RECOMMENDED READING: Muslim Brotherhood: Moderate Or Jihadist?


Israeli analyst Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi has written a useful analysis of the recent controversy sparked by Robert Leiken who argued in an article for Foreign Affairs that the U.S. shoud change it’s policy and “enrage” with the Muslim Brotherhood. At the end of his analysis, Halevi sums up the differences and similarities between the Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda arguing that the distinction is one of tactics but not strategy:

The Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda differ regarding tactics but share a common strategy. Al-Qaeda favors world Islamic recruitment for a revolution made possible by terrorist attacks and an implacable jihad to destroy the economies of the Western countries and expel Western presence from Muslim regions. The Muslim Brotherhood supports terrorism and jihad against foreign presence in the Islamic world, but its top priority is constructing a Muslim infrastructure in the West that will slowly but surely enable it to rule during the 21st century. The organization’s stance is that an Al-Qaeda attack against the West at this time might hamper the Islamic movement’s buildup and focus the West on the threat implicit in Muslim communities. However, as far as the final goal is concerned, there are no policy differences between Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The two organizations have the same objective: to place the entire world under an Islamic caliphate.

He concludes by expressing his bewilderment at why Leiken would argue for collaboration with the Brotherhood given the goals of the organization:

The Muslim Brotherhood is involved in terrorism and provides religious Islamic justification for suicide bombing, terrorism, and terrorist attacks against American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jihad in all its aspects, including military, is perceived as the prime tool in the battle against the West. It is difficult to find a common set of interests for the United States and the Muslim Brotherhood, as do Leiken and Brooke. Collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood, while turning a blind eye to their intentions, both overt and hidden, is tantamount to paving the way for their “democratic” takeover of the moderate Arab regimes (similar to the bitter experience of the Legislative Council elections in the Palestinian Authority in January 2006) and for harming the United States’ most vital interests in the Middle East. It is not easy to understand why Leiken and Brooke have recommended that the American administration consider the Muslim Brotherhood a potential partner, given that the United States is its principal enemy. The organization actively seeks to destroy America’s status as a world power and to replace it with an Islamic power whose foreign policy will be based on jihad and the spread of Islam.

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