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By Barry Rubin
Remember when we were told that the Muslim Brotherhood was moderate and weak? Why it was so benign that the Brotherhood had even promised only to contest one-third of the seats. And a revolutionary Islamist, antisemitic and genocide-oriented, anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Christian organization would never lie to us, right?
I mean you can call for all of the Jews in the world to be wiped out; demand a jihad against America; and work day and night for decades to bring to power a totalitarian Islamist state that would chop off limbs, stone people, and murder anyone who didn't want to be a Muslim any more. But you would never, ever deceive an American reporter!
Like Marx's famous remark opening the Communist Manifesto
, the Islamists disdain to conceal their aims, but only in Arabic. English is another matter altogether.
But now the Brotherhood's new Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has held its opening meeting and the group's highest body announces
that it will run candidates in 45 to 50 percent of the seats for September's parliamentary elections.
The party's chiefs are all top Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
I am still being told by people that the Brotherhood is severely factionalized and full of moderate tendencies. No proof is offered for these assertions. Unless we see public criticism of Brotherhood policy or leadership, or a split away from the group, such claims can be discounted.
Others continue to insist that the fact that the Brotherhood has not explicitly called for an Islamist state or publicly adopted a program shows that there is a heated debate within the group. In fact, of course, the Brotherhood has been cautious for tactical reasons but hardline statements keep coming out of top leaders.
In short, such hopes are based on whistling in the dark, grasping at straws, wishful thinking, and other such expressions. Once again, let me make it clear that I don't think the Brotherhood will win the election or take over Egypt in the next two years. My expectation is that they will do very well in the election, have a key role in writing the new constitution, get concessions from the next president, and await their chance as Egypt inevitably crumbles economically and public dissatisfaction rises.
Hamas Condemns Bin Laden Killing, Calls Him a Holy Warrior
Jerusalem, May 2 – "We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs."
This was the reaction of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to the killing of Osama bin Laden.
While Americans, Israelis and much of the rest of the world welcomed the death of the man who masterminded the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States which killed around 3,000 people, Hamas was plunged into sadness. The Iranian-backed terrorist group, whose official charter calls for the destruction of Israel, has fired 328 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians so far this year.
Haniyeh, who acts as Prime Minister in the Gaza Strip, referred to bin Laden as a “spiritual leader” and equated his death with an “American policy based on oppression and bloodshed in the Muslim and Arab world.”
Hamas, which a few days ago announced a unification agreement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, refuses to recognize Israel or enter into any peace negotiations with it.
Palestinian officials are scheduled to meet in Cairo on Wednesday to sign a reconciliation agreement and choose a new candidate for prime minister. Senior Hamas officials have already stated that the prime minister of the new unity government should come from Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Article seven of the Hamas charter states, “Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! …there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, called the targeting of bin Laden a “resounding victory for justice, freedom and the common values of all democracies that are resolutely fighting shoulder to shoulder against terrorism,” in a statement.
Other Israeli officials expressed concern that the death of bin Laden could provoke terror groups to retaliate.
Al-Qaeda has “infiltrated the Palestinian territories with help from Hamas,” Abbas confirmed in a 2008 interview.
“I can say without doubt that al-Qaeda is present in the Palestinian territories and that this presence, especially in Gaza, is facilitated by Hamas,” Abbas told the Arabic paper al-Hayat, The Times reported.
Analysts believe that al-Qaeda is trying to establish itself in new areas, particularly Gaza, because it is losing ground in traditional strongholds, such as Iraq.
“Under the Hamas strategic umbrella several salafis and jihadists have proliferated in the Gaza Strip and during the last year have attacked Israeli territory with missiles and rockets, sometimes in coordination with Hamas, sometimes independently,” Ely Karmon, a leading expert at Israel’s Institute for Counter-Terrorism, told The Israel Project.
“In my evaluation these groups will try to revenge Bin Laden's death by attacking Israel, the best U.S. ally in the region… If these attacks will produce Israeli casualties, they could provoke an Israeli retaliation and a new crisis between Israel and Hamas,” Karmon added.
“This might empower [al-Qaeda] to do more,” Theodore Karasik, the director for research and development at the Institute for Near East & Gulf Military Analysis told Al Jazeera.
Referring to the fear of reprisal for bin Laden’s death, Karasik said the younger generation of al-Qaeda is “more vicious” and more willing to take chances.
Andrew White, known as the “Vicar of Baghdad” who runs the only Anglican Church in Iraq, dubbed Bin Laden’s death as “very dangerous” because al-Qaeda “will try to show the world that they can and will still commit terror.” He made the comments on his Facebook page.
How the U.S. Tracked Down Bin Laden - Mimi Hall and Richard Wolf
Two years ago, senior U.S. intelligence officials figured out where the man they thought might be hiding Osama bin Laden was living. It was a $1 million complex, in an affluent neighborhood of mostly military retirees 35 miles north of Islamabad in Pakistan, found by tracking one of bin Laden's trusted couriers. On Friday, President Obama made the decision to send a small U.S. team in helicopters into the compound to go after bin Laden, the culmination of months of top-secret security meetings as operatives closed in on bin Laden overseas.
In August 2010 agents discovered the sprawling compound where bin Laden was hiding, eight times larger than any in the area, built at the end of a dirt road. It has 18-foot walls, two security gates, and no exterior windows. In the course of events, one of th e helicopters went down because of mechanical trouble. Those aboard it were able to destroy it and get away with their fellow team members. (USA Today)
See also The Raid on Osama Bin Laden's Compound
In the firefight, in addition to bin Laden, three adult males were killed, including bin Laden's adult son and two couriers. One woman was killed when she was used as a human shield, U.S. officials say, and two women were injured in the raid. It will be hard for Pakistan to explain how bin Laden could have been living in a huge compound located in a densely populated suburb filled with retired military unnoticed. (CBS News)
Egypt's al-Zawahri, Bin Laden's Deputy, Likely Next Leader of al-Qaeda
With bin Laden killed, Ayman al-Zawahri becomes the top candidate for the world's top terror job. Al-Zawahri's extremist views and his readiness to use deadly violence are beyond doubt. In 2001 he set down the long-term strategy for the jihadi movement - to inflict "as many casualties as possible" on the Americans, while trying to establish control in a nation as a base "to launch the battle to restore the holy caliphate" of Islamic rule across the Muslim world. (AP-Washington Post) more>Egypt's al-Zawahri, Bin Laden's Deputy, Likely Next Leader of al-Qaeda
The Auschwitz Album: Photos Take by the SS
The Auschwitz Album is the only surviving visual evidence of the process of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Page 7: Women and children being taken to Crematoria IV and V. In Birkenau, elderly women and children were almost always immediately sent to their deaths in the gas chambers as they were deemed "unfit for work." (Yad Vashem)
Countdown to September: Israel, the Palestinians, and