By Barry Rubin
In a moment, I'll present you with what might be the most frightening paragraph in the modern history of U.S. Middle East policy. But first, here's one that's among the most deplorable. It's from a Washington Post article:
"The Obama administration is preparing for the prospect that Islamist governments will take hold in North Africa and the Middle East, acknowledging that the popular revolutions there will bring a more religious cast to the region's politics."
What? While people like me have been warning about the emergence of Islamist regimes, in contrast the Obama administration, European governments, mass media, and most academics have repeatedly assured us there's no such danger! Those people doing the warning have been almost totally shut out of the mass media.
But now is the Obama administration realizing that those changes they've been cheering and even promoting could end by producing Islamist regimes? Is that the kind of regime that's anti-American, promotes terrorism, subverts neighbors, and wants to wipe Israel off the map?
Now we come to the paragraph I warned about, the explanation for how the administration may be about to plunge into the biggest disaster in U.S. foreign policy of...well, of a very long time.
Here it is:
"The administration is already taking steps to distinguish between various movements in the region that promote Islamic law in government. An internal assessment, ordered by the White House last month, identified large ideological differences between such movements as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and al-Qaeda that will guide the U.S. approach to the region."
Get it? Al-Qaeda is bad because it wants to attack U.S. embassies, the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon.
BUT the Muslim Brotherhood is good! Because it merely wants to seize state power, transform Egypt into an Islamist state, rule almost 90 million people with an iron hand, back Hamas in trying to destroy Israel, overthrow the Palestinian Authority, help Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood overthrow the monarchy, and sponsor terrorism against Americans in the Middle East.
I'm sure you can see the difference. This is the nonsense that the administration has been working toward for two years. It is the doctrine pushed by the president's advisor on terrorism, elements in the CIA, and White House ideologues. The State and Defense departments are probably horrified.