Islamists March on in Egypt, With Western Blessing
by Arik Elman
I know, I know. It is shocking. After numerous pledges not to seek Egyptian presidency, the Muslim Brotherhood has fielded a candidate and is geared to win. Just a year ago, chairman of the Brotherhood’s political front “Freedom and Justice Party” Mohammed Morsi promised that Islamists have no desire to control neither legislative nor executive office, but to engage in “fruitful dialog”. This solemn promise was, of course, taken as Gospel by the usual suspects – various “experts” on the subject who, having taken an obligatory stroll around Tahrir square, declared the Israeli fears of rapid Islamization of their Southern neighbor “baseless fearmongering”.
Even when the Islamist parties took the Egyptian parliament by storm, leaving the Tahrir liberals no chance and no meaningful voice in the constitutional assembly, the liberal consensus, embodied by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, continued to praise the “democratic transition” and to demand that the only remaining force of stability and pro-American continuity, the SCAF, speed up the transfer of power to the elected institutions. As usually happens with the current administration, in the end, when forced to face reality, it has backtracked on its criticism of the Egyptian military and waived restrictions on financial aid to Egypt (which goes mostly to the army). But the damage was already done. Announcing the candidacy of its money boss for the presidency, the Muslim Brotherhood explained this change of heart by saying that it needed to prevent the Army from “denying the people the achievements of the revolution”.
Apparently, having concluded that American pressure has neutered the threat of a military coup, Egyptian Islamists are no longer afraid of exposing their true objective for what is always was – the establishment of an Islamic state. Seeing that their fate under the new regime is being sealed and hoping to attract at least international protection, the Egyptian Christian Coptic Church and the defeated liberals decided to boycott the constitutional assembly, where the Islamists retain an absolute majority. Ironically, some Egyptian liberals appealed… to the military.
Since the arc of political transition in Egypt is becoming short and it bends towards triumphant Islamism, one is tempted to ponder whether the Brotherhood’s dissembling really ends at Egypt’s borders. Amid the promises to keep the peace with Israel, there’s a growing clamor in Cairo to “revise” the treaty in order to nullify the limitations on Egyptian military deployment in Sinai. When a few weeks ago Israel was forced to defend itself against terrorist threats and rocket attacks from Gaza, the Brotherhood promised “to provide the people of Gaza with all they need” to win the fight against Israel. As long as the control of the government rests with the army, the Islamists can’t put their promises into practice. When the “democratization” is complete, nobody will stop them from opening the Rafah crossing at the Gaza-Sinai border to provide Hamas with game-changing weaponry (such as the Libyan anti-aircraft missiles which are already present at Sinai).
It is, of course, Islamophobic to point out that, from its very beginning, Islam was very lax on a need to keep promises given to the unbelievers. Since Muhammad broke his treaty with the people of Mecca and took the future shrine of Islam by surprise, it was understood that Muslims should stick by their word only as long as this fidelity doesn’t contradict the commandment to spread Islam. “War is deceit”, – said Muhammad, and, being a bloody warlord himself, he was obviously correct.
Despite all this, despite all the experience, we’re still being bombarded by pro-Islamist propaganda. Islamists in Syria promise to create democracy after Assad’s defeat. Islamists in Iran claim that they have no intention to build an atomic weapon. Islamists in Turkey insist on having “deep commitment” to NATO and “mutual interests” with Barack Obama. And the liberal West is only too happy to lap it up, saving its suspicion and malice for the Jewish state. As long as the Western democracies, America first and foremost, refuse to see the Islamization of the Arab states for what it really is – an end to any hopes for democracy and a major threat to regional stability, American interests and the security of Israel, the Arab Spring will inexorably wilt into long and terrifying winter.