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April 2, 2012 4:33 pm

In Egypt, the Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost

avatar by Ed Koch

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An Egyptian voter.

The chickens are coming home to roost in the Middle East.  The experts who supported the removal of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, e.g., The New York Times’ Tom Friedman and many others, are perhaps now wondering if they were right to do so.

Hosni Mubarak was certainly an authoritarian ruler.  His government brooked little or no dissent; there was no competing party at the polls; and the judiciary was beholden to Mubarak’s government.

At the same time, Mubarak was a loyal friend of the United States, a guarantor of the rights of minority Egyptians such as Coptic Christians, and a protector of the peace agreement negotiated by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin under the auspices of President Jimmy Carter at Camp David.

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In the election following the peaceful revolt started in Tahrir Square, the Muslim Brotherhood – the ideological forbearer of al-Qaeda — won the largest block of seats, and according to The New York Times of April 1, “The Brotherhood, an Islamist group outlawed under Mr. Mubarak, already dominates the Parliament and the assembly writing a new Constitution.”

The Muslim Brotherhood had announced it would not nominate a candidate to become Egypt’s first president since Mubarak.  However, it has now nominated “its chief strategist and financier Khairat el-Shater on Saturday as its candidate to become Egypt’s first president since Hosni Mubarak, breaking a pledge not to seek the top office and a monopoly on power.”  The Times article went on, “His candidacy is likely to unnerve the West and has already outraged Egyptian liberals who wonder what other pledges of moderation the Brotherhood may abandon.”

The question facing American liberals who supported Mubarak’s ouster is, does it make sense for us to recognize and support the Muslim Brotherhood and is it in our national interest to do so?  Adolf Hitler was lawfully installed as Chancellor of Germany, even though his party never received a majority of the votes.  The Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm now dominate the Egyptian Parliament, as the Nazi Party came to dominate the German Reichstag.  Should we in such situations look for opposition parties or individuals to support who are closer to our political philosophy?

A similar problem exists in Turkey.  The party in power there is the Justice and Development Party, an Islamist party.  The founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk – father of the Turks – specifically gave to the armed forces of Turkey the role of protector of Turkey’s secularity.  The United States and particularly the European Union, constantly made clear they wanted that power removed from the armed forces which had since the death of Ataturk intervened several times in deposing a civilian government when it became Islamist and threatened Turkey’s secularity.  The European Union made it clear that, unless Turkey removed those obligations and power from the Turkish Army, Turkey would not be admitted to the E.U.  Turkey’s civilian government not long ago arrested hundreds of army officers and some were put on trial as is the case currently involving the former Turkish army chief General Ilker Basbug.

Should we have supported the army command’s efforts at retaining their constitutional mandate?  Our failure to do so has paved the way to mass arrests of army officers and decimation of their ranks by the Islamist government.  Now we have an Islamist government in Turkey that seeks to become a Muslim superpower in the Middle East and is doing so by threatening war with Israel.  Turkey has threatened to break the Gaza blockade imposed by Israel intended to prevent arms from pouring into Gaza by sea.

Do the American liberals who applauded Turkey’s removal of military officers who sought to keep Turkey secular still believe they were right?  The questions I raise are not easy to answer.  I have never touted myself as a Middle East expert, but it has become crystal clear that a great number of the experts who recently waxed almost lyrical in support of the Arab Spring have much to answer for.

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  • I think its clear that Islamofascists are trying to project the misleading image that they are just following in the footsteps of the popular (US-backed) “Colour Revolutions” in Eastern Europe and its surrounds. So they have apparently duped many in America’s professional foreign policy establishment along these lines.

    It is an old trick (Hitler, Lenin were adepts) to play along in deliberative forums until such time as the right moment or opportunity presents itself to show one’s true colours. Read this Wikipedia article about one of the Brotherhood’s late leaders, in whose footsteps Al-Qaeda leader Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri clearly follows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayyid_Qutb

    So far, the Brotherhood has taked no action to distance itself from some of the really bad and dangerous people who have headed it or have been associated with it.

  • I think its clear that Islamofascists are trying to project the misleading image that they are just following in the footsteps of the popular (US-backed) “Colour Revolutions” in Eastern Europe and its surrounds. So they have apparently duped many in America’s professional foreign policy establishment along these lines.

    It is an old trick (Hitler, Lenin were adepts) to play along in deliberative forums until such time as the right moment or opportunity presents itself to show one’s true colours. Read this Wikipedia article about one of the Brotherhood’s late leaders, in whose footsteps Al-Qaeda leader Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri clearly follows.

    So far, the Brotherhood has taked no action to distance itself from some of the really bad and dangerous people who have headed it or have been associated with it.

  • Daniel in Brookline

    When Israel kills one hundred filistinian, for every Israelite, no one speaks out of it.

    On the contrary, the newspapers of the world never stop talking about it. Look around you.

    If you want something that no one speaks of, perhaps you could address the fact that, according to the Palestinians,, one Israeli life is worth hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian lives. (Those are the terms of the prisoner swaps negotiated by Israel with Hamas, with Fatah, and just about everyone else. Were I a Palestinian, I’d feel horribly humiliated by my own leaders over this.)

    Or perhaps you could address this: Israel has been pleading, for years, that the Palestinians renounce violence — and mean it. In nearly fifty years of fighting, that’s the one strategy the Palestinians have never tried. If peace is important to them, you’d think they would have tried it by now.

  • Danakan

    When Israel kills one hundred filistinian, for every Israelite, no one speaks out of it.
    Now, the world would see Israel has opposed 150 million Arabs. Furthermore, People would understand they are killing Muslims.
    Why nobody speak out against Muslim Killers!

  • Dan

    Funny, but Koch never mentions the word “Obama” in connection with this diplomatic debacle. If he had, he’d have plenty to answer for when he endorses Obama in November.

  • Cetin

    Like the “Arabellion” in Arab countries there must be now a counterpart of that movement in Israel. It takes two to tango. Rabin said, you make peace with your enemies, not with your friends. Since Rabins violent death things are going awfully wrong in Israel and this has to be stopped. The Arabs did it right to get rid of politicians who had no inner moral compass. Israelis should do the same with their politicians.

  • Cetin

    Like the “Arabellion” in Arab countries there must be now a counterpart of that movement in Israel. It takes two to tango. Rabin said, you make peace with your enemies, not with your friends. Since Rabin things are going awfully wrong in Israel and this has to be stopped.

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