Written by Barry Rubin
”Don’t scare anyone. But once you gain ground then move ahead. You must utilize as many people as possible who may be of use to us.” –Joseph Stalin to future Communist dictator of Hungary Mattyas Rakosi, December 5, 1944.
It really isn’t too hard to understand what is happening in the Middle East if you watch the facts.
Regarding Jordan, Jeffrey Goldberg’s has done an extremely valuable profile of Abdullah. The Jordanian monarch is telling Western visitors that their countries are making a big mistake by supporting the Islamists. He complains that the U.S. State Department is ignoring his complaints and that U.S. officials are telling him, “The only way you can have democracy is through the Muslim Brotherhood.”
He responds that the Brotherhood wants to impose anti-American reactionary governments and that his “major fight” is to stop them. No margin may be left for relative moderate and pro-American states between a Sunni Islamist alliance led by Egypt and including Turkey versus a Shia Islamist alliance led by Iran says Abdallah and he’s right. The only difference, Abdallah explains, between the Turkish and Egyptian regimes are their timetables for installing dictatorships. Egypt’s new president, says the king, is obsessed with a hostile view of Israel.
Meanwhile, while President Barack Obama was love-bombing Israel during his visit, U.S. policy was helping to install a Muslim Brotherhood supporter as the putative next leader of Syria. Obama’s strategy is, with appropriate adjustments to the national scene, the same as his disastrous policy in Egypt.
The new leader of the opposition coalition is Ghassan Hitto, an obscure figure who has been long-resident in the United States. His actual election contained two hints:
During the Cold War, American policy toward Third World countries frequently looked for a “third way” democratic alternative, leaders who were neither Communists nor right-wing authoritarians. Today, however, the Obama Administration doesn’t do the equivalent at all, despite pretenses to the contrary. Rather it seeks leadership from the most seemingly moderate people who represent Islamist groups. Of course, this moderation is largely deceptive.
That was the pattern in Egypt; now it is the same failed strategy in Syria. Hitto is a typical example of such a person. He has lived in the United States and went to university there, so presumably knows America and has become more moderate by living there. He is involved in hi-tech enterprises so supposedly he is a modern type of guy. Remember how now-dictator of Syria Bashar al-Assad was lavishly praised because he studied and lived in London and was supposedly interested in Internet?
In addition, nobody has (yet) come up with an outrageous Hitto statement. His ties to the Brotherhood are not so blatant—even though they are obvious—that the Obama Administration and the mass media cannot deny and ignore them.
Yet the connections between Hitto and the Muslim Brotherhood—and those are only the ones documented quickly following his election—are extensive.
The list goes on and on.
As if to sum up the situation, Hassan Hassan of the United Arab Emirates newspaper The National, published an article entitled “How the Muslim Brotherhood Hijacked Syria’s Revolution.”
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist forPajamasMedia. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan)