Tags: Editor's Pick | egypt | muslim | brotherhood | obama

Phares: Obama's Failed Strategy Leading to Islamic Rise in Egypt

By    |   Tuesday, 22 November 2011 12:04 PM

The Arab Spring has failed in Egypt, and the Muslim Brotherhood may turn the most populous nation in the Middle East into an Islamist state within months, says Walid Phares, a Mideast expert and adviser to Congress.

And if the Obama administration doesn’t alter its flawed strategy in confronting this threat, the entire region could be in turmoil by this time next year, Phares said in an exclusive Newsmax interview.

“If the Obama administration doesn’t change strategic direction in Washington, the Middle East, one year from now, will look much more dangerous than ever before,” Phares said.

Story continues below.

The Muslim Brotherhood has taken advantage of the turmoil in Egypt, says Walid Phares. In this Newsmax.TV video, the Mideast expert and adviser to Congress has an ominous prediction for the entire region, and he explains why more countries are becoming Islamist states.

Phares spoke as events in Egypt, which makes up roughly one-quarter of the Arab world’s population, disintegrated further. Egypt's military rulers agreed on Tuesday to form a "national salvation government" and speed up the process towards presidential elections, reports say. The move follows days of often violent protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

“At the end of the day, it is really the Muslim Brotherhood who are taking advantage of the process and we may end up seeing an Egypt, a few months from now, next year, as an Islamist state,” Phares said.

Thousands of protesters have converged on Tahrir Square in Cairo and also in Alexandria and Suez during the past four days to demonstrate against military rule, and specifically, the military’s move to exempt itself from control by the civilian government, whose members resigned en masse late Monday night.

Deposed leader Hosni Mubarak’s former defense minister heads the military council, called the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

“Unfortunately, over the past few months, the Muslim Brotherhood and the military have cut a deal. Now the deal is off,” Phares said in explaining the circumstances that have brought thousands back to the streets in the biggest protests since massive demonstrations forced President Hosni Mubarak from office after 30 years of rule.

The Muslim Brotherhood mobilized the majority of the youths protesting in Tahrir Square to attack the military to force the military council to “cut another deal.”

The Muslim Brotherhood wants power transferred from the military council into its own hands to use it to establish an Islamist state, Phares said.

The significance cannot be ignored because is not only the largest Arab nation but also Israel’s main partner in the peace process in the Middle East, Phares said.

“In the region, all of that could change,” Phares said. “The peace process will be impacted, our alliance with the Egyptian government and military can change, and the Muslim Brotherhood are not going to be only in Egypt, they are going to be across the region.”

In Libya, where the transitional government recently announced that Shariah, or Islamic religious law, will be instituted, the young will be educated in madrasas, Islamic schools, Phares warned. A jihadist movement will be built up from those youths, he said.

“We’re too late. We tried to drive from behind, maneuver from behind, and now the results are dramatic,” he said.

The Obama administration committed what Phares described as a "strategic analysis failure" in Libya that resulted in missteps during the uprising, although it resulted in the capture and killing of Moammar Gadhafi.

“The problem has been in Washington that the administration’s evaluation and the expertise offered to the administration for that evaluation have not been correct," Phares said. "Now, we have a situation in Libya and in North Africa whereby the Islamists, who have been coined and described as moderate and as reformists, are going to emphasize a jihadist ideology and that will create trouble in the region.”

And Iran, which continues to develop nuclear weapons, clearly has no fear of the Obama administration, he said.

“If they look to their west, they see us withdrawing abruptly from Iraq in weeks. If they look to their east, they know we are trying to engage the Taliban to withdraw from Afghanistan," Phares said. "If they look to their south, we are not mobilizing out task forces to contain the Iranians.

"And if they hear the speeches coming out of Washington when there were uprisings in the streets of Tehran as of June 2009, they hear word from the administration that we are not interested in supporting the Iranian opposition. So if I am the Iranian regime, I wouldn’t be worried.”

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The Arab Spring has failed in Egypt, and the Muslim Brotherhood may turn the most populous nation in the Middle East into an Islamist state within months, says Walid Phares, a Mideast expert and adviser to Congress. And if the Obama administration doesn t alter its flawed...
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 12:04 PM
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