A delegation of officials from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood met with White House officials Wednesday, according to a White House spokesman who stated that “we have broadened our engagement to include new and emerging political parties and actors.”
The Muslim Brotherhood, long banned in Egypt after it sought to assassinate Egypt’s President Nasser in the 1950s, is poised to dominate Egypt’s new government after it emerged as the biggest winner in Egypt’s recent parliamentary elections.
The Obama Administration has bent over backwards to demonstrate its good intentions toward the anti-Western Islamist organization, which is now positioned to hijack Egypt’s pro-democracy revolution. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as the Carter Administration discovered after it attempted to improve relations with Iranian Islamist radicals led by Ayatollah Khomeini after Iran’s 1979 revolution.
The Muslim Brotherhood has already broken its promises not to seek to dominate the Egyptian parliament and not to run a candidate for president. Last Saturday, it announced that its Deputy Supreme Guide, Khairat al-Shater, would run for president in the May election. Yesterday, Shater proclaimed that his top priority would be installing Islamic law (Sharia), which would impose restrictions on the freedoms of Egyptians, particularly women and religious minorities such as the Coptic Christians, who make up an estimated 10 percent of the population.
The Obama Administration has glossed over the hostile ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and downplayed the recent crisis in bilateral relations that was provoked by the politically motivated decision by Egypt’s transitional military government to prosecute pro-democracy non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently announced that the U.S. will continue delivering $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt, despite Cairo’s provocative behavior.
This decision sends the wrong signal to Egypt’s leaders: that they can continue to exploit anti-American sentiments whipped up by the state-controlled media with little fear of the consequences. Granting U.S. aid on an unconditional basis also signals weakness and virtually guarantees that the NGO show trials will continue.
The Obama Administration’s efforts to establish a good working relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood is doomed to fail also because of the Brotherhood’s implacable hostility toward Israel. Shortly after the Egyptian delegation went to the White House, terrorists launched a rocket attack against the Israeli city of Eilat from Egypt’s Sinai desert. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the Sinai has become a “terror zone” and that Israel would take action to contain the danger.
Eight Israelis were killed in a terrorist attack launched by Palestinian terrorists from the Sinai desert last August, and more such attacks are likely to strain Israeli–Egyptian relations in the future. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is allied with Hamas, the radical Palestinian Islamist movement that has been responsible for many rocket attacks against Israel. Unlike Egypt’s Mubarak government, the Muslim Brotherhood–led regime is likely to support Palestinian terrorists, not restrain them.
Therefore, although the Obama Administration remains in denial about the hostile nature of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, its plans to curry favor with Egypt’s new leaders are likely to swiftly collapse in the face of growing Egyptian–Israeli tensions over continued terrorism.