By DR. MORDECHAI KEDAR, MAKOR RISHON —
What do the following things have in common: the Muslim Brotherhood’s demonstration in Rabi’a al-Adawiya Square in Cairo, Hamas’ deep misgivings in Gaza, the declaration by the leaders of the Islamic Movement in Jordan, and the demonstration held by the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel? They are all partners in the Muslim Brotherhood’s regional plan, backed by the American government and all are concerned about the blow that this plan suffered three weeks ago in Egypt, when the Muslim Brotherhood was humiliated and removed from power.
The plan was revealed publicly on the first of May, 2012, the day that Muhammad Mursi’s election campaign began in Egypt. On that day, Mursi appeared at a public election rally together with one of the ideologues of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, Sheikh Safwat al-Higazi. The Sheikh declared in the clearest possible way: “We see the dream of the Islamic Caliphate, the dream of the Land of the Caliphate, realized, G-d willing, by Muhammad Mursi, and his supporters and his brothers and his political party. We have seen the great dream, that we all share, the United Arab States!!! The United Arab States will return, G-d willing. The United Arab States will be restored by this man and his supporters, G-d willing. The capital of the caliphate, the capital of the United Arab States will be Jerusalem, G-d willing. Its capital will not be Cairo, nor Mecca, nor Medina, only Jerusalem, G-d willing, and our call will be ‘Millions of martyrs are marching to Jerusalem'”. And then this song was sung:
“O those who long to die a martyr’s death,
You are all Hamas,
Banish the sleep from the eyes of allthe Jews
Forget about the whole world, forget the conferences
Take up your arms
Say your prayers and call to Allah…”
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Here I must provide a linguistic comment. Higazi says the name United Arab States using the Arabic term “al-Wilayat al-Arabiyya al-muttahida”, which is exactly the same as the name for the United States, with the additional word “Arabic” inserted in the middle. This similarity can be explained in two ways: a) It alludes to the future strength of the prospective Islamic state by creating a linguistic semblance between this state and the United States; b) Someone in the United States gave them the idea to establish an Arabic entity that would parallel the United States. The American who gave them the idea used the term “al-Wilayat al-muttahida” – the Arabic name for the United States – as a model for what they should establish in the Middle East, and that is the reason that the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Safwat al-Higazi adopted this name. I don’t know which American gave them the idea, but I believe that he served, and still serves in the State Department.
The words of Sheikh Higazi were not only an election slogan intended to excite the masses, but also served as the revelation of a practical program that has supporters in the White House, in Washington, D.C. The plan was revealed recently on the Internet site Elaph, a liberal Arabic news site operating out of London. On the 12th of July, Elaph revealed the Jordanian part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s program to establish the United Arab States. This plan is based on the assumption that the Muslim Brotherhood will continue to take control of more states in the Middle East: They have controlled Turkey since 2002, won the elections for the Palestinian Authority parliament in 2006, and in 2007, took control of the Gaza Strip (which is a state for all intents and purposes). Since the Middle of 2011, al-Nahda, which is the Tunisian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, has been the leading party in Tunisia. And since the end of June 2012, the president of Egypt was from the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, since at the end of 2011, the Brotherhood was a dominant presence in the elected parliament, which was later dispersed by court order. The Brotherhood is also the leading force in Morocco, Libya and Kuwait, and if things go well for them, they will rule in Syria as well. The Brotherhood is supported by the rich, powerful Emirate of Qatar, with its jihadi al-Jazeera media channel that is capable- as we have seen since December, 2010 – of toppling rulers in order to place the Muslim Brotherhood in power.
The United States State Department has been encouraging the Muslim Brotherhood in their imperialistic process ever since President George. W. Bush’s time, and since January 2009, President Obama and the State Department have viewed political Islamic imperialism to be in the American national interest. The reason that the United States supports the Brotherhood is because ever since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has been searching for a moderate sort of political Islam that the West can live with, contrary to al-Qaeda, for example, and the Muslim Brotherhood is very suitable – in the opinion of the State Department, and now, in the opinion of the White House as well – to assume the role of a legitimate ruling power in Islamic states that will not incite hatred against the West in general and the United States in particular.
In order to implement the Islamic plan, the Israelis will have to be sedated first, so that they will not alert the world to the American-Islamic political plan. That’s why the American government tried to reassure Israel when Mursi was elected: under the auspices of the State Department, a delegation of members of the Israeli Knesset met in Washington with members of the Egyptian parliament, among whom were representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, with the goal of creating a connection and dialogue between the two sides.
The Plan for North Sinai
For the past two years, Syria has been consumed by a terrible civil war, in which more than a hundred thousand men, women and children have been killed to date. Four hundred thousand Palestinian refugees have been living in Syria since 1948 and they share in the general suffering: hundreds of them have been killed and wounded and many thousands of them have fled to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and other countries. This is very concerning to the Hamas movement – the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood – because if the situation continues, the Palestinians, who have until now lived in Syria, will disappear as a group and their distribution throughout the world would dissolve the Palestinian problem and their “right of return” into Israel. This is the reason that Hamas leaders conceived the idea together with Mursi: Egypt will transfer North Sinai to the authority of Hamas, and the Palestinian refugees will be transferred for a limited time to Sinai from Syria and from the countries to which they fled recently as a result of the civil war.
The Mursi government approved of transferring northern Sinai to Hamas in order to settle Palestinian refugees from Syria there, because then, many infrastructures would have to be developed – housing, water, sewage, electricity, roads, communications, industry and education. All of this would have American, Qatari and international funding, and Egypt would benefit from the resulting opportunities for employment. The area would be leased to the Palestinians, and the world would pay the rent to Egypt. According to the plan, Hamas would be responsible for the Palestinian refugees living in Sinai, mainly to assure that other movements, especially Fatah, would not be able to set foot among these Palestinians. The people of Gaza would be able to pass freely into north Sinai, which would become a Palestinian Islamic state. Joining north Sinai with Gaza would ease the Gaza residents’ sense of siege, and would open great economic opportunities because of the building and development initiatives for North Sinai, causing the tunnels between Gaza and Rafah to become superfluous. The United States seems to be aware of this plan and to agree to it, and if the name of the United States is connected with the plan, the United States will earn a lot of credit for its generous support in rescuing the Palestinians while simultaneously preserving their problematic situation, just as their status as refugees has been preserved for the past 65 years with budgets for UNRWA, a large part of which come from American tax payers.
The White House, State Department and Muslim Brotherhood assume that Israel would welcome the plan to settle the Palestinian refugees in Sinai considering this plan to be a solution to their problem. So Israel would not object to American funding of the repatriation of the 1948 refugees, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in north Sinai. There would be enough “useful idiots” in Israel who would encourage this plan because they would delude themselves into thinking that this would mean the end the refugee problem, and those Israelis – as usual – would ignore the fact that a concentration of Palestinian refugees in Sinai must eventually lead to a new phase, which would be a struggle, led by Hamas, to return to all of Palestine, thereby eliminating Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
The Battle for Egypt
The United States is not the only country that is working on the mission to see the Muslim Brotherhood rule over the entire Middle East, and the senior partner in the project is Europe. The undiplomatic behavior of the Americans and the Europeans is not new: when President Obama visited Cairo in 2009 to deliver his speech to the Islamic nation, he chose to meet with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, the host’s sworn enemy, which was the real reason that Mubarak was not present at Obama’s speech. Mubarak’s excuse was the death of his grandson two weeks prior.
There is a rumor in Egypt that in last year’s elections, Ahmed Shafiq, Mursi’s competitor, actually won, but that American pressure on the military government led to Mursi being declared the winner, because of Obama’s and the State Department’s desire for Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood to rule in Egypt. The presence of eight Muslim Brotherhood people in the White House staff (see here and here) reveals Obama’s clear bias in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, a bias that expressed itself in the American government’s disapproval of Mursi’s dismissal from the presidency at the beginning of July. A man named Ahmed Aliba served in the American Embassy staff in Cairo. He was the liaison between Ambassador Patterson and the Muslim Brotherhood, and it was he who coordinated the American officials’ meeting with representatives of the Brotherhood.
Mursi was overthrown by the military in the beginning of July because of the demonstrations against him, but also to thwart Mursi’s plan to transfer north Sinai to Hamas and to settle hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees there. The overthrow of Mursi dismayed the leaders of Hamas in Gaza because they had built their future and the future of their state on this plan. Erdogan, the Turkish Islamist, was also infuriated.
The American involvement in the promotion of Muslim Brotherhood matters should come as no surprise to Israel: the American State Department exerted similar pressures on Ariel Sharon, prime minister of Israel, forcing him to allow the Hamas movement to participate in Palestinian parliamentary elections in the beginning of 2006. The State Department did not learn any lesson from Hamas subsequently winning a majority of the seats, and it now applies similar pressures on King Abdullah. But contrary to Ariel Sharon, Abdullah understands what the Muslim Brotherhood is, so there is much less chance of him succumbing to the State Department’s pressures .
But the person who knows the truth about the Muslim Brotherhood and tells it to their face is Dahi Khalfan, the commander of the Dubai police. He recently described the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood to the state of the Emirates as no less threatening than the Iranian danger.
The Islamic “Alternative Homeland” in Jordan
The toppling of Mursi and the Brotherhood was a shocking blow to the leaders of the Brotherhood in Jordan as well, who, for the past two years, have refused to participate in King Abdullah the Second’s initiative to incorporate reforms into the Jordanian government that would grant greater representation in the parliament to the Islamic parties and the residents in the refugee camps. King Abdullah openly calls them “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and “the Freemasons cult” (there is no worse expression in Arabic that the king could have used towards his citizens, M. K.) because they do not want to reform the regime of the Hashemite monarchy; rather, they want to replace it and turn it into a puppet after taking over the parliament and changing the state into a “constitutional monarchy” with an Islamic constitution written by the Brotherhood, of course. The king describes his battle with the Brotherhood with the expression “the most important battle confronting us in the entire region”, even more than Iran. He also does not hide his contempt for the American diplomats and officials who promote the Muslim Brotherhood out of naivety, as if the regime of the Brotherhood is a type of Islamic democracy. Now, with the downfall of Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood of Jordan is left without reforms, without Egyptian backing and in conflict with the king, who knows quite well where they are headed.
During the past two years, delegations of senior American and European officials have come in an endless stream to Jordan in an attempt to convince the king to change the Jordanian election law so that the Muslim Brotherhood would agree to take part in elections and even to achieve positive results in them. However, meetings with the king are not enough for the Americans and Europeans: their ambassadors and representatives meet continually with the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, whether in capitals of the United States or in Jordan, and the king is forced to swallow this insult.
The king’s suspicions of the Muslim Brotherhood are very well based: for several years now, the slogan “the alternative homeland” has been part of the public discourse in Jordan. The slogan refers to the desire to overthrow the Hashemite monarchy, which Britain imported from the Hijaz 90 years ago, and to return Jordan to its original residents, who are divided generally into two main parts: a) a minority of desert dwelling Bedouins, most of whom live in permanent settlements that they moved into over the years while conserving their traditional culture and language, and b) the majority, who are Palestinian farmers and city dwellers, whose language and culture is different from that of the Bedouins. The Bedouin population lives mainly south and east of Amman, while the Palestinian population lives north of Amman for the most part. The Jordanian term “Palestinian”, does not refer to residents of the part of the Land of Israel that is West of the Jordan River, but to those indigenous residents of northwest Jordan who call themselves “Palestinians”, adopting the name from the British Mandate for Palestine-Israel, since they do not want to be called Bedouins.
Additional Palestinians should be added to this group, some of whom are refugees from 1948 and some of whom moved from Israel and from Judea and Samaria to Jordan, for various reasons over the years. All have Jordanian citizenship, and therefore according to the rules of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees, they are not refugees, despite the fact that UNWRA considers them to be.
The “Palestinian” indigenous residents of Jordan are not interested in what happens West of the Jordan Valley, and they silently tolerate the coalition of the Hashemite Monarchy with the local Bedouins. The Palestinian refugees live quietly, in general, and do not make political demands, because they still remember Black September (September 1970), when – under the leadership of Yassir Arafat – they tried to establish a Palestinian terror state within the state of Jordan and King Hussein responded by slaughtering thousands of them.
Now, in the wake of the “Arab Spring”, winds of change and revision are beginning to blow in Jordan as well, and the largest and most organized body involved is the Muslim Brotherhood, which has many supporters among all of the Palestinian groups: the indigenous Jordanians, and the refugees and the emigres from West of the Jordan River, who support the Brotherhood mainly because they present a challenge to the Hashemite monarchy. For some years now, the Palestinians have been talking about “the alternative homeland”, meaning that they hope to establish a Palestinian state on the land that is now Jordan, whether by dividing the state into a Bedouin state in the southeast and a Palestinian state in the north of Jordan, or by taking over the whole state by means of elections or by violence.
The Brotherhood in Jordan has been attempting for some time to organize demonstrations and set up protest tents in one of the town squares of Amman, but the kingdom’s security forces – composed mostly of Bedouins – do not allow them to do it. The Brotherhood tends to boycott the elections for parliament because they do not want to play the king’s “pseudo-democratic” and “pseudo-legitimate” game. It is a game because after all, no one can legally remove the king from his post. He attempts to convince the Brotherhood to participate in the elections by throwing them bones in the form of government jobs.
Paradoxically, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan and the Israeli Right have similar interests: both sides want a Palestinian state, not the Hashemite monarchy, to be established in Jordan, and therefore both call for overthrowing the Hashemite monarchy and cancelling the peace agreement between Israel and the King of Jordan that was signed in October 1994. The Israeli Right objects to the monarchy’s authority over the Temple Mount granted to it by the peace agreement, and the Brotherhood sees the agreement as a betrayal of the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Islamists, and an insurance policy for the Hashemite family’s regime in Jordan. That is why King Abdullah has become the greatest supporter of the establishment of a state of Palestine in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, so that he can claim that Jordan is Jordan, Palestine is West of the Jordan River, and anyone who wants to live in Palestine should emigrate to the area west of the Jordan River.
The Muslim Brotherhood, most of whom are residents of the northern part of Jordan, want to eliminate the monarchy, and this places them in eternal conflict with the king. The election of Mursi last year was very encouraging to them, because he shares their political desires. They attempted to organize a demonstration of 300,000 people in one of the squares of Amman to turn it into the Jordanian version of “Tahrir Square”, but the Jordanian security forces discovered the plan and prevented it in the usual way.
The king is aware of the idea of an “alternative homeland” and has said many times that “Jordan will not be an alternative homeland for anyone”, and therefore it supports the establishment of a Palestinian state outside of Jordan. The king also tries to calm the people by assuring them that he was never subjected to pressure from any American president, Bill Clinton, George Bush or Barack Obama, who wanted to establish a Palestinian state at Jordan’s expense.
Perhaps the presidents of the United States did not pressure the king to establish a Palestinian state in Jordan. However, in my opinion, there is pressure to permit the Brotherhood to become part of the Jordanian political system, mainly from the State Department, which has, for years been attempting to promote the political project of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan. In order to sedate the king, the State Department works toward establishing a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, which would compromise the state of Israel’s security, since this Palestinian state will become another Muslim Brotherhood state, ruled by Hamas, in the future. Thus the Islamic noose will close around Israel’s neck, thus the dream of Safwat Higazi to establish an Islamic Caliphate state with Jerusalem as its capital is fulfilled, and all the Islamists the world over will love America because it threw Israel under the Muslim Brotherhood bus. How otherwise can the State Department’s objection to recognizing Jerusalem – the capital of the Jewish people for 3000 years – as the capital of Israel, be explained, and the American objection to the Jewish people’s sovereignty over Judea and Samaria as stipulated by the decision of the San Remo Conference in 1920?
In conclusion, it can be stated simply and painfully: the State Department and the White House fear Islamic terror more than anything else. Therefore, since September 11, 2001, they have been obsessed by a desire to please the Muslims at any price. They think that Muslim Brotherhood rule over most of the Muslim states is the ideal solution, and the most suitable one to American interests, even if the price is abandoning long-standing friends and allies. Mubarak, Qadhaffi, Abdullah the Second and Israel are all part of the sacrifice that the State Department and White House are willing to make on the altar of Muslim Brotherhood rule over the entire Arab and Islamic world. Will the elimination of Mursi be the blow that will send the Islamist-American genie back into the bottle?
Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Mordechai.Kedar@biu.ac.il) is an Israeli scholar of Arabic and Islam, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. He specializes in Islamic ideology and movements, the political discourse of Arab countries, the Arabic mass media, and the Syrian domestic arena.