ANALYSIS: A Black Day For The GMBDW; The Obama Administration Courting Of Youssef Qaradawi


On September 12 2001, the day we started our efforts to understand and monitor the Global Muslim Brotherhood, we could never in our darkest imagination have possibly considered that the White House of the United States  would be used to host a meeting with a close associate of Global Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. In those days, we naively thought that exposing the Brotherhood’s profound and enduring ties to terrorism, religious hatred, and anti-Americanism would be sufficient to forever bar its consideration as any kind of partner for those who care about human rights and liberal democracy. Yet, as we posted earlier, we woke up yesterday to discover that Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, a close associate of Qaradawi, had recently visited the White House, possibly carrying a letter from Qaradawi, where he met with senior White House officials and representatives of other government agencies including an aide to President Obama and US OIC Envoy Rashad Hussain. How exactly had things progressed so far that the White House was meeting with a representative of an organization that once called for attacks on US troops in Iraq and whose leader has spewed forth vile anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, not to mention sitting together on a board with a Saudi who in turn is close to groups supporting both Hamas and Al Qaeda? Although the meeting at the White House with Sheikh Bin Bayyah was a shock, even to us, in retrospect it should not have been given that everything the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch and its predecessor publication has reported over the years.

While space and time unfortunately do not permit a complete analysis of how these things have come to pass, it is instructive to note that the Obama Administration’s policy toward the Global Muslim Brotherhood has evolved over two distinct, but related tracks. Israeli analyst Barry Rubin has adroitly summarized the foreign policy track, a US alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood which he labels the “Obama Doctrine”:

Here is what I wrote in October 2010. The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad al-Badi, had just given a sermon calling for the overthrow of Egypt’s government, which happened four months later, and a jihad against the United States, a country he considered weak, foolish, and retreating from the Middle East. I declared that this was:

‘One of those obscure Middle East events of the utmost significance that is ignored by the Western mass media, especially because they happen in Arabic, not English; by Western governments, because they don’t fit their policies; and by experts, because they don’t mesh with their preconceptions.’

Two and a half years ago, who would ever have thought that the United States would enter an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood? There were hints in President Barack Obama’s Cairo speech, yet now it is clear that this is the new basis for regional security sought by the Obama Administration.

For all practical purposes the closest allies to the United States are no longer Israel, Saudi Arabia, and a moderate Egypt but an Islamist Egypt, an Islamist regime in Turkey, and the Syrian rebels led by the Brotherhood.

And literally every mainstream media outlet, every expert who speaks in public, every Democrat and the majority of Republican politicians still don’t realize that this is true.”

There have been in American history the Truman Doctrine (help countries fight Communist takeover), the Nixon Doctrine (get local middle-sized powers to take part of the burden of the Cold War from the United States), the Carter Doctrine (defend Gulf Arab states from Iranian aggression), and the Reagan Doctrine (go on the offensive against Soviet expansionism). Now we have the Obama Doctrine:

Read the rest here.

We also have reported on the role of White House advisor Quintan Wiktorowicz as one of the principle architects in the White House decision to employ “peaceful Islamists” as a bulwark against Al Qaeda and related groups.

The second track of the Obama Administration towards the Global Muslim Brotherhood has been to court the groups within the United States comprising its US component. That this was President Obamas intention from the beginning should have been clear from his selection of Mazen Asbahi as his campaign advisor. Whatever else he was, Mr. Asbahi was clearly tied to multiple organizations of the US Brotherhood, representing a dramatic change in direction by then candidate Obama. Although Mr. Asbahi was dismissed from the campaign following the revelations of his US Brotherhood ties by we, President Obama went on to surround himself with other individuals also close to the US Brotherhood, most notably Dahlia Mogahed, former Obama Faith Advisor and protege of Saudi-funded John Esposito, and US OIC Envoy Rashad Hussain with his own set of associations with the US Muslim Brotherhood.

Although as we have repeatedly mentioned, while there are those who continue to push the theme of Muslim Brotherhood “infiltration” into the US government, we have always considered this to be a fantastical notion given that none of the individuals in question have made any particular attempt to disguise their affiliations. Rather it is clear to us that the selection of these individuals as Obama advisers and officials represents the domestic counterpart of the “Obama Doctrine” in foreign policy. That is, by surrounding himself with figures close to the US Brotherhood, the Obama Administration appears to believe that it makes an alliance with the Global Muslim Brotherhood just that much easier. That this is a highly plausible explanation can be seen by looking no further than the Abdallah Bin Bayyah meeting at the White House, a meeting which was clearly facilitated by Mr. Hussain’s previous meetings with Sheikh Bin Bayyah, including one sponsored by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in Tunis. That meeting can be seen as part of Mr. Hussain’s role in the  increasing “rehabilitation” of  ISNA, a dubious proposition that we discussed in detail in a recent post.

It should not be thought from what we have said that we believe that this Brotherhood policy was entirely a product of the Obama Administration. A review of our past postings on the subject shows that this policy was being inculcated during the Bush years and likely even before that. Some possible clues include:

  • “Outreach” to US Muslim Brotherhood groups by Bush-era official Karen Hughes
  • The work of the Leadership Group of the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project, headed by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
  • Constant efforts by the US State Department to bring together US Muslim Brotherhood groups with their foreign counterparts
  • Meetings by a US Brotherhood group with various government agencies.

In fact, in June 2007 we reported that the US Brotherhood had banded together to create a new organization dedicated to forming partnerships with the US government. Still in those earlier days, at least parts of the US government were maintaining enough of a “firewall” so that formal engagement with groups such as ISNA was prohibited.

Now that the firewall between the the US Government and the Global Muslim Brotherhood has seemingly been completely dismantled by the Obama Administration, we would like to make perfectly clear our clear and unambiguous opposition to the “Obama Doctrine.” On a practical level, we can find no better statement about the wisdom, or rather lack there of, in the latest in a long line of secret alliances with the Brotherhood than that penned by author and former Wall Street Journal reporter Ian Johnson. In 2011, Mr. Johnson published an article titled “Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood” in which he critiques the wisdom of such alliances:

As US-backed strongmen around North Africa and the Middle East are being toppled or shaken by popular protests, Washington is grappling with a crucial foreign-policy issue: how to deal with the powerful but opaque Muslim Brotherhood. In Egypt, the Brotherhood has taken an increasingly forceful part in the protests, issuing a statement Thursday calling for Mubarak’s immediate resignation. And though it is far from clear what role the Brotherhood would have should Mubarak step down, the Egyptian president has been claiming it will take over. In any case, the movement is likely to be a major player in any transitional government. Journalists and pundits are already weighing in with advice on the strengths and dangers of this 83-year-old Islamist movement, whose various national branches are the most potent opposition force in virtually all of these countries. Some wonder how the Brotherhood will treat Israel, or if it really has renounced violence. Most—including the Obama administration —seem to think that it is a movement the West can do business with, even if the White House denies formal contacts.If this discussion evokes a sense of déjà vu, this is because over the past sixty years we have had it many times before, with almost identical outcomes. Since the 1950s, the United States has secretly struck up alliances with the Brotherhood or its offshoots on issues as diverse as fighting communism and calming tensions among European Muslims. And if we look to history, we can see a familiar pattern: each time, US leaders have decided that the Brotherhood could be useful and tried to bend it to America’s goals, and each time, maybe not surprisingly, the only party that clearly has benefited has been the Brotherhood.

Read the rest here.

(Disclosure notice: The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch editor assisted Mr. Johnson in the research for his book.)

Beyond practical considerations, the GMBDW questions the propriety and morality of the Obama administration’s courting of Youssef Qaradawi and the Global Muslim Brotherhood. We do not consider ourself naive and are open to the notion that at times and for strategic/tactical purposes, a democratic country must negotiate, consort, or meet with groups and individuals that do not represent what we profess our values to be. Were such purposes to be the motivation behind the White House meeting with Sheikh Bin Bayyah, we would simply oppose it on the grounds that Mr. Johnson’s piece identified– that it is overwhelmingly likely to represent yet another failure in a long line of US failures in our history of such attempts. Yet, if the US government is going to insist on pursuing an alliance with the Global Brotherhood, we believe that it should never be done in such a way that it appears to confer respect and legitimacy upon those individuals and groups that Sheikh Bin Bayyah represents. For if we have learned on thing about the Global Muslim Brotherhood in the many, many years we have engaged with the subject, it is that it seeks such respect and legitimacy above all things as it pursues its goal of representing itself as the authentic voice of the Islamic community around the world.

We believe that the GMBDW has more than comprehensively and thoroughly documented the support throughout the Global Muslim Brotherhood for terrorism, religious hatred, and the totalitarian political doctrine of Islamism. We believe the Obama Administration owes both an explanation and an apology to the American people, as well as to others around the world, for appearing to confer the  respect and legitimacy of a White House meeting, complete with photo-op, upon Abdallah Bin Bayyah when he is so clearly identified with both leaders and key organizations of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. At the very least, such an explanation and apology should be offered to the families of US troops who were killed in the sorts of attacks endorsed and encouraged by Sheikh Bin Bayyah and his International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS).

We won’t hold our breath waiting for such an apology and in mourning over the dearth of common sense and moral wisdom represented by the Obama Muslim Brotherhood Doctrine, we will not post any further today. We can only hope that future US leaders come to their senses and find other means to pursue our relationships with the Islamic world which, in the end, can be seen to be the biggest victims of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamism as events in Egypt continue to demonstrate.

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