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Three long-standing Brotherhood officials resigned in protest of Shater’s campaign. One of them, Kamal el-Helbawi, suspects that a deal has been struck between the ruling military council and the Brotherhood. He points out that the council declared Shater innocent of all charges brought against him. Shater serves as an important liaison between the military council and the Brotherhood.
Dr. Daniel Pipes and Cynthia Farahat believe that the military council has a power-sharing arrangement with the Islamists that will allow the generals to justify their rule. There were widespread allegations of fraud in the elections and reports that the military council even funded and supplied the Islamists.
Another reason for the welcoming of the Brotherhood’s presidential campaign by some senior U.S. officials is that it is looked upon as a “moderate Islamist” group that can counter Al-Qaeda and similar jihadists.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in January that “Al-Qaeda probably will find it difficult to compete for local support with groups like the Muslim Brotherhood” and that “non-violent, pro-democracy demonstrations challenge Al-Qaeda’s violent jihadist ideology and might yield increased political power for secular or moderate Islamist parties.”
When the Brotherhood’s second-in-command said it would “not recognize Israel under circumstances and might put the peace treaty up to a referendum,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland brushed it off as the opinion of just one Brotherhood member. “We have had other assurances from the party with regard to their commitment not only to universal human rights, but to the international obligations that the government of Egypt has undertaken,” she said.
William Taylor, the State Department official overseeing U.S. aid to the countries affected by the Arab Spring, struck a similar tone when he was asked about why his office was giving election training to Brotherhood members. “What we need to do is judge people and parties and movements on what they do, not what they’re called,” he replied.
The second part of Taylor’s answer exposed his ignorance of what the Brotherhood preaches. He said, “as long as parties, entities do not espouse or conduct violence, we’ll work with them.” The U.S. “should not be afraid of [the Brotherhood]. We should deal with them,” he feels. All indications are that the options are not good for the direction of Egypt. Islamic theocracy is the ultimate destination — the only question is whether the country will arrive there by street car or speeding train. And so far, the Obama administration’s role has only been to make this transition more expeditious.
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