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Corporatism and the Muslim Brotherhood

Hamas (Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood) Soldiers Saluting

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COMMENT: For many years, we have covered the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic fascist organization allied with the Axis in World War II and nurtured by elements of Western intelligence during the Cold War as anti-communist cadre.

They have functioned–and continue to function–as foot soldiers for the Underground Reich. The German/Islamist alliance is old and continues to this day.

We have also covered the profound relationship between the GOP and the Brotherhood, manifested in the alliance between the Ikhwan and Grover Norquist and Karl Rove’s Islamic Free Market Institute. (The latter elements were centrally involved in the institutions targeted in the investigation into terrorist funding under Operation Green Quest.)

As the mainstream press and the so-called progressive sector were falling all over themselves hailing the “Arab Spring,” we noted that WikiLeaks-assisted covert operation was designed to bring “corporatism” to the Muslim World. (Mussolini called his fascist system “corporatism.”)

In January 2012, Salon.com published a very revealing piece that pretty much lays it all out. The only flaw in the article is its downplaying of the endemic violence which characterizes the Brotherhood–Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are offshoots of the Brotherhood.

While perusing this, do examine a previous post on theocratic free-market capitalism (featuring an important update since first published.)

As the fascist regime of Mohamed Morsi sings its swan song, it is worth contemplating the nature of the forces embodied in it.

“The GOP Brotherhood of Egypt” by Avi Asher-Schapiro; Salon.com; 1/25/2012.

EXCERPT: While Western alarmists often depict Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as a shadowy organization with terrorist ties, the Brotherhood’s ideology actually has more in common with America’s Republican Party than with al-Qaida. Few Americans know it but the Brotherhood is a free-market party led by wealthy businessmen whose economic agenda embraces privatization and foreign investment while spurning labor unions and the redistribution of wealth. Like the Republicans in the U.S., the financial interests of the party’s leadership of businessmen and professionals diverge sharply from those of its poor, socially conservative followers.

The Brotherhood, which did not initially support the revolution that began a year ago, reaped its benefits, capturing nearly half the seats in the new parliament, which was seated this week, and vaulting its top leaders into positions of power.

Arguably the most powerful man in the Muslim Brotherhood is Khairat Al-Shater, a multimillionaire tycoon whose financial interests extend into electronics, manufacturing and retail. A strong advocate of privatization, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Muslim Brotherhood businessmen who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s impressive electoral victory this winter and is now crafting the FJP’s economic agenda.

At Al-Shater’s luxury furniture outlet Istakbal, a new couch costs about 6,000 Egyptian pounds, about $1,000 in U.S. currency. In a country where 40 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, Istakbal’s clientele is largely limited to Egypt’s upper classes.

Although the Brothers do draw significant support from Egypt’s poor and working class, “the Brotherhood is a firmly upper-middle-class organization in its leadership,” says Shadi Hamid, a leading Muslim Brotherhood expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Not surprisingly, these well-to-do Egyptians are eager to safeguard their economic position in the post-Mubarak Egypt. Despite rising economic inequality and poverty, the Brotherhood does not back radical changes in Egypt’s economy.

The FJP’s economic platform is a tame document, rife with promises to root out corruption and tweak Egypt’s tax and subsidies systems, with occasional allusions to an unspecific commitment to “social justice.” The platform praises the mechanisms of the free market and promises that the party will work for “balanced, sustainable and comprehensive economic development.” It is a program that any European conservative party could get behind. . . .

Discussion

4 comments for “Corporatism and the Muslim Brotherhood”

  1. David Atkins has a great piece exploring the conflicting principles at work when a military overthrows an elected government that appears intent on imposing a theocracy (or some other form of totalitarianism). There’s also a clip of Chris Hayes’s All In from last night’s episode that starts off with an interview of one of the Egyptian protesters explaining what prompted protests on this scale. It’s worth watching for some of the context around what the protesters are looking for in future governments.

    And here’s a reminder from back in March of the kind of permanent direction institutional formal Islamist rule that Morsi and his allies were trying to take the country during the battle over Egypt’s new constitution last year. The Muslim Brotherhood made it clear over the last year that is wasn’t interested in building a real democratic society. It wanted a future that would look a lot like this on a bad day for the MB:

    Egypt’s Islamic authority asserts role, clashes with Brotherhood

    By Tom Perry

    CAIRO | Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:31pm GMT

    (Reuters) – Egypt’s leading Islamic authority Al-Azhar said on Thursday its clerics must be consulted on a law allowing the state to issue Islamic bonds, setting it at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood which drove the legislation through parliament last week.

    It marks the first time Al-Azhar, a thousand-year-old seat of Islamic learning, has said its Senior Scholars Authority should be consulted on issues pertaining to Islamic law as set out in Egypt’s new, Islamist-tinged constitution.

    Al-Azhar’s intervention could set a precedent for clerical oversight of other affairs of state. The Salafi Nour Party has said Al-Azhar must also approve an agreement Egypt is seeking with the International Monetary Fund because it includes a loan upon which Egypt will pay interest.

    The Islamic bond, or sukuk law, will allow Egypt to issue debt compliant with Islamic principles, allowing the state to tap a new area of finance as President Mohamed Mursi’s administration grapples with an unaffordable budget deficit.

    The sukuk law has been a source of friction between the Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party leads the upper house of parliament, and more hardline Islamists who say it should first have been approved by Al-Azhar.

    At a meeting on Thursday, Al-Azhar’s Islamic Research Institute chaired by Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb said it shared the view that the law should have been referred to the Senior Scholars Authority, in line with the new constitution.

    “The Institute is of the opinion that the draft should have been referred to the Senior Scholars Authority for discussion and so it could give its legal opinion, in line with its duty,” it said in a statement.

    It criticised the law approved by parliament last week, saying it empowered the prime minister to form the body entrusted with issuing the Islamic bonds. It said this “disregarded the Senior Scholars Authority of the noble Azhar”.

    Al-Azhar’s role in affairs of state is embedded in article four of the new constitution. It says the Senior Scholars Authority must be consulted on all matters pertaining to sharia.

    It does not, however, say whether Al-Azhar’s view is binding on the government, nor does it make clear the scope of Al-Azhar’s role – ambiguity which critics say will cause future political and legal conflict.

    It’s pretty obvious that the Muslim Brotherhood was planning are far greater changes and more permanent changes to Egypt’s society. So while the military coup puts creates a number of very real dilemmas, it’s important to keep in mind the last year of extreme Muslim Brotherhood antics that created this awful situation where a coup is even considered. And maybe that will be their biggest weapon against the future: being so bad at democracy that they made a coup seem like a good idea. “Coups for freedom!” isn’t a healthy meme but it’s the perfect farewell for the Muslim Brotherhood’s first awful year of rule.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 3, 2013, 7:59 pm
  2. http://m.gulfnews.com/news/uae/connecting-the-dots-1.1204733

    Trial revealed complicated network of the Muslim Brotherhood finances
    Gulf News Report
    July 2, 2013

    Dubai: Little was known in this country about what has transpired as an amazing web of links and collaboration between the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated groups in the UAE and other Arab states.

    But the trial of 94 Emiratis, which concluded yesterday with conviction of 69 defendants of being members of a clandestine group that plotted to undermine security and seize power, revealed a vast political, ideological and financial network led by the Muslim Brotherhood main front, the Europe Trust, led by senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Ahmed Al Rawi.

    According to documents obtained by Gulf News yesterday, investigators have concluded that “ the Muslim Brotherhood has a global footprint, with the UK and Ireland serving as important hubs for international Muslim Brotherhood leadership activity.”

    They also said that “members of the UAE branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Islah [whose members have been among those convicted in Abu Dhabi yesterday] are active in Muslim Brotherhood networks in the UK and Ireland.”

    “Entities affiliated with Al Eslah in the UAE and the UK have been tied to global terrorist support activity, as identified publicly by U.S and other counterterrorism authorities,” one document said.

    The documents also explain a long history of shadowy activities and links led by exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders who had escaped their homelands and found safe havens in the UK and Europe to lead and propagate the Brotherhood’s cross-border activities.

    In the Gulf, officials have always warned of the Brotherhood threat as the group doesn’t recognize modern state sovereignty and prevailing laws.

    At a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart, Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, in Abu Dhabi on October 12, 2012, UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan denounced the Brotherhood as “an organisation which encroaches upon sovereignty and integrity of nations”.

    “The Muslim Brotherhood’s thinking does not recognise borders or sovereignty of nations. So, it is not unusual that the international Brotherhood organisation works to make inroads upon sovereignty and laws of countries,” he added.

    The court documents show how money was channeled from different charities in the UAE, run by some of the Islah members, to the Europe Trust though a complicated web of intermediate companies and institutions.

    Posted by Vanfield | July 15, 2013, 3:07 pm
  3. The Googlization of the Far Right: Why is Google Funding Grover Norquist, Heritage Action and ALEC?

    http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/11/12319/google-funding-grover-norquist-heritage-action-alec-and-more

    I’m not sure where to put this. I really just wanted you to see the article. Feel free to delete.

    Posted by Jim | December 4, 2013, 10:43 am
  4. @Jim: Maybe if Google cuddles up to enough corporatists they’ll finally get that Island Larry Page has been pining for recently where laws that get in the way of innovation won’t have to be obeyed. Someday Larry…someday…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 5, 2013, 2:54 pm

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