Obama, Muslim Brotherhood, and Mideast chaos: Presidential Study Directive 11
A recent Gulf News report sheds some light on how and why the United States helped bring the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies to power, followed by all the subsequent chaos and atrocities in the Mideast region.
Large portions of the report follow with my commentary interspersed for added context:
Dubai: For the past decade, two successive US administrations have maintained close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Libya, to name just the most prominent cases.
The Obama administration conducted an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2010 and 2011, beginning even before the events known as the “Arab Spring” erupted in Tunisia and in Egypt. The President personally issued Presidential Study Directive 11 (PSD-11) in 2010, ordering an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood and other “political Islamist” movements, including the ruling AKP in Turkey, ultimately concluding that the United States should shift from its longstanding policy of supporting “stability” in the Middle East and North Africa (that is, support for “stable regimes” even if they were authoritarian), to a policy of backing “moderate” Islamic political movements (italics added for emphasis throughout).
And we have certainly witnessed this shift. Chaos and the Islamic ascendancy in the Middle East and North Africa never flourished as under the Obama administration—and precisely because the administration shifted from supporting stability under secular-minded autocrats.
The most significant example of this is how the Obama administration threw Hosni Mubarak—a U.S. ally for three decades—under the bus in order to support the Islamists, most specifically the Muslim Brotherhood. And we saw how that ended—with another revolution, hailed as the largest revolution in human history, with the average Egyptian accusing Obama of being a terrorist supporter.
To this day, PSD-11 remains classified, in part because it reveals an embarrassingly naïve and uninformed view of trends in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.
“Embarrassingly naïve and uninformed view” is synonymous with the “orthodox and mainstream view pushed forth by Mideast studies professors and academics,” especially those with political influence, such as the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies of Georgetown University, in Washington D.C. Such programs, which I’m only too well acquainted with, begin with false—that is, “embarrassingly naïve and uninformed”—premises, namely: that the source of all the region’s woes are (formerly) U.S.-propped autocrats (reality is that dictators don’t create such societies but rather are the natural outcome of Islamic societies and are the ones most prone to keeping law and order—compare Iraq under Saddam and Iraq now, as a “democracy,” with “ISIS” proclaiming a caliphate). Mideast academics have also long spearheaded the idea that there are “moderate” Islamists and “radical” Islamists, and that the U.S. should work with the former (in reality they are all radical—to be an Islamist is to be radical—the only difference is that the “moderate” Islamists don’t wear their radicalism on their sleeves, even as they work toward the same goals that the more open “radicals” work for, namely, a Sharia-enforcing caliphate).
The revelations were made by Al Hewar centre in Washington, DC, which obtained the documents in question.
This too is significant. As Daniel Greenfield writes: “Al-Hewar, which actually got hold of the documents, is linked to the International Institute of Islamic Thought… which is a Muslim Brotherhood front group. Figures in the Muslim Brotherhood had threatened to leak understandings with Obama Inc. This is the next best thing. It warns Obama that if he tries to forget about them, they can prove that the relationship was official policy.”
To be sure, after the ousting of the Brotherhood in Egypt, several Brotherhood members made, sometimes not so veiled, threats to the Obama administration if it turned its back on them, including top ranking Brotherhood member, Khairat al-Shatter’s son.
Through an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, thousands of pages of documentation of the US State Department’s dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood are in the process of being declassified and released to the public.
If and when these thousands of pages are released, they should be combed through, as no doubt answers to many of the Obama administration’s hitherto inexplicable policies in the Middle East will be found—to wit:
US State Department documents obtained under the FOIA confirm that the Obama administration maintained frequent contact and ties with the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood. At one point, in April 2012, US officials arranged for the public relations director of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammad Gaair, to come to Washington to speak at a conference on “Islamists in Power” hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Indeed, despite the administration’s later insistence that it did not favor the Islamists over other parties, anecdotes implying otherwise were constantly on display. In Egypt alone, U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson, due to her close ties not just to President Morsi, but the Muslim Brotherhood in general, became such a hated figure in the months before last year’s anti-Brotherhood revolution.
A State Department Cable classified “Confidential” report says the following: “Benghazi Meeting With Libyan Muslim Brotherhood: On April 2  Mission Benghazi met with a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood steering committee, who will speak at the April 5 Carnegie Endowment ‘Islamist in Power’ conference in Washington, D.C. He described the Muslim Brotherhood’s decision to form a political party as both an opportunity and an obligation in post-revolution Libya after years of operating underground.
These documents on the Obama administration’s connections with the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya are especially disturbing in the context of earlier revelations made in Arabic media, including that the Brotherhood’s Libyan wing was very much involved in the 9/11 Benghazi U.S. consulate attack.
Another State Department paper marked “Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU)” contained talking points for Deputy Secretary of State William Burns’ scheduled July 14, 2012 meeting with Mohammad Sawan, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who was also head of the Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party. The document is heavily redacted, but nevertheless provides clear indication of Washington’s sympathies for the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood as a major political force in the post-Gaddafi Libya.The talking points recommended that Secretary Burns tell Sawan thatthe US government entities “share your party’s concerns in ensuring that a comprehensive transitional justice process is undertaken to address past violations so that they do not spark new discontent.”
“To address past violations so that they do not spark new discontent” is another way of stating another popular position among Mideast professors, namely that whenever Islamists engage in violence or terrorism, that is proof positive that they have a legitimate grievance, hence the US must “appease” lest it “spark new discontent” (perhaps the true backdrop of Benghazi).
The Burns paper described the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood: “Prior to last year’s revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood was banned for over three decades and its members were fiercely pursued by the Gaddafi regime.
In light of all the chaos the Islamists have been responsible for in Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, et al—is it now obvious why Arab autocrats like Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, and currently Bashar Assad have always “banned” and “fiercely pursued” the Brotherhood and its affiliates?