Making the Muslim Brotherhood a major player in Middle East politics seems to be one of the few subjects on which both Democrats and Republicans seem to agree. Neither the State Department nor the White House commented after U.S. House Majority Leader Stanley Hoyer met in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood's parliamentarian leader, Mohammed Saad el-Katatni. Hoyer and el-Katani discussed recent developments in the Middle East, and the "Brotherhood's vision."
This meeting took place just one day after the conclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood 5th Cairo Conference: The International Campaign Against US & Zionist Occupation, in which delegations from Hizbollah and Hamas took part. The participants cheered as Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef declared, "the devil Bush and his allies were now the ones sowing terror and aggression worldwide." Akef's rant, translated from Arabic by MEMRI, blamed Bush for "sending American youth to die by the thousands ...at the expense of the poor in the U.S. and across the world." His statement sounds similar to the claim of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that "The president's policies have failed, and...[he] endangers our troops and hurts our national security."
While the Democratic leadership does everything possible to demonstrate their diplomatic acumen before the 2008 U.S. presidential elections, it is less clear why the Administration is also courting this radical Muslim organization. Indeed, both the Democrats and the Administration are playing right into the Muslim Brotherhood's hand, inadvertently supporting its propaganda offensive against the U.S.
Still more worrisome is the apparent dismissal by American political leaders on both sides of the aisle, of ongoing declarations and fatwas hostile to the U.S., issued by MB leaders since 9/11.
In his February 22 weekly address posted until recently on the MB Arabic website, ikwanpress.com, Akef claimed that the cracks in "the Western offensive against Islam," are
"the failure the American war machine to break the rock of the Iraqi opposition, the difficulties facing the coalition forces in Afghanistan, and the military defeat of the Israeli armed forces in Lebanon and against the Palestinians."
Akef called on the Arabs and Muslims to continue terrorist attacks against the U.S. and Israel "until they withdraw completely from the Middle East." Akef reassured his followers that "the jihad will lead to smashing Western civilization and replacing it with Islam which will dominate the world," according to a translation by Jonathan D. Halevi, director of Orient Research Group. As this demonstrates, the MB under Akef's leadership follows in the path of its predecessor Mustafa Mashour, who in August 2002, stated: "we will not give up (the goal) of restoring the Muslim Caliphate." (Asharq Al-Awsat, 9 Aug. 2002).
But none of this is reported in the mainstream media. Instead, the press, rather than objectively covering the MB's declared mission to establish a global Caliphate, has joined the ranks of political advocates portraying the MB as "moderate" and "reformist."
Meanwhile, Hamas, the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, busily fortifies its economic and military strength. According to recent Hamas disclosures, theirs is the largest military force in the Gaza strip, comprising 15,000 combatants. Through its rapidly growing power, Hamas is evidently laying the groundwork for full control of the PA, and the election of Khalid Mashaal as the next PA chairman, thus, solidifying the MB takeover. Despite these alarming developments, U.S. State Department officials (under heavy Saudi pressure) continue to lean on Israel to negotiate with the inconsequential current PA chairman, Mahmoud Abbas. Moreover, the U.S. ban on financial aid to the Hamas-led PA did not prevent the international community in 2006, from sinking more than $1.2 billion- mostly U.S. funds - in aid into the corrupt, terrorist Palestinian government. Hamas, allegedly, had no access to these funds. However, Hamas runs most PA government offices. Moreover, Hamas members on many occasions have boasted that funds and weapons given to Abbas' Fatah end up in their hands.
Although the U.S. says it will have nothing to do with Hamas, it has approved a $59 million package in "non-lethal" assistance (weapons and military training) to PA security forces, ostensibly controlled by Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
U.S. pressure led Israel to agree to this arrangement, despite the fact that similar provisions since the 1994 establishment of the PA, resulted in the murders of at least 1,064 Israeli civilians, and the wounding of more than 15,000. Most of these atrocities were perpetrated with weapons, training and funding supplied by the international community.
The failure to hold the PA accountable since its inception only encouraged Palestinian corruption and violence, and facilitated Hamas' rise to power. Now, dependence on Saudi oil and investments seem to push the U.S. and the international community to accept demands to legitimize Hamas, thereby establishing MB reign over the Palestinians.
Democrats and Republicans alike are only deluding themselves in believing that negotiations with the MB and their terrorist offspring will alter their drive to establish a global Caliphate.
Rachel Ehrenfeld is the director of American Center for Democracy (ACD), and a board member for the Committee on the Present Danger; Alyssa A. Lappen is a senior fellow at the ACD.