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By Barry Rubin
The best thing I can do for you to understand the Muslim Brotherhood is to ask you to read what I wrote last October 7. In that article I asked whether the United States would notice that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, through its leader, declared Jihad on America. At the end of the article I noted that an Egyptian friend said I was the only one who noticed outside of the country.
Here's the key quote:
The United States is "experiencing the beginning of its end and is heading towards its demise....Resistance is the only solution…. The United States cannot impose an agreement upon the Palestinians, despite all the means and power at its disposal. [Today] it is withdrawing from Iraq, defeated and wounded, and it is also on the verge of withdrawing from Afghanistan. [All] its warplanes, missiles and modern military technology were defeated by the will of the peoples, as long as [these peoples] insisted on resistance – and the wars of Lebanon and Gaza, which were not so long ago, [are proof of this].”
And here's what the previous supreme guide, Mahdi Akef, said:
"Question: Regarding resistance and jihad…do you consider Osama Bin Laden a terrorist or an Islamic Mujahid [a holy warrior, literally someone who wages jihad]?
"Akef: Certainly, a mujahid, and I have no doubt in his sincerity in resisting the occupation, drawing closer to God Almighty."
What I never imagined is that 3.5 months later people would be claiming--in contradiction to every Muslim Brotherhood speech and writing (in Arabic)--that the Muslim Brotherhood is some harmless nonviolent reform group. So please click on the link and read that article. These are the people who may be running the most important country in the Arab world.
Note that even if President Husni Mubarak resigns that is not what is important. What is important is whether the current regime survives or there is a totally new government.
The Muslim Brotherhood won't take over immediately but would be the power behind the throne. Remember that after the Free Officers took power in July 1952--the beginning of the current regime--it took three years for Gamal Abdel Nasser to step out as the country's dictator. Then he nationalized the Suez Canal company, made an alliance with the USSR to get weapons, and began subverting every other state in the region.
One explanation is laziness and ignorance. I have not seen any evidence to date that any journalist who wrote about it either read the "Palestine Papers" (except for the Guardian and al-Jazira people who--to put it politely--creatively interpreted the materials) or have ever read or heard any statement ever made by a Muslim Brotherhood leader.
How can you explain it? The leader of the Brotherhood calls for Jihad on America and destroying all US influence in the region and then the media says they are moderates!
Here's my (satirical) theory: Being against revolutionary Islamists seizing power in any country has now been declared to be Islamophobic.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The GLORIA Center's site is http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.