But as the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power in Egypt, we should all be worried, because the Brotherhood was the group that fathered Al-Qaeda and the Jihad groups that attacked New York in 1993 and again on 9-11.
But President Obama is not worried. He thinks the Brotherhood coming to power is an opportunity—perhaps to achieve even more of a "dialogue," for "engagement," with the Arab-Islamic world.
So far this dialogue of engagement has failed everywhere Obama has tried it—in Egypt, in Iran and in Turkey, but the president with the Islamic middle name thinks he can charm radical leaders to a path of moderation.
Back on the ground in the Middle East, there has been a 104-percent increase in terror attacks across the border into Israel from Gaza and Sinai in the last month. Cross-border infiltration and rocket attacks are a daily affair, usually without fatalities, but that will change when the terrorists "get lucky."
When that happens, and it will, Israeli leaders will have to abandon the pin-point reprisal policy and escalate to a more thorough house cleaning of the border area. The Islamic terrorists in Sinai and Gaza, supported by 11 Bedouin tribes that make money from smuggling, are heavily armed.
There are more than half a dozen different terror groups—some associated with Al-Qaeda—and they will all want to flex their muscles.
Israeli military planners think it is only a matter of time before the Brotherhood, its sister organization, Hamas, that rules Gaza, and the other terror groups destabilize Israel's southern border, undermining the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and even causing a military conflict.
But in the rarefied air of the White House and Foggy Bottom, the Obama Administration is oblivious.
President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and anti-terror chief John Brennan do not seem too concerned. They helped bring the Brotherhood to the Egyptian presidency by undermining Egyptian leader Husni Mubarak, much the way Jimmy Carter undermined Iran's Shah 34 years ago.
Obama and Co. invited participation by the Brotherhood in Egypt's governance, bringing them to Obama’s Cairo speech of 2009. They should have known: He who invites extremists to the appetizer should not be surprised when they stay for dinner and dessert.
The “Brothers” are not interested in sharing power any more than the Iranian ayatollahs were. Yes, there are differences between Sunni Islamic radicals (Egypt) and Shiite Islamic radicals (Iran), but they also have much in common:
- They hate Muslims who are not sufficiently religious and are too "Western" in their daily lives;
- They hate America and Israel;
- And they hate sharing power with anyone.
There will be no real democracy in a Brotherhood-led Egypt. You can bet on it.
The secular Egyptian army will hold out for a bit, but will finally succumb. That is what happened in Turkey, where Obama’s other favorite extremist Islamic leader, Recept Erdogan, swept the army aside. Turkey, once a reliable NATO ally, is now an unreliable force, and Egypt, once a reliable friend of the US, will also drift away.
Throughout this chain of events, it is hard not to see the resemblance between President Obama's actions in Egypt and those of President Jimmy Carter in Iran.
Carter and his aides hoped/prayed for moderation in Iran. But we got 30 years of death, terror, and a nuclear bomb program. Obama and Co. will get much the same from the Brotherhood, whose Arabic name—Ikhwan—comes from the blood-curdling Wahhabi movement in Arabia that spawned the Brotherhood in Egypt.
Obama and his aides like to drone on about how Obama personally liquidated Osama Bin-Laden, but in the long term, Obama’s loss of Egypt will be much more important, and it could overshadow even Carter's loss of Iran.
Egypt is the anchor of the Mediterranean theater. It was coveted by Napoleon and the Soviets, and it is at the heart of the Middle East. If it radiates instability, we all lose, as extremism flows out to Israel, Europe and pro-US Arab states.
What happened to the Obama Administration? Why were its officials not more alert to the underside of the so-called “Arab Spring”?
Top anti-terror officials in the Obama Administration gave speeches at NYU or Georgetown describing the beauty of Islam and speaking of jihad as a spiritual journey.
Soon, we may discover where that journey leads.
To battle Arab-Islamic terror efficiently, we must re-establish a cadre of Middle East specialists who are experts in history and language rather than politically correct nostrums that lead only to wishful thinking and strategic surprise.
Dr. Michael Widlanski, an expert on Arab politics and communications, is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat just published March by Threshold/Simon and Schuster. He taught at the Hebrew University for nearly two decades and served as Strategic Affairs Advisor for Israel’s Ministry of Public Security.
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