Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Muslim Brotherhood, Not Morsi Is Calling The Shots In Egypt

The German publication Der Spiegal is noteworthy for having some of the best coverage on the Middle East. As they report, it's not Mohamed Morsi who's in charge but his superiors in the Muslim Brotherhood. Here's a slice:

"The Muslim Brotherhood feels that it has reached its goal of finally being able to implement the ideals of its founder, Hassan al-Banna. They've been preparing for this for 84 years," says Cairo political scientist Siad Akl. "That's why they won't give up power that quickly."

For many Egyptians, the rioting of the last few weeks is proof that it isn't the president but the Brotherhood that is pulling the strings -- and that it has no scruples about pushing the country to the brink of civil war, if necessary.

In late November, the US newsmagazine Time named President Morsi the most important politician in the Middle East. But very few people believe that the ponderous engineer is actually the most powerful man in the country. There are likely two other men who make the decisions: Mohammed Badie, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Khairat El-Shater, its first candidate, who was excluded from the election for formal reasons and is in charge of organization and financial affairs for the Brotherhood.

At the moment, state-owned television is probably the best place to see who is in charge in Egypt. Almost every week, it broadcasts encounters between the president and important dignitaries. Morsi often meets with Badie, greeting him by kissing his hand. It's a gesture meant to express obedience, and it shows that the oath of allegiance Morsi, like all members of the Brotherhood, once swore to the movement and its leader still applies.{...}

El-Shater, meanwhile, is the chief strategist of the Muslim Brotherhood, meaning he is nominally responsible for all political maneuvers the Brotherhood has employed to control the revolution since Mubarak's overthrow. They include the deal with the former military leadership that enabled both sides to save face, depriving the top military officials of some of their power while simultaneously preserving all of their privileges.

And his relationship with Morsi? El-Shater was once Morsi's direct superior. "Internally, the current president was seen as nothing but his errand boy," says a former member of the Brotherhood. "Morsi can't make any decisions on his own," confirms Amr al-Laithi, one of nine presidential advisors who resigned in recent weeks in protest against Morsi's dictatorial behavior. According to al-Laithi, everything -- every word, every proposal -- has to be approved by the Brotherhood's second-in-command. It isn't El-Shater who calls the president, says al-Laithi, but the president who calls El-Shater. The experts who are supposed to advise the president on key issues are all members of the Brotherhood, says al-Laithi, adding that he resigned when he realized that he had no say whatsoever.

Read the whole thing.

When the referendum adopting the Islamist 'constitution' is put before the Egyptian public on December 15th, it will almost certainly pass. Then we'll see the real face of the Arab Spring.

And, meantime the Obama Administration plans to send Egypt 20 F-16s on the American taxpayer's dime, believe it or not:

Key lawmakers expressing concerns about the Obama administration's plan to send 20 F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, where new President Mohamed Morsi's allegiances are as uncertain as his grip on power.
Under a foreign aid deal signed in 2010, when Morsi's U.S.-friendly predecessor Hosni Mubarak was in charge, the U.S. is giving the planes to Egypt's air force, which already has more than 200 of the aircraft. The first four jets are to be delivered beginning Jan. 22, a source at the naval air base in Fort Worth, where the planes have been undergoing testing, told But the $213 million gift is raising questions on Capitol Hill as Morsi is under fire for trying to seize dictatorial powers and allegedly siccing thugs and rapists on protesters.

Florida Rep.Vern Buchanan, who recently called for ending foreign aid to Egypt altogether, said the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi government has been sending increasingly troubling signals to Washington, and giving it state-of-the-art fighter jets is a dangerous idea.
“American tax dollars must not be used to aid and abet any dictatorial regime that stands with terrorists,” Buchanan said.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, (R-Texas), vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told Egypt is a wild card under Morsi.

“At this point, we don't know where Egypt is headed," Thornberry said. "We should be cautious about driving them away, but we should also be cautious about the arms we provide.” {...}

The U.S. government ordered and paid for the fighter jets for Egypt's military back in 2010. But since Mubarak's ouster, the democratically elected Morsi has sent mixed signals about whether he wants an alliance with Washington, even meeting with leaders in Iran earlier this year.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-Fla.), who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, recently criticized U.S. military aid to Egypt:

“The Obama administration wants to simply throw money at an Egyptian government that the president cannot even clearly state is an ally of the United States,” Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said.

If Egypt receives those planes, want to bet they'll eventually be used against Israel?And perhaps even against our own forces?


Money Jihad said...

The article makes him sound like the Egyptian Medvedev. I'll buy it.

B.Poster said...

In its current situation, the US is a sort of darned if you do, darned if you don't position with regards to weapons sales to Egypt. In its current precarious situation, the US needs even limited Egyptian cooperation from Egypt far more than Egypt needs to cooperate with the US. Essentially Egypt has the upper hand here and it seems likely everyone in any major position of power knows this.

Egypt can procure weapons of the type supplied by America pretty much any where very easily. The Russians and the Chinese would be especially happy to supply weapons of this type to Egypt. Then they would have the "cooperation" of Egypt. As a country strategically located along the Suez Canal, the Sinai, and the largest Muslim country in the world this would have great value to these major powers. However, the Egyptians might find the Russians and the Chinese are not nearly as compiant partners as the Americans were/ have been.

I think its more likely than not that these military assets will be used against America or its interests. Combine these military assets with the superior tactical training possessed by the Egyptians and its likely that our forces would be easily routed by them. Hopefully we can improve our tactical training. Also, hopefully we were smart enough to put "back doors" in this stuff so we can disable it if need be.

I'd suggest not transferring these military assets to Egypt. Essentially in light of the current situation call off the transfer. We will take some heat in the media and in world capitols for not honoring our agreement but this would only be short to mid-term. Then we need to work fervently to change our situation where are not dependent upon the goodwill and cooperation of Egypt.

The cornerstone of such a policy would be working towards energy indepenence and securing our borders. Even some policy analysts are now admitting that due to fracking technologies energy independence is within reach within 20 years. I think the time could be much sooner. The sooner we get started the better!!

As for these weapons being used against Israel, I think its likely that Israel's superior training and leadership will ensure that Israel would be able to eliminate that threat, however, Israel is an ally and it would be unethical to put them in such a position because we need Egyptian cooperation. As such, this is another good reason not to transfer these weapons to Egypt. Hopefully Congress will make blocking the transfer of these weapons to Egypt a top priority.

Ttansferring these weapons to a Mubarak led government was a bad idea. Transferring them to a Muslim Brotherhood government is an even worse idea!!