Today, the question for voters in the 2012 election to ponder might be posed as “Who lost Egypt?” To make matters worse, it is likely that the losses won’t stop there.
Indeed, before it’s over, we may well see nearly all the Middle East fall under the sway of the team President Obama has helped come to power in Cairo – the Muslim Brotherhood, to the grave detriment of the people most immediately affected, of Israel and of our interests, there and here.
To be sure, it is unclear at the moment exactly how things will shake-out in Egypt. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party succeeded in having its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, elected president in recent weeks and installed in that office on Saturday. But the Egyptian military continues to be very much a force to be reckoned with and the extent and timing of any formal relinquishing of its current control of virtually all aspects of the government – from the armed services to the many industries they own to the parliament and constitution-writing mechanisms – remains to be seen.
Still, the direction Morsi seeks to take his country is unmistakable and should be deeply worrying to all who hoped for an authentic Arab Spring in Egypt and fear the emergence there and elsewhere of an Islamist Winter. While the newly installed president has professed that he will be the leader of all Egyptians and promised to give tangible expression to that commitment by appointing as his vice presidents a Coptic Christian, a woman and a secular political figure, these will be, atbest mere window-dressing if he sticks to his pledge to impose shariah on all his countrymen.
For example, as captured in an Egyptian television report of May 13, 2012 translated by the indispensable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reLigeHGKzE&feature=player_embedded&noredirect=1) – Morsi espoused during the course of the campaign the key tenets of the Muslim Brotherhood: “The Quran is our constitution. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.” He went on to add, “This nation will enjoy blessing and revival only through Islamic shariah.” Morsi concluded by saying, “I take an oath before Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text of [the constitution], Allah willing, the text will truly reflect shariah.”
Now in office, Mohammed Morsi is making clear that this direction may have dire implications for us, as well as for the people of Egypt. He has declared that one of his priorities as president will be to secure the release from a life-sentence in U.S. federal prison of Omar Abdul Rahman. Abdul Rahman is better known as the Blind Sheikh and the prime-moverbehind various terrorist plots – including trying to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. Morsi wants himrepatriated to Egypt, ostensibly so he can serve out the rest of his sentence there. Fat chance.
Which brings us to Team Obama. President Obama was instrumental in assisting the Muslim Brotherhood emerge from the shadows and come to power. For example, over the strenuous objections of his hosts, Mr. Obama demanded that the Brotherhood’s representatives be included in his June 2009 “outreach to the Muslim world” address at Cairo University.
Less than two years later, Mr. Obama declared that Hosni Mubarak had to yield power within days of the Muslim Brotherhood’s operatives and other demonstrators taking to the streets demanding his overthrow. In the months that followed, his administration began “engaging” with the Brotherhood and its formal political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party.
Then, a few months ago, in the face of bipartisan objections from Capitol Hill, the Obama administration transferred $1.5 billion in a lump-sum, no-strings-attached grant to the Egyptian government. This occurred at a time when Muslim Brotherhood and allied “Salafist” legislators were in charge of its parliament and drawing up a new constitution.
Most recently, Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have welcomed the ascendancy of the Brotherhood’s Morsi. They are evidently considering giving tangible expression to that sentiment by accommodating his demand for the release the Blind Sheikh as they allowed Hani Noor Eldin, a top member of Abdul Raman’s terrorist Gema’a al-Islamiyaa organization, to enter the U.S. and discuss the idea with their subordinates.
In short, the practical effect of “losing” Egypt in this way will be, pursuant to the doctrine of shariah, to invite aredoubled effort, including through the use of violence, to achieve the Brotherhood goals of imposing that totalitarian, repressive and supremacist code worldwide. President Barack Obama must be held accountable for the consequences.