing the articles which grant the president of the republic absolute and unlimited powers and establishing his accountability before the legislative council in view of the fact that he heads the executive branch of government.
As to our program for reviving the economy, it comprises several basic mainstays:
1. Reviewing the role of the public sector and the privatization process; 2. Providing social welfare through the subsidies scheme and the restoration of the institution of Zakat (poor dues in Islam); 3. Reforming the State’s public finance (public expenditures, fiscal policy, public borrowing, deficit financing); 4. Correcting the monetary policy track; 5. Balanced opening up to the world economy (liberalization of foreign trade, promoting exports and foreign investments); 7. Intensifying popular participation, through providing support to local councils and reinstating the rights of Islamic Wakfs (religious endowments); 8. Seeking urgent solutions to the unemployment problem till grow becomes self-propelled; 9. Supporting the private sector as a spearhead for the realization of development objectives; 10. Confronting corruption decisively; and 11. Catching up with scientific and technological progress.

09-04-2006, 03:08 PM
Part 2 of MB "site feedback"

Q: The political reform program put forth by Muslim Brothers does not differ from those of other political parties, what is then the advantage of your program?
A: Muslim Brotherhood shares most elements of political reform with other political and national forces. This is due to the joint efforts that political parties and forces have deployed during the past decades, which had culminated in the adoption in 1997 of a common document for political reform called "Political Reform and Democracy".
Certainly, there are differences among political formations as to the priority to be assigned to those elements, as well as the mechanisms to be employed. There is also a semi-agreement among all political forces on the need to introduce some constitutional amendments- as was mentioned earlier- although some secularists want to change the Constitution in a comprehensive and drastic way, including article 2 of the current Constitution which states that Islam is the official religion of the State and that the principles of Islamic sharia (law) are the main source of legislation. Such a change would be in complete conflict with the desire of the entire people, who are characterized by their strong religious attachment and their willingness to be governed by the provisions of Islam. We must not, however, forget the belief and morality dimension which the Muslim Brotherhood insists on observing in their practice of politics as well as its compliance with Islamic legal rules and precepts such as the discipline of jurisprudence dealing with priorities and balances, etc.
Q: Some segments of the elite in
Egypt and abroad are worried that the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to establish a theocracy. How would you react to that?

A:This concern stems from a wrong understanding of the nature of Islam. To those who speak about a religious state, in the same ecclesiastical meaning given to it in Europe in the middle ages, when the church had hegemony over a State’s authorities, we wish to say that the issue here is completely different.
The Muslim Brotherhood has gone through the latest legislative elections on the basis of a clear-cut program under the slogan "Islam is the Solution", given the fact that Islam, as Imam el-Banna said, is a comprehensive program that encompasses all aspects of life: it is a state and a country, a government and people, ethics and power, mercy and justice, culture and law, science and justice, resources and wealth, defense and advocacy, an army and an idea, a true belief and correct acts of worship (Imam el-Banna’s Teachings Message). In fact, this conforms fully to the Constitution which states, in its second article, that the State’s religion is Islam and that principles of Islamic sharia (law) are the main source of legislation. We say that the State that we want is a civic state, i.e. a state of institutions, based on the principles of constitutional government.
Imam el-Banna states: "the principles of constitutional government consist of: maintaining all kinds of personal freedom, consultation and deriving authority from the people, responsibility of the government before the people and its accountability for its actions, and the clear demarcation of power of each branch of government. When a scholar considers those principles, he would clearly find out that they are all in full agreement with the teachings, disciplines and norms of Islam concerning the system of government. Consequently, Muslim Brothers think that the constitutional system of government is the closest system of government in the world to Islam. They prefer it to any other system of government." (Message to the 5th Conference).
Q: Although the Brotherhood refuses to submit an application for the establishment of a political party under the pretext that the Political Party Committee is unconstitutional, some people submitted similar applications which were approved, what do you think about that?
A: Along with other political and national forces, we seek to amend or change the Political Parties Law. Consequently, the so-called Political Party Committee is unconstitutional and acts as both adversary and judge. It creates more problems than it solves and interferes in the internal affairs of parties in such a way as to paralyze their movement and curb their effectiveness. This is one of the reasons why those parties are weak and fragile. Furthermore, we don’t want to set up a political party to face the same destiny as existing parties. The problem lies in the general political atmosphere and unless that atmosphere is changed things will remain what they are now. Briefly, we want the party to be established when people want to have it established, just through notification.
Q: Your discourse sometimes mixes between religion and politics which means that you are neither purely religious people nor purely professional politicians. What is the nature of that dichotomy?
A:Politics is part of religion. I remember in this regard Imam al-Banna’s statement that "If Islam is something different than politics, sociology, economics and culture, what is it then?" He also says "A Muslim is not fully Muslim unless he engages in politics, thinks over the state of affairs of his Umma and concerns himself with it."
Q: Some Copts in Egypt were so alarmed by the recent rise of the Muslim Brotherhood that some of them declared that they would leave Egypt as a result! What is the nature of the Brotherhood’s relations with Copts?
A: We consider our Coptic brothers as citizens enjoying all rights associated with citizenship and as part of the fabric of the Egyptian society. We consider them as partners in the country, in decision-making and in determining our future. Consequently, the basis for filling public posts shall be efficiency, ability and experience, not religion or beliefs.
On that basis, we see no justification or logic for the concern of some Copts over the rise of Muslim Brothers. But this is due to the bad political atmosphere in which the Egyptian people live and which has led to a general state of apprehension and tension. It has been aggravated by the self-imposed isolation of our Coptic brothers and their failure to integrate in public life.
>From our side, we are conducting dialogues with them and are trying to take them out of their isolation, by encouraging some individuals among them to take part in the activities of syndicates, conferences and symposiums dealing with public affairs. In addition, we support some of them in legislative and syndicate elections.
Q: From time to time, the question of your relations with the U.S. surfaces. Do you have any relation with them? Have you contacted them through direct or indirect channels?

A:There is no relation whatsoever between us the U.S. There is no contact of any kind with them. We have repeated that several times before. We are not a state within a state and we are very much interested in reinforcing the independence and prestige of our State and in respecting its institutions. We cannot permit anyone to compromise that prestige nor can we allow ourselves to be a reason for that. If the U.S. administration wants to enter into a dialogue with us, they first would have to get the approval of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. And then what are we going to discuss with them?

Q: Your attitude with regard to Jews is not clear: at times you declare that you are not going to cancel treaties concluded with them if you take power, and at times you say that the holocaust is a myth, what is exactly your attitude?
A: The Zionist entity (Israel) has usurped the land of Palestine, the land of Arabs and Muslims. No proud people can accept to stay put when their land is occupied and their sacred places are assaulted. Resisting occupation is required by Islam and sanctioned by international law, agreements and customs. As to the Camp David Accord and the peace treaty that were concluded by Egypt with the Zionist entity (Israel) in the late 1970s, they are presumed to be thoroughly reviewed periodically by international lawyers, strategists and national security experts, taking into account the local, regional and international dimensions of the question. The outcome of their review should be submitted to the democratic institutions of the Sate for decision.
As to the reported statement describing the holocaust as a myth, it was not intended as a denial of the event but only a rejection of exaggerations put forward by Jews. This does not mean that we are not against the holocaust. Anyway, that event should not have led to the loss of the rights of the Palestinian people, the occupation of their land and the violation and assault of their sacred places and sanctities.
for more news and question about muslim brotherhood please visit www.ikhwanweb.com (http://www.ikhwanweb.com) the only offical web site

09-19-2006, 08:56 PM
I thought this might be a useful paper to put up.


A Position Paper for the Committee on the Present Danger and All Other Interested Parties
by Terri K. Wonder.

Executive Summary

The IMB is a clear and present danger to the United States and its allies. Its “achievements” include the assassination of President Anwar Sadat and being the parent organization of all other Sunni Arab terrorist groups, including Gamaat Islamiyah, Islamic Jihad, HAMAS, and Al-Qaeda. Leaders from the other terrorist groups (e.g., Sheikh Yasin of HAMAS) have served dual roles in the IMB. Strategically, the IMB is dedicated to undermining and overthrowing not only Western governments but also any government that does not submit fully to Islamic law.

This position paper offers an analysis of the IMB’s strategic intentions (Part One). Another section cites the Gamaat Islamiyah as an exemplary splinter group of the Brotherhood, as a means of demonstrating the overlapping leadership and purposes of the Brotherhood and its offshoots in the Sunni Arab terror network (Part Two). Then it returns to the IMB for an historical overview of the movement’s legacies of subversion, espionage, terrorism, and group/leadership alliances with hostile foreign powers and other terrorist organizations (Part Three). In addition, it considers post-Cold War geopolitical changes that have given rise to the “mass movement” identified in The 9/11 Commission Report, contending that the IMB, in particular, is prime medium upon which that mass movement grows (Part Four).

Implications arising from this paper provide compelling justification for the Department of Treasury to classify the IMB, under its official name or its covert names, as a Specially Designated Terrorist Organization.

Terri is one of the best researchers opperating right now looking at jihadist symbolic organization and infiltration.


09-19-2006, 09:43 PM
Quite the kengthy statement, even on a cut and paste. Maybe we should return the favour :cool:


09-19-2006, 10:05 PM
This presentation really bothered me when I read it the first time. It's not that I didn't believe it, it's that it explained too much about the university environment I was operating in. I think this will give you an idea of what I meant by "symbolic infiltration".


Hiding in Plain Sight in Plainfield (http://webzoom.freewebs.com/swnmia/Hiding%20in%20Plain%20Sight%20in%20Plainfield.ppt) : The Muslim Brotherhood of North America. A fascinating presentation, previously titled Re-Islamization in Higher Education from Above and Below: The University of South Florida and its Global Contexts, by Terri Wonder.



12-26-2006, 09:07 PM
Chicago Tribune - The Muslim Brotherhood in the US (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/specials/chi-0409190261sep19,1,3910166.story?page=1&cset=true&ctrack=1&coll=chi-newsspecials-hed)

Over the last 40 years, small groups of devout Muslim men have gathered in homes in U.S. cities to pray, memorize the Koran and discuss events of the day.

But they also addressed their ultimate goal, one so controversial that it is a key reason they have operated in secrecy: to create Muslim states overseas and, they hope, someday in America as well.

10-12-2007, 10:29 AM
Prof Mark Lynch meets with major MB figures (http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/abuaardvark/2007/10/doing-dialogue-.html)in Cairo. Not a comprehensive writeup yet, but a good intro on recent MB developments, especially pace this (http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1012/p09s02-coop.html)in SWJ Blog.

I'm just back to the US, and now I can say a bit more about where I was and what I was doing. Some readers might recall that last month I published an essay in Foreign Policy magazine (http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/abuaardvark/2007/08/memo-to-the-mb.html), "How to Talk to America", cast as a memo to the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Mehdi Akef. So last week I flew to Cairo, where I spent four intense days of meetings and discussions with more than 25 people. I got to talk with most of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood which isn't currently in prison, about a dozen Muslim Brotherhood bloggers and activists, a number of Egyptian analysts with keen insight into the Brotherhood such as Diya Rashwan and Khalil el-Anani (http://islamists2day-e.blogspot.com/), and of course the usual journalist suspects (i.e. my friends). I was also interviewed by al-Masry al-Youm and al-Dustour, which may prove entertaining depending on what gets published. My deepest thanks here go to Abd el-Monem Mahmoud (who you might remember him as the MB blogger arrested and tortured (http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/abuaardvark/2007/04/free_monem.html) several months ago); Monem was my constant companion over the last week, and I can't say how much I appreciate his tireless good humor and flexibility and tolerance for my occasional struggles with his Alexandrian colloquial Arabic!

Much more at the link, worth reading. He specifically addresses the issues raised in the CSMONITOR op-ed.

The MB is more important than ever, with Hosni Mubarak in poor health and grooming his son for Pharoanic succession. IMO the response of the U.S. to Gamal Mubarak's ascent will mark Egyptian pubilc opinion towards this country for years to come. We had better weigh it very carefully.

02-07-2009, 07:55 PM
I'm writing a short paper (10-20 pages) on an insurgency of my choice. I've decided to argue that the Muslim Brotherhood is an international insurgency that threatens US interests in the Middle East.

1. The MB has a revisionist agenda that seeks to overturn the current political order in the ME (a system that favors the US presently IMO). Its factions in Palestine (Hamas), Egypt, and to a lesser degree in Sudan and Syria undermine political stability through subversion and, at times, violence.

2. The 'mass base' (I don't like this term personally, as I believe its too broad) supports the MB because of widespread disenfranchisement in Palestine, Egypt, and Syria. Continued US favor of the regimes in Israel and Egypt reinforces anti-US sentiment in the general population.

3. Consequently, democratic reforms will only empower the MB (as it did Hamas in Palestine). The subsequent refusal of the US to recognize the democratic results also undermines US credibility. Arab states in general face similar problems when pressured to liberalize (i.e. Egypt and Syria in the closing two decades of the 20th century); the instability caused by liberalization compels the states to become increasingly authoritarian, fueling further dissatisfaction. The electoral victory of Hamas represents the end of Arab nationalism and the triumph of religious radicalism.

4. Egypt in particular is key to political stability. With the largest population, it is the most vulnerable to popular passions and also can potentially exist as the largest threat. While the "moderate" Mubarak regime remains in place, Egypt ensures regional stability by forming a bridge between other Arab regimes and Israel; blocking the formation of any organized alliance against Israel (and subsequently the US). Similarly for Syria, but to a much lesser degree.

5. Political instability in the ME threatens US economic security (the foundation of US interests in the region). Because of Saudi Arabia's internal weakness (political patronage based on oil profits, distrust of the National Guard, large youth population with few opportunities, the strong Wahhabi factions, and the burden of having the "Two Holy Cities), the Kingdom cannot act openly in favor of the US while the US remains committed to Israel. And it sometimes must abandon the US (for the same reason the Shah's Iran did following the Yom Kippur War). Should another regional war occur, whether as a deliberate choice in policy or because of a series of unintended consequences (i.e. cross-border raids), Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf kingdoms will abandon the US.

6. However, this political order cannot be sustained indefinitely. As the regimes continue repressions and expend resources on patronage, the costs of stability becoming increasingly higher and the MB (and factions associated with it) become entrenched a steadily radicalizing population.

7. To prevent this from occurring, the US should a) abandon pressuring Arab regimes into democratization and instead favor liberalization, b) invest in the industrialization of Arab states as a means of establishing internal stability, c) co-opt Syria into the current political order and the War on Terrorism, and d) compel Israel to accept the Arab peace proposal (specifically the return to the pre-'67 borders).


02-07-2009, 08:05 PM
I'd suggest reading Albert Bergesen's The Sayyid Qutb Reader (http://www.amazon.com/Sayyid-Qutb-Reader-Albert-Bergesen/dp/0415954258).

Dr. Bergesen gave a seminar on the evolution of radical islamic jihad to NPS last year. I found it quite helpful.

Good luck.



02-07-2009, 08:35 PM
Thanks for the suggestion Mike. As a side note, Qutb attended the same university in the States I did. I found his recorded descriptions of his experiences there amusing.

02-07-2009, 09:01 PM
I'd recommend limiting your scope particularly for a short paper. It will be easier :D and more academically relevant. As all grad students are constantly reminded, we are not considered experts so we must limit generalizations so they are not construed as opinions:(.

While Qutb certainly had some relationship issues in the United States derived from unresolved mommy problems or sexual repression (Freud would have a field day with that case study), the tipping point from his evolution from disgruntled citizen to revolutionary scholar appears to have happened during his time in Egyptian prison. His observations of muslim on muslim violence and torture created such grievances and rage that he refefined his lens of interpreting Islam. Initially, the muslim brotherhood capitalized on his writings to justify taking armed action against a non-muslim state. Later, Al Qaeda would evolve his writings to justify martyrdom.

Bergesen compares this Islamic Revolution and Qutb's work to the output of martyrdom with the Prodestant Reformation and Max Weber's Prodestant Work Ethic as an output.

The Qutb case is but one example you could write on, but I would suggest that you limit your scope.

Plus, you'll become a mini-expert in training on Al Qaeda's early roots.



02-07-2009, 09:10 PM
2. The 'mass base' (I don't like this term personally, as I believe its too broad) supports the MB because of widespread disenfranchisement in Palestine, Egypt, and Syria. Continued US favor of the regimes in Israel and Egypt reinforces anti-US sentiment in the general population.

I just got back from visiting Syria and conducting research for my master's thesis. I was there for a month. I had some great conversations, especially with a bunch of different young folk from different backgrounds. I even was able to breach their thoughts on the Asad government and the Muslim Brotherhood. While not claiming a complete knowledge of the thoughts of everyone in Syria, the overriding opinion I heard on the M.B. was, no matter what people thought of their political agenda, the problem with them is they commit violence within Syria. They kill their own. If for no other reason, the violent acts committed within their own country by this group was enough to turn everyone I talked to away from them. So I don't think the "mass base" does support the M.B. in Syria. This is not to say that some people don't envision an Arab Union or an Islamic Union as a solution to the imbalance with Israel and the rest of the area, but going through the M.B. is not something that is seen as favorable.
And disenfranchisement (about participation in politics or something like that?) is not a big deal for people because (and this was also universal) the current government keeps the population (individuals and their families) safe against aggressions (bombs) from Israel (which are made and financed by the US). It's that simple.
Also, I think it would be helpful to frame differences between the M.B. in these different countries and areas (you should include Iraq too-one of the Sunni political parties is said to be a spinoff, sorta like Hamas). I think the M.B. in Egypt is a world apart from Hamas in Palestine, partly because of history and partly because of real-time circumstances.
The anti-US sentiment is against the US government, not the people of the US. And yes, the tilted bias towards Israel by the US is the direct reason for this feeling. They call the US "the mother of Israel".

02-07-2009, 09:13 PM
Not a specialist subject for me, but the MB have played a role in confronting extremists in London; searching SWJ with Bob Lambert shows a link to a UK-based publication strongly linked to MB.

Secondly there are several older threads on MB and many where MB appears. On a quick check there are many links and arguments there - I assume you have time to scroll through.

The role of the MB in the UK came momentarily to the fore last summer with Islam Expo, a cultural event with a political agenda and was interesting to watch. Islam Expo's side seminar on political islam was fascinating and maybe worth examining. Here is a UK minister's comment: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/martin-bright/2008/07/hazel-blears-muslim-islamexpo and another: http://www.opendemocracy.net/terrorism/article/islamexpo


02-07-2009, 10:13 PM

I chose to include the Syrian faction of the MB because of its insurgency in the 1970s (driven by a combination of religious, ethnic, and political aims) that eventually led to the complete dismantling of radical religious organizations in Syria. Whatever the future prospects of the Syrian faction, the Assad regime has demonstrated success in repressing radical Islamic movements. I think a strong argument could be made that because of Assad's status as an Alwai minority in a Sunni-majority country, that his government is a 'natural' ally in the War on Terrorism, just as it was in the first Gulf War.

As for the different MB factions, I completely agree. My intention is to argue that the Egyptian MB faction is in opposition to US interests because of its anti-Western and revisionist agenda; and because of its status as an underground party that ultimately intends to redraw the political system in Egypt, it is an insurgency faction using subversion as its primary instrument. It draws upon the support of student, labor, and business associations that are not included in Egypt's system of patronage, and recently won through indirect means a number of seats in Egypt's legislature. The threat IMO is the resurgence of anti-Israelism in Egyptian policy in the form of radical Islam -- not because it threatens Israel itself, but because it undermines regional political stability and ultimately American economic security. As for the Iraqi faction, I haven't read much into yet, nor have I read through the predicted effects of the recent election. However, if the trends prove accurate, it seems that democratization is a developing strategy of these organizations to leverage against US interests by exploiting popular resentment of US policy.

Rex Brynen
02-07-2009, 11:07 PM
One has to be nuanced on the Muslim Brotherhood—many/most of them are, in Islamist terms, relative moderates, and the (largest) Egyptian branch long ago abandoned violence as a means of bringing about regime change (favoring instead social activities peaceful political participation). The same is true of the MB in Jordan, who also participate in the electoral process. Indeed, both the Egyptian MB and the Jordanian MB/IAF continue to play by the constitutional rules, even though both governments take various non-democratic measures against them.

As davidbfpo correctly notes, the UK MB were instrumental in taking over and deradicalizing London's notorious Finsbury Park mosque, in not-so-secret cooperation with the Metropolitan Police.

The MB, however, are no fans of US foreign policy. I think this is the real dilemma: not how Washington deals with small, radical anti-democratic anti-American Islamist groups—the al-Qa'idas of this world, as important as they are—but how it deals with genuinely popular, semi-democratic, less radical groups that oppose US policies or interests.

02-08-2009, 04:06 AM

That is why I consider the MB, in general, as a shade of gray of insurgency. Yes -- the Egyptian faction (as well as the Jordanian, Somalian and Tunisian factions) have more or less abdicated violence. But because of the organization's revisionist agenda that aims to redraw the region's political order driven in large part by a (largely accurate) perception of Western interference and a general failure of the Arab states to reach modernity, I think its activities amount to subversion disguised in democracy. I think 'radicalism' is not of particular concern -- most groups of whatever origin or agenda resort to violence or coercion. I think the larger concern is of revisionism and revolution, which we of course oppose in the region, as do the entrenched elites of the conservative/traditionalist/reactionary regimes. Radicalism IMO is partly a product of alienated revisionism and as you correctly point out, it's a serious dilemma (i.e. Hamas). (On a side note, this makes me wonder whether Saddam's Iraq could/should have been 'rehabilitated' into the international community following 9/11 and partly why I think Syria should be; but we'll see how the democratic process plays out in Iraq). "Nothing is settled that is not settled right." The question is not if (again) there will be another Arab 'revolt' against the powers that be -- but when and how. The monarchists of the early 20th century failed. The nationalists and the socialists failed. Are the religionists faring any better? And who will replace them should they also fail? Is there anything more dangerous than the integration of political action and religious belief?

Rex Brynen
02-08-2009, 05:08 AM

That is why I consider the MB, in general, as a shade of gray of insurgency. Yes -- the Egyptian faction (as well as the Jordanian, Somalian and Tunisian factions) have more or less abdicated violence. But because of the organization's revisionist agenda that aims to redraw the region's political order driven in large part by a (largely accurate) perception of Western interference and a general failure of the Arab states to reach modernity, I think its activities amount to subversion disguised in democracy.

I think this may hinge on one's definition of insurgency. The DoD definition is "an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict" (JP 1-02, and FM 3-24) or possibly "An insurgency is an organized, armed political struggle whose goal may be the seizure of power through revolutionary takeover and replacement of the existing government." (FM 100-20). In both definitions, the notion of armed violence is a necessary condition. While that applies to Hamas, it doesn't apply to the contemporary Jordanian and Egyptian MB.

I'm extremely wary about expanding "insurgency" to embrace non-violent movements for political change—which I prefer to call, well, "politics". :D There's nothing to be gained, in my view, in trying to shoe-horn it into a COINdinista frame of reference.

02-08-2009, 05:33 AM

It's not so much that the MB is ostenibly pursuing peaceful political change in Egypt, but that its agenda is revisionist in nature insofar it desires to completely reshape the current political order according to its own definition of politics and justice. Its moderation in Egypt can probably be attributed to the general moderation of Mubarak's regime. And since conflict is political in origin, and the ojectives to change the political character of the target regimes have not fundamentally changed, I question the use of violence as a "necessary condition" for insurgency. The definition IMO would better read as 'subversion or armed struggle'. Note that the second definition you provided identifies "revolutionary takeover and replacement of the existing government" as the final political aim. In a democratic country, this is theoretically possible by largely legal means (i.e. Weimar Germany).

Ken White
02-08-2009, 05:39 AM
...I'm extremely wary about expanding "insurgency" to embrace non-violent movements for political change—which I prefer to call, well, "politics". :D There's nothing to be gained, in my view, in trying to shoe-horn it into a COINdinista frame of reference.the old 'Ugly American' bit -- albeit in many cases simply unthinkingly instead of maliciously, it is IMO far better to err on the side of caution in public utterances and writing. What's done in other and professional venues is another matter but a little public discretion goes a long way.

We've suffered slings and arrows from all over the world due to the failures of our media for years and they've not improved. Now we also get the unthinking things said in the blogosphere. This in some cases from folks who tend to complain that we're 'losing the information war...' :rolleyes:

03-24-2010, 03:10 PM
NIBR, 23 Dec 09: The Muslim Brotherhood in the Wider Horn of Africa (http://www.nibr.no/uploads/publications/06d76b6e0d14594c9a753c487ed50e51.pdf)

This report explores whether the Muslim Brotherhood (http://www.ikhwanweb.com/) can act as partners in the quest for development and peacemaking in the wider Horn of Africa (http://www.hoa.africom.mil/) (including Yemen). It explores the history of the various Brotherhoods in the wider Horn and finds that the Brotherhood has had most impact in Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The report suggests that positive engagement, while taking the ideological foundation of the Brotherhood as well as the structure of various sub-groups into considerations, could benefit both the Brothers, the Western partners and the local population, and enhance development efforts.

02-25-2011, 02:13 PM
International IDEA, 22 Mar 10: Islamist Mass Movements, External Actors and Political Change in the Arab World (http://www.idea.int/publications/islamist_mass_movements/index.cfm)


Hitting the glass ceiling: The trajectory of the Moroccan Party of Justice and Development
The Muslim Brotherhood and political change in Egypt
Anatomy of a political party: Hezbollah – sectarian upshot or actor of change?
Palestinian Islamism: Conflating national liberation and socio-political change
Principled or stubborn? Western policy towards Hamas
Learning by doing: US policies towards the Islamist movements in Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon
EU policy and Islamist movements: Constructive ambiguities or alibis?

02-27-2011, 07:07 AM
Has the current incarnation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt repudiated Hassan al Banna's ideology?

SWJ Blog
04-20-2011, 10:41 AM
Book Review: The Muslim Brotherhood: The Burden of Tradition (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/04/book-review-the-muslim-brother/)

Entry Excerpt:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51PHCI9LLiL._SL500_AA300_.jpgBook Review: The Muslim Brotherhood: The Burden of Tradition (http://www.amazon.com/Muslim-Brotherhood-Burden-Tradition/dp/0863564755/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1303295103&sr=8-1)
by Alison Pargeter.
Published by Saqi Books, London. 300 pages, 2010.
Reviewed by Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein, MSC, USN

Alison Pargeter is a researcher on Islamist radicalism at the University of Cambridge. Her first book is a refreshingly complex and nuanced examination of the Muslim Brotherhood. The book starts with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, by a schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna, and its evolution from social organization to a political organization based on an interpretation of Islamic ideals.

Commander Aboul-Enein is author of “Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=%22Militant+Islamist+Ideology%3A+Understa nding+the+Global+Threat%22&x=0&y=0),” (Naval Institute Press, 2010). He is Adjunct Islamic Studies Chair at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and is a Senior Defense Department counter-terrorism advisor.

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12-29-2011, 09:38 PM
Two reference works by an Israeli think tank, the first is rather large and the second is an update: http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ipc_e174.pdf and http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/ipc_252.htm

01-25-2012, 02:25 AM
CEIP, 10 January 2012: When Victory Becomes an Option: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Confronts Success (http://carnegieendowment.org/files/brotherhood_success.pdf)

....it is not clear how much the Brotherhood’s past decisions and behavior can continue to guide its future actions. Over the past few years, it has released a blizzard of very detailed policy proposals and platforms. If it is to be successful in government, however, the Brotherhood must start setting its foreign policy, economic, and cultural priorities. While the movement’s appeal has always been strongly cultural, moral, and religious, there are few areas where it sets off fears more quickly than in this realm. As a result, the cultural agenda has been sidelined. But with the ultraconservative Salafis entering the political arena for the first time (http://carnegieendowment.org/files/salafis_sufis.pdf), the Freedom and Justice Party may be forced to choose between competing with them for the Islamist base and reassuring non-Islamist political forces at home and abroad.

02-09-2012, 12:30 PM
for more news and question about muslim brotherhood please visit www.ikhwanweb.com the only offical web site
It would be great if somebody who is good with arabic looks through this sitehttp://ikhwanonline.com/new/Default.aspx# and compares a content.

Q: Some Copts in Egypt were so alarmed by the recent rise of the Muslim Brotherhood that some of them declared that they would leave Egypt as a result! What is the nature of the Brotherhood’s relations with Copts?
A: We consider our Coptic brothers as citizens enjoying all rights associated with citizenship and as part of the fabric of the Egyptian society. We consider them as partners in the country, in decision-making and in determining our future. Consequently, the basis for filling public posts shall be efficiency, ability and experience, not religion or beliefs.

Copts are suffering, that's true, but why, oh why noboby asked this guy about atheists? His answer could be enlightening, I bet.

04-04-2014, 01:56 PM
SWC have debated here the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), although I expect the threads on Egypt, Syria and the Gulf states recently have touched upon the subject.

Of late there has been a serious political dispute within the Gulf states over the support given by Qatar to some rebel factions in Syria; Qatar is no friend of the MB, rather more 'radical' militant factions. Plus the military government in Egypt banning the MB and engaging in a robust, if not brutal "crack down" on the opposition, which is mainly not exclusively MB.

Now the UK is undertaking a review of whether the MB is a terrorist organisation, citing in particular reports that MB leaders in exile in London have plotted against the Egyptian military government. Well reviewed here:http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/david-wearing/cameron%E2%80%99s-investigation-into-muslim-brotherhood-is-not-about-national-secur

The MB debate found an unlikely Conservative MP ally:
The worst possible thing would be a fit-up job that listed the Muslim Brotherhood on the terrorist list with little or no evidence. It would be a betrayal of our values and make the problem worse.


04-07-2014, 05:02 PM
Will McCants, of Brookings, is always readable and in his article looks at the Muslim Brotherhood's position inside Saudi Arabia:http://www.lawfareblog.com/2014/04/the-foreign-policy-essay-saudi-arabia-dumps-the-brotherhood/

05-27-2014, 07:02 PM
A short article 'The Brotherhood Will Be Back' by Shadi Hamid, of Brookings, which ends:
The lesson of the Arab Spring isn’t that Islamist parties are inimical to democracy, but that democracy, or even a semblance of it, is impossible without them. When there are democratic openings — whether that’s in 5, 10 or 15 years — Islamists might look different and talk differently, but they will still be there, waiting and ready to return to political prominence, and perhaps even power.


05-27-2014, 07:10 PM
My colleague at CCISS and collaborator in the Broken Mirrors podacts has a new report out on the MB's infiltration and "civilizational jihad" in Canada and the US. It's availableat http://tsecnetwork.blogspot.ca/



07-31-2014, 03:22 PM
The always reliable IMHO Omar Ashour, from Exeter University, has a short gloomy commentary 'Will Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood return to political violence?' on the BBC:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28524510

He concludes:
The Brotherhood leadership so far stress that non-violent civil resistance tactics are their means for toppling the military-dominated government.

But organisational fractures under heavy repression, offshoots, disaffected members, and mutiny against the leadership have happened in earlier crises and have happened in a limited way during the current one, the worst in modern Egyptian history.

And in a regional context - where bullets keep proving that they are much more effective than ballots and where eradication is more legitimate than compromise - the prospects of sustaining non-violence become gloomier

08-29-2014, 01:30 AM
A thirteen page document from the Quilliam Foundation, prepared for the current UK government review of the Muslim Brotherhood's status here:http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/publications/free/the-muslim-brotherhood-in-the-uk2.pdf

09-15-2014, 02:15 PM
Based on "leaks" and some briefing from opponents The Daily Telegraph has a story today, sub-titled:
Exclusive: Britain set to curtail Muslim Brotherhood activities and block activists coming to London after report finds ties with armed groups and extremists in Middle East and elsewhere

(It ends, citing a UK diplomat) The report is thorough in pointing out the pitfalls of the Muslim Brotherhood but also its mainstream appeal and continuing role in the region.


One wonders whether the apparent disagreements between the diplomats and Home Office officials have been resolved. Plus whether the current furore and focus on ISIS will lead to any change, the story suggest no decisions till December.

10-19-2014, 06:44 PM
A short column by Lorenzo Vidino, a SME on the Muslim Brotherhood; in which he succinctly explains the UK governments review as:
.... a genuine effort to better understand the group and redesign Whitehall’s strategy towards it as the world’s most significant Islamist movement.


12-20-2015, 08:20 PM
An update on the UK government's review of the Muslim Brotherhood, which in the end effectively "sat on the fence" despite pressure from several foreign nations:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/17/muslim-brotherhood-review-bad-idea-analysis

Sir John Jenkins the report's author writes irregular articles and IIRC one, maybe two have posted on the forum.

12-21-2015, 05:52 AM
Thanks to a "lurker" for the pointer to The Economist's easier to read report and with a link to the published UK government report's summary.http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2015/12/britain-and-muslim-brotherhood

The report:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486932/Muslim_Brotherhood_Review_Main_Findings.pdf

A fine balancing act for some, as The Economist cites the two author's views:
In a relatively tough judgment, one of the report's co-authors, Sir John Jenkins, concluded:

For the most part, the Muslim Brotherhood have preferred non-violent incremental change on the grounds of expediency, often on the basis that political opposition will disappear when the process of Islamisation is complete. But they are prepared to countenance violence—including, from time to time, terrorism—where gradualism is ineffective.
But the report's other co-author, Charles Farr, offered a more lenient view of Brotherhood-inspired groups working in Britain. He found that "such groups had in the past held out the prospect and ambition of an Islamic state in this country as elsewhere" but went on to insist that "there was no indication that the Muslim Brotherhood still held this view or at least openly promoted an Islamic state here."

03-08-2016, 01:35 PM
An interesting review of the Muslim Brotherhood, under the theme of 'Is the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization or a firewall against violent extremism?' by a US academic:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/03/07/is-the-muslim-brotherhood-a-terrorist-organization-or-a-firewall-against-violent-extremism/? (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/03/07/is-the-muslim-brotherhood-a-terrorist-organization-or-a-firewall-against-violent-extremism/?postshare=2321457428321159&tid=ss_tw-bottom)

He concludes:
The Muslim Brotherhood’s firewall against extremism, therefore, was a very real thing in the decade following 9/11. It was sustained by the seeming success of the strategic choices by the leadership, a robust organizational structure able to enforce internal discipline and the socialization of its members into the organization’s norms. All three of the key mechanisms by which the firewall operated have now dramatically eroded.
This does not mean that the Brotherhood has been or is becoming a terrorist organization. It does mean that earlier assessments of its ability to play a role as a firewall against violent extremism need to be updated.

03-09-2016, 10:18 AM
Well... can't talk about MBs at such levels. Only observe that in the case of Egypt, even members of the Brotherhood eventually turned against it - and supported Sisi's (Saudi-sponsored) coup - because of their conclusion that the MB-run gov went 'too far', i.e. 'applied terror against own population'.

That most of them (members of MB that turned against the MB) eventually landed in various of Sisi's prisons is a different story, of course...

03-09-2016, 01:33 PM

That story is nearly as good as that by ex-Jihadists whose violence had ended, with individuals bound by a signed agreement with the Egyptian state (via Internal Security agencies) to refrain from political activity. When the overthrow of the Mubarek regime began they were asking can we join in or not? Apparently their leadership IIRC stated "stay at home".

One wonders what happened to them afterwards, let alone with Sisi takng power.

03-09-2016, 05:42 PM
In the Middle East, most of such stories end in some prison. That's the core problem with that part of the world.

07-29-2017, 09:57 PM
An article from The Hudson Institute, which I understand is conservative in outlook and by Mokhtar Awad (from GWU and other places).

The author earlier on writes:
...it is important to carefully examine the relationship between one of the oldest Islamist movements in the world and violence over the past four years, and what ideological revisions have taken place. This paper will focus more on the latter, specifically related to a recent book authored by a group of Muslim Brotherhood and allied Islamist scholars, which was sanctioned by the then leadership of the organization inside Egypt, titled The Jurisprudence of Popular Resistance to the Coup. The book provides a critical insight into how some scholars have successfully attempted to reconcile the group’s methodology with violence.It ends citing the book's author:
The Muslim Brotherhood inside [Egypt] has revised itself since the beginning of 2014. It is a reformist organization that believes in the constitutional approach, gradualist reform, and participated in many elections, and so on. Then after that, the Muslim Brotherhood changed to [adopt] revolutionary thought. This change did not come overnight. This is a change that on much literature [produced] inside the group, meetings, and workshops. The revolutionary transformation is now in every Muslim Brotherhood household, in every Brotherhood [I]Shu’ba (local branch), and no can, whomever they may be, extinguish this revolutionary thought. This is the transformation. The Muslim Brothers have indeed changed.Link:https://www.hudson.org/research/13787-the-rise-of-the-violent-muslim-brotherhood

02-20-2018, 11:20 AM
A book review in the FT of a new book 'The Muslim Brotherhood and the West: A History of Emnity and Engagement' by Martyn Frampton, Harvard University Press and one sentence:
His book fills a crucial gap in the literature and will be essential reading not just for scholars, but for anyone seeking to understand the ever-problematic relationship between religion and politics in today’s Middle East.Link:https://www.ft.com/content/0fa5736e-0b5b-11e8-bacb-2958fde95e5e

No reviews yet on:https://www.amazon.com/Muslim-Brotherhood-West-History-Engagement/dp/0674970705/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1519125499&sr=1-1&keywords=martyn+frampton

No in the UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Muslim-Brotherhood-West-Martyn-Frampton/dp/0674970705/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1519125573&sr=1-1&keywords=martyn+frampton

03-21-2018, 09:36 AM
A belated discovery of an article by Sir John Jenkins, a retired UK diplomat and co-author of an official review of the Muslim Brotherhood - that was not published. Here is a sample passage:
But I cannot think of a single example where Western diplomatic or any other sort of engagement has produced any change in the position of any political Islamist. Deniable channels of communication may sometimes be wise, for example when we have kidnappings to resolve or to ensure the physical security of diplomats (both of which we had to do in Gaza when I was HM Consul General in Jerusalem).
I’ve seen this movie before. People sometimes say that we need to identify moderates inside such organisations and detach them by engagement from their more extreme colleagues. Again, I can’t think of a single example where this has actually happened. So-called moderates rarely represent the core of any Islamist operation. In conflict they are dominated by their armed wings. And in any case, most Islamist groups from the Muslim Brotherhood onwards have a history of expelling, not accommodating, reformists.

03-21-2018, 02:18 PM
That is an excellent find David, for a number of reasons.

06-25-2018, 02:45 PM
A video (1h 3m) of the book launch and discussion @ Policy Exchange on June 18th:
Policy Exchange’s Co-head of Extremism and Security Dr Martyn Frampton (author), provided an overview of the charged relationship between one of the world’s largest political Islamist movements and the Western powers. He was joined for a discussion by chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Tom Tugendhat MP and Sir John Jenkins, former British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Having met Sir John Jenkins once, when I was impressed, hence he appears on the Forum at times. Not so sure about the author or MP.

01-30-2019, 09:05 PM
An ICSR report and the full title is slightly different: 'Ghosts of the Past: The Muslim Brotherhood and its Stuggle for Legitimacy in post-Qaddafi Libya'.
In Summary:
This report by ICSR Research Fellow Inga Kristina Trauthig tackles the most important global movement of political Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood, and looks at it from a local perspective. It traces and explains the history of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood (LMB), before examining how the movement has tried to establish itself as a legitimate political actor with regards to its Islamic credentials in the Libyan political sphere after 2011.

Among other things, this report finds that:

The LMB today is still haunted by the ghosts of its past, such as the decade-long demonisation of the Qaddafi regime, its exiled organisational structure and, on a related note, its impotence at failing to develop a strong social base.
Overall, the LMB has exhibited a more hawkish policy approach and, while striving to grow in importance, has cooperated with some of the more radical Islamist groups.
Finally, the LMB’s central attempt to represent itself as the true bearer of Islam (Islam’s vanguard) mattered little in a country where many of the political organisations operating in the country have paid lip service to Islam, resulting in no political force the LMB could effectively position itself against.

Link to full report:https://icsr.info/2019/01/30/ghosts-of-the-past-the-muslim-brotherhood-and-its-struggle-for-legitimacy-in-post%E2%80%91qaddafi-libya/