By Barry Rubin
Jun 18, 2013
Here is what I wrote in October 2010, when the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood – Muhammad al-Badi – had just given a sermon calling for the overthrow of Egypt’s government (which happened four months later) and a jihad against the United States, a country he considered weak, foolish, and in retreat from the Middle East:
[Al-Badi’s sermon is] one of those obscure Middle East events of the utmost significance that is ignored by the Western mass media, especially because they happen in Arabic, not English; by Western governments, because they don’t fit their policies; and by experts, because they don’t mesh with their preconceptions.
Two and a half years ago, who would ever have thought that the United States would enter an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood? There were hints in President Barack Obama’s Cairo speech, yet now it is clear that this is the new basis for regional security sought by the Obama administration.
For all practical purposes the closest allies to the United States are no longer Israel, Saudi Arabia, and a moderate Egypt, but an Islamist Egypt, an Islamist regime in Turkey, and the Syrian rebels led by the Brotherhood.
And literally every mainstream media outlet, every expert who speaks in public, every Democrat, and the majority of Republican politicians still don’t realize that this is true.
American history has witnessed the Truman Doctrine (help countries fight Communist takeover), the Nixon Doctrine (get local middle-sized powers to take part of the burden of the Cold War from the United States), the Carter Doctrine (defend Gulf Arab states from Iranian aggression), and the Reagan Doctrine (go on the offensive against Soviet expansionism).
Now, we have the Obama Doctrine: ally with the Muslim Brotherhood to transform the Middle East.
Is this an improvement on a strategy based on alliances with pro-Western dictators? We are still working with dictators, but now they are also anti-American and even more oppressive than their predecessors. The old dictators, as horrible as they were, were content with the status quo (except for Iraq, where the overthrow came without a new extremist regime taking power), whereas the Islamist dictators want the fundamental transformation of their societies. The old dictators were resigned to the regional situation; the Islamist ones want a wave of new revolutions, terrorism, wars against Israel.
And sooner or later they will strike out against America, just as they give their Salafist allies free rein to do so.
The occasion for declaring that an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups is the new Obama Doctrine is, of course, the decision to supply arms to the Syrian rebels. As recently as April 28 – a mere six weeks ago! – the New York Times was talking of an imminent rebel victory. Now, panic has set in regarding a total rebel collapse. This has prompted a rush to give weapons to the rebels even as they seem to have stopped the government advance without additional American weapons. In some parts of the country the rebels are the ones advancing.
The weapons will be given to the Supreme Military Council, which runs the Free Syrian Army (FSA). But while the FSA is nominally led by defected military officers, most of its soldiers hold views closely aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The fig leaf will be that these guns are being given to “moderates” – like the people Senator John McCain met with. The truth is that they will be given to people whose politics encompass hatred for Jews, Christians, and the West generally, and who are ready to engage in what, in American politics, has come to be known as homophobia and a War on Women.
If the rebels were to win, this would mean imposing a Muslim Brotherhood government on Syria. The Syrian political opposition organization the United States recognizes and has financially supported is overwhelmingly run by the Brotherhood, and it refuses to admit real moderates and Kurds on a serious level.
Note that this is the second Muslim Brotherhood entity the U.S. government has provided with weapons. The first was the Egyptian government, which – despite its questionable human rights record- the Obama administration has no objection to helping. The shipment of weapons was not even postponed as a gesture.
Egypt is an anti-American client state. And so is Tunisia. So, too, is Turkey, which is sort of a Muslim Brotherhood regime in Turkish style. (The Turkish regime, it should be remembered, is the chief adviser to the Obama administration on Syrian affairs, and its favorite government in the region.)