Global media is reporting that the U.S. special coordinator for transitions in the Middle East has said that the U.S. would be “satisfied” if the Muslim Brotherhood wins the Egyptian elections and that he is willing to meet with the Egyptian Brotherhood given the chance. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post:
JPOST.COM STAFF AND REUTERS 11/05/2011 04:28 The United States would be “satisfied” should free elections in Egypt produce a victory for the Muslim Brotherhood, AFP reported Friday according to the US’s special coordinator for transitions in the Middle East, William Taylor. Taylor said the US would judge elected parties in the Middle East based “on what they do, and not what they’re called,” AFP quoted him as saying. He added that he did not meet with Brotherhood officials in his latest visit to Cairo, but would have had he been given the chance. The point man on Middle East transitions said that so-called Arab Spring revolutions and a desire for democratic elections create an environment in which groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are able to shed associations with terror. Taylor’s comments came the week after Tunisia – widely seen as the birthplace of Arab Spring revolutions – elected its own Islamist Ennahda party to form a governing coalitions. Ennahda emerged the victor in the nation’s first ever free elections. The party, banned before the revolution that ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, won 90 of the 217 seats in the new assembly. It was not, however, an outright win. The party is expected to form a coalition with two of the secularist runners-up.
According to its website, William Taylor is a Vice-President of the U.S. Institute of Peace, described by itself as ” an independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence.”
The USIP, in turn, has a close relationship with the Center for the Study of Islamic and Democracy (CSID), founded in 1998 largely by the efforts of Georgetown University academic Dr. Esposito who during the 1990’s served in the State Department as a “foreign affairs analyst” and who has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations. Many members of the early CSID board were associated with IIIT, the American Muslim Council, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). For example, past CSID board members included Jamal Barzinji and Taha Al-Alwani, both associated with IIIT and both important leaders in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood who helped to establish many of the most important U.S. Brotherhood organizations. Antony Sullivan, the current CSID Vice-Chair, has many ties to U.S.Brotherhood groups including the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), the United Association for Studies and Research (USAR), and the Circle of Tradition and Progress (COTP), a group whose other founding members included Youssef Qaradawi, the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood. From its inception, CSID has argued that the U.S. government should support Islamist movements in foreign countries and has received financial support from the U.S. State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy and the United States Institute of Peace.
A previous post discussed the 2010 CSID annual conference describing it as representing “perhaps the largest public gathering of Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders and U.S. government officials to date.” As noted in that post, the USIP was one of the co-sponsors of that conference.
Another post reported that a May 2011 CSID forum had hosted Hamadi Jebali, a leader of the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood and its choice to be the next Prime Minister. At the time, a Mahgreb Confidential report (source below) commented on the role of CSID leader Radwan Masmoudi in bringing the U.S. together with the Tunisian “moderate Islamists”:
A Tunisian engineer living in the United States, Radwan Masmoiudi, is a leading architect of the rapprochement between American diplomats and Tunisia’s moderate Islamists. In 1999, he founded the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) and plans to shortly open an office in Tunis. Championing dialogue between the secular and Islamist worlds, the center is financed by the State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the US Institute of Peace.
(Source: Maghreb Confidential “Washington ready to play soft Islam card” May 26, 2011)