Posts Tagged ‘Muslim Brotherhood’

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi needs to be surrounded by people with a proper understanding of Egypt’s society and problems. Therefore, I recommend a non-traditional advisory body to work with him.

I know that there are many advisory bodies in existence or under consideration, and that there is plenty of negativity around the concept of presidential advisors due to the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule. However, this should not be an obstacle to creating a real, efficient entity.images

It should keep away from the spotlight, and its members should be prohibited from dealing with the media under the title of “presidential advisor.” The media should also be prohibited from introducing them as such, and their media appearances must be free of charge.

The body’s task should be to present technical advice on national policies and strategies in relation to politics, the media and the economy. It should adhere to the constitution and the law in addressing the effects of state policy regionally and internationally.

Create solutions

The body should work with a committee of prominent consultants who discuss the political situation and make suggestions on how to deal with it. These consultants must also come up with solutions, conduct studies, and communicate with assigned parties for specific purposes during specific circumstances.

There is plenty of negativity around the concept of presidential advisors due to the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Responsibilities can be specified in providing consultations, supporting ministries in setting effective strategies and policies, conducting examinations, and highlighting long-term challenges.

In addition to the group of consultants, there should be a public relations group that deals with the local and international media. Its aim should be to communicate with media outlets, form lobby groups, carry out campaigns, communicate with decision-makers and opinion-leaders by dealing with global PR companies, and suggest a media and political approach for crises at hand.

There should also be an economic team of well-known, reputable, competent technical volunteers and specialists. They should periodically present studies to the president and his aides, in accordance with the general vision of the state’s orientation and desired policies.

This committee’s work must be purely advisory. There must be a coordination policy that specifies how it deals with government institutions and bodies. Committee members must be prohibited from communicating with any media without prior permission.

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Five years ago and particularly in June of 2009, American forces released Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the future leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria- from Camp Bucca, south of Iraq. The reasons he was released remain unknown until this very day, but while leaving prison, Baghdadi turned to the American general accompanying him to the exit door and to the American soldiers standing close together and said: “I’ll see you in New York.”

The story was carried by American news outlets and attributed to army general Kenneth King does not reveal why the U.S. released Baghdadi who was detained between the years 2005 and 2009 by American troops. It also does not explain how ISIS rose this quickly and invaded Iraq like a torrent or where it will reach.

Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, the ISIS, the Islamic State of Libya and Egypt and other terrorist groups that wreck havoc, kill and destroy are all faces of one coin.

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

ISIS narrates this itself. It published a map of its future state which includes Iraq, Syria and all the way to Kuwait, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Cyprus. Away from all the delusions occupying the head of whoever made this map, the ISIS remains the clearest proof that if al-Qaeda ends, then a thousand al-Qaeda will emerge and will be stronger and more brutal as long as reasons for its rise are still present and as long as it’s not properly dealt with and eliminated from the roots.

Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, the ISIS, the Islamic State of Libya and Egypt and other terrorist groups that wreck havoc, kill and destroy are all faces of one coin. They exploit Islam and harm it more than its own enemies do. Governments deal with them the same way it’s always dealt with them – the way which has always proven to be a failure.

Warnings from Egypt

Egypt has for a long time warned of global terrorism and called for confronting, particularly following the rule of Islamists in the country last year.

And before September 11, there were also warnings from Egypt. However the world didn’t listen to Cairo. The U.S. thought that it destroyed this global terrorism by occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, but it has only returned in a more violent and hideous manner.

It’s not possible to eliminate terrorism without eliminating its intellectual basis and its economic basis supplying it with funds and equipment – especially when we know that the ISIS does not have financial problems preventing it from attaining arms and equipment and from recruiting men as its fortune is worth more than $2 billion dollars.

The new organization, unlike other organizations, has at an early stage realized the importance of going beyond attaining donations and funds via traditional methods. It realized this after restrains imposed on old funding means represented in bank accounts and bank transactions.

And so, the organization has from the beginning depended on technology and social networks that provide more freedom to market itself, lure people, continue operations, specify aims – particularly funding.

ISIS’ control over oil fields in East Syria since 2012 has also allowed it to strengthen its financial revenues. The strange irony is that it has sold some of this oil to the Syrian regime. It also looted historical and cultural fortunes and Syrian archaeological sites and carried out several smuggling operations.

The struggle with these groups has become an economic and intellectual one. Without drying up its financial resources and ideas and without intellectually fighting it and refuting what it lures youths with, it will not be possible to eliminate terrorism, which is not only threatening the Middle East but the entire world.

This article was first published in al-Jarida on June 20, 2014.

The Canadian parliament has designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization after petitions were signed off and sent to it. Now that Britain is moving in a similar direction, it seems Europe has decided to lift its support of the Brotherhood.

Although the British intelligence community’s decision to take a close look at the Muslim Brotherhood’s activity in London surprised many, the move isn’t at all surprising for Britain which suffered from terrorism in 2005 – the July 7 London bombings.

These bombings, which targeted Underground train stations and killed 50 people and injured around 700 others, was the price the UK paid for harboring terrorists and embracing terrorist organizations and for turning into a haven for many extremists during the 1990s. Following the explosions which targeted innocent people in Egypt, and now that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have blacklisted the group, it seems Britain has finally realized the threat of the Brotherhood which wears the mask of Islam yet adopts violence.

On the run

After the Brotherhood’s state collapsed in Egypt and after the group was expelled from Saudi Arabia, Britain has found itself leaning in a new direction regarding extremist groups, especially since there are reports that Brotherhood members who fled to Qatar intend to immigrate to London. Therefore, the UK must be cautious of having London turn into a new haven for Islamist extremists.

The UK must be cautious of having London turn into a new haven for Islamist extremists

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Meanwhile, the Brotherhood sensed the threat against it and hit back at British Prime Minister David Cameron – who ordered the investigation into it – and threatened to resort to the judiciary. The group said that it will take matters to court if the British government seeks to restrict its activities in London, and voiced its concern that former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Jenkins will lead the review ordered by Cameron.

A spokeswoman for Cameron justified why Jenkins was assigned to lead the review and said: “[the review] would focus on the group across the region, not just Egypt, and Jenkins has deep knowledge of the Middle East.” This justification however has not put an end to the anger of the Brotherhood – which has several legal, religious and charity organizations affiliated with it in London. The Brotherhood usually uses these organizations as a cover for other operations.

Choosing Britain

The Brotherhood considers Britain a safe country for it and an easy place to escape to. Therefore, it seems the group is worried about the inquiry into it because it’s a surprising and unprecedented move by Britain which never considered the group as a terrorist organization and never even put the group under surveillance. The British Times newspaper reported that the investigation will include assigning the MI6, Britain’s overseas intelligence agency, to examine allegations that the Muslim Brotherhood is behind a bus attack which killed British tourists abroad. It also said the MI6 would investigate other attacks in which there are suspicions of the Brotherhood’s involvement. But the major inquiry which Britain will launch will be carried out by the MI5, the domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, and will be focused on the Brotherhood’s presence inside the country.

These measures seem tantamount to lifting the European cover off from the Brotherhood – a cover which the group has long enjoyed. These measures also echo Egypt’s warnings of international terrorism threats and of radical international projects that are far from religion and only use Islam as a cover.

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on April 6, 2014.

Many of those claiming to be wise tell us now and then that those responsible for the terrorism imposed on Egytptian society are those in seats of authority who refuse to contain outlaws and rogues. Those seeking insignificant victories do the same and confirm the state’s inability to understand some of its rogue sons. Those making such allegations are either seeking to win electoral votes or are getting paid to speak as such. Just this week, terrorists responded to those claiming to be wise and carried out explosions near Cairo University. This act is not the first and we must expect that it won’t be the last either. I’ve already said several times that those people’s principle is clear: “We either rule you or kill you.” This is the principle they’ve proven themselves to be loyal to.

The stance hasn’t changed since the July 3 statement. The statement back then reinforced the concept of accommodating the views of everyone. However, the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters didn’t do that either. They did not only decide to be at odds with the people but to also punish them for their political stances that ended up toppling the Brotherhood.

What I currently expect from those who practice politics is that they will begin to practice it upon the basis of patriotism. I expect them to reconsider whom they will ally with and to realize that achieving personal gains and winning electoral votes are contaminated with the people’s blood. These people must unite to eliminate terrorism. I expect everyone to make a clear position towards this group and its followers and towards these terrorist acts. I expect them to stop trying to blame the state’s administration or security apparatuses.

Overwhelmed with anger

When I see how students panic as a bomb explodes in front of the university’s main gate and when I see how martyrs fall, I am overwhelmed with anger – as many are – towards those who decided to reap narrow interests when there is a serious threat against the country.

We hope this series of terrorist operations act as a clear message to the world which is willingly blind whenever it wants to be and which only talks about the rights of those it was once allied with and whom the people later toppled. Those capable of exposing the true face of these terrorist groups have a very important role to play at this phase. No great effort is required to prove the criminality of these groups and their terrorism. What’s required is that all institutions, individuals and groups work to show what these groups are doing to Egypt. Perhaps this will wake up the people and make them realize that if they don’t take a clear and decisive stance, then the time will come when terrorism targets them as well.

May God bless the martyrs of the nation and may he enlighten those claiming to be wise to lean towards those who are not worthy of wisdom.

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on April 2, 2014.

The referendum’s result was surprising to those who did not expect so many Egyptians to vote. Our first lesson from it is what we’ve tried to explain to the Islamists for so long: democracy is not only about ballot boxes but also about additional steps we must be aware of as we move towards implementing the map of the future.

The first of these steps is meeting the demands of the millions who voted and called for stability and salvation from the state, which has been in chaos for three years.Abdellatif Elmenawy

But the most important lesson is that legitimacy of ballot boxes is not exclusive to one particular political faction and that the Muslim Brotherhood no longer has the right to scream in defense of their so-called “legitimacy.”

The Egyptians’ voting on the constitutional amendments made the Brotherhood realize that the last fig leaf has fallen and that the group can no longer exploit the votes of the poor who rejected them after realizing the extent to which they were exploited.

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

The millions who voted on the referendum have succeeded in imposing new legitimacy and cancelling what the Brotherhood used to consider legitimacy for itself and for its existence – considering that it only recognizes the ballot boxes as a sign of rightfulness.

The exploitation of the Muslim Brotherhood

The Islamists have exploited the ballot boxes for long time. They also exploited the poor people who voted for them by promising them heaven and in exchange of sugar and oil.

The Islamists thought they had monopolized the ballot boxes and that they had figured out how to mobilize the masses towards them. They also thought that when they boycotted the referendum, the polling stations would be empty as a result.

This is what its websites and TV channels tried to make everyone think. But footage from global media outlets exposed its lies or rather terrified them of the thousands who lined up to vote without being subject to political games, without getting the Brotherhood’s sugar and oil and without being promised heaven – which God did not for anyone. Those who voted did so to defend their country and to push it forward.

Unexpected outcome

The Brotherhood did not expect to be popularly rejected this much and it didn’t expect so many people to vote. Perhaps this explains its state of delirium after announcing the preliminary results of the referendum. This probably explains their attempt to set fire to universities and mobilize as much as possible on Friday; attempts to spoil the Egyptians’ happiness with their constitution and to distract attention from the fulfilled achievement.

The Egyptians’ voting on the constitutional amendments made the Brotherhood realize that the last fig leaf has fallen and that the group can no longer exploit the votes of the poor who rejected them after realizing the extent to which they were exploited.

Perhaps what really surprised the Brotherhood is that governorates which mostly voted for them during the presidential elections are the same ones whose majority rejected them and voted “yes” in the referendum.

Just the beginning

The lesson we learn from all what happened is not to commit the Brotherhood’s mistake and settle with the fact that millions lined up to vote. We must not just depend on the fact that the percentage of voting on this referendum exceeded all referendum percentages in Egypt’s history. We must think of the second step.

The constitutional referendum is not the end of the path but it’s actually the beginning. The state has so many measures to take in order to get rid of the past’s wounds and restore its previous status.

It’s our right to celebrate the result of the referendum and to celebrate our people who repeatedly amaze the world. But while doing so, we must think of the next step and we must take this step and not disappoint the hopes of millions.

According to what has leaked during his trial, Mursi insinuated that “the assassinations didn’t start yet,” and a few days later a new murder was committed, targeting the person who was considered a main witness against Mohammad Mursi at the escape event, and participated in capturing their strong man Khairat al-Shater. I read the news on one of the websites, it reads: An officer from the National Security was murdered by gunshots from unknown armed persons on his way to work, called Colonel Mohammad Mabrouk.images1 I looked twice at the sentence and couldn’t believe it. I read it over and over, and cross checked the information on numerous news sites, yes it’s Mabrouk, not “called” Mohammad Mabrouk. He is the noble man who loved life, full of enthusiasm and patriotism. He was one of the close men to the General Ahmad Raafat, the head of State Security who died while working in his office, he was a man of rare breed, and will never be duplicated. General Raafat gathered around him a group of his own, who were considered as one of his many reasons of success. These men were in charge of following the activities of religious extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood group, and he led the initiatives to contain the violence initiated by the Islamic Jamaa first, then the Jihadist groups.

I developed a strong personal bond with him and his team for many years when I was following and analyzing the Islamic groups, we prepared a set of ads that were not broadcast, and maybe they would have changed things if they were. I used to meet General Raafat every now and then, and Colonel Mabrouk was one of his men, and was part of the team that follows the activities of the Muslim brotherhood. The group remained almost united after the death of Ahmad Raafat, and my relationship continued with them, Mabrouk was always keen to keep communicating with me during the past years after the incidents of January and the dissolution of the State Security, and he was transferred out of the apparatus after most of its members were discharged. I believe what one his relatives quoted him saying after the Brotherhood assumed power: “The traitors are governing.” He used to remind me in his phone calls of what “al-hajj” – the nickname of General Ahmad Raafat – used to say, as he was always threatening of the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood and he complained about the mistake of the regime in dealing with them. His will to communicate and exchange ideas and remind me of previous situations, and all the talk we did, was one of the bright moments in the darkness that dominated Egypt in the past two years. So Mohammad Mabrouk isn’t to me a person “Called” Mohammad Mabrouk but he represents a glorious chapter of our glorious history, rich in patriotic stances. It is hard and particularly painful to pay farewell to someone of his caliber, especially when he was killed in cold blood.

Who is responsible?

While some voices attempted to defend the Muslim Brotherhood and deny their responsibility in the assassination of Mabrouk, the history of the group and the threats of their man, Mursi, proved the opposite. Since the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood everybody was expecting them to go this low in the confrontation; they have always committed assassination and scores of terror crimes. These acts have been confirmed and they have never denied them, although they tried to embellish and claim committing them out of patriotism. They are famous for two types of assassination; the assassination to stop someone and the assassination of revenge, as the notorious writer Tharwat Al-Kharbawi describes it, he who was a member of the group. For instance, the assassination of Nakrashi was out of revenge, as he had dissolved the group and confiscated their assets, but the assassination of Colonel Mohammad Mabrouk aimed at putting an end to his activities against them, because he was going to witness how Mursi escaped from the Natroun Valley prison, he was the only witness to Mursi’s contacts with foreign intelligence services and with Hamas movement, so they deemed it to be necessary to kill Mabrouk to stop him from delivering his testimony.

He wasn’t killed by accident, especially as he was in his private car, in civilian clothes, and nothing indicated who he was or where he works

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

The assassination of Mohammad Mabrouk was performed with extreme professionalism as the assassins didn’t leave any trace in the crime scene, and it is clear that the assassin wasn’t a first timer and that he was well trained. There was a similarity between the assassination of Mohammad Abou Chacra and Mohammad Mabrouk, they were both unknown, using nicknames, and they were completely ignored by the Muslim Brotherhood, except by their leaders, and those who managed to fetch classified documents of the State Security Apparatus when the Muslim Brotherhood was governing. Also, it is worth remembering what was said then that the main mission of al-Beltagy during Mursi’s rule was to control the State Security and the Ministry of Interior, without neglecting the fact that some officers fell in the Brotherhood trap and decided to sell their souls to the Brotherhood for the sake of power.

The assassination of Mabrouk proves that he was under supervision for a long time, especially as he was assassinated at 10:30 pm, which is when he leaves home to go to work. He wasn’t killed by accident, especially as he was in his private car, in civilian clothes, and nothing indicated who he was or where he works. Actually, that is part of his job; don’t let your neighbor know who you are.

On the same day of Mabrouk’s assassination, I published my column about the so called dialogue invitation of the Brotherhood, calling it their new trick. The assassination proved what I said: that the aim is to change the status quo and distract attention.

While I am concluding my column, I see on TV that a hand grenade targeted the police in Boulaq, in the center of Cairo, and that a suicide attack claims the lives of ten soldiers who were taking the bus near the border with Gaza, and I can imagine the feeling of gloating among the Brotherhood and their supporters.

May Allah have mercy on Mabrouk and all the martyrs, wishing that their blood will strengthen the hearts of those in power positions, and empower them so their hands stop shaking.

A Saudi friend of mine criticized the Egyptian media’s tone towards the Muslim Brotherhood, noting that the media are only reacting to the actual developments without looking into the root of the problem. He even reminded me of an interview given by the late Prince Nayef bin Abdualziz, the former Saudi minister of interior who said 11 years ago that the Muslim Brotherhood “is the source of all evils.” My friend sent me the interview of Prince Nayef , considering that it is important to remember it and use it at this stage, in order to confirm the early detection of the danger that the Muslim Brotherhood present towards the political, social and intellectual structures in the Gulf region. Prince Nayef added in those decade old statements: “Without any hesitation I say it, all of our problems and their repercussions emanated from the Muslim Brotherhood.” He added: “When life became tough on the Muslim Brotherhood and they were facing hanging in their home countries, they took refuge in the kingdom which tolerated them, protected them and gave them the safety they need and our brothers from other Arab countries accepted this situation. But after they spent years among us, we saw that they wanted to work so we facilitated this as some of them were teachers and deans. We opened our schools and universities to them but, unfortunately, they didn’t forget their previous engagement, so they started recruiting people, establishing the movement, and [turned] against the kingdom!” He didn’t forget to mention their stance at the beginning of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, when they issued a statement following their visit to Baghdad in support of the Iraqi invasion.Abdul-Latif-Al-Minawi

The relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Gulf countries started in Saudi Arabia. It began with the first political movement of the Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna during the hajj season, when he met the late King Abdulaziz al-Saud in 1936 and asked his permission for establishing a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia. The king refused at that time and said: “We are all Muslims and we are all brothers so you have nothing new to offer us here.” But, soon enough the Brotherhood grew as an intellectual movement and its members started gaining power as individuals within the kingdom. The relationship with them was good, in the early days, but it took a different turn during the Yemeni revolution, when the Brotherhood had a different opinion to the Saudis. The Muslim Brotherhood supported the revolution while King Abdulaziz was against it, and this has negatively affected the relationship between Brotherhood and the kingdom.

Other Gulf countries

The Brotherhood experience in the other Gulf countries is very similar. They migrated from Egypt during Gamal Abdul Nasser’s era after their clash with the regime, as they tried to overthrow it. King Saud mediated with Abdul Nasser to solve the issue, and the problems were relatively solved, but the Brotherhood returned to their attempts to overthrow the regime, so the conflict escalated.

The fleeing members of the organization found in the host countries a safe haven to expand and enhance their presence

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

The fleeing members of the organization found in the host countries a safe haven to expand and enhance their presence in education and economy. The Brotherhood dominated teaching at the universities in the 1970s and the 1980s, and they gained control of many media platforms and religious forums. The Brotherhood expanded and organized themselves under the noses of the Gulf governments most of the time, without that these governments realizing that they were feeding a monster in their backyard. The governments believed that a mixture of support and containment could ensure stability, but they didn’t realize that they were turning the Gulf region intro a stronghold and platform for the Brotherhood to execute their plans. For example, the international movement of the Brotherhood used to hold its meeting in Makkah and Madina during the hajj season, as prominent Brotherhood member Yusuf al-Qaradawi himself said once, he who orchestrated the deal between the Brotherhood and Qatar, which resulted in dissolving the Brotherhood branch in Qatar in exchange of unlimited support of the international organization.

After the political deal during Sadat era, prominent Muslim Brotherhood member Ibrahim al-Hudaiby visited Saudi Arabia and held, in 1971, an expanded meeting for the organization, in which the regional face of the organization started to take shape. The meeting boasted the participation of Brotherhood members from Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait. In spite of this geographic expansion many thought that the Gulf members’ role was limited to fundraising. The truth is that the Gulf Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t content with collecting donations in public streets and mosques, and they weren’t limiting their activities to supporting widows and orphans. Instead, they became a strong economic and political arm of the group in Egypt, and the worst was that the Gulf branch adopted the rebellious thoughts in the GCC, as the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan once said.

The Gulf branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has strong ties with it Egyptian roots, and it follows the same school of thought. Some look surprised when they hear about this relationship, as if they forget that they follow the same school of thought, and the Brotherhood became so dangerous that the UAE minister of foreign affairs had to expose them publicly. The arrest of the Brotherhood network in UAE, with members admitting they had plans to overthrow GCC governments, is clear evidence of the Brotherhood pay back to those who offered them shelter when they were being pursued.

In the statement I mentioned earlier, Prince Nayef tells a story about a man, without naming him, he said: “I remember that one of Muslim Brotherhood leaders received Saudi nationality and lived in the kingdom for 40 years. And when he was asked about his role model, he answered: “My role model in Hassan al-Banna.”

 

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Yawm on Oct. 25, 2013.