The New Muslim Brotherhood Fan Club.
Some people may like the Muslim Brotherhood. Actually, it seems like many do these days, at least judging by the rage surrounding the death of Jamal Khashoggi, the mundane Washington Post journalist brutally killed in the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.
Mundane he apparently was, by most media and politically correct accounts. But those who condemn his demise conveniently forget one essential element. He was the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia, where the Brotherhood was banned since 2014. One year after Egypt banned it, and one year before Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman took office. So whatever MBS did or did not do, Khashoggi was persona very non grata in the Kingdom long before his time.
There was a good reason for banning the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2011, it had single handedly organized the Arab Spring from Tunisia to Lybia to Egypt to Syria to Yemen. In 2012 in Cairo, under Egypt’s new President and Muslim Brotherhod leader Mohamed Morsi, it had organized the protest at the U.S. Embassy that led to Benghazi. And as the mother of all Salafi Jihadists , including Hamas and its rivals al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and the Islamic State, it had been banned for most of its existence since it was founded by Hassan al-Banna in 1924 in Ismailia, Egypt. Hamas, in particular, is the name it took in Gaza in 1988. During WWII, its Palestinian leader Haj amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the father of Arab terrorism, was hired by Hitler to recruit an army of Islamists to fight in the Balkans. Wherever you look at the Brotherhood history, it is THE Islamist terrorist organisation by excellence.
However, one might not have noticed because it operates under the guise of Da’wah, the pervasive way of proselytizing Islam. Because Da’wah involves missionary and social services, it appears innocuous, which is the purpose. Yet, the objective remains – to create a Caliphate. There is an interesting book on the subject by the influential Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Counter It.” The title sums it up.
So what is the connection with Jamal Khashoggi? He was a journalist alright. With the Washington Post since 2017, and foremost a Da’wah expert, hence the mundanity. Let us start with an article he wrote on August 28, 2018, titled “The U.S. is wrong about the Muslim Brotherhood – and the Arab world is suffering for it.” For some reason, he considered that the Obama Administration had gone easy on General al-Sisi when he ousted Morsi in 2013. Given the widely known presence of Muslim Brethren and associates in the Administration, the characterization seemed reflective of an opinion rather than a fact. What was a fact was that Morsi was a 911 revisionist, had granted himself unlimited powers including the power to legislate without judicial oversight under strict Sharia law, and that on Israel, his position was clear:
“The Zionists have no right to the land of Palestine. […] By no means do we recognize their Green Line.” adding that Israelis were “blood suckers,” and “descendants of apes and pigs.”
What also was a fact was what President Obama had said upon Morsi’s ousting:
“The United States is deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove [Morsi] and suspend the Egyptian constitution. […] I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsi and his supporters. Given today’s developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt.] (page 145 – 146)
One of these reviews led President Obama to cancel Operation Bright Star # 14, which was to be held in September 2013. The first Operation Bright Star, a joint military exercise by American and Egyptian forces in Egypt, took place in late 1980 and was rooted in the Camp David Peace Accords. At the time, this had gotten the U.S.S.R. so worried that Brezhnev had deployed his 40th Army in Afghanistan[i].Since then, another thirteen countries had joined the Operation, the largest of which, in 1999, included seventy thousand participants and an additional thirty three observer nations. According to CENTCOM, Bright Star was DOD’s largest recurring military exercise.
Cancelling Bright Star was opening the door wider to Russia, which did not wait long to strengthen its grip in Syria, where the quagmire was the very result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempt to regain its foothold there in the Arab Spring.
More importantly, in that same article, Khashoggi then aggregated two concepts, democracy and political Islam. Speaking of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E, he concluded:
“The coup in Egypt led to the loss of a precious opportunity for Egypt and the entire Arab world. If the democratic process had continued there, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political practices could have matured and become more inclusive […]. They all missed the big picture and were governed by their intolerant hatred for any form of political Islam, a hatred that has destroyed Arabs’ choice for democracy and good governance.”
Coming from a mundane journalist, the words may sound credible, Da’wah at its best. But again, de facto, these are mutually exclusive when political Islam refers to the Muslim Brotherhood’s bloody past – and present. Ask Ayaan Ali.
Before the Washington Post, Khasoggi also wrote extensively for the Middle East Monitor. MEM is the recognized Muslim Brotherhood outpost. Here is an excerpt from a February 21, 2018 article: “Some people are surprised by Saudi Arabia’s fears fears of the Islamists, despite it being an Islamic State. […] It could be explained by […] the perpetual problems between Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood […].”
Examples abound. The man was basically an enemy of the Saudi State, which made him an obvious target in a world that doesn’t mince words. A leading Salafi activist trying to convince the gullible West that the Muslim Brotherhood is a democratic movement was killed by rulers he made no bones about. Why am I not surprised?
There are plenty of “mundane” political Islamists, like the Patrice Lumumba University PhD Mahmoud Abbas, or Rouhani the lawyer, or al-Banna the schoolteacher. Polished. Add to Khashoggi that uncle Adnan was the most famous arms dealer in the Middle East in the 1970’s, and that he worked for Prince Turki bin Faisal, the former head of Saudi Intelligence, when he was Ambassador to the U.S. in 2007, the man was totally plugged in. But on the wrong side of the fence.
Interestingly, Prince Turki just came out in defense of MBS, which has been alleged by the CIA to have masterminded Khashoggi’s demise. Interestingly because the Prince had his load of quarrels with the ruling family, in particular over the Kingdom’s arch enemy Iran. It sounds like the family is closing ranks. Or maybe the message has been received loud and clear – don’t mess with the Royals.
Regardless, I have one suggestion for the Muslim Brotherhood Fan Club. Simply look at the map of the Middle East, and understand who is really playing in the sand box. Aside from Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E, Syria and Egypt, one other country has also labelled the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation. And that is Russia. Putin can’t wait to go after it, wherever it is, much like he did in Syria. Which is why Turkey, a staunch supporter of the Khashoggi case, is walking on a tight rope.