Wednesday, August 07, 2013
Report: Obama To Meet With Muslim Brotherhood Officials At The White House
A report from the Egypt Independent has it that President Obama has scheduled a meeting at the White House with Muslim Brotherhood officials to discuss events in Egypt. Also attending the meeting would be Turkish diplomats from that country's Islamist government.
The Brotherhood officials and the Turkish diplomats are expected to push hard for deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi's reinstatement as well as the Brotherhood's return to power.
The Egypt Independent claims to have heard from sources within the Brotherhood that Brotherhood member and billionaire Hassen Malek was the intermediary who contacted the White House to request the meeting
Malek is definitely a person of interest. Born into a Muslim Brotherhood family and named after MB founder Hassan al-Banna, Malek joined the organization at a young age and is particularly close to the man who was the real power in Egypt during Morsi's tenure, Brotherhood supreme guide Khairat al-Shater, whom he befriended when they were students at Alexandria's university.
Malek and al-Shater co-founded one of Egypt’s first software companies, Salsabil, which had the Egyptian military as one of its clients and made a huge amount of money, but they were later accused of money laundering and funding a terrorist organization, which was what the Brotherhood was considered during Mubarak's regime. Both were released after a year in jail without being charged.
Malek continued to amass a fortune through his software endeavors and through a series of business deals with companies like the Turkish furniture manufacturer Istikbal. He was actually a part of the Morsi regime, serving as the leader of Morsi's business development council.
Another connection is that he is reputed to be close to none other than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's parents, her late father Syed Zainul Abedin, head of the Brotherhood front the Muslim World League and Abedin's mother Saleha Abedin, a prominent and long standing member of the Brotherhood's International Women's Organization (IWO)
There's no question that Malek has the clout to arrange a meeting with President Obama. And Malek can definitely afford the president's going rate for a face to face, although given President Obama's sympathy and support for the Brotherhood, Malek might get a discount or have the fee waived altogether.
Do I credit this as accurate? Ordinarily, I'd tread cautiously here, especially as it's Egyptian media and based on unnamed sources. But given who President Obama is, I'd be leaning towards this being accurate. Especially since the Administration's attempt to intimidate the current Egyptian government fell flat on its face.
There may just be a need to meet, greet and coordinate some strategy.