Egyptians are outraged over a perceived American admission of guilt in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, with one of the country’s most prominent newspapers claiming a “closely-held relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey, ISIS, and the U.S. Congress” is conspiring to tear Egypt apart.
The evidence? The White House’s rejection of an online “We The People” petition, requesting the Muslim Brotherhood to be designated as a terrorist organization.
In its three-sentence response, issued Monday, the White House wrote that “We have not seen credible evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood has renounced its decades-long commitment to non-violence.”
The White House’s move comes at a time when numerous Arab countries besides Egypt are cracking down on the Brotherhood. The United Arab Emirates recently issued an extensive list of foreign terrorist organizations, which included the Muslim Brotherhood, echoing a concerted effort by Saudi Arabia to curtail the group’s activity. Shortly thereafter, Jordan arrested its domestic branch’s deputy head for criticizing the UAE’s list.
Following the White House’s statement, top-tier Egyptian newspaper Al-Dostor quoted that country’s former Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul-Khair, who called the Brotherhood an “American tool… used to divide the Middle East into statelets, weakening it for the sake of the Zionists.” Abul-Khair also pointed to the “closely-held relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey, ISIS, and the U.S. Congress.”
Likewise, Egypt’s Sada El-Balad cited Jalal al-Rashidi, a former Egyptian diplomat at the U.N., who affirmed that “America uses all available tools, including the Brotherhood and takfiri [Islamist] groups, to say nothing of ISIS, to accomplish its goals.” Rashidi went on to explain that deposed Brotherhood-aligned president Mohamed Morsi’s brokerage of a truce between Hamas and Israel demonstrated the group’s key role in achieving American and Israeli objectives.
Left-wing Egyptian parties condemned the administration as well, with heads of the Al-Ghad and Al-Tagammu‘ parties expressing similar conspiratorial opinions. Even the al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group Al-Jihad complained of U.S. support for the Brotherhood, stating that “if the U.S. were to call the Brotherhood a terrorist group, it would also be condemning itself.”
Such conspiracy theories about the U.S. stem from the fact that American NGOs offered training in democratic campaigning to newly-formed parties in the run-up to Egypt’s 2012 presidential election, including the Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice Party.
The petition, which attracted over 200,000 signatures, was originated on July 7, 2013, and explained that the Brotherhood “has shown in the past few days that it is willing to engage in violence and killing of innocent civilians in order to invoke fear in the hearts of its opponents.” Those recent events refers to the unrest in Egypt which followed the ouster of President Morsi that summer.
After the White House petition was launched last year, The Washington Post noted that many of the petitioners were likely to be Egyptians, not Americans.
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