The Iranian Pawn of Pan-Arabism

The Iranian Pawn of Pan-Arabism

How do Iran’s ties with the Brotherhood compare to Tehran’s relationship  to Hamas, a Palestinian group with which Iran has supported since the early  1990s?

Iran, a largely Shiite country, has publicly backed and aided Hamas, a Sunni  movement. In contrast, it would have been risky for the Brotherhood to have had  public ties to Iran, especially as it ran candidates for Egypt’s parliament. But  the Muslim Brotherhood is Iran’s main potential political ally in a new Egypt.  Iran is pushing for the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Read more:

1970’s :

Said Ramadan – Ayatollah Khomeini

Professor Hani Ramadan: “Imam Khomeini was the Imam of the Shia AND Sunni “

Professor Hani Ramadan is the director of the Islamic Center of Geneva, Switzerland.

Here’s the video on youtube where he gave an interview to Iranian Sahar TV in February 2009 on the occasion of the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Republic ..

You should also know that his father, the great scholar Said Ramadan was a great admirer of Imam Khomeini who knew his politico-religious thought and had studied. Hani Ramadan is also a great admirer of Imam Khomeini and has studied many philosophical works, theological and political control of the Imam and his thoughts very well.

Professor Hani Ramadan is also the brother of the famous lecturer and Islamic scholar known worldwide, Tariq Ramadan

(In Resume in this video : Israel is what’s wrong in this world and that Islam is Under Attack from “That” world…. So all muslims to Unite Against The “Oppressor”)

Egypt Pursues Hezbollah

Iran on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

February 25, 2011 | 9:07am

Mehdi Khalaji

  • For decades, the Muslim Brotherhood was the largest organized opposition party in Egypt. It is Islamist. What are its similarities and differences with Iran’s Islamic revolution?
The current revolt in Iran is against Islamism, but the recent uprising in Egypt is neither Islamist nor anti-Islamist. In Egypt, the Muslim brotherhood was able to find common interests with other political factions to force President Hosni Mubarak to resign.
Before rising to power, Iranian Islamists worked with leftists, nationalists and liberals to oust Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. After Ayatollah Khomeini consolidated power, however, the regime suppressed former allies, including other Islamist factions that did not accept his authority.
The difference between Iranian Islamists and Egyptian Islamists is that Islamism in Iran has been tested by the Islamic Republic and has failed. Islamist writings before the 1979 revolution promise to open up in politics, the economy, and culture. But few of these promises have been delivered three decades later. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed, so has not had operated legally or freely let alone run the country.
Islamists around the world have many differences, but they also often share the common view that democracy is an instrument to gain power—but not always to share it with other parties. Strict Islamists reduce Islam to Islamic law. Some accept democracy but reduce it to elections rather than freedoms, such as equal rights for all citizens–men and women, Muslims and non-Muslims, heterosexuals and homosexuals–and freedom of expression, religion and political parties. So some elements of the Muslim Brotherhood are similar to some Iranian leaders in their talk of religious democracy.
  • What contact has there been between the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran since the 1979 revolution, formally or informally?
There has been regular contact between the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian officials throughout since the 1979 revolution, both formally and informally. These contacts have taken place in several countries, including the Persian Gulf as well as in Tehran.
The most recent contact was the meeting of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with Kamal al Halbavi, a senior member of the Brotherhood, in February in Tehran. Iran’s supreme leader has a special affection and sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood. He has translated into Farsi several books by the late Sayyid Qutb, who was the leading militant ideologue of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Republic promote Islam as an ideology governing all aspects of life. How do the two differ on their views toward Islam’s role in politics and society?
The main goal of Islamist ideology is to implement Sharia, or Islamic law. When Ayatollah Khomeini ascended to power, however, he soon realized that a complex modern state like Iran could not be run only by Islamic law. He subsequently ruled that the interests of the regime trumped Islamic law when they are in conflict. Iran’s supreme leader therefore has the religious legitimacy to overrule religion in the interest of the revolutionary Islamic state. As a result, rule based on “the interests of the regime” is not an Islamic theocracy, but Shiite autocracy and absolutism.
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood still advocates—according to its longstanding agenda– Sharia law in Egypt. Iran passed from Islamic utopianism to Islamic tyranny. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, which has diverse factions, is still in the utopian phase.
  • How did the Muslim Brotherhood respond to Iran’s 2009 post-election protests and the ensuing opposition Green Movement?
Silence. Islamist groups internationally supported the Iranian regime by their silence. Islamists cannot support secular democracies in the face of an Islamic government.
  • How do Iran’s ties with the Brotherhood compare to Tehran’s relationship to Hamas, a Palestinian group with which Iran has supported since the early 1990s?
Iran, a largely Shiite country, has publicly backed and aided Hamas, a Sunni movement. In contrast, it would have been risky for the Brotherhood to have had public ties to Iran, especially as it ran candidates for Egypt’s parliament. But the Muslim Brotherhood is Iran’s main potential political ally in a new Egypt. Iran is pushing for the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Iran has invested in various branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in other countries, such as groups in the Persian Gulf countries. The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest Islamist organization in the Arab world that ignores Arab nationalism and Sunni identity to facilitate alliances with Islamist movements outside the Arab world.

Egypt Pursues Hezbollah

Hezbollah supporters at a rally in Lebanon (Photo: Reuters)

Hezbollah supporters at a rally in Lebanon (Photo: Reuters)

By Clare Lopez

Sunnis and Shi’ites are literally at each others’ throats these days in Syria, much as they have been for over 1300 years of Islamic fitna, but elsewhere rapprochement may be the word of the day. The Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon was quoted in a December 29, 2012 Daily Caller interview talking about pursuing a relationship with Hezbolllah, Iran’s Shi’ite terror proxy.

Calling Hezbolllah a “real political and military force” on the ground in Lebanon,” Ashraf Hamdy, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s envoy to Beirut, provided the latest signal that a new Cairo-Tehran axis of jihad may be taking shape.

Of course, contrary to what sometimes passes for conventional “wisdom” among some so-called “national security experts,” this would hardly be the first time that Sunnis and Shi’ites have found common cause based on pan-Islamic ideology. As Mehdi Khalaji, senior fellow at the Washington Institute, pointed out in a remarkable 2009 essay, “Iran has maintained informal ties to the Muslim Brotherhood for many years.”

The Ayatollah Khomeini was named Time Magazine's Man of the Year (seen here on the January 7, 1980 cover of the magagzine).

The Ayatollah Khomeini was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year (seen here on the January 7, 1980 cover of the magagzine).

The most visible cross-sectarian relationship may be the mullahs’ longstanding support for HAMAS, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1987. Personal relationships among Brotherhood members who later would found some of the most savage of all Islamic terrorist organizations — such as Al-Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad — and Shi’ite cadres who would become the Ayatollah Khomeini’s anti-Shah shock troops likely began in the Beka’a Valley in the 1970s when the Soviet KGB was running terror training camps for an array of the world’s militants.

Indeed, the Iranian regime’s operational collaboration with Al-Qaeda in the attacks of 9/11 demonstrably can be traced back to those early relationships, later solidified at the Khartoum Jihad Jamboree gatherings of the early 1990s that were co-sponsored by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and his sometime collaborator, Hassan al-Turabi, a key Sudanese Brotherhood figure.

Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri (both found safehaven in Sudan in those years and were introduced while there to Iranian regime leadership figures including then-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, intelligence chief Ali Fallahian and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Mohsen Reza’i.

The intellectual affinity between Iranian Shi’ite clerics such as the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini or current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and pivotal Brotherhood theoreticians such as Sayyed Qutb rests on the conviction that intra-Islamic sectarian differences must be set aside so that Muslims may form a united front to wage jihad against Christians, Jews, the West in general and, ultimately, the entire Dar al-Harb (non-Muslim world).

Hassan al-Banna2

As elaborated by Mehdi Khalaji (here) and Tom Joscelyn (here), it was a young Iranian cleric named Nawab Safawi who, in the early 1950s, introduced the Ayatollah Khomeini to the pan-Islamic, jihadist ideology of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Perhaps equally little known is the scholastic course that brought current Supreme Leader Khamenei to translate two of Qutb’s books, Al-Mustaqbal li hadha al-Din (The Future of this Religion) and Al-Islam wa Mushkelat al-Hadharah (Islam and the Problems of Civilization).

The 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat by Islamic jihadis and the subsequent clamp-down on the Brotherhood by Sadat’s successor, Hosni Mubarak, temporarily put a damper on overt expressions of Khomeinist-Brotherhood mutual admiration, but by 2009, former Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi Akef, openly asserted that “The Muslim Brotherhood supports the ideas and thoughts of the founder of the Islamic  Republic.”

The Iranian regime was quick to claim an inspirational role once the 2011 Al-Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood revolutions broke out, although the Ikhwan did not immediately (or publicly) embrace the overture.

It is true that Khomeini’s 1979 revolution in Iran did capture the imagination of the entire Muslim world, both Shi’ite and Sunni, and nowhere more enthusiastically than among Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and two of its offshoots, Omar Abdel-Rahman’s Gama’at Islamiyya and Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad, both later to become founding members of Al-Qaeda.

But the Shi’ite-Sunni face-off in Syria that began in 2011, followed by the HAMAS departure from longtime headquarters in Damascus, brought Islam’s perennial sectarian strife back to the front pages, while tending to obscure the simultaneous but less visible developing potential for a diplomatic thaw between Iran and Egypt.

Now, however, with the Brotherhood in firm control of Egypt and the three-decades-old peace treaty with Israel no longer a given, indicators like Ambassador Hamdy’s remarks about Hezbolllah may take on a more ominous cast.

A reported August 2012 meeting between the then-head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, Maj. Gen. Murad Muwafi, and a senior official of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) was followed by a August 22 statement from Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, that indicated Egypt and Iran are moving towards restoring diplomatic relations.

Salehi said that Iran seeks ties of “friendship and brotherhood” with Cairo. Then, at the late August 2012 Non-Aligned meeting in Tehran, Morsi and his Iranian host, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, exchanged pledges as “strategic allies” and discussed enhanced bilateral cooperation in the areas of “science and technology.”

Egypt scholar Raymond Stock noted in a stunning September 7, 2012 Gatestone Institute essay that such cooperation could possibly include an Iranian offer to share nuclear technology with Morsi’s Brotherhood regime. Coupled with statements from Muslim Brotherhood and military figures about an Egyptian desire to acquire a “nuclear weapon,” the Iranian model of revolution, terror and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) looks increasingly likely to metastasize to the Arab heart of the Islamic Middle East.

The advantages of rapprochement with Egypt for Iran, which is currently facing crushing financial sanctions, a grueling and probably losing struggle to shore up the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, plus at least some measure of international opprobrium over its nuclear weapons program, are obvious.

The boost to Iran’s jihadist “street creds” in the Arab world that would result from a collaborative relationship with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood would outstrip even the benefits of its longstanding terror partnerships with Al-Qaeda, HAMAS and Hezbolllah.

The logic of closer ties with Iran are perhaps less obvious for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood rulers, but a shared commitment to the pan-Islamic vision of jihad and similar perspectives about sharia (even across jurisprudential schools), a nihilist hatred of Jews and the State of Israel, and deep-seated antipathy to Western civilization together form a fairly solid ideological foundation upon which to expand the political relationship.

The danger to U.S. national security interests and those of our ally Israel posed by such a rapprochement between Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and this hyper-aggressive Iranian regime grows by the day. American failure to recognize, confront and counter the potential for real disaster that is developing across the Middle East in a timely and effective manner invites consequences that could soon envelop the entire region in conflict, instability and war.

Clare Lopez is a senior fellow at and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez served for 20 years as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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