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The Muslim Brotherhood Threat to the Middle East, Israel and the World

The spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, states the Muslim Brotherhood’s main “objective is the establishment of an Islamic state under Sharia in Egypt, in all Muslim states and in all states in the world. This is prelude to the re-establishment of a world-wide Islamic caliphate which will dominate the whole globe.” [1]

Founded by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt in 1928 for the purpose of creating a worldwide Islamic empire, the Muslim Brotherhood has established branches and affiliates in over 100 countries, including Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, the United States, Canada and in the so-called Palestinian mini-statelets in the West Bank and Gaza (respectively parts of Jordan and Egypt until the 1967 Six Day War). Ostensibly non-violent, the Muslim Brotherhood operates through surrogate terrorist organizations such as the PLO/Fatah, al-Qaeda, and Hamas.

Al-Banna proclaimed that “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.” [2] The Brotherhood’s credo “Allah is our objective, the Koran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle [jihad] is our way, and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations” reflects the intention of using armed struggle, or jihad against the “infidels” since, as al-Banna noted, “Jihad is an obligation from Allah on every Muslim and cannot be ignored nor evaded.” [3] (Koran 9:5 – “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them, using every stratagem of war.”)

The Brotherhood is virulently anti-Semitic…in 1941 prominent Brotherhood member and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini travelled to Europe and allied the Brotherhood with Hitler and the Nazi Party of Germany. Al-Husseini settled in Berlin in late 1941 and resided there for most of the war. [4] In a speech delivered on November 2, 1943 at the Luftwaffe hall in Berlin, The Grand Mufti declared: “The Germans know how to get rid of the Jews. They have definitely solved the Jewish problem.” [5] Al-Husseini organized the formation of more than two dozen Muslim Waffen SS and Wehrmacht units in Bosnia, Kosovo, Western Macedonia, North Africa and German-occupied Soviet Union. After the war, wanted for war crimes by the Yugoslav government, al-Husseini fled to Egypt, where he worked with the Odessa Network to bring thousands of Nazis to the Middle East and into the Egyptian and Syrian military. [6] In 1945, he was named the Muslim Brotherhood leader in Jerusalem.

In 1946 al-Husseini met his Egyptian-born, grandnephew, Yasser Arafat, who at 17 began to work for al-Husseini as an arms smuggler for al-Husseini’s militia forces in Jerusalem. Arafat became an official member of the Brotherhood in 1948 and attempted to fight the Jews in the 1948 War…but was stopped by Egyptian forces on his way from Cairo. In 1957, while at university in Kuwait, Arafat founded the Palestinian terror organization Fatah, which later joined, and then took control in 1969 of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

By 1987, however, the Muslim Brotherhood became increasingly dissatisfied with the secular-Marxist orientation of the PLO and Arafat’s greed and corruption (by the time of his death he had amassed a personal fortune estimated at $1.3 billion). [7] The Brotherhood decided to replace both PLO and Arafat with a new, more religious terrorist organization: the Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah, or Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas led by a cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

The Hamas Charter calls for the elimination of Israel and Jews in Palestine, citing the hadith: The Prophet Muhammad has said, “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari). [8]

Hamas representatives have been open about their aims:

  • “Our goal is to liberate all of Palestine, from the river to the sea, from Rosh Hanikra to Umm Al-Rashrash [Eilat]. We do not want a state 364 square kilometers in size, nor do we want a state, which we had to beg for at the negotiating table. Such a state will never come to be. What we want is a free state, which maintains its dignity, 27,000 square kilometers in size – the size of Palestine in its entirety.” [9]

  • “The approaching victory, about which we are talking, is not limited to Palestine. You are creating the ethos of victory for all Arabs and Muslims, and Allah willing, even on the global level. Why? Because Allah has chosen you to fight the people He hates most – the Jews. Allah said, “You shall find the worst enemies of the believers to be the Jews and the polytheists.” [10] In other words, the Jews, who number 15 million all over the world, are equivalent to 4.5 billion infidels in their corruption and their struggle against the religion of Islam. “Therefore, our heroic prisoners who were arrested for killing Jews should know that by the grace of Allah, killing a single Jew is the same as killing 30 million Jews. Therefore, the reward of our martyrs is great, and your reward is also great.” [11]

  • “The annihilation of the Jews here in Palestine is one of the most splendid blessings for Palestine. This will be followed by a greater blessing, Allah be praised, with the establishment of a Caliphate that will rule the land and will be pleasing to men and God.” [12]

Hamas quickly began challenging the PLO and in 2006, the legislative victories of Hamas ended with PLO controlling the West Bank and Hamas controlling Gaza. The rivalry often broke out into open warfare with both sides conducting assassinations and abductions. More than 600 Palestinians are estimated to have died during this civil war period.

Following its rise to power via the “Arab Spring” movements in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood continued its attacks against the secular leaders of Yemen and Syria and is targeting the feudal leaders of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Emirates. The Brotherhood is consolidating control of Gaza and the West Bank through its surrogates, Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

If the Muslim Brotherhood were successful in overthrowing Assad in Syria and the King of Jordan, with its position in Egypt, Gaza, and the West Bank, Israel would effectively be surrounded by an enemy dedicated to its total liquidation.

In July of 2012, Muhammad Badj, the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide (and the true power behind Egypt’s new president, Muhammad Morsi) confirmed the necessity for every Muslim to save Jerusalem from the hands of the Israelis and to cleanse Palestine from the clutches of Israeli occupation. Specifically, he called on all Muslims to wage jihad with their money and their selves to free Jerusalem [13] – the same language also used by al-Qaeda. [14]

This followed the adoption by the Brotherhood in 1982 of a plan known as “The Global Project for Palestine” which called for:

  • Making the Palestinian cause a global wedge issue for Muslims;
  • Adopting the total liberation of Palestine from Israel and the creation of an Islamic state as a keystone in the plan for global Islamic domination;
  • Instigating a constant campaign to incite hatred by Muslims against Jews and rejecting any discussions of conciliation or coexistence with them;
  • Actively creating jihad terror cells within Palestine;
  • Linking the terrorist activities in Palestine with the global terror movement. [15]

By early December 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood was actively working to take complete control of the West Bank through either a “reconciliation” between the PLO and Hamas, which would result in a Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza; or, alternatively, for a violent, military attack on the PLO in the West Bank, finally eliminating Hamas’ only opposition amongst the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority quietly stopped its security operations against Hamas in the West Bank as part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s reconciliation efforts following the UN recognition of a Palestinian State.

On December 13, 2012, to mark its 25th anniversary, Hamas held a political rally in the West Bank city of Nablus.

At the same time as these apparent reconciliations were taking place, Aman, the Israeli military intelligence service, and Shin Bet were warning that Hamas was preparing to violently seize power in the West Bank. General Tawfiq Tirawi, a senior Fatah member and former head of Palestinian general intelligence, concurred, stating, “We’re on the verge of catastrophe. Hamas wants intifada (an uprising) and now only a spark is needed to light the inferno. Hamas will take over the West Bank.” [16]

Polls showed that 48 per cent of those in the West Bank supported Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in Gaza, compared with 45 per cent for Abbas, the West Bank PLO leader. [17]

Meanwhile Kaled Mashall, Hamas’ political leader, based in Egypt, confirmed that “From the sea to the river, from north to south, we will not give up any part of Palestine — it is our country, our right and our homeland,” said the Hamas chief. “We are all one,” he added, referring to Palestinians residing in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and inside Israel. “We are all united in the way of resistance.” [18]

In November 2012, the Dubai police Lt. General Dhahi Khalfan arrested 10 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and accused the Brotherhood of creating unrest in the UAE through the banned UAE Muslim Brotherhood group, the Al Islah Society. Khalfan also said that arrested UAE Muslim Brotherhood members had also been meeting with Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood “mentors” including Brotherhood leader Tariq Al-Suwaidan. [19]

The arrested leaders had a well-defined organizational structure, held secret meetings in different areas of the UAE, and were recruiting Egyptians residing in the UAE to join the Muslim Brotherhood. The members of the cell had established commercial firms to support their activities in the UAE and were illegally channeling significant amounts of money to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. They were involved in collecting confidential military information about the UAE military. The group also conducted training sessions on holding elections and other means to overthrow regimes in the Arab states.

Following successful campaigns in Egypt, Libya and other Middle East and North African nations, the Muslim Brotherhood now is trying to destabilize and possibly overthrow Jordan’s government. Recent anti-government riots aimed ultimately at removing King Abdullah from power are so severe that the government has turned 10,000 of its soldiers into riot police. [20]

Terrorism analyst and Act for America President Brigitte Gabriel said there are U.S. troops on the ground in Jordan. “We have actually positioned troops in Jordan to protect King Abdullah,” she said. “We’ve said that the Americans in Jordan are just there in case something happens in Syria so we can be close.”

She warned that the king’s position is in danger. “King Abdullah is hanging by a thread,” she said. “He has 20 percent approval in the country. The Muslim Brotherhood sees this as their opportunity to rise up after what they saw happen in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and now Syria.”

Gabriel said the uprising in Jordan is the product of America’s previous actions in Egypt and Libya. “We are seeing a reawakening of radical Islam all over the Middle East empowered by the weakening American perception throughout the Muslim world,” she explained, adding that another factor intensifying the protests is the perception that King Abdullah is a Western pawn.

“King Abdullah is perceived by the radicals as too secular and a puppet of Western powers. They loathe him also because of the peace treaty with Israel,” Gabriel said. “Most Jordanians are Palestinians who favor Hamas-style leadership instead of Abbas’ negotiating with Israel and trying to be a friend of America.”

She added that the rebels are learning from recent radical movements. “They are learning that what produces results are powerful organizations like Hamas dedicated to jihad and bringing pride and strength back to the Palestinians through Islamic warfare instead of a namby-pamby let’s sit together and have coffee while we talk about the problem in Abbas and King Abdullah style,” Gabriel said. [21]

Center for Security Policy analyst and former CIA officer, Clare Lopez said that the chain of events was a coordinated effort: “The so-called ‘Arab Spring,’ long planned and well-executed by jihadist forces, with deliberate and knowing assistance from the current national security leadership of the [U.S.], is nothing more than the implementation by Islamic powers of Phase 5 of the plan for global domination.”

“Although, unquestionably, there were both naive and spontaneous elements to uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya,” Lopez said, “the actual course of those revolutions and especially now, their aftermaths, were and are being managed carefully and professionally by the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida allies.” [22]

In Syria, the banned Muslim Brotherhood has manifested itself in the radical al-Qaeda group called al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda (thus Muslim Brotherhood) affiliated terrorist organization which has been designated a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” by the U.S. State Department. [23] The designation quickly drew the condemnation of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood chapter in early December 2012.

Al-Nusra is a leading member of a group of 13 radical Islamic groups that issued a statement posted on a jihadist website declaring Aleppo to be a new, independent Islamic state in Syria. [24]

On January 3, 2013, the private intelligence service STRATFOR reported that Muslim Brotherhood leaders arranged for Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani to meet with Essam al-Haddad, a foreign relations aide for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo to ostensibly discuss Suleimani’s expertise in exercising control over state security. [25]

However, Clare Lopez commented: Suleimani has no direct responsibility for ‘state security’ inside Iran but he does hold the portfolio for external liaison relationships with Iran’s jihadist partners: al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban — and now, it appears, the Muslim Brotherhood. [26]

Apart from the expanding nature of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Middle East and it’s threat to secular, Muslim regimes, a look at the map of Israel clearly indicates the existential threat to Israel itself as it becomes gradually encircled by enemies committed to its destruction.

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Bruce Tefft
Bruce Tefft served 21 years as a CIA Chief of Station abroad and was a founding member of the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center in 1985. He has more than 35 years experience in foreign affairs, intelligence and security and counter-terrorism. In addition to extensive research and teaching of counter-terrorism methods and techniques, he has also developed course material for Bachelor and Master-level degree programs. Bruce Tefft traveled more than 350,000 miles, training more than 20,000 thousand law enforcement officers and first responders throughout North America and in Europe and the Caribbean. After 9/11 he served as the New York Police Department’s Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Advisor. Bruce Tefft has his Master’s degree in History and Doctorate in International Law from the University of Denver.