He Will Eat And Then Be Eaten

Jerry Holbert

Another terrific David Warren column:

…My reader should make no mistake about the Muslim Brotherhood. They are the very fount of the “Islamism” that stalks so terribly through the Muslim world. They are the pioneers of this ideology, whose roots go back to a lively parliamentary interlude in Egypt, between the world wars. Al-Qaeda is the wayward child of this ideology, but Hamas simply its Palestinian branch.

Here is the formal “credo” or “mission statement” of the Muslim Brotherhood, shared by Hamas and all parallel organizations, in Jordan, Yemen, and elsewhere through the Sunni Muslim world:

“Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, Jihad is our way, and dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu akbar!”

This is the definition of Islamism. And western statesmen are as wise to negotiate with it, as they were wise to negotiate with the author of Mein Kampf. But of course we are told that the Muslim Brotherhood only wishes to be included in a coalition. Which was precisely the demand of Ayatollah Khomeini’s minions, when they marched through the streets of Tehran in 1978, arm in arm with all the leftists and progressives and spoilt children of Iran’s middle classes — demanding the deposition of the Shah.

Shapour Bakhtiar was the name of the interim leader, in that case; the Kerensky of the Persian revolution, as it were. Soon he, too, was fleeing the country; to exile in Paris until agents of the Islamic Republic terminated him in 1991. The fate of all the other nice, secular, “civil society” types, who leaped aboard that revolutionary bandwagon, was likewise grim.

Throughout central Europe, after the Second World War and Yalta, Communists came to power in coalitions: “governments of national unity” and the like. But there is a rule when you put scorpions in a bottle: the bigger eats the smaller.

To my observation, ElBaradei — now presenting himself as a Kerensky for Egypt — is a creature governed by vanity. He is an opportunist, whose peculiar combinations of malice and naivete exactly suit his prospective coalition partners. He declared himself only recently against the Mubarak regime — having enjoyed a favoured friendship with the Egyptian dictator, until last year. Having judged that his octogenarian friend is now done for, he has generously come home to lead the opposition.

History is littered with figures of his sort.

To say ElBaradei is two-faced would be misleading, for no one advances in Middle Eastern politics with only two faces. But we can already distinguish the face which supplies sweet plausibilities to the western media, while dispensing to each Egyptian class what he thinks it wants to hear.

He is the smooth presence before the western cameras, assuring us that the Muslim Brotherhood has been misrepresented, and that they will make perfectly safe partners on the usual roadmaps to peace. And only the Copts of Egypt, and the Jews of Israel, will not be fooled. ElBaradei will even fool himself: for as I said, he is a man of formidable vanity.

He will eat, and then be eaten.

The transition from good friend to stabber-in-the-back is of course not uncommon in human affairs. President Obama had declared himself among Mubarak’s most reliable friends and admirers. Suddenly he, his secretary of state, and most of the leaders of Europe, are saying things that can only encourage the Cairo mob. It is as if they were singing in chorus: “We have abandoned him now, you may have him for your lunch.”

And there will be no reward for this; as there was no reward to Jimmy Carter when he inserted the last knife into the back of the Shah of Iran. Carter would have commanded more respect from the incoming ayatollahs — they would have thought twice about occupying the U.S. embassy — had he stuck resolutely to U.S. policy, and backed the Shah to the last trench.

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