Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
The world is changing faster than it ever has. No pundit I follow expected revolutions in across North Africa and the Middle East in just a few weeks. That it all seemed to be driven by Facebook and Twitter is astonishing. Everyone’s watching to see what emerges and all bets are off.
Best case scenario? Secular, western-style democracy takes root in each country; the whole region elects western-friendly governments and moves into the 21st century. That’s what most of the original demonstrators dream of and I hope they get it, but . . .
Worst case scenario? Radical Muslims take control of the revolutions in a half-dozen countries as they did in 1979 Iran. It spreads to Saudi Arabia; they all attack Israel again in a couple of years; and there’s full-scale war across the Middle East.
In between those two possibilities might be this: The Egyptian military appoints another of their own like Omar Suleiman to replace Mubarak and everything calms down in the region for a bit.
By the time this is published a trend might become visible and I’ll have to revise daily, maybe hourly. The unexpected catalysts for it all have been twenty-something males in Tunisia and elsewhere - but not the ones looking to blow themselves up to kill us to get their 72 black-eyed virgins in Paradise. Instead, they seem to be secular Arabs who are educated, unemployed or under-employed, with modern electronic communications they use to coordinate demonstrations. But where do they want to take their countries? Not clear. Seems they know what they don’t want, but haven’t much clue about what they want to replace it. Democracy is difficult. Even if it’s obtained, it’s not an easy thing to maintain. Most pundits focus is on Egypt because it’s the biggest Arab Muslim country in the region with over 80 million people. Thanks to billions in US foreign aid, they have a huge military, and they control the Suez Canal. Demonstrators there say they want Mubarak out and democracy in. Okay. No problem. Mubarak is our ally because he’s a bulwark against radical Muslims like the Muslim Brotherhood - out of which al Qaida, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and other enemy groups emerged. If he left, someone else from the military could replace him as I outlined above.
Last week though, they were joined by thousands of Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators. Uh-oh. Sunday a reporter on Fox News refer to the Muslim Brotherhood as a “social human rights group.” The Muslim Brotherhood? Was he kidding? One of their affiliates (Islamic Jihad) shot Mubarak’s predecessor, Anwar Sadat, because he signed a peace treaty with Israel and because he wouldn’t institute Shariah Law. The Muslim Brotherhood is anything but a “social human rights group.” It would be disastrous for them to take control of Egypt and the Suez canal, through which a significant portion of the world’s oil passes through every day.
The Muslim Brotherhood would never abide by Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. The founding charter of their offspring, Hamas, calls for the killing of every Jew in Israel. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the Muslim Brotherhood is backing Mohamed ElBaradei as the leading spokesman for the Egyptian demonstrators. Some see him as a stabilizing force, but this is not good. ElBaradei is no friend of the United States or Israel. That he has a Nobel Prize impresses our liberal mainstream media, but they should know better. As head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he ran interference for Iranian nuclear weapons development. With those weapons, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promises to “wipe Israel off the map.” ElBaradei is a sly one. He’s not our friend and his association with the Muslim Brotherhood is not a recent development. They’ve played footsie for a while now. On Monday, the MB and ElBaradei offered to form an interim government. Watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing.As former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton put it: “If the Muslim Brotherhood can bring down the government and install a radical Islam regime there, in control of the Suez Canal, one can only wonder what will happen in the oil rich kingdoms of the Arabian peninsula. So there's a lot that rides on the outcome of this that will have a direct impact on America's economy and America's security."
There are some who see what’s happening in North Africa as all good. I hope they’re right, but I’ll reserve my judgement. Seems that Bolton will too: "We are not on the verge of the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius in Egypt if only the demonstrators get their way,” he said. “In this very complex, very fast moving situation, the strategic interests of the U.S. in Egypt are enormous, profound and "critical".