In the last three weeks, America has lost three major Islamic moderate governments in the Middle East. Lebanon’s secular and Western-friendly government has now been replaced and is controlled by Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy army in that country. Islamic radicals are already filling the power vacuum in Tunisia, and now Egypt is falling into chaos.
What we are witnessing in Egypt and across the Arab-Islamic world is a revolution, and not simply for economic reasons. What was sparked by uprisings in Tunisia is now taking on a life of its own, with demonstrations in Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Yemen, Lebanon, and ones planned this weekend in Syria.
The Egyptian crisis especially is changing the strategic balance in the Middle East. Like the Iranian revolution in 1979, this is a moment that could usher in a new era of Islamic radicalism in the Middle East and across the world.
Is this a change that the West should be excited about? To answer this, one must understand the Muslim Brotherhood.
Founded in 1928 as a response to first President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Turkey ending the caliphate, the Islamic system of government, and westernizing the country, the Muslim Brotherhood is now the oldest Islamic terrorist organization in the world. Its beef against Attaturk? He gave women the right to vote, the right to work, the right to dress in western attire, and the right to an education.
This small group of radicals took it upon itself to reinstate the glory and power of Islam through the reestablishment of the caliphate, the unification of the Islamic Ummah (nation), and the institution of Sharia law as the law of all Muslim countries. Its slogan: “Islam is the solution.”
Since then the Muslim Brotherhood has created 70 offshoot Islamic organizations across the world, including Al-Qaeda and Hamas. The second-in-command in Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was a Muslim Brotherhood leader imprisoned in Egypt by the government and later sent into exile. Other notable members include the infamous Osama bin Laden, and Mohamed Atta, his ringleader in the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Today, the Muslim Brotherhood has expanded to include the middle and upper classes who wish to see a sweeping Islamic change across the world.
Many questioned why President Mubarak immediately squelched the Internet in Egypt as soon as the uprising began, but what they did not understand is that Al-Qaeda and al-Zawahiri can mobilize and organize Muslim Brotherhood members quickly through that medium.
Now the Muslim Brotherhood has a front man in the form of Mohamed ElBaradei, whom it has endorsed for president since 2009 and has supported through its English and Arabic websites.
Even more concerning about this supposed democratic hero is his connection and close friendship to Iran’s leaders.
As head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ElBaradei helped Iran deceive the world by covering up some of the country’s nuclear development plans. As a thank-you, Iran gave ElBaradei more than $7 million for his presidential run in Egypt to bring about “political reform,” the Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabeh reported. The deal was done through an Arab businessman in Bucharest, Romania, with the initials A.E.
Along with the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran has a vested interest in bringing about major change in Egypt. With Mubarak’s leadership, last year Egypt gave the green light to Israel for its submarines to use the Suez Canal if and when Israel carries out a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear plants. Both Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood wish to see the annihilation of Israel, and the disposing of any Arab leader working with the Jewish state.
The insurgency on the streets of the Arabic world from Amman, Jordan, to Cairo, Egypt, is a sweeping revolution in favor of Islamic solutions to a secular problem, solutions that will necessitate theo-political change to usher in an Islamic new era.
That’s something freedom-loving nations can’t be too excited about.