Obama's Egypt Policy, A Predictable Fiasco

The Egyptian elections have resulted in a rout for the throngs whose springtime hopes for freedom are now facing the prospect of a nuclear winter at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and its fellow Salafists. These Islamists appear to have garnered 60% of the seats in the next parliament and the opportunity to shape the country’s new constitution in line with their ambitions to impose the totalitarian doctrine of shariah nationwide. That will be bad news for the people of Egypt, for Israel and for us.



This fiasco was made predictable in early February when President Obama announced that President Hosni Mubarak had to leave office at once. It was clear even then that the most organized, most disciplined and most ruthless group would prevail in the ensuing, chaotic electoral environment. Apart from the military, in Egypt that group has been the Muslim Brotherhood basically since its founding in 1928.

Press reports indicate that the Obama Administration spent $200 million to help non-Islamist parties organize and compete in last week’s elections. If true, it adds insult to injury. The money was wasted, not only because the liberal and secular elements to whom much of it reportedly was given, were hopelessly outgunned by the Brotherhood. More importantly, it was squandered because Team Obama, in the person of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, made a point in the run-up to the vote of welcoming the Muslim Brotherhood’s participation in the “political dialogue” in Egypt.

In so doing, the Obama administration not only signaled that it could do business with the Brotherhood. It gave lie to any pretense of concern about the Islamists’ role in the massacre of Coptic Christians (which will be the subject of an important hearing in the House of Representatives' Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Wednesday).

Similarly, the President and his subordinates appear determined to ignore the Brotherhood’s virulently supremacist and jihadist creed. They are also evidently indifferent to the strategic plan issued in 1991 by the MB’s American arm and the phased approach for realizing its goal of “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” (Documents enshrining these ambitions were introduced uncontested into evidence by federal prosecutors in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial.)

At the same time, the Obama administration is reaching out to and empowering Muslim Brotherhood front groups as their exclusive interlocutors with Muslims inside the United States. Incredibly, the Department of Homeland Security has recently promulgated guidelines that effectively require all trainers and their training material to be approved by “community leaders” – read, officials of organizations like the Islamic Society of North America and the Council on American Islamic Relations that the federal government has identified as tied to the Brotherhood.

One wonders about the extent to which such fatally flawed policies reflect the influence exercised on senior administration officials by people with deep ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. For example, Secretary of State Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, has a mother (Saleha Abedin) and a brother (Hassan Abedin) who have been linked, respectively, to the Muslim Sisterhood and Brotherhood. Could such associations be coloring Mrs. Clinton’s judgment about, notably, the advisability of having the MB come to power in Egypt and the reliability of the Islamist government of our NATO “ally,” Turkey?

Perhaps such influences are also shaping Secretary Clinton’s willingness to engage next week in Washington with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in aneffort to bridge differences between the United States and Islamists bent on its submission to shariah. The issue involves one of our most fundamental liberties – freedom of expression. Unfortunately, it is hard to see how this conclave will do anything but impinge upon that constitutionally protected right.

After all, the OIC has been seeking for years to secure worldwide acceptance of its shariah-adherent prohibition on expression that offends Muslims. The Obama administration has already associated itself with a watered-down version of this initiative. Now, it seems intent on finding a way to deny free speech to those who the Islamists depict as “Islamphobes.”

Given this agenda, it is ironic that Vice President Joe Biden has been lately touting the importance of free speech – most recently during a visit to, of all places, Turkey. He seems to epitomize the old saw that “somebody always doesn’t get the word.” Neither the Veep nor Mrs. Clinton (who started her dialogue with the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in Istanbul in July) seem to have noticed that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan is in the process of completing the Islamization of his country and snuffing what is left of independent media that dares to challenge him.

In fact, what is happening in Turkey right now is a roadmap for what is to come in Egypt – and wherever else the Muslim Brotherhood or its ilk come to power. The willful blindness of the Obama administration to the reality that such Islamists are determined to impose shariah at the expense of freedom has – as was predictable and predicted – facilitated that outcome in Cairo. If it persists, such malfeasance will simply substitute the despotic misrule of clerics for the despotic misrule of secular autocrats, to the detriment of the people most immediately affected and, in due course, of America’s as well.

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