Archive for September, 2013

A Cairo court last week issued a verdict banning the Muslim Brotherhood and its non-governmental organization and ordering the seizure of the group’s funds. The Brotherhood was thus banned for the third time since its establishment.hqdefault

The group leadership’sreaction was not different than the group’s reactions the first time it was banned. Some described the decision as a war on Muslims and Islam and said it targeted Islamic preaching, as if Islam is exclusive to their party. The group was first banned in 1948. Back then, they also considered the decision a war on Islam and an aggression against religion and Sharia. They also considered that the decision to ban them could not be issued by a Muslim believer and thus considered it a “treacherous decision made by treacherous parties.” This was an introduction to the assassination of Egypt’s prime minister back then.

I will briefly highlight the repercussions of the first decision against them in order to compare between the current and the previous behavior of the group that has always claimed that its aim is Islamic dawaa (preaching).

Revisiting 1948

1948 was the year of disasters for the Muslim Brotherhood. On Feb. 27, a coup against the regime in Yemen was carried out. Yemen’s ruler Imam Yehya Hamideddine was assassinated during the coup by the opposition led by Abdullah al-Waziri. Hassan al-Banna and the Brotherhood had a prominent role in this coup in cooperation with Al-Badr, Imam Yehya’s grandson. The coup aimed to prepare Yemen to be the first of the Caliphate countries. However, the coup did not last longer than 26 days. As a result, tensions emerged between Egypt’s king and cabinet on one hand and the Muslim Brotherhood and its leader, Hassan al-Bana, on another. On March 22, 1948, the Brotherhood’s secret organization assassinated Judge Ahmad Beik Al-Khazndar. The latter was assassinated by two Brotherhood members after he issued a verdict in a case in which one of its parties was a Brotherhood member. Following the assassination, Hassan al-Banna delivered a speech during his weekly meeting with the group and denied that the Brotherhood assassinated Ahmad al-Khazndar. However, it was proven that the Brotherhood was involved in the assassination, Banna was thus exposed as a liar and a verdict against the perpetrators was issued five months later.

The Brotherhood was banned for the third time a few weeks ago. But the Brotherhood was already banned by popular will.

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

On November 25, 1948, the police seized a Jeep that carried documents which belong to the Brotherhood. The documents were on schemes to blow up the American and the British embassies in addition to other places. The police also found some explosives and bombs in addition to documents on all the explosion operations carried out in the past phase. The most important event back then is that the police arrested three Brotherhood men. The most famous of them was Mustapha Mashhur, one of the five establishers and leaders of the secret organization.

On December 4, 1948, a protest was held at the Faculty of Medicine at Fouad’s University in Cairo. Major General Salim Zaki, then-chief of Cairo’s police, led security forces to disperse the protest. A Muslim Brotherhood student dropped a bomb on Zaki from the fourth floor. The bomb landed right in front of Zaki and immediately killed him. The situation between the government and the Brotherhood thus escalated. On the same day, Hassan al-Banna called on parliament speaker Hamed Jouda to mediate with then-prime minister Mahmoud Fahmi an-Nukrashi to turn the page and thus launch a new relation between the Brotherhood and the cabinet. Jouda however did not meet his request. Banna attempted to contact King Farouk or Ibrahim Abdel Hadi, chief of the royal court, in order to contain the crisis. His attempts however went in vain. Two days after the incident, a decision to shut down the Brotherhood’s daily was made. On the same day, the ruling party’s daily, al-Asas, was released with headlines stating: “Good news will soon be announced.”

On December 8, 1948, that is two days later, and particularly at 10:00 pm., Abdelrahman Ammar, an interior ministry official called Hassan al-Banna to tell him that good news will be broadcast on the radio in a while and that these news may save the situation. Banna thanked him, and the group’s leaders and most of its members gathered at the Brotherhood’s headquarters in Al-Darb al-Ahmar, in the heart of Cairo, to listen to the news which will be broadcast via the radio. At 11:00 p.m., the Cairo radio station announced the general military ruler’s decision to ban the Brotherhood with all its divisions across the country and confiscate its funds and property. Less than ten minutes after the announcement was made, the Brotherhood members and leaders who had gathered at the headquarters walked out of the latter to realize that the entire building had been besieged and that they had fallen in a trap. They were all arrested except for Hassan al-Banna, the Brotherhood’s founder and general guide.

Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood decided to avenge from Nukrashi as they saw that the decision to ban them was an aggression against religion and sharia. They also saw that the decision to ban the Brotherhood could not have been issued by a Muslim believer – as Mahmoud al-Sabbagh, one of the secret organization’s leaders said. They also saw that someone like Nukrashi must be eliminated at any price On December 28, that is twenty days after the decision to ban the Brotherhood was made, a Brotherhood member disguised as a police officer, entered the interior ministry and shot Nukrashi dead among the presence of his bodyguards. Nukrashi thus paid the price for the decision to ban the Brotherhood.

Following the July 23, 1952 revolution, the latter’s command council issued a decision banning all political parties in the country. They excluded the Brotherhood since it presented itself as a “dawaa religious group.” Back then, the group’s General Guide Hassan al-Hodeibi told then-Interior Minister Suleiman Hafez that the “Brotherhood is a dawaa religious organization whose members, supporters and components do not work in the field of politics and do not aim to achieve their aims via means like elections.” But as usual, the Brotherhood attempted to seize control. So it clashed with late President Gamal Abdel Nasser following an assassination attempt against him in al-Manshya Square in Alexandria.

The Brotherhood was thus banned for the second time on Oct. 29, 1954.

The Brotherhood was banned for the third time a few weeks ago. The difference between this time and the previous times is that the previous decision has come to decide what’s already been established: that the Brotherhood was already banned by popular will.

This article was first published in al-Jarida on Sept. 28, 2013.

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I’ve never liked to use the term “banned” when talking about the Muslim Brotherhood in the past. I’ve always preferred to use terms like “illegal” or “illegitimate” because I’ve always believed that the Brotherhood’s problem with the law and with respecting it leads to a natural vacuum for a proper organization to emerge. An organization that expresses itself on the condition that it operates within the context of respecting the law and society.Abdul-Latif-Al-Minawi

The Brotherhood has always preferred to resort to illegal means when dealing with this issue. They’ve done so to achieve several aims. The most important of them is to maintain the freedom of he who operates outside the law. Such a person, or organization, can continue doing as they wish so long as their actions are being overlooked by the state and as long as they comply with a fait accompli even if it’s not codified. The Brotherhood, through this illegal situation, guarantees the biggest amount of sympathy from the public opinion. This provides it with popularity for free. The freedom to operate outside the law also helps it in not abiding by the state’s regulatory laws. This means that it has a lot of freedom regarding the level of financial and economic transactions since it is not subject to any legal supervision. This is important for a party which is linked to foreign groups and interests and which has a commanding center outside the country – a center that acts as the group’s mastermind.

Changing situation

The situation changed after Hosni Mubarak’s regime was toppled. The Brotherhood seized the opportunity and hijacked the country. It was proven to them that their previous stance in not codifying the group was beneficial as they harvested what they expected and succeeded in ruling Egypt.

Despite the decision banning the Brotherhood, parties within the political Islam movement maintain that the decision to ban the Brotherhood won’t be influential

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Legal debates however emerged after many Egyptians mobilized against them. Demands to codify, or officiate, the group’s situation increased. Back-then, the Brotherhood strongly resisted these calls. Due to pressures, however, we woke up one day to learn of a governmental decision announcing the recognition of the Muslim Brotherhood and the legality of its organization. I do not know how those who agreed to that back then feel now. Do they feel like they’ve committed an offense? This is not a contradiction. What was in fact required a while ago is that the Brotherhood submits to the law. But what happened was going around the law and placing the group above it in an unprecedented manner.

On Monday, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters issued a verdict banning the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its non-governmental arm. It banned all its activities and ordered the seizure of the group’s funds. The verdict was issued in response to the case brought forward by a lawyer from the Tagammu party. The Brotherhood was thus banned for the third time since its establishment.

Tracing the Brotherhood’s history

The Brotherhood was founded in March 1928 when six people voted for the seventh founder, Hassan al-Banna. When they asked what the name of the group will be, he said: “The Muslim Brotherhood.” In 1939, on the tenth anniversary of establishing the group, Banna said: “the group is a comprehensive reform one which has a comprehensive understanding of Islam. Its concept includes all aspects of reform in the nation.” The group’s internal system stipulated that the organization does not work in politics. This continued even after the law was amended in 1932.

The Brotherhood was first banned on Dec. 8, 1948 when then-Prime Minister Mahmoud Fahmi al-Nukrashi ordered banning it over accusations of “inciting and operating against state security.” Back then, the Brotherhood’s members considered Nukrashi’s decision as a “treacherous decision issued by treacherous parties.” On Dec. 28, 1948, Nukrashi was assassinated by Brotherhood member Abdelmajid Hassan, a student at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Hassan admitted to the crime and said he committed it because the Brotherhood was banned. Back then, the Brotherhood condemned what happened and Hassan al-Bana said that murderers “are not Brotherhood and are not Muslims.”

Following the July 23, 1952 revolution, the latter’s command council issued a decision banning all political parties in the country. They excluded the Brotherhood since it presented itself as a “dawaa religious group.” Back then, the group’s General Guide Hassan al-Hodeibi told then-Interior Minister Suleiman Hafez that the “Brotherhood is a dawaa religious organization whose members, supporters and components do not work in the field of politics and do not aim to achieve their aims via means like elections.” But as usual, the Brotherhood attempted to seize control. So it clashed with late President Gamal Abdel Nasser following an assassination attempt against him in al-Manshya Square in Alexandria. The Brotherhood was thus banned for the second time on Oct. 29, 1954. The decision against the Brotherhood remained in effect until Abdel Nasser passed away in 1970. The Brotherhood thus launched a new era as Anwar al-Sadat assumed presidency. Sadat began releasing Brotherhood members from prison in 1971, and they were all released in 1975. This is one of the mistakes that Sadat later admitted to.

The Brotherhood was banned for the third time on Monday. But the situation is different today. Despite the decision banning the Brotherhood, parties within the political Islam movement maintain that the decision to ban the Brotherhood won’t be influential considering it remained banned during the thirty years of Mubarak’s governance but still managed to take over the scene during the past three years following the Jan. 25 revolution. But I disagree with this point for a very simple and obvious reason. This time, the court’s decision has decided what’s already been established. The Brotherhood, through its behavior and aggressive stance, has imposed a reality that pushed people themselves to ban it. The Brotherhood has thus been banned based upon a popular decision.

 

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on September 25, 2013.

The battle for the Egyptian town of Kerdasa

Posted: September 21, 2013 in Alarabiya
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In Egypt, there have been hideous attempts to govern. Greedy groups that are seeking power and are aiming to avenge from political Islam groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, are using crafty politics.kerdasa-715x500

The town of Kerdasa, near Cairo, has been the most recent place subject to a wave of violence due the Brotherhood and its supporters in control of it. Kerdasa witnessed a massacre on August 14 when the Rabia al-Adwiya protest sit-in was dispersed. On that day, protesters in support of ousted President Mohammad Mursi headed to Kerdasa’s police station, burnt the building and killed its officers and policemen. Those who saw the scene of their slain bodies know how difficult it is to forget. In the past few days, Egyptian security forces managed to raid the area after it was transformed into a haven for Islamic groups that insist to confront the Egyptian state and society. Kerdasa’s geographic nature helped those fugitives seek refuge there.

Kerdasa’s history

But is Kerdasa still capable of overcoming the waves of violence it has been subjected to?

The town evolved into a haven for criminals, fugitives and armed men after being a paradise for tourists.

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

If you’ve ever visited Egypt as a tourist, and brought souvenirs, you will find that you have brought at least one of product made in Kerdasa. The town’s name is linked to fabric and clothing, especially among Arab tourists. This is the Kerdasa they know. This is the Kerdasa that history knows.

Kerdasa is the biggest town in the Giza governorate. It’s one of Egypt’s ancient towns and it’s been mentioned in several books on Egypt’s history and geography. Ali Pasha Mubarak mentioned Kerdasa and its characteristics in volume 15 of his book Al-Khitat al-Tawfiqiyya al-Jadida (Tawfiq’s new plans). No one knows the exact timing of when Kardsa began to make fabric. But what’s known is that this industry was developed by parliamentarian Mahmoud Pasha Fahmi al-Makkawi who hailed from that town. He established the Cooperative Association for the Textile Industry in 1943. The number of textile factories in the town reached around 600 small ones, and they were the secret to sustaining this area’s life.

Kerdasa was not only known for its textile industry. Some extremist symbols in Islamic movements have also been linked to it. The town of Nahya is the hometown of al-Zomar family which Tarek and Abboud al-Zomar belong to. Tarek, who was jailed on the accusation of murdering Former Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, is currently wanted on accusations of inciting violence.

Kerdasa, an Islamist stronghold

When the MB seized power and when Mursi was appointed president, Kerdasa once again became a stronghold for extremist religious intellect and Brotherhood members.

Extremist cells became active there following the August 14 massacre. These cells carried out terrorist acts against the state and turned Kerdasa into a hotbed hosting wanted and armed men. The town thus entered a fateful battle over its existence.

Barricades, cement blocks, firearms, RPGs and metal blocks. That’s the scene there, a battlefield. This scene was at Kerdasa’s police station following a number of Islamic groups’ announcement that it took control over it. These groups declared an Islamic state there in response to dispersing Cairo’s Rabia al-Aadwiya and Ennahda protests.

The town evolved into a haven for criminals, fugitives and armed men after being a paradise for tourists.

Kerdasa’s fame went viral, but not due its touristic features but because of that unfortunate massacre. Unmerciful men who murdered the police station’s personnel took control over Kerdasa and aimed to make it a place to practice their violence. The Egyptian authorities therefore had no other choice but to purge the town of its defects.

This horrid tide has left the town. But will it restore the beautiful memories of everyone who has visited it? Will it restore these beautiful memories that come to us when we look at its lively colorful fabrics? I hope so.

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on Sept. 21, 2013.

“He who summons the demon must dismiss it,” is a well-known Egyptian proverb. This proverb has crossed my mind several times during this last period. I remember it whenever someone begins to talk about political Islam or whenever someone begins to mix politics with religion. The real problem here is the repeated failure of everyone who summoned the demon and did not know how to dismiss it. The examples here are many but the most prominent ones are that of former Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and for Americans, it was al-Qaeda.

When Sadat wanted to confront his leftist and Nasserite political rivals, he brought in political Islam parties who were back then represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leaders were either on the run or in jail.

He released them from jail to use them, or so he thought, in his political confrontation. It didn’t stop here but he created Islamist group al-Jamaa al-Islamiya in universities for the same purpose – the purpose of confronting leftists and Nasserites. Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya thus surfaced due to the regime’s support.

Back then, Sadat was not aware of the graveness of letting the demon out. He may have realized this while he took his last breath as he suffered from bullets that the demon’s sons fired at him.

America’s demons

The second model here is the U.S. administration which is also responsible for the blood being shed everyday due to its continuous unawareness of the gravity of mixing religion with politics. The Americans thought they were far from the arena which the demons they summoned may influence. Their illusion lasted until they woke up from it 12 years ago – on September 11. Its memory still haunts us.

America itself has several times paid the price of letting the demon out. But the September 11 events remain to be the highest of prices.

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Al-Qaeda is a multinational movement established in the period between August 1988 and end of 1989 and the beginning of the 90s. In the beginning, the aim of forming al-Qaeda, which America contributed to establishing, was to fight the communists in the Soviet War in Afghanistan.

The U.S. and its allies’ support was obvious. The U.S. looked at the struggle between the Communists and the Afghans allied with the Soviet parties on one hand and the Afghan mujahideen on another as a flagrant manifestation of expansion and Soviet aggression. At least the U.S. marketed the situation as such in front of the world and in front of its allies who took charge of the funding and the recruitment processes. The U.S., through the Pakistani intelligence, funded the Afghani mujahideen who fought the Soviet occupation. The funding was carried out as per the C.I.A.’s Operation Cyclone. At the same time, the number of Arab mujahideen who joined al-Qaeda (they were dubbed Arab Afghans) for jihad – as they thought – against the Afghani Marxist regime increased. They joined them upon the aid of international Islamic organizations particularly of the office of Arab mujahideen services which supplied them with funds worth $600 million a year. These funds were donated by governments, institutions and people who back then thought they were supporting Islam. They were not aware that they were funding an American creature. They were not aware that they will one day pay the price of participating in manufacturing it. The problem is that some of them are still unaware of that.

America itself has several times paid the price of letting the demon out. But the September 11 events remain to be the highest of prices. Consecutive American administrations bear the responsibility of their citizens’ blood which was shed by a party they created. Their claim of war on terrorism does not lessen their responsibility. Their murder of Osama Bin Laden, whom they created, and who will continue to haunt the minds of those who made him even after they dumped his body in the ocean, does not lessen their responsibility either.

What pushes me to mention this today is not only the memory of the September 11 attacks, but also the insistence to repeat the same mistake.

The demon’s safe haven

I am surprised by the current American insistence to support the experience of political Islam and enabling it to attain power. They are committing the same mistake again. This time, they think that keeping political Islam groups and jihadi groups busy will dismiss the threat of these groups from them. This is why they worked for years to implement this scheme. We can also sense the insistence of ignorance, by us and them, that this scheme of theirs will make them avoid threats.

I remember that for the last 13 years during my conversations with western politicians and media figures, I warned them that they will witness another September 11 and that the British subway stations will witness an event similar to what happened on July 7, 2005. I also warned them that terrorist events which European cities and capitals witnessed may repeat as long as these political Islam groups continue to find support and as long as these countries overlook that. These countries, and particularly America, thought that as long as these groups are far from them and as long as they are contained in their countries, then they will remain safe. They are thus unaware that they are granting them a safe haven that they can use to gather and organize themselves and that they will be among their targets. Their biggest mistake is that they are unaware that once the demon is out, dismissing him is not that easy. Their biggest mistake is that they are also unaware that demons do not care about borders.

This article was first published in al-Jarida on September 14, 2013.

 

Controversy still exists over the events Egypt witnessed on Jan. 25, 2011 and on June 30, 2013.

What Egypt witnessed more than two years ago was an expression of rejecting the deadlock against change, if one considers change to be a synonym for the toppling of the regime. The situation became more complicated as people felt that the status quo would not change. People understood that the regime would not change and that Mubarak’s son would take over as president at some point.430141_148983255224099_601152695_a

Regardless of whether this is true or not, what is certain is that the public was convinced of this scenario. Many Egyptians realized that such a path would lead to a dead end. This is what led people to express thier anger. So groups of people ready to express their anger, led by a group of young men, took to the streets. Regardless of whether these youth groups were trained and prepared for this day, the truth is the atmosphere was conducive to such an act. Most of those who took to the street did so for the sake of expressing anger and their desire of achieving change. The demands at the time were few but the administration’s lack of political wit is what contributed to a significant turn of events.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s entrance

But, what about the Muslim Brotherhood? It has become known that the Brotherhood, within the context of political opportunism, announced it would not participate in the Jan. 25 protests. But, also in the context of political opportunism, it participated in the end, when it realized that the protests were massive.

Why did the Muslim Brotherhood participate in the protests after Jan 25? This was due to the stupidity of the interior ministry

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

The question is; why did the Brotherhood participate in the protests after Jan 25? This was due to the stupidity of the interior ministry’s political administration. Back then, the ministry in a statement issued at midnight, almost totally blamed the Brotherhood, although everyone knew that the Brotherhood only participated at the last moment of that day. But it seems that the interior ministry’s command back then thought that the time was appropriate to strike the Brotherhood by according it full responsibility of that day’s events. The Brotherhood command realized it was placed in a confrontational stance. Therefore, the Brotherhood felt they were engaged in a survival battle. One can be either a “either a winner or a loser,” as the proverb says. Thus the interior ministry’s statement led the Brotherhood to mobilize its efforts and announce a state of alert in order to defend its survival.

Therefore, after Jan. 26, all Brotherhood members and allies who were capable of sneaking into Egypt through airports, land and maritime borders and tunnels, entered the country. The international organization’s leadership announced the implementation of a ready-made, to begin at a specified time. It was not known when this specified time was.

Acting accordingly

The Brotherhood acted wittingly and it exploited the regime’s mistakes at that time. It also exploited some opportunists who joined the youth groups and exploited the innocence of many Egyptian youths and people who took to the street to express their anger and their desire to achieve change.

What was noted back then was that the Brotherhood did not raise any religious slogans. But at the same time, they almost controlled all activity in different squares. All this was carried out upon the support and under the direct supervision of the leadership of a country claiming to be a brotherly one. It is no longer secret that this country is Qatar. This was also carried out with American blessing and support as the latter aimed to implement its new strategy in the region.

On Jan. 28, the Brotherhood controlled all activity and exploited the youth and the youth’s knowledge of means to confront security forces. Under this cover, the Brotherhood began to implement its mission of burning Egypt while exploiting the state of anger which blinded many over what the Brotherhood was really doing. Many were deceived by what happened. The problem is that the latter remained deceived for a long time. Some of them were unaware they were deceived and some were aware of that but wanted to resume the process of destroying the state – an act that goes way beyond toppling the regime. The state of this optional deceit lasted until those who adopted this option realized what they had done. So they tried to make amends and retreat from what they got themselves involved in when they supported the Brotherhood, not only in stealing the people’s dreams but also in hijacking the entire country and driving it towards the unknown. It was only then that they woke up and joined the real Egyptian revolution aiming to restore Egypt. This talk will be resumed later.

 

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on Sept. 12, 2013.

Foreign meddling in Egypt (part 2)

Posted: September 10, 2013 in Alarabiya
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Mohammad Mursi’s ascension to the Egyptian presidency marked the beginning of a development in relations between Egypt and Qatar. The two became closer and the relationship started to resemble a tutelage. The former Qatari emir visited Egypt a month after Mursi assumed his post, they held a bilateral summit to discuss enhancing relations and economic cooperation. Throughout that year, several visits were exchanged by top officials. The Central Bank revealed that the size of Qatari investments in Egypt increased by 74% during the third quarter of 2011/2012 with an estimate of around $9.8 million that later increased to $13.2 million. Qatari investments in Egypt reached $572 million, pumped in through 155 Qatari companies.Abdul-Latif-Al-Minawi

Economic decisions all served the aim of supporting the stability of the Brotherhood regime in Egypt. Qatar presented $3 billion to Egypt in the form of deposits or bonds to that end. We later found out it came with a high interest rate attached. The government was also provided with natural gas to overcome the energy crisis, which, it must be said, was never resolved during the Brotherhood’s era. In addition to that, there were announcements of Qatari investments worth $8 billion in the field of electric power. There were also announcements Qatari sponsored factories of iron and steel, in addition to investments worth around eight billion Egyptian pounds in the field of energy and gas. Doha also promised that Egyptian companies could participate in the work of constructing and equipping the Gulf state for the World Cup 2022.

Controversy

But Qatari investments in Egypt became controversial among Egyptians, especially after rumors that Qatar was granted the privilege of investment in the Suez Canal and was allowed to rent Egyptian relics. This pushed the Egyptians, and some media outlets, to hypothesize over Qatar’s hidden intent until the resulting rumors were denied by both Cairo and Doha. Qatari leadership confirmed that their support for Egypt does not have an ulterior motive, but the manner of Qatar’s denial was arrogant and the Egyptians did not fail to see that. The people did not believe Mursi’s statement to Al-Jazeera that Egypt’s foreign relations are based on “parity” and that he appreciates Qatar’s financial support to Egypt which is confronting an economic crisis. He added that the fact that the country has an economic crisis does not mean that “Egypt sells the Suez Canal to Doha.” He also said that “Egypt’s land is prohibited for anyone who is not an Egyptian.”

People did not believe Mursi’s statement to Al-Jazeera that Egypt’s foreign relations are based on “parity”

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Other parties became involved. They claimed to reveal the secrets of the relationship between Qatar and Egypt. An example is the allegation that WikiLeaks’ documents are based upon, it was said that five documents were published and two were concealed after Qatar negotiated with the website’s administration and offered huge sums of money to prevent the publishing of these two documents because the latter contain dangerous information about meetings with Israeli and American officials. It was said these meetings were held for the aim of inciting against Egypt. One of the documents said that Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem described Egypt as the doctor who only has one patient and that this patient’s disease must not be cured. He said this patient is the Palestinian cause, hinting that Egypt wants to prolong the duration of the Palestinian cause without resolving it. Then a document which no one denied was published, it was said that this document was found inside one of the Brotherhood’s headquarters in Moqattam. The document regarded the donations given by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, the former Qatari prime minister and the former minister of foreign affairs. According to the document, which until now has not been denied by anyone, the former premier granted high-ranking politicians in Egypt thousands of dollars. Among the names mentioned in the document are: Dr. Abdelrahman al-Bir, the brotherhood’s mufti, Dr. Essam al-Erian, the well-known Brotherhood leader, Dr. Mohamed al-Beltagy, Osama Yassine, the minister of youth, Sobhi Salah, the well-known Brotherhood leader and other leaders.

A change in Qatar

This year’s summer witnessed the end of maneuvers within the Qatari ruling family. It ended with Sheikh Hamad’s announcement that he would give up governance to his young son, Tamim. Despite what was said about conspiracies and intents inside the ruling family, the final result is that Tamim took over governance, even if it was a mere formality. Some people, including myself, encouraged the new prince to turn the old page and start a new one with Egypt, especially after the June 30 revolution. He hinted that he’s ready for that. The man has no commitments, he does not have to pay the price for issues he wasn’t responsible for. He is thus free of the old contract that ruled personal relations between his father and Egypt.

Not many shared my optimism. They said that despite the changes Egypt and Qatar recently witnessed – a revolution in Egypt and change of governance in Qatar – Qatar will continue to serve America and Israel. They added that Qatar may partially change and stop the flagrant and clear hostility towards the Egyptian people’s will and decrease its defense of the Brotherhood but that at the same time, Qatar will continue to implement the American agenda through three means: Al-Jazeera channel, financial support to political movements and groups in Egypt and, finally, intelligence work to infiltrate religious and political entities and movements. Reality states that American-Qatari coordination regarding Egypt is no longer secret. Proof to that is that the American administration itself recently announced that Obama called Tamim, Qatar’s prince, and that they both confirmed that Qatar and the U.S. will continue to participate in the activity of all parties in Egypt and that America looks forward to working closely with Qatar.

Prince Tamim must vow to continue all Qatari projects that were launched in Egypt. But he must do so as per a new manner that maintains Egypt’s position as a state.

What I have spoken about is a quick attempt to clarify the nature of relations between two countries which were supposed to have brotherly relations as per the Arab sentiment and which were supposed to coordinate as two powers that can support one another. But Qatar’s leaders did not understand this and they had no sense of reality or sentiment. The blame falls largely on Qatar. Even during the phase of close cooperation between Qatar and the Brotherhood, the final result was a state of Qatari governmental rapprochement with the Brotherhood regime and a state of unprecedented Egyptian aversion, unparalleled in the history of relations between the two countries.

Now, is there a future?
This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on Sept. 10, 2013.

At some point in his life, Osama Bin Laden turned into a media star; a star, in the sense that media outlets strived to carry out interviews with him in the Afghan mountains.download (3)

Bin Laden realized the importance of media back then, during the mid-90s. He also realized his value in the media, so he began to specify which media outlet would be allowed to meet with him and which journalist would be granted the honor of interviewing him.

It didn’t end here, but he also set conditions for the topics of the interviews. The idea of the interview was tempting for journalists and some were able to go to him to Afghanistan’s mountains under the stipulations that Bin Laden specified. They pretty much adhered to what was agreed on.

The honeymoon period between the Americans and their product, al-Qaeda, had not ended yet. The western awareness in understanding the size of threats this extremist mentality posed – which they contributed in launching into the world – was not complete yet. The West was not yet fully aware that this extremist mentality may reach out and touch them one day, no matter how convinced they were that they live in fortified castles.

This is your wake-up call

The September 11 attacks came to violently wake up those who were unaware of what they had awaken. These attacks were a means to expose “black terrorism” from its hiding and grant it new horizons and regional and international dimensions under American and Western protection. And the costs were high.

Both Beltagy and Bin Laden made vile remarks in their videos, confirming they were still possessed by denial.

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

The September attacks were just the beginning as several terrorist operations followed. Perhaps the most prominent of them were the Madrid and London explosions. These acts were a strong slap in the face of those who thought they can play with fire without getting burnt. They didn’t realize that terrorism, which they supported, will target them even if they are in fortresses.

The major discussion between myself and Western political and media figures, or even ordinary Westerners, was that the major mistake they’ve committed was estimating that enabling political Islam will lead to deflating pressures against them. They believed that the best solution to many of their problems was for Islamists become occupied with fighting over power in their countries.

Although I hope that the September 11 attacks or the Madrid and London bombings aren’t ever repeated, I can assert that such events are likely to return because safe havens for terrorist groups from across the world are being provided. These groups may therefore unite and work to implement their vision which surely contradicts with human civilization.

Choosing Al Jazeera

Back to Osama Bin Laden. So, he decided to choose the media outlet for him to appear on and broadcast his messages. Of course, we all know that he chose Al Jazeera. Back then, his choice appeared strange. But with time, the events that followed showed that it should have been an expected choice that harmonizes with the aim that Bin Laden was created for and with the aim Al Jazeera was created for. Controlling them both by several other parties aimed to serve interests – which are certainly neither Arab or patriotic – interests that go beyond the countries’ borders and even beyond their country’s sheikhs.

Bin Laden was murdered after several leaders from al-Qaeda, which America also created, were murdered. The U.S. claimed it insists to fight terrorism. But at the same time, it supported political Islam groups. What governs them is what they think achieves their interests. But it seems their calculations were wrong, although they still think they can fix their mistakes and implement their vision via other means.

Mohammad el-Beltagy, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who was wanted by Egyptian authorities, appeared on Al Jazeera. A curtain that looks cheap appeared behind him, and the video appeared to have been recorded by a cheap camera. When I saw this, I remembered Bin Laden’s tapes especially that he chose, or rather someone else chose, that his message be carried through Al Jazeera.

Both Beltagy and Bin Laden made vile remarks in their videos, confirming they were still possessed by denial. Those who had been doubting the Egyptian decision to revolt against the Brotherhood and topple the group were reassured that this was the right option.

What unites these two scenes of Bin Laden and Beltagy on Al-Jazeera is that the “creator” appears to be the same. The organizations that made Bin Laden are the same that pushed Beltagy to where he is.

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on August 28, 2013.