The fall of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, will be “a profound game-changer” for the United States, former Undersecretary of Defense Richard Perle told Newsmax. A Muslim Brotherhood takeover, with or without Mohamed ElBaradei, could mean the end of U.S. military cooperation with Egypt.
Perle said the Obama administration should make the U.S. opposition to a Muslim Brotherhood takeover clear to the Egyptian army.
“If the Egyptian army felt they were facing an arms embargo, it might make the less willing to allow the Brotherhood to take over,” he said.
The Obama administration has embarked on just the opposite course by empowering ElBaradei, undermining Mubarak, and sending ambiguous messages to the Egyptian military.
The violent clashes that took place in Cairo and other major Egyptian cities on Wednesday between supporters and opponents of Mubarak followed on the heels of a White House effort to convince the Egyptian president to resign his post immediately.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs acknowledged that Obama had sent former U.S. ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner to Cairo to read Mubarak the riot act, and that Obama also spoke to Mubarak directly by phone.
“I think the message that the president delivered clearly to President Mubarak was that the time for change had come,” Gibbs said on Wednesday. “We know that that meaningful transition must include opposition voices and parties being involved in this process as we move toward free and fair elections. But that process must begin now.”
To increase the pressure on Mubarak, the State Department instructed the current U.S. smbassador to Egypt, Margaret Scobey, to hold political consultations with ElBaradei, the former U.N. official who is demanding that Mubarak resign before the opposition engages in any dialogue with the government.
Speaking openly with a top opponent to Mubarak — and announcing it — was a gesture freighted with significance in a part of the world where seemingly harmless gestures fuel the wildest conspiracy theories.
For many Egyptians, it was tantamount to a U.S. “seal of approval” on the former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who spent much of the past decade making excuses for Iran’s ongoing violations of its non-proliferation commitments and its relentless work to acquire nuclear weapons capability.
Whatever the intention of President Obama, his actions appear to have spooked Mubarak and his supporters and prompted them to make a display of force that cost the lives of at least three protesters on Wednesday.
The Muslim Brotherhood publicly threw their support behind ElBaradei on Sunday, authorizing him to negotiate on their behalf with Mubarak’s regime to form a new national unity government.
Speaking with CNN shortly after winning the Muslim Brotherhood support, ElBaradei upped his demands. “It is loud and clear from everybody in Egypt that Mubarak has to leave today, and it is non-negotiable for every Egyptian.”
ElBaradei downplayed Western fears that his association with the Muslim Brotherhood was dangerous.
“The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the Iranian model. It has nothing to do with extremism as we have seen it in Afghanistan and other places,” he told CNN. “The Muslim Brotherhood is a religiously conservative group . . . They have a lot of credibility.”
However, a top Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Ghanem, said to the Iran’s Al-Alam Arabic-language TV network that he believed Egypt should close the Suez canal to U.S. warships, and “the people should be prepared for war against Israel.”
Former Obama adviser and long-time CIA analyst Bruce Riedel argues that the United States has nothing to fear from the Muslim Brotherhood, despite their core political message that Egypt should become an Islamic state, governed by Shariah.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, who led the U.S. government case against Sheik Ahmed Abdul Rahman, the blind Egyptian who plotted to blow up the Lincoln Tunnel in New York in the early 1990s, said, “The Brotherhood would neither keep the peace nor support our efforts against terrorism. Its doctrine is a pro-terrorist doctrine."
He added ominously: “If you fall for its claims to be against 'terrorism,' you are falling for a word game — they do not consider attacks against Israel or against Western forces in Muslim countries to be terrorism. They consider that to be 'resistance.'”
According to its charter, the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to impose sharia law, restore the Islamic caliphate, and conquer non-Muslim or “infidel” states.
“Allah is our goal. The Prophet Muhammad ibn Abdullah is our leader. The [Koran] is our constitution. Jihad is our way. And death in the way of Allah is our promised end,” the Brotherhood proclaims in its founding documents.
The Iranian regime has openly welcomed the anti-Mubarak protests in Egypt, while the government-controlled press in Tehran has been gloating that Mubarak’s impending demise spells trouble for the United States.
Senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Gen. Hossein Salami gloated that events in Egypt were “a manifestation of the [Iranian] Islamic Revolution in the Middle East region and the world of Islam.”
Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, called ElBaradei “a stooge for Iran,” because of his track record of covering up Iran's true nuclear weapons capabilities while he headed the International Atomic Energy Agency.
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