A Russian-Saudi-Turkish-Chinese alliance to contain the Muslim Brotherhood and Obama?
I suggested during our conference call yesterday that the only friend the Muslim Brotherhood has in high places is Barack Obama. I didn't mean that facetiously.
Turkey's application to join the SIno-Russian Shanghai Cooperation Organization following Prime Minister Erdogan's July 19 pilgrimage to Russia is a diplomatic humiliation for the United States, and of the first order. Just when Washington is demanding that Russia withdraw support for the Assad regime in Syria, and when Turkey is the linch-pin for American logistics in support of the Syrian opposition, Erdogan has proposed in effect to joint the Russian-Chinese club (without being compelled to hand in his NATO credentials). As AL Monitor wrote July 19:
The Erdogan government speaks with confidence when it says that the Syrian issue will have no negative impact on bilateral ties with Russia. In fact, there is an expectation in Turkey that Russia will come to understand that it has erred in its Syria policy and that it is time to abandon its support for a dying regime.
That may be so, but Turkey stands to lose if it continues to portray Russia as a wrong-doer. The bilateral relationship is lopsided in Russia's favor because of Turkey's dependence on Russian natural gas.
Moscow, meanwhile, has quietly signaled that it can use its economic leverage over Turkey.
After the Syrians downed a Turkish jet on June 22, Turkey called on NATO member countries to show solidarity and expressed its intention to intercept Russian vessels delivering cargo to Syria. Six days later, the Russian government's food-safety and quarantine service Rosselkhoznadzor issued an announcement disclosing that it had detected 33 cases of infestation in Turkish exports to Russia of fruits and vegetables.Turkish exports of fresh produce to Russia amounted to $2.6 billion by May and are projected to reach $6.2 billion by year's end.
There is more to it than economics (and much more than Russian economics: the cash-strapped Turks, who are financing most of their enormous current account deficit on the interbank market, probably hope for more Chinese investment).
The fact is that the Muslim Brotherhood and its various offshoots represent a threat to everyone in the region:
The Saudi monarchy fears that the Brotherood will overthrow it (not an idle threat, since the Brotherhood doesn't look like a bad choice for Saudis who aren't one of the few thousand beneficaries of the royal family's largesse;
The Russians fear that Islamic radicalism will get out of control in the Caucasus and perhaps elsewhere as Russia evolves into a Muslim-majority country;
The Chinese fear the Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim people who comprise half the population of China's western Xinjiang province.
But the Obama administration (and establishment Republicans like John McCain) insist that America must support democratically-elected Islamist governments. That is deeply misguided. The Muslim Brotherhood is about as democratic as the Nazi Party, which also won a plebiscite confirming Adolf Hitler as leader of Germany. Tribal countries with high illiteracy rates are not a benchmark for democratic decision-making.
It appears that the Russians, the Turks and the Saudis will keep Syria at a low boil, making it difficult for either side to fully impose its will on the other, and impossible for a Sunni Islamist regime to emerge. What is remarkable, though, is the success of Russian diplomacy: despite all of the Obama administration's courtship, the Erdogan government has decided to signal its dependence on Moscow in the most visible (and, for Washington) humiliating way possible. It may be that the Turks were compelled to apply for membership in the SCO by the utter fecklessness and stupidity of American policy, both of the administration and of the Senate leadership. As long as the United States declares its support for the humbug of Muslim democracy in Egypt and Syria, the rest of the world will treat us as hapless lunatics and go about the business of securing their own interests without us.
Reader comments on this item
|See the forest- the trees are "falling" [53 words]||Anne White||Aug 1, 2012 14:37|
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
"Armed robbery in broad daylight." — Palestinians, after Hamas "seized" $750,000 from Gaza bank.
Fatah accused Hamas of "squandering" $700 million of financial aid earmarked for the Palestinian victims of war. Fatah wants to ensure that the millions of dollars intended for the Gaza Strip will pass through its hands and not end up in Hamas's bank accounts. Relying on Fatah in this regard is like asking a cat to guard the milk.
The head of the Palestinian Authority's Anti-Corruption Commission revealed that his group has retrieved $70 million of public funds fund embezzled by Palestinian officials. Arab and Western donors need to make sure that their money does not end up (once again) in the wrong hands. Without a proper mechanism of accountability and transparency, hundreds of millions of dollars are likely to find their way into the bank accounts of both Hamas and Fatah leaders.
by Mudar Zahran
"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.
"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.
"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.
"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student
"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.
"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.
by Ben Cohen
Now, with the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate having captured key oil wells in the Middle East this year, foreign oil has become an even more lethal financial weapon-of-choice for those seeking to destroy democracy and further escalate the War on Terror.
That President Barack Obama failed even to mention oil as a critical factor in the war against IS during his speech to the nation on September 10, is an omission both revealing and dangerous in terms of how his administration wants to depict the stakes involved in this latest confrontation with the jihadis.
by Lawrence A. Franklin
One Pakistani recruiter of child suicide bombers describes these children as "tools provided by God."
Another Muslim cleric in a madrassa [Islamic boys' school] describes child suicide bombers as "a gift from Allah that we have an unlimited number willing to be sacrificed to teach Americans a lesson."
Using children as suicide bombers will stop when... they stop "condoning the killing of innocents."
by Denis MacEoin
"No religion condones the killing of innocents." — U.S. President Barack Obama, September 10, 2014.
"Islam is a religion of peace." — U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, September 13, 2014.
"There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam." — U.K. Imam Anjem Choudary, CBN News, April 5, 2010.
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur'an in a "moderate" manner. The most famous modern interpretation by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
If they deviated from the true faith -- as we are seeing in the Islamic State today -- "backsliders," like pagans, were to be fought until they either accepted Islam or were killed.
In India alone, between 60 and 80 million Hindus may have been put to death by Muslim armies between the years 1000-1525.