ANALYSIS: Does The Carnegie Endowment Have A Clue?


The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) is reporting that the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a conference last week that included high-level members of Islamist parties representing much of the Global Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East. According to the report:

On Thursday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a conference with high-level representatives of Islamist parties from Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, and Libya. Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, gave opening remarks. The first panel, titled “Building New Regimes After the Uprising,” featured Mustapha Elkhalfi, Moroccan minister of communication, Abdul Mawgoud Rageh Dardery, member of parliament for the Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt, Nahil Alkofahi, member of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Action Front Party in Jordan, and Sahbi Atig, member of National Constituent Assembly for the Ennahda party in Tunisia. Marwan Muasher, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, moderated the panel. The second panel, titled “Writing a New Constitution,” featured Khaled Al-Qazzaz, foreign relations coordinator for the Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt, Osama Al-Saghir, a member of National Constituent Assembly for the Ennahda party in Tunisia, and Mohamed Gaair, public relations for the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya. Nathan Brown, a senior associate for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, moderated the panel.

Full conference notes available here.

Video of the conference available here (not yet fully reviewed by GMBDW) According to the  video, the conference was opened by Carnegie President Jessica Mathews who stated that the Islamist parties in the region were “not well understood.” On the contrary, the entities involved have a long record of statements providing a clear record of their positions. For example the Islamic Action Front (IAF) and its parent body the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood have been covered by the GMBDW. Posts have included reports on:

  • 2007 protests in which IAF demonstrators call for more suicide attacks against Israel.
  • 2008 statements by the IAF leader in which he a said escalating tension in Lebanon was part of a “US agenda that seeks to stir internal sedition and obstruct all prospects of national reconciliation in Lebanon”.
  • A 2009 statement by the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood that Israeli actions in Gaza were “the ugliest crime in history.”
  • A 2010 statement by the leader of the IAF that his movement is willing to sacrifice “our lives and money” for the sake of holy sites and which called for the government to sever ties with Israel.
  • A 2010 statement by the leader of the IAF which called for a “Third Intifada” by the Palestinians against Israel in connection with Islamic holy sites.
  • A 2010 statement by the IAF in support of Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir, accused by the International Criminal Court of genocide in Sudan.
  • A 2010 statement by the IAF accusing the government of “apostasy” for assisting the U.S. in Afghanistan.
  • A 2011 IAF statement suggesting that Israel might be behind the recent bomb attack on an Egyptian Coptic church
  • A 2011 IAF demand for punishment for those in Jordan who may have warned Israel about the attacks in Eilat.

This track record might give a reasonable person reason to question the commitment by the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood to human rights and peace, a subject addressed in an earlier post.

On a further note, a Jordanian media reportcities the following comments by another Carnegie official:

Carnegie’s Marina Ottaway says the Islamist parties visiting Washington are separate entities, not one large, unified political bloc. She adds that Islamist parties in various countries have surprisingly little contact with one another. “In other words, we always were surprised that when we talked, for example, to the Moroccans, we knew more than they did about what the Egyptians were doing, or vice versa,” Ottaway said.

Ottaway’s statement reveals a not so surprising lack of awareness of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and how it operates. It is preposterous to suggest that Middle Eastern Islamists have “surprisingly little contact with one another” based solely on statements by the parties involved. Her statement is similar to April 2011 testimony given before the U.S. Congress by Carnegie Endowment Mideast analyst Nathan Brown who described what he called the “International Brotherhood”  as a “group of loosely linked, ideologically similar movements” that in his characterization, resemble something like a “group of college fraternities.”

Posts from last week reported that Carnegie was hosting the first ever delegation of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to the U.S.

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