The Trump administration is getting to the root of the problem
If the US administration moves ahead with its initiative to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, as it did with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the move would constitute a major step towards getting to the roots of terrorism.
Indeed, it is from the womb of the Brotherhood that all extremist organisations were born, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. The infamous terrorist Osama bin Laden was a graduate of the Muslim Brotherhood school.
This does not mean that terrorism would be restricted to Arab Sunni communities, especially when we know that the one party that has made best use of the Muslim Brotherhood to serve its interests and projects is Iran. Perhaps the best proof of that is Iranian support for the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt when it seized power in 2012 and gave Muhammad Morsi the presidency. Who can forget former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Cairo and his keenness to go to al-Azhar University?
The biggest danger of the Brotherhood then and now is that, over a period of many years, this organisation has infiltrated important state institutions in many Arab countries. The Muslim Brotherhood’s activities are wide-ranging and include creating conditions for destabilising entire countries and regions. What it has done in Yemen and the Gaza Strip remains the clearest evidence of the Brotherhood’s destructive lust for power.
In Yemen, the Brotherhood was in the service of Iran, albeit indirectly, and in the Gaza Strip it was in the service of Israel and Iran at the same time.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s role in Yemen was essential in leading the country to its current sorry state. It rode the wave of the popular protests against Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011 and became the spearhead in overthrowing his government. In the end, however, we find the Brothers were acting in the service of the Houthis who became the big beneficiaries of the fragmentation of Yemen.
The Yemeni Brotherhood is playing a malicious role in preventing military change on the ground. All fronts under their control are frozen because it believes that time is on its side and one day it will share Yemen with the Houthis.
In Gaza, the Muslim Brotherhood, represented by the Hamas Movement, demonstrated that it can thwart the Palestinian national project. The Muslim Brothers did their best to create chaos with the weapons in their possession and thus serve the goals of the Israeli extreme right.
It is because of them that the world turned on the Palestinians because of their suicide bombings in the West Bank and inside Israel to bury the Palestinian issue and cause the Gaza Strip to remain under siege.
The goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Palestinian territories was to change the nature of Palestinian society from one that was open to the world to one that is encapsulated in that image of the closed-minded, masked youth who want to liberate Palestine from the sea to the river or from the river to the sea.
The Obama administration played a role in pushing the Muslim Brotherhood to the fore. In that administration, which reduced all the problems of the Middle East to the Iranian nuclear file, there were people who did not want to know anything about the region beyond their own notion that it deserves to be ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Nobody in the Obama administration bothered to ask about the education plans that the Brotherhood sought to impose in Arab countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
That the United States is aware of the dangers represented by the Muslim Brotherhood’s project is a step in the right direction but it must be pointed out that the beginnings of fighting this project took place in an Arab country. It was the Egyptian people who first said no to the Brotherhood and toppled the regime that the Brotherhood sought to impose on them through a backward figure like Morsi. Let’s not forget that Morsi was backed by both Iran and Turkey.
The large popular demonstrations that overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule in Cairo would not have succeeded if it had not been for Arab audacity to counter the attempt to take Egypt elsewhere. That audacity came in the form of immediate and generous aid from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
Nowadays, it can be said that Egypt is going through a crucial stage, regardless of the regime’s political conservatism at the internal level. It must be recognised that Egypt is no longer a captive of Gaza, as in the Morsi era. It’s Egypt now that is affecting Gaza, not the other way around.
The change in the US position is the result of a long and determined effort that is likely to succeed in more than one place. At the core of this effort is an Arab awareness of the dangers posed by the Muslim Brotherhood project to every Arab country.
Saving Egypt from the claws of the Muslim Brotherhood was a turning point. After the Brotherhood’s failure in Sudan, it is important to make sure that Tunisia and Algeria do not fall in its grip.