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April 15, 2011

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WikiLeaks: Syria Aimed Chemical Weapons at Israel - Ronen Bergman (Ynet News)
    Syria placed long-range missiles equipped with chemical warheads on high alert after an attack on a Syrian nuclear plant in 2007, WikiLeaks documents obtained by Yediot Ahronot indicate.
    In March 2008, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a group of U.S. congressmen that Syria's mobile missile system was on full alert after the 2007 incident.
    Syria has a large number of Scud missiles able to hit all parts of Israel. Some of those missiles are armed with chemical warheads.
    According to foreign reports, Israel's Mossad obtained information on the nuclear plant, built for Syria by North Korea, from a laptop stolen from a senior Syrian official.

WikiLeaks: Iran Manufactures Tunnel-Friendly Missiles for Hamas - Yossi Melman and Hagar Mizrahi (Ha'aretz)
    Iran is manufacturing special missiles for Hamas that can be smuggled through tunnels into Gaza, according to a WikiLeaks report of a conversation between IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Harel and U.S. Ambassador to Israel James Cunningham on February 19, 2009.
    Harel noted that the Iranian version of the 122 mm rocket "was designed specifically for Hamas, as it came in four pieces that could fit through narrow tunnels and be reassembled in Gaza."
    Harel also said: "Cooperation against smuggling is better with [former] Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman than it is with Egyptian Military Commander Field Marshal Tantawi" (who is now head of the military council ruling Egypt).

Egyptian Demonstrators Call for New Intifada Against Israel - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
    Hundreds of Egyptians protested Thursday in front of the Israeli consulate in Alexandria, waving Palestinian flags and calling to expel the Israeli ambassador and open the border crossing with Gaza.
    Demonstrators held signs reading "Millions of martyrs are marching to Jerusalem" and "Here we come" - written in Hebrew. The crowds also called to launch a "third intifada" on May 15.
    On Saturday, 1,000 protesters gathered in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo where they burned Israeli flags and demanded to sever all diplomatic and economic relations with Israel.

Is the Peace Treaty Between Israel and Egypt Finished? - Khaled Abu Toameh (Hudson Institute-New York)
    Those who had hoped the pro-democracy revolution that toppled Mubarak would not affect relations between Egypt and Israel were wrong.
    In the post-Mubarak era, many Egyptians who helped bring down the regime are also strongly opposed to maintaining the peace treaty with Israel.
    An Egyptian military court has just sentenced 25-year-old "pro-Israel" Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil to three years in prison.
    Egypt's Facebook and Twitter demonstrators would also rather see a Hamas ambassador sitting in the Israeli embassy in Cairo.
    Given the fact that the tone in the Egyptian media remains extremely anti-Israel, it is hard to see how the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt would survive.
    The new generation in the Arab world is not marching toward moderation, particularly when it comes to making peace with Israel or even recognizing its right to exist.

Lull in Gaza Rocket Fire Seen as Temporary - Dan Williams (Reuters)
    Most analysts predict that the current lull in rocket fire on Israel is no more than a temporary truce, noting that Hamas and Hizbullah are Iranian-backed Islamists, ideologically driven to fighting the Jewish state.
    "They are not going to let it rest," said Richard Kemp, a retired British army colonel and former commander of UK forces in Afghanistan.
    "If this new [Iron Dome missile defense] system is seen to be effective, then Hamas and other extremist groups will do what they can to find other modes of attack."

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Syria Seeks Seat on UN Human Rights Council - (Lebanon Now)
    As anti-regime protestors are gunned down and arrested daily on the streets of its main towns and cities, Syria has applied to join the UN Human Rights Council. Elections will be held in May 2011.

Those Fiendish Jews and Their Life-Saving Innovations - David Horovitz (Jerusalem Post)
    Those fiendish Jews. They are making it so hard for us to kill them. They have early-warning systems and alarms and bomb shelters and safe rooms and protective concrete cubes and fantastic, heroic medical services.
    Now they've come up with this "Iron Dome" gadget. They're going to fire rockets at our rockets and shoot them out of the sky. Ten of our rockets blasted out of the air.

Israeli Pride in the Skies - Sima Kadmon (Ynet News)
    The sight of Iron Dome intercepting a missile fired at one of our cities is among the most pleasant and inspiring spectacles we've seen in recent years.
    Israelis feel national pride over the technological prowess of our defense industry and the ability to build a sophisticated, life-saving system that functions without killing innocents.
    We initiated this project and assumed responsibility for our own fate.

Israeli Experts Examine Site of Minsk Terror Tragedy (Telegraf-Belarus)
    Seven Israeli experts arrived in Minsk on Wednesday to assist the Belarusian authorities in investigating the terrorist attack in a Minsk subway station on April 11.
    The Israeli delegation includes medical experts, experts in combating terror, police experts to identify remains, and representatives of the Israel Security Agency.
    Medical experts also visited hospitals, treating the victims of the explosion.
    "Israel has extensive experience in combating terrorism, and our country will do everything possible to provide the necessary assistance to the Belarusian authorities in the investigation of the terrorist attack," said an Israeli diplomat.

SS Man Who Arrested Anne Frank Worked for West German Intelligence after the War (The Local-Germany)
    Karl Josef Silberbauer, the SS officer responsible for the arrest of Anne Frank, was one of many Nazis employed by Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency after World War II, Focus magazine reported on Saturday.
    Up to 200 former employees of Hitler's RSHA, the main Reich security office, worked for the BND, according to a new book by Peter-Ferdinand Koch, based on evidence found in U.S. archives.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Netanyahu to Spell Out Peace Policy to U.S. Congress
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he would spell out his plan for forging a lasting peace with the Palestinians in a speech to the U.S. Congress in May. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner announced he was inviting the prime minister to address a rare joint session of Congress. "America and Israel are the closest of friends and allies, and we look forward to hearing the prime minister's views on how we can continue working together for peace, freedom, and stability," he said. (AFP)
  • Syrian Intelligence Document: Shoot Protesters
    A document drafted by Syrian intelligence reveals plans to shoot and discredit anti-regime protesters, an opposition group says. In the event of a confrontation with protesters, live ammunition can be used by "trained security agents along with the black battalions and the secret plain-clothed battalions," the document says. "The use of snipers by both battalions should be concealed in order to prevent any notice of the source of shots fired," the Arabic language document published Wednesday says.
        "Link the demonstrations and protests against the regime to figures hated by Syrians like Lebanese and Saudi Arabia known figures and link it all to Zionism and America," the document says. (UPI)
        See also Syria Teeters on the Edge - David Schenker and Andrew J. Tabler
    Reports surfaced this week that the shabbiha (literally "ghosts") - armed plainclothes Alawite regime supporters - have been deployed against protesters. These groups have also reportedly been used to enforce discipline among the ranks of Syria's military and security services.
        Washington will undoubtedly be hesitant to cast its lot with Syria's historically divided opposition. Nevertheless, it will be important for the administration to be on record regarding the consequences for the regime should the atrocities continue. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
        See also Polarization and Violence Grows in Syria - Jim Muir
    After a month and an estimated 200 or more deaths, Syria's unrest is showing no sign of going away. If anything, it is spreading, and getting uglier by the day. What began in March as a minor incident involving schoolchildren daubing graffiti on walls in the southern city of Deraa has led to disturbances and deaths in virtually all parts of the country.
        The official media portray the troubles as an externally-driven campaign by terrorists. On Wednesday, three men said to have been captured during disturbances appeared on Syrian state TV to "confess" that they had been paid and armed by outsiders to open fire on demonstrators and security forces. As the struggle continues and more blood flows, there is little chance of Western intervention as is happening in Libya. (BBC News)
  • U.S. Senate Asks UN to Rescind Gaza War Report
    The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution Thursday calling on the UN Human Rights Council "to reflect the author's repudiation of the Goldstone report's central findings" and rescind the report. It also urges UN chief Ban Ki-moon to help "reform" the Human Rights Council "so that it no longer unfairly, disproportionately, and falsely criticizes Israel on a regular basis."  (AFP)
        See also Goldstone's Fellow Commissioners Say They Have Nothing to Retract - Anne Bayefsky
    The other three members of Goldstone's UN committee - Christine Chinkin, Desmond Travers and Hina Jilani - published an article in The Guardian in which they complain: "We regret the personal attacks and the extraordinary pressure placed on members of the fact-finding mission since we began our work in May 2009. This campaign has been clearly aimed at undermining the integrity of the report and its authors." Indeed, the "integrity" of both the report and its authors is exactly what is in issue.
        On January 11, 2009, in the midst of the Gaza war, Chinkin, a law professor at the London School of Economics, signed a letter to The Times which stated: "Israel's bombardment of Gaza is not self-defense - it's a war crime." Allegedly, the purpose of the Goldstone mission was to investigate whether war crimes had been committed. No democratic state governed by the rule of law would ever have appointed Christine Chinkin to a Gaza war crimes inquiry after she signed that letter. (National Review)
  • Italian International Solidarity Movement Activist Murdered in Gaza - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    Italian peace campaigner Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, an activist with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, was strangled and left in an abandoned house in Gaza following his abduction by militants on Thursday, a Hamas official said on Friday. A Jihadist Salafi group aligned with al-Qaeda had threatened on Thursday to execute Arrigoni unless their leader, arrested by Hamas last month, was freed.
        A YouTube clip posted by his abductors said: "The Italian hostage entered our land only to spread corruption," and described Italy as "the infidel state."  (Reuters)
        See also Video of Abducted Italian Activist (YouTube)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Israel Seeking "a Secure, Safe Peace" - Attila Somfalvi
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that his government will stand firm against any international pressure to accept the PA's unilateral conditions for reigniting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. "We will stand for our principles and fight those who try to dictate terms that would strip us of security and peace."
        "We have been steadfast these two years, making sure that any peace agreement brings with it a secure, safe peace. Not just peace on paper, but a sustainable peace. I have set two core principles to that effect: the first - Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel as the Jewish people's homeland; and the second - real security arrangements on the ground." Such security arrangements are vital not only to protect peace, but also to safeguard Israel in case the peace agreement is breached.
        Regarding the recent tension on the Gaza border, the prime minister said, "We will not stand for fire on buses or on our children. We will not abide a situation where Israeli citizens are sleeping in shelters - anywhere."  (Ynet News)
  • Iran Taking Advantage of the West's Preoccupation with Regional Unrest to Boost Arms Smuggling - Amos Harel
    Iran has smuggled more weapons to Hizbullah, Syria and Palestinian terror groups in recent months, taking advantage of the wave of unrest in the Middle East. Because international attention is focused mainly on regime changes and local intelligence services are busy protecting their rulers, the Iranians have been able to act with greater impunity.
        The Iranians are also smuggling large amounts of money to Hamas in Gaza. Last month the Israel Air Force attacked a car carrying several Hamas operatives near Rafah. The car was carrying as much as $18 million, sources said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Gaza Border Kibbutz Targeted by Rocket Attacks - Greer Fay Cashman
    President Shimon Peres visited Kibbutz Nahal Oz on Thursday, where residents are constantly under the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza. Some of the youngsters in the kibbutz had been on the school bus that had dropped them off minutes before it was hit by an anti-tank missile last Thursday. In addition, on April 8, the kibbutz suffered a rocket attack that caused damage. Nahal Oz has a tradition of planting a tree wherever a huge hole is left in the earth by a rocket.
        Fourth-graders Shai, Ophir, and Chen told Peres that for the past two weeks they were forbidden to play outdoors. "Our lives are not the same as those of other children," they said. Peres pledged to do all that he could to encourage more people to settle at Nahal Oz and to bring more resources and investors to the kibbutz. Peres praised the children, telling them that they were real heroes in the eyes of the nation. "The State of Israel is proud of you for living in Nahal Oz despite all the dangers," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • The Palestinians' Mistake in Seeking Statehood from the UN - Aaron David Miller
    The notion Palestinians are cooking up, for UN action on Palestinian statehood this fall, won't deliver them a state or even bring them closer to one. The result will be the opposite: forcing the U.S. to oppose Palestinian efforts, energizing Congress to restrict assistance to Palestinian institution-building, and probably prompting Israel to do very real things on the ground.
        The Palestinian Authority doesn't control Gaza, most of the West Bank or its putative capital in east Jerusalem. An empty resolution in New York will score points where it doesn't count and reflect a lack of capacity where it does - on the ground. No matter how artful and skillful the UN campaign is, the U.S. will almost certainly oppose it. Washington will veto the resolution in the Security Council, and won't concede the principle of declaring statehood outside of negotiations. To say that the Obama administration won't risk spending political capital on an international campaign to isolate Israel in the UN General Assembly the year before a presidential election is probably the understatement of the century.
        Then there's Israel. Time and again, the Israelis have shown that they will defy rather than submit to international pressure. The writer, a former Middle East negotiator, is at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (Washington Post)
  • The European Union: Challenges for Israeli Diplomacy - Tamas Berzi
    Britain, France, and Germany have expressed an interest in obtaining a united European Union position on the recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, with a provision for land swaps. Should the Palestinians proceed with their plan to seek a UN General Assembly resolution stating that the Palestinian Authority constitutes a state and its borders should be based on the 1967 lines, the question of how the EU will vote will be critical. Past experience suggests that the Palestinian representatives will seek a "qualitative majority" at the UN, based on the EU and major Western powers, and will not be satisfied with an "automatic majority" of Third World countries based on the Non-Aligned Movement alone.
        According to the Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force on December 1, 2009, the EU is to define and implement a common foreign and security policy. However, in practice, the EU often faces difficulties in acting in a unified way. On the Middle East, the EU faces major difficulties in achieving consensus, as European countries are often split in their voting at the UN. Looking at recent European voting records, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia are the countries most likely to support Israel's positions.
        The Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement of 1995, which stated that "neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations," was witnessed by the EU. Thus, any European move in support of a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would be a violation of those commitments. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • A Gaza "Defensive Shield" Operation? - Amiel Ungar
    Former National Security Adviser Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland said last week that Israel should consider implementing a "Defensive Shield"-like operation in Gaza. Defensive Shield was launched in the West Bank after the Park Hotel seder atrocity on March 27, 2002, when a homicide bomber massacred 30 Israelis at the Netanya hotel. Defensive Shield radically changed the security equation by pulverizing Arafat's terror apparatus, reviving Israel's intelligence access, and creating a military situation whereby small elite squads can snatch wanted terrorists without causing collateral damage. The change has obviously been extremely beneficial to Israeli security, but it also helped fuel the current Palestinian prosperity that resulted once the grip of rival terror warlords was broken. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Defense Minister Barak: "IDF Is Strong Enough to Conquer Gaza" (Jerusalem Post)
  • How Many Palestinian Arab Refugees Were There? - Efraim Karsh
    At the end of the 1948 war, the Israeli government set the number of Palestinian refugees at 550,000-600,000, but within a year, as large masses of people sought to benefit from the unprecedented influx of international funds to the area, some 962,000 alleged refugees had been registered with the newly-established UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The PLO says there are now 5 million refugees.
        In early June 1948, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was told by Yossef Weitz of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) that 335,000 Arabs fled. A comprehensive report by the Hagana's intelligence service, comprising a detailed village-by-village breakdown of the exodus, set the number of Palestinian Arab evacuees between December 1, 1947, and June 1, 1948, at 391,000.
        This estimate was substantially higher than the 360,000 figure in the report of the UN mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte, submitted to the General Assembly on September 16, or the revised estimate of 400,300 a couple of weeks later by Sir Raphael Cilento, director of the UN Disaster Relief Project (DRP) in Palestine, and was virtually identical to the supplementary report submitted on October 18 by Bernadotte's successor, Ralph Bunche, which set the number of refugees at 472,000 and anticipated the figure to reach a maximum of slightly over 500,000. (Israel Affairs-Middle East Forum)
  • Arab World

  • Will the Arab Spring Bring a Peace Agreement with Israel? - Editorial
    For the United States and other Western democracies, the most critical challenge in the region in the coming years will be guiding Arab states toward liberal democracy and preventing the rise of new authoritarian or extremist Islamic regimes. Western diplomats and politicians nevertheless remain preoccupied with creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, and the issue is likely to return to center stage in Washington in the coming month. President Obama has appeared fixated on the Israeli-Palestinian problem since the beginning of his administration.
        European governments have been pressing for a new initiative by the Middle East "Quartet" that would attempt to set the parameters for Palestinian statehood. The Palestinians themselves are preparing to ask the UN General Assembly to recognize a Palestinian state at its meeting in September - the date Mr. Obama unwisely set as the deadline for reaching a peace settlement. To its credit, the administration has been resisting these initiatives, which would probably set back rather than advance the Palestinian cause. The American position remains that Palestinians can achieve statehood only through negotiations with Israel.
        The problem is that Palestinian leaders have little interest in negotiating with the current Israeli government. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has conditioned further talks on concessions that he knows Israel will not make - such as a freeze on all housing construction in Jerusalem. As President Bill Clinton learned a decade ago, outside intervention won't succeed if the parties themselves are not ready to deal. The administration should pressure Mr. Abbas to begin talking to Palestinians about why peace with Israel is desirable and what concessions will be necessary - something he has never done. (Washington Post)
  • The Stakes in the Middle East - Natan Sharansky
    Has the Muslim and Arab Spring been dangerously deflected? In the case of this latest movement, its work has barely begun. The nations of the free world must, without delay, seize the moment to lend a hand. For decades, tyranny was seen as the guarantor of stability, just as corruption guaranteed that the regimes' friendship could be bought.
        This great awakening cannot be wished away. It may be stalled; it may be temporarily forced underground; but it cannot be extinguished forever. Already it has shattered the longstanding truism that the Arab and Muslim peoples of the Middle East have no real desire for freedom, that they are content with living in societies dominated by fear.
        Some in the West are pointing to the alleged absence of any other centers of potential leadership within Arab society, and are "discovering" moderate elements within some of the region's worst actors. Take the evident willingness expressed by Washington to "engage" the Muslim Brotherhood. What is really being justified is an abdication of the free world's own ability to influence the momentous developments now gripping the Muslim world. There is an alternative: to throw one's support unequivocally behind the reformers and democrats who represent the real hope for a future of peace, liberty - and stability. (Jewish Review of Books)
  • NATO "Coalition of the Unwilling" in Libya - Con Coughlin
    At present, just six nations - Britain, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Belgium - are involved in the 50 or so bombing missions that NATO aircraft are flying each night against forces loyal to Gaddafi. Of these, 40 are carried out by the British and French - although senior NATO officers say they have been impressed by the performance of the Norwegians and the Danes, who have dropped a high percentage of their ordnance, whereas RAF pilots and their French counterparts often return with their weapons loads intact, for fear of causing civilian casualties. As for the rest of the 40 or so countries that are supposed to be actively involved in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973, they should perhaps be referred to as the coalition of the unwilling.
        The contribution of the Arab states has similarly been negligible, even though it was as a result of their calls for intervention, via the Arab League, that the Security Council voted in favor of action in the first place. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Libya's Pathway to Peace - Barack Obama, David Cameron, and Nicolas Sarkozy (International Herald Tribune)
        See also Headfirst into the Libyan Quagmire - Dov S. Zakheim (National Interest)
  • Middle East Revolutions Off the Rails - Christopher Dickey
    As uprisings have swept through the Arab world, there's an ill-disguised hope in Washington and in European capitals that somehow everything will calm down. But as Al-Hayat columnist Raghida Dergham puts it, the Arab Spring will be followed by summer, fall - and winter.
        Historian David Fromkin put his finger on the essential problem in his classic history of the partition of the Middle East after World War I, A Peace to End All Peace: "The characteristic feature of the region's politics is that there is no sense of legitimacy." What we're watching right now is the painful creation of a new Middle East where, eventually, countries will be recognized as legitimate reflections of their people's national identities, and governance will have the legitimacy of popular support.
        As Fromkin pointed out, after the fall of the Roman empire, it took Europe more than 1,500 years, and many disastrous wars, to get that far. In the Middle East, we're probably talking decades rather than centuries. But those decades will be tough. The writer is Paris bureau chief and Middle East editor of Newsweek. (Daily Beast)
  • The Widening War Against Sufism in Egypt - Stephen Schwartz
    In the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution, the networks of the Muslim Brotherhood have appeared to many as prepared to assume political leadership of the country. While the Brotherhood now disclaims violence and radicalism in religion, it shares an extensive history with the more aggressive, so-called "Salafis."
        In Egypt, Islamist radicals had, recently, mainly targeted Coptic Christians, but anti-Sufi aggression commenced with depredations in Alexandria, in which Sufis account for one in eight city-dwellers, and Sufi shrines and mosques are prominent landmarks. The city's most famous mosque, named for and sheltering the tomb of Al-Mursi Abu'l Abbas, a Spanish-born 13th century Sufi, was one of the first sites reportedly invaded by extremists.
        An important example of village Muslim resistance to Wahhabi intrusion was reported in Egypt on 3 April, in the Nile delta district of Al-Qalyubiya. A party of more than 20 radicals, carrying sledgehammers and crowbars, arrived at the Sidi Abdel Rahman shrine after nightfall, hoping to demolish it. Alarm spread in the community and residents turned out to repel the radicals, beating two of them. Five Sufi shrines had already been destroyed in Al-Qalyubiya. (NewsGram-India)
  • Weekend Feature

  • IDF Medical Team Head Discusses Japan Mission - Anshel Pfeffer
    Dr. Ofir Cohen Marom returned Tuesday from two weeks in Japan where he headed the IDF medical team sent there after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. "The Japanese did not want to accept assistance from any country.... Luckily for us, the mayor of Kurihara volunteered in Israel years ago, and he is a good friend of our ambassador in Tokyo. This mayor decided to look after the fishing village of Minamisanriku, an hour's ride from Kurihara. The village was completely destroyed by the tsunami that struck after the earthquake and nearly half of its 10,000 residents died. The rest were left without shelter."
        "We set up a medical service that basically became the anchor for all the services in that area. After our arrival was approved, we realized that there was no need for trauma medicine but for medical treatment for the hundreds of thousands of people roaming around without a roof over their heads....In the first weeks there were hardly any medical services."
        "The delegation had 55 members, 30 medical personnel including 14 doctors, seven nurses, and nine medical logistics people, X-ray technicians and lab personnel. We brought a doctor from each relevant field - general surgery, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, internal medicine, gynecology, pediatrics and geriatrics - and we built a medical center there that treated patients and also provided digital X-ray services and a state-of-the-art lab for doctors already there."
        "Not all the Japanese liked the idea of our coming. The Japanese health system does not like people interfering, so we pretty much arrived against their will and at first they limited what we could do.... Day by day, the collaboration grew and deepened."   (Ha'aretz)

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Current, and Prospects for Post-Mubarak Egypt: An Early Assessment - Robert Satloff (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Washington Institute executive director Robert Satloff, who just returned from a fact-finding mission to Egypt, told the House Intelligence Committee on April 13:

  • One cannot but be moved by the courage, enthusiasm and audacity of the people - largely young people - who toppled the Mubarak regime. I believe their commitment and determination will eventually be vindicated in the development of a more hopeful, more open, forward-looking Egypt. In other words, the long-term looks positive. However, for many reasons, the near term looks problematic.
  • Liberal activists were responsible for the takeoff of the revolution but, so far, Islamists and the military have been defining the landing. From the moment the Islamists committed themselves to the fight, their goal has been to capture, exploit and inherit the revolution.
  • Deep concern about the Muslim Brotherhood's potential emergence as a major player and even power-broker is warranted. The Brotherhood is not, as some suggest, simply an Egyptian version of the March of Dimes - that is, a social welfare organization whose goals are fundamentally humanitarian. On the contrary, the Brotherhood is a profoundly political organization that seeks to reorder Egyptian (and broader Muslim) society in an Islamist fashion.
  • The organization will exploit whatever opportunities it is offered; it has renounced its most ambitious goals and the violent means to achieve them only as a result of regime compulsion, not by free choice. Should the Brotherhood achieve political power, it will almost certainly use that power to transform Egypt into a very different place.
  • However, it would be a mistake for the U.S. to operate under the assumption that the Brotherhood's ascension to power is inevitable. Moreover, recent actions by the Supreme Military Council suggest that the Egyptian military does not intend to change an electoral system that effectively prevents the Brotherhood from achieving political power through the ballot box.
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