Friday, December 02, 2011

Matt 24 Watch, 144: Simon Wiesenthal Center storm warning on Egypt

From a current SWC newsletter and briefing, it seems -- unfortunately -- that, in Egypt, we are now rapidly moving from the hailed "Arab Spring" to a militant IslamIST Winter. (This, is as was predicted by those who know the general history of radical revolutions; which strongly tend to extremism . . . )

The context for the report is the current parliamentary election; as the SWC Dec 1, 2011 email newsletter reports:
After a round of deadly violence, an estimated 80% of Egyptians peacefully voted in the first round of parliamentary elections.
The results [of the election] are a blow to those who hoped for a transition to a democratic civil society. Media reports indicate that early returns show the Muslim Brotherhood’s political front group — the Democratic Alliance for Egypt — appears to have won as much as 45% of the vote with another 20 - 25% gained by the Islamic Bloc, the political arm of the Salafis. Despite some differences, both the Brotherhood and the Salifis share an Islamist ideology permeated with hatred of both the Israel and the United States.
In short, the emerging controlling bloc in Egypt's parliament will credibly be wedded to an agenda of IslamIST supremacism, and related militancy. This, in a context where the Egyptian military has been putting out feelers to the IslamISTS, given how the tide is clearly running.

This immediately throws a grim light on the way protesters from Egypt's indigenous Coptic Christian minority were recently treated by the military. This perhaps 1/10th of the population, the descendants of the Ancient Egyptians, are clearly in for a far rougher ride.

But, the international implications are far more serious. As an old ME saying goes, without Egypt, no war; without Syria, no peace.

So, we may clip the Brackman report: as it cites a Nov 25th headline:

“Speakers at the event delivered impassioned, hateful speeches against Israel, slamming the ‘Zionist occupiers’ and the ‘treacherous Jews’. Upon leaving the rally, worshippers were given small flags, with Egypt's flag on one side and the Palestinian flag on the other, as well as maps of Jerusalem's Old City detailing where ‘Zionists are aiming to change Jerusalem's Muslim character’. Spiritual leader Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb charged in his speech that to this day Jews everywhere in the world are seeking to prevent Islamic and Egyptian unity: ‘In order to build Egypt, we must be one. Politics is insufficient. Faith in Allah is the basis for everything. The al-Aqsa Mosque is currently under an offensive by the Jews . . . we shall not allow the Zionists to Judaize al-Quds. We are telling Israel and Europe that we shall not allow even one stone to be moved there." Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen, as well as Palestinian guest speakers, made explicit calls for Jihad and for liberating the whole of Palestine. Time and again, a Koran [Hadith?] quote vowing that ‘one day we shall kill all the Jews’ was uttered at the site. . . . Throughout the event, Muslim Brotherhood activists chanted: ‘Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, judgment day has come.’”
1 “Cairo Rally: One Day We’ll Kill All the Jews,” Ynet, November 25, 2011,
Of course, the notion that Jerusalem is essentially Muslim, and that for Jews to want to live there or celebrate their holy sites there is an offence to Muslims, flies in the teeth of 3,000 years of Jewish history, and the matter of fact details of say the Gospel and Acts.

But, it seems that we are dealing here with an anti-historical, supremacist ideology that denies the legitimacy of anybody outside the system. 

Sadly, one would be ill-advised to hold his or her breath waiting for more moderate Muslims to speak out against such outrageous attitudes and claims. Many -- a very large number -- seem to quietly agree with this reading of the Quran, Hadiths and history, and others who do disagree are intimidated into silence. 

And the use of the Khaybar chant is outright menacing, as it speaks to Mohammed's aggression against the three main Jewish tribes in and near Yathrib (which we know as Medina), which were dispossessed, and in the third case massacred at the command of Islam's founder. This is murderous antisemitism speaking, but are we listening?

Similarly, SWC notes:
Majdi Hussein, Secretary-General of the Egyptian Amal Party: “Although the relations between Egypt and Israel have been undermined after the collapse of Mubarak's regime, we are still unsatisfied with these conditions and serious efforts will be made after the elections to cut relations with the Zionist enemy completely.”
3 Sheera Frenkel, “Israel Preparing for Day When It Has No Relations with Egypt,” Jewish World Review, November 23, 2011
A cleric at a rally in Cairo's Tahrir square laid out the underlying ideology and attitudes in no uncertain terms:
“First of all, Islamic law is the only source for legislation. . . I would like to say to the whole world that the Prophet Muhammad prophesized that the return of Islam was inevitable. . . . I say to the people who fear Islam: Are you thieves that should fear the chopping off of hands? Are you alcohol-drinkers that you should fear being flogged? . . . Sheikh Osama bin Laden is a man who waged Jihad for the sake of Allah, and we pray that Allah will unite us with him and the martyrs in Paradise. My brothers, in Islam, we say with great pride that we adhere to the Jihad for the sake of Allah. . . . We say to infidel America: By Allah, if you contemplate coming to Egypt, you will encounter men who love death more than you Americans love life. Crowd: Allah Akbar. . . . I say to the Jews: if you contemplate harming Egypt or its Muslim people, you will encounter men who seek death more than you seek life. Crowd: Allah Akbar. . . . Man in crowd: Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Muhammad is here. Crowd: Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Muhammad is here . . . Tawfiq Al-Afni: Oh Allah, grant us martyrdom for your sake. Crowd: Amen.
2 “Egyptian Cleric Tawfiq Al-Afni Leads Pro-Al-Qaeda Demonstration in Tahrir Square, Threatens U.S. and the Jews,” MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 4391, November 23, 2011
The clear import of such radicalisation is that war clouds are again gathering. This may be challenged, but the sobering reply by Lee Smith is:
Mideast Expert Lee Smith on Prospects of Egyptian-Israeli War:
“[Though] the rational calculation is that Cairo understands it would lose that war as well as the $2 billion dollars in US aid, . . . [the] problem is that very little we have seen in Egypt over the last six months is based on rational self-interest . . . . The Muslim Brotherhood is a problem for us because the organization is anti-Western at its core. Is it more moderate than Al Qaeda? Yes, a Muslim Brotherhood government commanding a real Arab army, like Egypt’s, with tanks, artillery, an air force and navy. Does anyone think that the late Bin Laden’s jihadis are more dangerous than that?”11
11 Michael Totten, “After the Fall of the Pharaoh,” interview with Lee Smith, Pajamas Media, June 13, 2011
In short, we have been playing with matches and are liable to get very badly burned.

Especially, if you multiply by the rising issue over the Iranian nuclear programme, and the rockets and missiles in Gaza and southern Lebanon.

For this region, Middle East instability immediately points to unstable, liable to spike oil prices, with onward implications all across the economy and society. 

Which we need to prepare for. END

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