Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham had warm words for the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's dominant Islamist party with a radical and hateful past, during a recent visit to the Middle East. The comments mark a disturbing growth in relations between some senior Republicans and Islamists, Andrew McCarthy writes in the National Review Online.
"I was very apprehensive when I heard the election results," Sen. Graham, R-S.C., said about the Brotherhood's victory in recent Egyptian elections. "But after visiting and talking to the Muslim Brotherhood, I am hopeful that they will be able to deliver not only for the Egyptian people, but that we can have a relationship with Egypt, with the Muslim Brotherhood as a strong political voice."
As McCarthy notes, this new relationship seems out of touch with reality and even Graham's previous apprehension about the group. The Brotherhood ideology hasn't changed since the revolution, and its Palestinian branch is the proscribed terrorist organization Hamas. The group even responded harshly to positive overtures by McCain about the arrest of American democratic activists. "Would America allow any foreign agenda or country to interfere in its affairs like this?" asked spokesman, Mahmoud Ghuzlan. "Then why should America expect Egypt to accept this kind of interference without an investigation or a trial?"
McCain, R-Ariz., also called for donations of weapons to Islamist Syrian rebels, whom McCarthy notes have connections to both the local Muslim Brotherhood branch and al-Qaida. "There are ways to get assistance ranging from medical assistance to technical assistance, such as GPS and other things we could provide," Senator McCain said in support of the Syrian rebels. "There are ways to get weapons into Syria. It is time we gave them the wherewithal to fight back and stop the slaughter."
McCarthy notes that the moves show McCain and Graham as wishy-washy on Islamism and the Brotherhood, one of the greatest threats to American democracy. "We did not get the McCain presidency, but we have gotten the McCain foreign policy where truckling to Islamists is concerned. When it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood, it turns out that mavericks and community organizers are on the same page."