In the streets of Cairo, Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators refer to people like Mohammed El-Baradei, leader of the secularist opposition, as "donkeys of the revolution" to be used and then pushed away, writes Israeli analyst Dore Gold.
The key question now "is whether the Obama administration's policy toward Egypt will be based on a perception that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood would be extremely dangerous," writes Gold, formerly Israel's U.N. ambassador. "Or have they taken the position - voiced in parts of the U.S. foreign policy establishment - that the Muslim Brotherhood has become moderate and can be talked to?"
Early indications are that the administration supports a role for the Brotherhood in a new Egyptian government. Gold, however, makes a strong implicit case that, given the organization's long history of radicalism, bringing it into government would be a mistake.
Those in the Western foreign-policy establishment who advocate engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood do so based on a "dangerous misconception" that the organization has become moderate and can be talked to, Gold writes. In reality, the group has been a zealous ideological advocate of jihad since its founding in 1928.
Its alumni include Abdullah Azzam (a mentor of Osama bin Laden); Ayman al-Zawahiri (bin Laden's deputy); and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al-Qaida's 9/11 mastermind.
"Given this background, the Muslim Brotherhood has been widely regarded in the Arab world as the incubator of the jihadist ideology. A former Kuwaiti minister of education, argued…that the founders of most modern terrorist groups in the Middle East emerged from 'the mantle' of the Muslim Brotherhood," Gold writes. In October 2007, columnist Hussein Shobokshi wrote in the Saudi-owned Al-Sharq al-Awsat that "to this day" the organization "has brought nothing but fanaticism, divisions and extremism, and in some cases bloodshed and killings."
Yet, even as Arab governments and opinion-makers express reservations about dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood, prominent figures in the West have been trying to make the case that it is time to open a dialogue with the group. Among those listed by Gold are Dr. Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke (authors of this article in Foreign Affairs entitled "The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood," in which they advised the Bush Administration to enter into a strategic alliance with that organization); New York Times correspondent James Traub, who suggested that the Brotherhood has moderated; and a committee in the House of Commons which advocated that Great Britain open a dialogue with the group as well.
Gold counters by quoting from a September sermon from the group's current supreme guide in Egypt, Muhammad Badie, in which he emphasized that Muslims today "need to understand that the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death, just as the enemies pursue life."
Read the full article here.