IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Held Secret Summit to Join Forces Against Saudi Arabia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Report: IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Held Secret Summit to Join Forces Against Saudi Arabia

Monday, 18 November, 2019 – 13:00
Former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meet in Tehran in 2012. AFP file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
The Intercept revealed on Monday that the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) held a summit with the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey in 2014 in an attempt to join forces against Saudi Arabia.

The disclosure that two sides held a summit is included in a leaked archive of secret Iranian intelligence reports obtained by the American news organization.

One of the most important things the two sides shared was considering Saudi Arabia “the common enemy” of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, said The Intercept.

The Muslim Brotherhood was represented in the meeting by three of its most prominent leaders in exile: Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, Mahmoud El-Abiary, and Youssef Moustafa Nada, according to the document.

What neither side knew was that there was a spy in the summit. Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, MOIS, a rival of the Revolutionary Guards within the Iranian national security apparatus, secretly had an agent in the meeting who reported everything that was discussed.

The Muslim Brotherhood delegation opened the meeting with a boast, pointing out that the outfit “has organizations in 85 countries in the world.”

“Differences between Iran as a symbol and representative of the Shiite world and the Muslim Brotherhood as a representative of the Sunni world are indisputable,” the Brotherhood members noted, according to the MOIS cable. But they emphasized that there “should be a focus on joint grounds for cooperation.”

Perhaps, the Brotherhood delegation said, the two sides could join forces against the Saudis. The best place to do that was in Yemen.

“In Yemen, with the influence of Iran on Houthis and the influence of the Brotherhood on the armed tribal Sunni factions, there should be a joint effort to decrease the conflict between Houthis and Sunni tribes to be able to use their strength against Saudi Arabia,” the Brotherhood delegation argued.

There were public meetings and contacts between Iranian and Egyptian officials while Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Morsi was president of Egypt from 2012 to 2013, said The Intercept.

The Iranian intelligence cable about the 2014 meeting provides an intriguing glimpse at a secret effort by the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian officials to maintain contact — and determine whether they could still work together — after Morsi was removed from power.

Egypt: Sisi Urges All Egyptians to Back Push Against Militants

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Sisi Urges All Egyptians to Back Push Against Militants

Wednesday, 7 August, 2019 – 11:30
Egyptian investigators are seen in front of the damaged facade of the National Cancer Institute after an overnight fire from a blast, in Cairo, Egypt August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Asharq Al-Awsat
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi called Wednesday on the nation to back his government’s efforts to defeat militants, saying it’s the mission of every Egyptian.

His appeal came after a car packed with explosives was detonated earlier this week outside Egypt’s main cancer hospital in Cairo, killing at least 20 people.

The attack was the deadliest in the Egyptian capital in over two years.

Sisi said in a televised speech that it’s “not only the mission of the state to defeat (militants), but also, we as a society have to make our sons understand, enlighten and protect them against this” extremist ideology, the Associated Press reported.

The government has accused a militant group known as Hasm, linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, for Sunday’s attack, saying it was moving the car to carry out an attack elsewhere.

Egypt: Brotherhood Defends Members Accused of Embezzlement

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt: Brotherhood Defends Members Accused of Embezzlement

Monday, 29 July, 2019 – 11:45
Senior figures of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood during their trial at the police academy. (File photo: AFP)
Cairo – Asharq Al-Awsat
A number of Muslim Brotherhood figures have rushed to the defense of members of the group’s Shura Council who have been accused of embezzlement, describing the accusations as false fabrications.

The Council, whose members reside in Turkey, issued a statement saying a group of its members had been wrongly accused of embezzlement and called upon the group’s institutions to take suitable measures that could prevent the recurrence of such an event.

Last week, Council member Amir Bassam, in a leaked audio circulated online, accused a number of leaders of embezzling the group’s funds.

He added that recent leaks show the extent of financial misappropriations among the organization’s leaders abroad.

Bassam accused Shura members of purchasing “real estate and luxury cars” with the group’s money.

Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta considered the statement a confirmation of the Brotherhood’s false claims of “working for the interest of the religion.”

In a statement responding to Bassam’s accusations, the Brotherhood’s Shura Council renewed its confidence in the group’s members and leadership.

According to the statement, the group has formed a committee of Shura members to study all the allegations and fabrications and issue a verdict.

The Council, which manages the Brotherhood’s international affairs, accused Bassam of making baseless accusations that lack credibility.

It also urged members to corroborate accounts before presenting them as facts.

In recent months, differences between the organization’s leaders abroad and young members have grown following a series of deportations of Muslim Brotherhood youth from Turkey and Malaysia to Egypt. The young members have launched online campaigns against the expulsions.

In December, Clarion Project reported that the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to raise funds in a number of European countries claiming they support youth.

The Project warned that the organization has been working on employing some of its cells there, in order to recruit refugees in Europe.

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood is Source of World’s Extremist Organizations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood is Source of World’s Extremist Organizations

Tuesday, 16 July, 2019 – 11:45
A general view of Cairo, September 13, 2018. (Reuters)
Cairo – Walid Abul Rahman
Egypt said all takfiri groups stem from the same extremist ideological source established by the Muslim Brotherhood organization, stressing the need to continue efforts to address terrorism in all its forms.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez made this stance at a meeting of the liaison strategy group of the Global Coalition against ISIS in Washington.

He said victories over ISIS should not be considered a final goal, adding that the only way to eliminate terrorism lies in adopting a unified international approach on an all-out confrontation of terrorist groups, their ideology and activities.

Hafez cited the initiative launched by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to renew religious discourse, praising the role played by the al-Azhar and Dar al-Iftaa to counter terrorism.

He stressed that Egypt will continue to support the liaison strategy group based on its experience in combating terrorism, highlighting the role played by its religious institutions in correcting misconceptions about religion and promoting moderate Islam.

An international study by Center on Religion and Geopolitics in Britain noted that 50 percent of extremists have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood or related organizations.

Meanwhile, Advisor to Egypt’s Mufti, Ibrahim Najm stated that the Brotherhood is the root of extremism in the world, accusing it of adopting destructive rhetoric and inciting violence.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that organizations like the Brotherhood make false interpretations of the holy Quran to justify their actions and legitimize their crimes.

Egypt Has Succeeded in Destroying Terror Infrastructure, Says Sisi

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt Has Succeeded in Destroying Terror Infrastructure, Says Sisi

Monday, 1 July, 2019 – 11:45
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Reuters file photo
Cairo – Mohammed Abdo Hasanein
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said Sunday that his country has succeeded in destroying the infrastructure of terrorist organizations six years after the June 30 revolution that toppled former president Mohamed Morsi.

The Muslim-Brotherhood affiliate was deposed on July 3, 2013, following widespread popular protests against his one-year rule. He died during his trial on June 17.

In an address to the nation on the sixth anniversary of the June 30 revolt, Sisi said it wasn’t but a cry to express the patriotism of millions of Egyptians, which have been embraced by their country and their ancestors over the years.

“The loyalty of Egyptians to their country and their rejection of any attempt to erase their national identity are facts that can’t be changed with time,” Sisi noted.

He said that his people are loyal, and their belonging to their nation and identity marks a priority.

“Masses of Egyptians in the June 30 Revolution marked a path for us to walk through,” Sisi said, noting that their priority is to protect and preserve the country and then improve it in order for Egypt to become a developed nation that provides next generations decent opportunities and a life that is compatible with the 21st century.

He pointed out that over the past years, the country has managed to avoid suffering from chaos, fragmentation and conflicts.

“We have managed to destroy the infrastructure of terrorist organizations that tried to weaken the country.”

Sisi said Egypt had launched Comprehensive Operation – Sinai 2018, in which bloods were shed to eliminate “forces of evil and darkness.”

“Our armed forces and police personnel succeeded in protecting the nation and preserving its dignity until Egypt became a hub for stability, security and peace amid a turbulent regional environment,” Sisi said.

He pledged to maintain Egypt’s security in order to build a nation worthy for the next generations.

Egypt has been witnessing sporadic terrorist attacks since 2013, especially in the northern Sinai Peninsula, mainly by armed elements associated with ISIS organization.

Egypt Foils Terrorist Plot Targeting the State

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt Foils Terrorist Plot Targeting the State

Tuesday, 25 June, 2019 – 10:15
Special forces soldiers in Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Egypt announced on Tuesday that it had foiled a terrorist plot to target the state and its institutions on the anniversary of the June 30 revolt.

The Interior Ministry said police have arrested at least eight people for their ties to the outlawed terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group.

The arrest of Ziad el-Elaimy, a former lawmaker, was part of a raid that targeted at least 19 businesses and economic entities linked to the Brotherhood.

The ministry revealed economist Omar el-Shenety and journalists Hossam Monis and Hisam Fouad were also arrested.

The plot was being planned by fugitive Brotherhood members residing abroad with parties that claim to represent civilian political forces.

The suspects were planning to stage riots against public institutions and inciting the people against the state through an organized campaign over social media and satellite television channels broadcasting from abroad.

The most prominent terrorist plotters abroad are Brotherhood members Mahmoud Hussein and Ali Battikh, journalists Moataz Matar and Mohammed Nasser and fugitive convict Ayman Nour.

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Leader Mohamed Morsi Dies In Court Today

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE EGYPT TODAY NEWS PAPER)

 

FILE - Morsi in a trial sessionFILE – Morsi in a trial session

MB leader Morsi dies in court after trial session

Mon, June. 17, 2019
CAIRO – 17 June 2019: Leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Morsi died on Monday in court after the conclusion of a trial session as he was charged of espionage for Hamas.

Morsi had asked to talk and the judge gave him the permission, as reported by Extra News.

After the trial session was over, Morsi passed out in court, and later died. The body was transferred to the hospital and the necessary procedures are being finalized.

Since 2013, Morsi was being prosecuted in custody as he was facing several charges, including espionage, killing protesters, prison escape, and judiciary insult.

In 2015, Morsi was sentenced to death in the jailbreak lawsuit. A year later, the sentence was cancelled by the Court of Cassation. In 2017, Morsi was handed three years in prison for judiciary insult.

In 2016, Morsi was given a life sentence in an espionage lawsuit as he was charged of spying for Qatar. A year later, the sentence was upheld by the Court of Cassation.

Morsi was also serving a final 20-year prison sentence for killing protesters.

Iran And Turkey Refuse To Classify Muslim Brotherhood As A Terrorist Organization

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iran, Turkey Reject Trump’s Move to Classify Muslim Brotherhood as Terrorist Organization

Thursday, 2 May, 2019 – 10:30
US President Donald Trump meets with Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at the White House in Washington, US, April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Ankara – Cairo – Washington – Saeed Abdelrazek – Mohamed Nabil Helmy – Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkey and Iran on Wednesday criticized the United States over President Donald Trump’s attempt to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

Ankara has rejected the US move, which the White House confirmed on Wednesday, saying it would promote “anti-Islamism” in the West and around the world.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, for his part, accused Washington of supporting terrorism in the region, stressing that Tehran opposed the inclusion of the “Muslim Brotherhood” on the US list of “terrorist organizations.”

“The US is not in position to (..) start naming others as terror organizations and we reject by any attempt by the US in this regard,” Zarif was quoted by Reuters as saying. “The US is supporting the biggest terrorist in the region, that is Israel,” he added.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump “has consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern and this designation is working its way through the internal process.”

According to Reuters, the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood on the US list allows sanctions to be imposed on those who have relations with the group, which is classified as terrorist in a number of Arab countries.

The US announcement comes three weeks after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to Washington. According to the New York Times, which revealed information about Trump’s attempt to classify the Muslim Brotherhood, the president’s initiative faces strong objections, especially within the Pentagon.

Egypt did not officially comment on the US move against the Muslim Brotherhood, but members of the parliamentary foreign relations committee welcomed it.

The Egyptian authorities have classified the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist entity since December 2013, in the wake of a booby-trapped car explosion against a security directorate in an Egypt province, which killed 16 people.

Why the Arab World Needs Democracy Now

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

(BY JAMAL KHASHOGGI)

Why the Arab World Needs Democracy Now

In April Jamal Khashoggi gave this speech, saying the dangerous idea of the benevolent autocrat, the just dictator, is being revived in the Arab world.

By Jamal Khashoggi

Mr. Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist.

Image
A Saudi flag at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Jamal Khashoggi was killed. Credit Ozan Kose/Agence France-Press — Getty Images

Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian journalist who was killed by Saudi agents inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, was the keynote speaker at a conference in April organized by the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver and the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington. Excerpts from his speech, edited for clarity and length, are below.

I am from Saudi Arabia, where the issues of democracy and Islam are very much relevant. When a Saudi official wanted to brush away the question of democracy, in the past, he would always raise the question of whether democracy is compatible with Islam.

The debate about the relationship between Islam and democracy conclusively ended with the coming of the Arab Spring, when the people of the Arab world, — especially the youth, and even the Islamist, including some Salafis, who were always critical of democracy — supported the protests for democratic and political change. Other Salafis remained very critical of democracy, viewing it as “kufr,” or un-Islamic, based on the belief that democracy represents a rejection of religious values.

The long voting lines during the 2012 elections in Tunisia and Egypt clearly demonstrated that the people of the Arab world were ready for change. They enthusiastically participated in democratic elections, including Islamist parties that had often been the focus of the debate on Islam’s compatibility with democracy.

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Those images from Egypt and Tunisia of men, women, young, and old going to the polls should be contrasted with the sham elections we see today in Egypt and in other parts of the Arab world. This is an argument we can use against anyone who might claim that “Arabs are not ready for democracy.”

Today, Saudi Arabia is struggling with different aspects of modernity — with cinemas, art, entertainment, mixing of the sexes, opening up to the world, rejecting radicalism. The tight grip that the religious establishment has had on social life is gradually loosening.

But while we’re pursuing all these forms of modernity, the Saudi leaders are still not interested in democracy, They aren’t advancing the old, lame excuse that democracy is not compatible with Islam, however. Instead, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic they’re saying that absolute monarchy is our preferred form of government.

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Indeed, we are living in the age of authoritarianism. Some people believe that it is a better form of political rule. They argue that societies need a great leader and that democracy will undermine the ability of the great leader to guide his people to a better future.

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Today around a dinner table in Riyadh, Cairo or Amman, you are likely to hear intellectuals who were once considered liberals, who once supported liberty, political change and democracy, say, “Arabs are not ready for democracy.” If you push back against this argument, you would be told: “Even if Arabs are ready for democracy, they don’t know how to take advantage of it. They always make the wrong choice.”

A related argument is, “The Islamist and the Muslim Brotherhood have kidnapped the Arab Spring.” In my country, a variant of this argument is: “The Saudis don’t know how to choose. If we have democracy, they will not vote out of their conscience, they will vote based on their tribal loyalties.”

A popular argument in the Arab world is that we need a strong leader. You can hear it in Egypt from an Egyptian businessman who supports the ruling regime. You can hear it from a doubtful Jordanian, maybe even a doubtful Tunisian who seeks a return to the old order.

A Saudi friend of mine who was raised abroad openly defends the term “benevolent autocracy.” He is prepared to write about the value of benevolent autocracy in an American newspaper and thinks it is the best choice for Saudi Arabia.

It is the old notion of the “mustabidu al-adl,” or the just dictator, that died with the rise of Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi, a late-19th-century Arab-Muslim reformist of Syrian origin. The Arab and Muslim intellectuals who followed Kawakibi supported democracy or at least some variant of it.

Regrettably, though, the idea of the benevolent autocrat, the just dictator, is being revived in the Arab world. A chorus of anti-democratic Arab and non-Arab voices are using the media and the lobbyists to oppose democracy. I’m told that at the Riyadh International Book Fair in March, which I was not able to attend, one of the books on display was called “Against the Arab Spring.”

Democracy in the Arab world is also under attack from radical Islamists who are making a comeback as the so-called Islamic State or as the Salafis fighting in Libya alongside Khalifa Hifter (who was a general in Muammar Gaddafi’s army and is now backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt). They preach against democracy in the mosques — and through acts of violence.

We must reassure people in the Arab world who either have lost hope in democracy because of its perceived failures or because they fell victim to the concentrated propaganda about democracy coming from television networks run by states and the intellectuals aligned with them.

When I use the term “democracy” I mean it in the broader sense of the term that overlaps with values such as liberty, checks and balances, accountability and transparency. We were aiming for these goals in the form of good governance, equality, and justice in the Arab world. There is another reason we need democracy now in the Arab world: to stop mass violence.

Today, there are two kinds of Arab countries. Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco, need democracy for good governance and the checks and balances it brings.

But for war-torn countries like Libya, Syria and Yemen, democracy would lead to some form of power sharing. It can be along the lines of the Afghanistan arrangement, where you bring all of the factions in one huge room and force them into an agreement on how to share power. The chief reason the wars in these countries are continuing is the lack of a mechanism for power sharing.

The immediate need for Libya, Syria and Yemen is not good governance, but a mechanism to stop the killing. Inevitably, the question of good governance will emerge. There is great hope for democracy in other countries that have not been mired in civil or internal conflict, such as Tunisia, which is struggling toward a lasting democratic system.

Many of my Tunisian friends, despite the progress they have made, are also worried about democracy. They do not want to appear to be preaching to the rest of the Arab world. They simply want to be left alone. Yet I still think that Tunisians have an important responsibility.

News channels that are supportive of freedom and political change in the Middle East should spend a considerable amount of time covering even municipal elections in Tunisia. Every Saudi, every Egyptian and every Syrian should see what the Tunisians are enjoying. I hope it will inspire the rest of the Arab world to work for a similar form of government for themselves.

We need to defend the rights of the Arab people to have democracy in our own countries, in our own localities, but at the same time we must speak to foreign leaders, foreign powers and foreign parliamentarians. They have a role to play and many of them have begun to lose hope in the prospects of Arab democracy.

Some of them are now repeating the old racist statement, “Arabs are not ready for democracy [because they are Arabs].” The Trump administration has zero interest in supporting democracy in the Arab world. Even the French president, Emmanuel Macron, has suggested that there will be little political change in Egypt or in Saudi Arabia.

People are losing hope in democracy because of the failure of the Arab Spring revolts. They’re afraid of ending up like Syria. Many Arab regimes, their television networks, their writers, their commentators, are trying to scare people off democracy by actively promoting this idea.

Both Arab citizens and foreign leaders are affected by the limited reforms that Arab leaders are pursuing. In Saudi Arabia there are serious reforms that Prince Mohammed is leading. Many of my Saudi colleagues are saying I should support them. I do support them.

My position is that we should take what we have and build on it.

When Mr. Macron stood next to Prince Mohammed, he made this point and he was correct to do so. We need to support the crown prince in his effort to reform Saudi Arabia because if we let him down, he will come under pressure from radical elements who are not willing to reform.

These limited reforms and the general political condition of the Arab world today are adding strength to the argument of the anti-democracy forces. This unfortunate reality puts more responsibility on our shoulders to resume our work and to redouble our efforts to push for democracy in the Arab world as a realistic choice for people and a solution to the failure of many Arab states.

Jamal Khashoggi was a Washington Post Global Opinions contributing columnist.

Egypt Sentences 75 to Death

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt Sentences 75 to Death, Hundreds to Jail Over 2013 Sit-In

Saturday, 8 September, 2018 – 14:30
This picture shows detainees inside the soundproof glass dock of the courtroom during the trial of 700 defendants including Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, widely known as Shawkan, in the capital Cairo, on September 8, 2018. Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP
Cairo- Asharq Al-Awsat
An Egyptian court on Saturday issued death sentences for 75 people, including prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders, and jailed more than 600 others over a 2013 sit-in which ended with the killing of hundreds of protesters by security forces.

The sentencing concluded the mass trial of some 700 people accused of offenses including murder and inciting violence during the pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest at Rabaa Adawiya square in Cairo.

The government says many protesters were armed and that eight members of the security forces were killed.

In Saturday’s hearing at the vast Tora prison complex south of Cairo, a criminal court sentenced to death by hanging several Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Essam al-Erian and Mohamed Beltagi and preacher Safwat Higazi.

Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohamed Badie and dozens more were given life sentences, judicial sources said. Others received jail sentences ranging from five to 15 years.

Furthermore, the court handed a five-year jail sentence to award-winning photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid.

Abu Zeid, widely known as Shawkan, is however expected to walk free soon, his lawyer said.

Shawkan was arrested in August 2013 as he covered deadly clashes in Cairo between security forces and supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

He was accused of “murder and membership of a terrorist organization” — charges that can carry the death penalty — but has already spent five years in jail.

Shawkan should, therefore, be able to leave prison “within a few days”, his lawyer Karim Abdelrady said as he welcomed the verdict.