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Old 06-15-2006   #21
Steve Blair
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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.
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Old 06-15-2006   #22
Jones_RE
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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).
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Old 06-15-2006   #23
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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.
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Old 06-15-2006   #24
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Default One man one vote (one candidate)

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!

<edit>
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.
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Old 06-16-2006   #25
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Default Major Major and Captain Yosarian Would Understand

Quote:
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).
RE,

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.
Quote:
"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."
and
Quote:
Have you stopped beating your wife?
then applied to foreign assistance.

best,
Tom
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Old 06-16-2006   #26
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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.)
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Old 06-17-2006   #27
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Default Sell that idea

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.
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Old 09-04-2006   #28
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Default Muslim Brotherhood Contacts Us....

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.

Quote:
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
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.

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Old 09-04-2006   #29
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Default ...continued

Part 2 of MB "site feedback"
Quote:
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 the only offical web site
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Old 09-19-2006   #30
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Default A background paper on the International Muslim Brotherhood

I thought this might be a useful paper to put up.

THE INTERNATIONAL MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD : “SPECIALLY DESIGNATED TERRORIST ORGANIZATION”

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

Quote:
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.

Marc
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Old 09-19-2006   #31
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Default It does make one wonder (no pun intended)

Quite the kengthy statement, even on a cut and paste. Maybe we should return the favour

Marc
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Old 09-19-2006   #32
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Default Another presentation by Terri

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: 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.

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

Marc
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Old 12-26-2006   #33
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Default The Muslim Brotherhood in the US

Chicago Tribune - The Muslim Brotherhood in the US

Quote:
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.
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Old 10-12-2007   #34
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Default Abu Aardvark: Dialogue with Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo

Prof Mark Lynch meets with major MB figures in Cairo. Not a comprehensive writeup yet, but a good intro on recent MB developments, especially pace this in SWJ Blog.

Quote:
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, "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, 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 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.
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Old 02-07-2009   #35
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Default Muslim Brotherhood as International Insurgency

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).

Thoughts?
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Old 02-07-2009   #36
MikeF
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I'd suggest reading Albert Bergesen's The Sayyid Qutb Reader.

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

Good luck.

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Old 02-07-2009   #37
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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.
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Old 02-07-2009   #38
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I'd recommend limiting your scope particularly for a short paper. It will be easier 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.

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Old 02-07-2009   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
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".
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Old 02-07-2009   #40
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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/ma...slim-islamexpo and another: http://www.opendemocracy.net/terrori...icle/islamexpo


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