There was another in a series of cross-border attacks from Egypt into Israel Sunday evening, where the borders of Israel, Egypt and Gaza converge. Gunmen in SUV’s with mounted machine guns first attacked a military installation on the Egyptian side of the border. They killed fifteen soldiers and took more as hostages before stealing two armored vehicles, they then attempted to attack the Israeli border station with those vehicles but were stopped by an Israeli airstrike.
Egyptian state television reported that the attack was executed by the Popular Resistance Committees, an outgrowth of Hamas. However, Hamas quickly condemned the attack, saying it was perpetrated by members of Global Jihad which now operates freely in the Sinai. Finally the Muslim Brotherhood claimed that Israel had attacked itself and that it "draws our attention to the fact that our forces in Sinai are not enough to protect it (Sinai) and our borders, which makes it imperative to review clauses in the signed agreement between us and the Zionist entity."
Here is the thing, like a tangled web of progressive non-profits, when you get down to it all these Islamist groups spawn from a single source, and that source is the Muslim Brotherhood.
"Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations."—Creed of the Muslim Brotherhood
The total number of groups is dizzying and the organization confused, but in this incident it breaks down this way. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928, and among other things they became a dominant political group for Palestinians in Israel and ultimately founded Hamas as a political arm after the first intifada. Since that time they have spawned many more militant Islamist groups inside of Israel including the Popular Resistance Committees. Generally each group is more militant and violent than the last.
In Egypt, the Brotherhood spun off an organization called Islamic Jihad in the late 70’s. Later known as Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Global Jihad, this group, along with Usama Bin Laden who was fresh off the battlefield in Afghanistan, founded al-Qaeda as a military wing in 1988. In June 2001 these two groups merged back into one and became known as "Qaeda al-Jihad,” the group that attacked the United States on 9/11. All of these groups operate under the creed of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is not ideology that separates them but rather tactics.
Egypt’s war with the Brotherhood goes back much farther than America’s or Israel’s. The Brotherhood began working with the Nazis in the ‘30s, then operated against the British in the Middle-East during the war. In 1948 they assassinated Egyptian Prime Minister Nokrashi one month after he ordered the dissolution of the Brotherhood, and they have operated against the Egyptian government ever since. They attempted to assassinate the fabled Nasser and successfully assassinated Anwar Sadat through the violent Islamist group Tanzim al-Jihad. So until they managed to co-opt the very recent revolution, the Brotherhood was counted as one of Egypt’s worst enemies.
Back to what happened Sunday on the border. Currently the Egyptian government is divided. The Muslim Brotherhood controls the democratically elected government in Egypt. However, the military continues to operate as a separate entity and was the teeth for the court when it dissolved the first constituent assembly for not being representative of the people, particularly women and Christians. The Brotherhood sees the Military as obstructing to its new government and the final hurdle to complete control of Egypt, which they are. It is worth noting that it was just over 26% of Egyptians that put the Muslim Brotherhood in power in the general election, not an overwhelming majority as we are often led to believe.
Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood’s response to the attack calls into question the current border agreement with Israel, an agreement already on the rocks since Egypt’s decision to stop supplying Israel with natural gas via the cross-border pipeline. This latest attack can only further the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt concerning both the military and Israeli relations. And should be very concerning to Israel as it telegraphs the direction Egypt is likely to take relations with Israel under Brotherhood leadership.
Additionally, this week the Syrian conflict has become an increased concern for Israel. Part of the problem for Americans in getting more involved with the Syrian opposition is that al-Qaeda is a dominate force in that coalition. The coalition has become divided along religious and secular lines with al-Qaeda supporting the Islamist faction. Now the Muslim Brotherhood is attempting to co-opt this revolution and is pushing for Syria to become a religious caliphate just as they have in Egypt.
Working with the Muslim Brotherhood is palatable to the Obama administration which has shown strong support for the Brotherhood in Egypt, this will make it much easier to for the White House to take a more active role supporting the opposition in Syria. In fact, the opposite should be true, it should make Americans pretty queasy that a group that has access to the White House can work hand in hand with the terrorist group that tried to remove it from the map.
The upshot is this—al Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, it does not matter. The Islamic fundamentalists are at war with those who favor secular rule in the Middle-East. They are at war with Israel and the West. And they are all children of the Muslim Brotherhood whose goal is having all Muslims live under religious caliphate, a caliphate quickly extending its borders around Israel with American help. The goals of killing every man, woman and child in Israel and war with the West are simply not at question, only the tactics and time horizon are.