US shifts to closer contact with Islamists
The U.S. government has decided to expand contacts with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, officials said Thursday, a shift that reflects the Islamist group’s growing role since the pro-democracy uprising in the key Arab country.
“We believe, given the changing political landscape in Egypt, that it is in the interests of the United States to engage with all parties that are peaceful and committed to nonviolence, that intend to compete for the parliament and the presidency,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Budapest. “And we welcome, therefore, dialogue with those Muslim Brotherhood members who wish to talk with us.”
The U.S. government has maintained informal contacts for years with the Brotherhood, which renounced violence in the 1970s. It was technically banned but grudgingly tolerated in Egypt under the regime of Hosni Mubarak, who was forced from power in February.
Meetings between the Brotherhood and U.S. officials increased in the 1990s after the movement won scores of seats in parliament. However, U.S. officials usually said they were talking to the members in their roles as independent parliamentarians, not as Brotherhood representatives.
Egypt’s interim government recognized the Brotherhood’s political party in June. With a network of social-service providers and sympathetic mosques, the Brotherhood is expected to do well in parliamentary elections scheduled for September.
The shift in U.S. policy is likely to upset some U.S. lawmakers. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, declared in June that the Islamist group was “committed to violence and extremism” and said that “the administration must not engage the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Many analysts, however, had considered it inevitable that Washington would open communication with an increasingly important political force. “They’re going to be part of the government,” said Ned Walker, who served as U.S. ambassador to Egypt in the mid-1990s.
He said Mubarak had opposed U.S. meetings with the Brotherhood in the past. “We had to make a choice — did we want to talk to the Brotherhood, or did we want to talk to President Mubarak?” Walker said.
The Brotherhood was founded in 1928 and attracted adherents around the Muslim world — including some who went on to work with Osama bin Laden. However, al-Qaeda has been fiercely critical of the Brotherhood for its opposition to violence.
The Brotherhood has never been considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. There have been concerns, however, about its verbal support for the Palestinian organization Hamas, which has used suicide bombings against Israel and is classified as a terrorist group by the State Department.
“I really do think this is a question of routine contacts, the kind diplomats have with politicians across the political spectrum,” said Michele Dunne, an Egypt expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Clinton said that contacts with the Brotherhood would be “limited” and that U.S. officials would emphasize “democratic principles, and especially a commitment to nonviolence, respect for minority rights and the full inclusion of women in any democracy.”
A spokesman for the Brotherhood in Cairo said the movement had not had formal meetings with the U.S. government.
“We welcome such relationships with everyone because those relations will lead to clarifying our vision,” spokesman Mohamed Saad el-Katatni told Reuters. “But it won’t include or be based on any intervention in the internal affairs of the country.”
Daniel Kurtzer, who was U.S. ambassador to Egypt in the late 1990s, said that resuming conversations with the Brotherhood would be useful at a time when the movement is engaged in internal debate over such issues as the roles of women and people of other faiths in the Egyptian government.
“If that debate is serious . . . why not be part of it?” asked Kurtzer.
UNREAL!… Obama Puts Israel on List of Countries
That Promote Terrorism
Posted by Jim Hoft on Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 7:11
Body language expert Tanya Reiman told Bill O’Reilly
recently that Obama lied – He was no friend of Israeli
Prime Minister Netanyahu. Reiman said that Obama had
“contempt in his eyes” and displayed it with his body
language when he was with Benjamin Netanyahu.
It was obvious.
Narcissists don’t like being challenged.
But, it’s not just the Israeli leader who Obama dislikes.
The Obama regime recently put Israel on the list of
countries that support terrorism.
Change!… Obama Administration Resumes Contacts
With Muslim Brotherhood
Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, June 30, 2011, 4:57
In February, Kamal al-Halbavi, a senior member of the
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, said he hoped that Egypt
would have a “a good government, like the Iranian
government, and a good president like Mr. Ahmadinejad,
who is very brave.”
Kamal al-Halbavi (Kamal Helbawi) also told Iranian
news outlets that the Khomeini revolution in Iran over
three decades ago set an example for others to follow
today. Al-Habawi added, “Unfortunately there are no
personality like Imam Khomeini and Imam Khamenei.”
The Muslim Brotherhood wants Sharia Law in Egypt.
This week the Obama Administration decided to resume
contacts with the radical Muslim Brotherhood
Reuters reported, via Weasel Zippers:
The United States has decided to resume formal
contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, a senior
U.S. official said on Wednesday, in a step that reflects
the Islamist group’s growing political weight but that is
almost certain to upset Israel and its U.S. backers.
“The political landscape in Egypt has changed, and is
changing,” said the senior official, who spoke on
condition of anonymity. “It is in our interests to engage
with all of the parties that are competing for parliament
or the presidency.”
The official sought to portray the shift as a subtle
evolution rather than a dramatic change in Washington’s
stance toward the Brotherhood, a group founded in 1928
that seeks to promote its conservative vision of Islam in
Under the previous policy, U.S. diplomats were
allowed to deal with Brotherhood members of parliament
who had won seats as independents — a diplomatic
fiction that allowed them to keep lines of communication
Where U.S. diplomats previously dealt only with
group members in their role as parliamentarians, a policy
the official said had been in place since 2006, they will
now deal directly with low-level Brotherhood party
Obama and leaders of the G8 pledged $20 billion in
assistance for the transitions in Tunisia and Egypt in
U.S. now quietly seeking regime change in Syria
WASHINGTON — After steadfastly defending his
regime, the United States is seeking to build an alliance
against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Officials said the administration of President Barack
Obama was urging several U.S. allies in the region to
undermine the Assad regime amid the revolt in Syria.
They said Obama has sent messages to several of Syria's
neighbors, particularly Israel, Jordan and Turkey.
"The United States cannot be seen as being involved in
regime change in Syria, but it is clear that Assad must go
for the sake of regional stability," an official said.
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Officials said Obama has urged Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Erdogan to improve relations with Israel as part of
a strategy against Assad. They said the president
envisioned that Ankara and Jerusalem coordinate
intelligence and military deployment to help prevent
Assad from using his army against the opposition
movement. So far, Damascus is said to have killed more
than 1,300 Syrian civilians in nearly three months.
In June, Israel and Turkey conducted high-level talks
meant to improve relations and cooperation. Officials
said Erdogan agreed to an Israeli request to stop a
Turkish-flagged flotilla from sailing to the Gaza Strip,
under siege since the Hamas takeover in 2007.
Officials said Obama, who has not publicly addressed
Syria since May 19, was changing U.S. policy toward
Assad. They said the change came in wake of recent
talks between Obama and Erdogan in which the Turkish
prime minister warned that Assad's crackdown could
destroy Syria and lead to a separate Kurdish entity along
the borders of Iraq and Turkey.
"Once Erdogan stopped his support for Assad, the
president quickly changed as well, although he kept this
private," the official said.
In late June, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff approved a
proposal to enhance military monitoring of Syria.
Officials said the U.S. Navy's Sixth Fleet was stationed
near the Syrian coast of the eastern Mediterranean to
monitor Syrian military deployment as well as the
presence of Iran and Hizbullah.
Officials said Obama has been alarmed by the prospect
of a military clash between Syria and Turkey. They said
most of the Syrian Army's Fourth Division, led by
Assad's younger brother, Maher, has been deployed
along the Turkish border.
"Turkey sees this as a threat and could lash out before
long," the official said. "There is an attempt, coordinated
with other neighbors of Syria, to force Assad to
withdraw his forces from the Turkish border."
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