Morsi’s ‘apes and pigs’ comments highlight Obama’s Egyptian problem, experts say
Posted By Neil Munro On 1:39 AM 01/04/2013 @ 1:39 AM In DC Exclusives – Original Reporting,World | No Comments
Muslims should try to force Jews out of Israel by warfare, economic boycotts and diplomatic isolation, Egypt’s new moderate Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, said in recently translated videos from 2010.
“These blood-suckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs … there is no place for them on the land of Palestine,” Morsi said, referring to Israeli Jews, during in a September 2010 interview.
Morsi’s language forcefully exposes the growing distance between the hopes and reality of President Barack Obama’s Arab-outreach policy, which has provided support to Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement.
The 2009 “New Beginning” strategy was intended to moderate Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamist groups by allowing them to govern their home countries.
But U.S. officials minimized their public comments about the strategy after a wave of embassy attacks and political turmoil struck in Egypt and other Muslim countries.
In September, officials quietly canceled a planned formal visit by Morsi to the White House. However, they later invited a Morsi aide to the White House, where he met with Obama behind closed doors on Dec. 5.
Even the administration’s “minimalist policy is based on the illusion that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate and Morsi and Obama can be partners,” said Eric Trager, an expert at the D.C.-based Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The administration “is taking Egypt one day at a time, and one danger is that it is not looking ahead to the point at which the Brotherhood will pursue its foreign policy, which it has spoken about for the past 84 years,” he added.
Once that happens, he said, “the working relationship [with the White House] will disappear.”
Obama’s faith in a long-term partnership was highlighted on Dec. 6, when the president called Morsi three weeks after he had claimed dictatorial power over Egypt’s courts.
During the call, Obama explained to Morsi that it is “own interest to offer his opposition compromises, in order to build trust in his government,” a senior Obama aide told the New York Times in a Dec. 14 article.
Obama’s advice about Egyptian politics and continued large-scale economic and military aid have had little impact on statements and actions by Morsi and his allies.
Back during the May 2012 elections, Morsi told a rally that his top political goal is establishing “the Sharia, then the Sharia, and finally, the Sharia.”
Sharia is Islam’s myriad edicts about behavior, speech, worship and business.
Since the December phone call with Obama, Morsi won a national ballot establishing a new Islamic constitution that gives Muslim clerics the task of reviewing all laws to assess their compliance with Sharia.
The constitution was approved by most Egyptian voters amid desperate opposition from a secular coalition of Christians, leftists, independent women and free-market advocates.
The coalition leaders’ complained that the coalition was overwhelmed by street thugs, police arrests, media curbs and ballot fraud.
Morsi’s new videos, released by the Middle East Media Research Institute, display the gap between the administration’s hopes and the reality of Morsi’s views.
Muslims outside Israel “should support the [Palestinian] resistance fighters and besiege the Zionist wherever they are,” Morsi said, after referring to Jews as “descendants of apes and pigs.”
The “apes and pigs” comment refers to a passage in Muslims’ sacred book, the Koran. The Muslim god, Allah, “transformed [Jews] into apes and swine,” because they rejected Islam, says the the Koran, which is considered by Muslims to be the transcribed and unchangeable words of Allah.
“There is no place for them on the land of Palestine … [Jews] have been fanning the flames of civil strife wherever they were throughout history,” Morsi said during a March 2010 interview with the Lebanon-based Al-Quds TV-station.
“The Zionists understood nothing but the language of force … they are hostile by nature,” added Morsi, whose comments echo orthodox Islamic edicts.
Morsi’s allies and advisers also continue to threaten war against Israel.
“Jewish occupiers in the territory of historic Palestine are an obstacle to the Palestinians’ right of return … this project has a decade, less than a decade to go,” Essam al-Erian, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said Jan. 1.
Al-Erian’s rant is treated by the U.S. media as routine, because similar comments are commonplace among senior Muslim Brotherhood members, according to Trager, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy expert.
“It is par for the course,” he said.
But U.S. officials dismiss the significance of the Muslim Brotherhood’s beliefs, worldview and motives.
“‘The problem with Morsi isn’t whether he is Islamist or not, it is whether he is authoritarian,’ said a Western diplomat in Cairo,” according to the New York Times article.
Morsi’s goal is a Muslim theocracy, according to Barry Rubin, a regional expert.
“Of course that is an authoritarian destination , of which authoritarian means are considered acceptable and are, in fact, a necessity,” said Rubin, who runs his own nonprofit, Global Research in International Affairs.
Obama’s December instructions to Morsi about Egyptian politics are also laughable, Rubin told TheDC.
“Do people in D.C. know what the Brotherhood wants and [the] conditions in Egypt, better than the Brotherhood leadership?” Rubin asked.
“Obama lived for years in an ivory tower, where political correctness was a religion,” said Michel Rubin, a regional expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “By ignoring reality, Obama’s policies have become untethered from reality.”
Morsi’s secular opponents are distraught at Obama’ support for Morsi, according to Barry Rubin.
“One day, decades in the future, an American president might be apologizing for a U.S. policy of backing a repressive Islamist regime in Egypt,” he said.
Trager offered a milder criticism.
“The president believes that he has a good personal working relationship with Morsi, but what he should remember is that there are many people within Egyptian politics that thought they are a very good personal working relationship with Morsi,” he said.
“When the opportunity came for Morsi to expand his power, he shoved them under the bus,” he adding.
The Muslim Brotherhood “is a deeply conspiratorial and, of course, anti-Israel group that is not moving on its foreign goals now,” he added. “It will move on those aims when it feels the time is right.”
But in the White House, Trager said, “part of the reason that they don’t want to admit there’s a problem is because to admit that there’s a problem means they have have to do something about it. “
Categories: Escalation / Destabilization Conflict