Harmless as An Enemy, Treacherous As A Friend

Mike Lester

Mark Steyn on the “glorious” revolution in Egypt:

…This is not a happy ending but the beginning of something potentially very dark… After the fall of Mubarak, what remains to hold up the Hashemites in Amman? Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood is more radical than Egypt’s, the regime is less ruthless, King Abullah’s Arabic is worse than his English, and pretty westernized Queen Rania, who seems so cute when CNN interviewers are fawning all over her, is openly despised outside the palace gates.

Iran is nuclearizing, Turkey is Islamizing, Egypt is …what exactly? Well, we’ll find out. But, given that only the army and/or the Muslim Brotherhood are sufficiently organized to govern the nation, the notion that we’re witnessing the youthful buds of any meaningful democracy is deluded. So who’ll come out on top? The generals or the Brothers? Given that the Brotherhood got played for suckers by the army in the revolution of ’52, I doubt they’ll be so foolish as to make the same mistake again – and the hopeychangey “democracy movement” provides the most useful cover in generations. Meanwhile, James Clapper, the worthless buffoon who serves as the hyperpower’s Director of “Intelligence”, goes before Congress to tell the world that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “secular” organization. Americans ought to take to the streets to demand Clapper vacate whatever presidential palace in DC he’s holed up in.

Amidst all this flowering of democracy, you’ll notice that it’s only the pro-American dictatorships on the ropes: In Libya and Syria, Gaddafy and Assad sleep soundly in their beds. On the other hand, if you were either of the two King Abdullahs, in Jordan or Saudi Arabia, and you looked at the Obama Administration’s very public abandonment of their Cairo strongman, what would you conclude about the value of being an American ally? For the last three weeks, the superpower has sent the consistent message to the world that (as Bernard Lewis feared some years ago) America is harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend.

And here are the words of James Traub, a useful idiot if there ever was one:

…It’s not only the regime’s apologists who profess to fear the Muslim Brotherhood; I had no trouble finding secular Cairenes who took an equally dim view. The group’s slogan is, after all, “Islam is the solution,” and the appeal its political leaders make to the rank and file is long on religious orthodoxy. Still, I spent two weeks talking to members of the Brotherhood — something the secular critics rarely do — and though I did feel they were putting their best foot forward for a Western journalist, I was struck by their reluctance to impose their views on others and their commitment to democratic process. They had been drawn to the Brotherhood not only by piety but also by the group’s reputation for social service and personal probity.

Many of these men were lawyers, doctors, or engineers. But I also spent several evenings with an electrician named Magdy Ashour, who had been elected to parliament from a dismal slum at the furthest edge of Cairo (he’s now an independent, after being ousted from the Brotherhood in December). He was at pains to counter what he assumed were my preconceptions. “When people hear the name Muslim Brotherhood, they think of terrorism and suicide bombings,” Ashour conceded. “We want to establish the perception of an Islamic group cooperating with other groups, concerned about human rights. We do not want to establish a country like Iran, which thinks that it is ruling with a divine mandate. We want a government based on civil law, with an Islamic source of lawmaking.”

And just what is an “Islamic source of lawmaking?” Muhammad Habib, then the Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy supreme guide — its second-ranking official– explained to me that, under such a system, parliament would seek the advice of religious scholars on issues touching upon religion, though such views could never be binding. A democratically elected parliament, he asserted, would still have the “absolute right” to pass a law the Brotherhood deemed “un-Islamic.” And the proper redress for religious objections would be a formal appeal process in the constitutional court.

Maybe they were lying. But I didn’t think so…

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Comments

  • Nidia Meconi  On March 6, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

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