Friday, July 01, 2011
Watering Jihad: Obama to court Muslim Brotherhood
Obama and the Muslim Brothers -Editorial
The administration is reaching out to Egypt’s radical Muslim Brotherhood ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for September.
“The political landscape in Egypt has changed, and is changing,” [said] an unnamed White House source. “It is in our interests to engage with all of the parties that are competing for parliament or the presidency.”
As President Obama’s previous attempts at outreach to Islamists have failed, there is little reason to believe this effort will succeed. Egypt’s Islamist political parties seem set to play a role in the new government.
The secular parties obviously are a better choice from the U.S. perspective. This educated, upper- and middle-class cohort could help usher in a future of peace, prosperity and tolerance in the region.
Rather than coddling Islamists, the administration ought to be working actively to strengthen Egypt’s secularist, moderate and relatively pro-Western political classes. Hedging bets by reaching out to groups that do not share U.S. values or interests only makes it harder for the more liberal parties at a time when they already face numerous handicaps. Unlike the secularists, the Islamist parties will never be in America’s corner.
The White House appears to be blind to the schizophrenic message it is broadcasting throughout the Middle East. The Islamists will not compromise, which means the White House pandering that undermines U.S. national interests is ultimately fruitless.
Mr. Obama has fewer friends in Egypt than he used to have. According to the IPI poll, his favorability in Egypt has plummeted from 25 percent in 2008 to 12 percent today, whereas confidence in bin Laden and his message increased from 18 percent to 21 percent. This is not an opportunity for outreach; this is a problem, and promoting the political fortunes of the Muslim Brotherhood will only make it worse.