One email buried within the most recent Hillary Clinton email data dumps calls into question the American stance and behavior towards the Muslim Brotherhood after the Arab Spring. Denials of knowing the true intent of the Muslim Brotherhood are hard to believe when faced with the information provided to former Secretary Clinton by former Director of Policy Planning Jake Sullivan. The email also calls into question the influence of longtime aide and fomer Clinton chief of staff Huma Abedin had on American policy during the tumultuous post-Arab Spring ouster of Mubarak.
Sullivan’s email from January 24th, 2012 quotes an “individual with extremely sensitive access to the highest levels of the Muslim Brotherhood.” In the email, the individuals relays how the Muslim Brotherhood held a series of meetings to consolidate their power after the most recent round of elections in order to enact their agenda. That agenda would involve the Muslim Brotherhood guiding the Egyptian state and society “toward becoming an Islamic Republic.” The Muslim Brotherhood was committed to working with select Western economic interests but that, “the new Egyptian Government will be completely committed to the rule of Islamic Law.” Sharia law has long been criticized for its compatibility with democracy as well as treatment of religious minorities, women and other human rights.
Beyond the Egyptian domestic situation, the email relayed information that involved the greater Middle East. The new government intended to change the decades long relationship between Israel and Egypt. As Sullivan reported:
In the opinion of this individual, the new Egyptian Government will redefine the relationship with the state of Israel, and while stopping short of supporting military action against Israel, they will distance themselves from the past era of cooperation. The most immediate result of this change, in the opinion of this knowledgeable individual: will be an end to cooperation with the Israeli security forces in controlling the movement of Hamas troops and equipment across the Egyptian border at Gaza. This particular individual believes that the Egyptian military and intelligence services will eventually begin to provide increased clandestine assistance to Hamas.
These are changes that would be a seismic shift in relations between America’s ally Israel and the most populous Arab nation. Basic understandings laid down from the Camp David Accords would be discarded and altered. Concern for such a realignment with important focus on the Sinai and Hamas’ movement of arms and personnel with regards to Israel is not discussed. After Egyptian elections in May and June — which emails released around those dates reveal no banter — there is no concern expressed for any potential flip in the Middle East.
Anxieites or fears of post-Mubarak Egypt moving in the same direction and speed as Iran did after the fall of the Shah are confirmed by this email. This also calls into question why the American state department and Obama administration repeatedly fostered and encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood while knowing their intent. As written in Anne B. Pierce’s paper, “U.S. ‘Partnership’ with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and its Effect on Civil Society and Human Rights,” the Obama administration and Secretary Clinton openly supported the Muslim Brotherhood, pushed for honoring of human rights and called them “pragmatic”.
Shortly after sources pointed towards a coming Egyptian Islamic Republic, the State Department, under Secretary Clinton’s guidance, waived restrictions on aid while American NGOs were in Egyptian crosshairs in winter of 2012. The administration did not leverage any military aid, did not voice concerns and instead delivered humanitarian aid and twelve F-16s to Egypt while Morsi was in power as the intentions of moving to an Islamic Republic were known. The constant refrain from Secretary Clinton and the Obama administration was to press the Egyptian military to help the democratic transition while the U.S. was receiving information on the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists’ consolidation of political power within the process.
Such action or inaction was at the root of Egyptian protests in July of 2012 during Secretary Cinton’s visit. Despite her protestations that America was supporting no candidate, statements and actions made in the run up to the May and June presidential elections tipped Egyptian minorities and non-Islamist groups off to America’s implied support. In contrast to the Obama administration’s behavior while Morsi was in power, delivery of fighter jets was suspended after the coup led by Sisi removed Morsi from power.
This email revelation also puts focus back on the policy direction during Secretary Clinton’s tenure with relation to Jake Sullivan, who is a prime candidate for U.S. National Security Advisor in a potential Clinton administration, and Huma Abedin, longtime aide to Hillary Clinton. Huma Abedin’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhood have been documented elsewhere. Her mother is a member of what is known as the Muslim Sisterhood and the long time head of the International Islamic Committe for Woman and Child, which is connected to the chief Sharia jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Yusuf al-Qardawi. Secretary Clinton could not have been ignorant of the direction an Egypt under Sharia law would take with regards to human rights and the civil rights of Egypt’s minorities and women.
How much of the Obama administration’s avoidance of the intelligence pointing towards a coming Islamic Republic on the Nile was due to Huma Abedin’s influence on Hillary Clinton? Whatever influence, the absence publicly or in private emails of any concern for a replication of post-Shah Iran is cause for evaluation this election cycle. These emails also point to a State Department fine with a potential shift of a major player within the Middle East mosaic from an Israel-cooperative stance to a frostier relationship. The emails and public actions of the U.S. State Department show the Obama administration was enabling, funding and fostering a party with a declared goal of Sharia law. In the ashes of the Arab Spring, the democracy push by Clinton’s State Department has turned formerly stable nations into warlord run anarchy, Islamist statelets or war ravaged wastelands.