Obama’s Egyptian Dilemma

March 4, 2013

Georgy Gounev – First Published by American Thinker February 5, 2013

At  the same time that the Obama administration has decided to provide Egypt with  the most sophisticated varieties of American weaponry, mass protests against the  increasingly dictatorial regime of Mohamed Morsi reached a magnitude that  threatens the very foundations of the Egyptian statehood. This  shocking dichotomy raises questions as to why the most important leader in  the world and the supreme commander of the most powerful armed force is so  confused and so helpless while facing the challenges of radical  Islam.

It’s  very likely that President Obama’s views of Islam-related problems is based on  his childhood experience in Indonesia. Undoubtedly, those impressions have  created an image that the majority of Muslims are good people. This is  absolutely correct. As far as the radical Islamists are concerned, however, Mr.  Obama’s attitude is mistaken. What is even worse is that it impacted in a  negative way his strategic thinking and the practical conduct of his policy.

For  President Obama, the term “radical Islam” is a kind of taboo — for the first  four years of his term, he didn’t master the courage to pronounce it even once.  Instead, he prefers to define the adherents of radical Islam simply as  “terrorists.” The problem here is that terror is a method used by  the enemy but not its name… Given this ignorance or arrogance, it is a small wonder that the president and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, were not  able to develop an effective strategy towards radical Islam in general and  towards Egypt in particular.

Consequently,  the United States’ foreign policy regarding a fanatical and dedicated enemy bent  on the destruction of everything that makes life worth living has been seriously  crippled. Even more, the actions of the current administration are facilitating  the growth of the poisonous seeds of radical Islam.

The  first ray of hope for an ambitious and hard-core Muslim Brotherhood leader by  the name of Mohamed Morsi to assume that his hour had struck emerged when it  became clear that the United States has thrown its loyal ally, Hosni Mubarak,  under the bus.

In July  of 2011 Secretary Hillary Clinton made a statement to the effect that the United  States was recognizing the Muslim Brotherhood as a legitimate participant in  Egyptian political life. In practice, this meant that the United States was  ready to recognize a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt provided that  Mohamed Morsi won the election.

Secretary  Clinton’s declaration was a fatal mistake. All the Department of State had to do  was to issue a declaration making it abundantly clear that the United States  would respect the right of the people of Egypt to choose a government of its  liking. At the same time however, this statement should have left no doubt that  Washington wouldn’t offer any assistance to a tyrannical government that was  about to violate the human rights and political freedom of women and minorities.  Such an American strategy would have brought a victory to Morsi’s rival, Ahmed  Shafiq — a popular and intelligent general with solid secular  credentials.

Once  in power, Morsi’s very first step was to tighten the knot of the cord that  President Obama had placed around his own wrists by making clear his belief in  the legitimacy of the Muslim Brotherhood. Very soon, however, the Gaza conflict  broke out. In the middle of the bloody duel between Hamas’ missiles and the  Israeli bombings, Morsi sent his prime minister, Hesham Qandi, to Gaza. Qandi  gave inspirational and highly provocative speeches encouraging the continuation of Hamas attacks on  Israel.

At  the same time, the Egyptian President was busy building a completely different  image on behalf of President Obama, who had sent his secretary of state to  Cairo, all the way from distant Burma. Upon reaching the capital of Egypt, the  jet-lagged Secretary of State received Morsi’s assurances that Hamas was ready  to stop shooting missiles into Israel…

This  was an excellent strategic move by Morsi, bestowing as it did the status of  complete master of the situation in Gaza. With his help, the attacks on Israel  would be stopped. But if some kind of pressure on the United States and Israel  is desired, then the missiles will fly.

Perhaps  dizzy from so much brilliance, Morsi committed one very important mistake.  Assuming that the ground for the dreamt-of Islamo-totalitarian eternity he had  prepared for Egypt was ready, the new President of Egypt rushed to proclaim  absolutist power over the country. The new dictator was in such a precious hurry  to Islamize Egypt that he immediately imposed a constitution suspiciously  similar to the Iranian one.

This  decisive step proved to be premature. The young opponents of the authoritarian  regime of President Mubarak once again filled Tahrir Square, demanding this time  the resignation of the impatient totalitarian by the name of Mohamed  Morsi.

An  interesting difference emerged between the current demonstrations and the  turmoil that brought down President Mubarak. When historic Tahrir Square was  filled with angry demonstrators against Mubarak, the Department of State decided  to undercut him by proscribing to the  embattled statesman any violent response and demanding release of political  prisoners. (By the way, one of the released “victims of the repressive regime of  Mubarak” was an individual currently detained for his participation in the  Benghazi murders.)

Events  now enveloping Tahrir Square represent a huge dilemma to the Obama  administration. The problem is that the anti-Morsi demonstrations are of such a  magnitude that at one point the new dictator was chased out of his palace, which  upon his return he transformed into a fortress surrounded with barbed wire and  tanks.

Unlike  Mubarak, however, Morsi is not about to resign. Knowing full well the  vulnerability and the weakness of Obama, he is contemplating all possible means  to preserve his dictatorial powers. The delicate spot Obama has placed himself  in by not supporting the Egyptian enemies of radical Islam is a dangerous one  because it evokes an important question: Is the president about to let down the  anti-Morsi demonstrators the way he let down the young Iranians whose blood was  shed on the streets of Teheran back in 2009?

Georgy  Gounev teaches and lectures on the ideology and strategy of radical Islam in  Southern California. He is author of the book entitled “The Dark Side of the  Crescent Moon” that explores the international impact of the Islamization of  Europe. In addition, other articles by Gounev can be found in the American  Thinker, Gatestone and “foraff.org.”

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The French Military Intervention in Mali

January 30, 2013

Georgy Gounev – January 30, 2013 – First Published by American Thinker 1/30/2012

Media coverage  of the French reaction to the establishment of an Islamic enclave in Mali  creates the impression of a limited operation conducted by a small military contingent. The vastness of one of the largest and  poorest African countries has helped to reinforce such an impression. What  should not be forgotten, however, is that this picture is only the visible part  of the mighty iceberg.

The  early stages of the process that led to the French intervention in Mali was  connected to the appearance of the first Islamic groups in the northern part of  the country during the 1990s. The development that brought about the creation  of an Islamic enclave in Mali was initiated by the Islamic leftovers from  the Libyan and the Algerian civil wars.

The  oil-related cash that for decades flowed into Libya produced a wave of  immigrants from countries tot he south. The largest majority of black jobseekers  were looking for employment at the  numerous construction projects of rich  but underpopulated Libya.

When  the Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi decided to create a mercenary force similar  to the French Foreign Legion, immigration issues became more complicated. There  were numerous and generally false speculations about the important role played  by the black mercenaries in the civil war that had led to the downfall of  Qaddafi.

As  a matter of fact this role was quite limited. There were only 1,500 black  mercenaries, which included hundreds of Mali-based Tuaregs, out of the 76,000  soldiers loyal to the dictator. This situation didn’t save the terrified  majority of black immigrants to Libya from the brutal treatment  they got from the “rebels.”

The  end of Qaddafi rule was greeted enthusiastically by the world media. But what  remained hidden for quite some time was the huge arsenal of weapons the dictator  had acquired during the long decades of his rule. These weapons ended up  primarily in the hands of a motley crowd of Jihadists.

Recently  the French military contingent got involved in an intense battle with the  Jihadists in northern Mali. The French participants in the battle were impressed  by the sophistication of the training and the weapons of their enemies. But  there was no cause for amazement, considering that 10,000 shoulder-fired  missile launchers possessed by the Kaddafi army ended up in the hands of the  radical Islamists.

The  Algerian civil war throughout the 1990s was a conflict that still awaits a  complete analysis. This long and brutal confrontation was won by the Algerian  Army. From time to time, although defeated, the Islamists were able to organize  terrorist acts in urban areas and to maintain their presence in the isolated  desert areas of Algeria. It was from there that they recently launched an  assault on the Amenas gas facility located in the southeastern corner of the country.

The  remnants of the GIA, (the French acronym for the Armed Islamic Group, the  military forces of the Algerian Islamists), became a component of the Al Qaeda  in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

For  a long time, the strategy of the Algerian government with regard to the  challenges presented by radical Islamists was full of contradictions. On  the one hand, the Algerian Army and police forces continued harsh wartime  policies against detained Islamists. Also Algeria didn’t object to the use of  its airspace by the French military forces on their way to Mali.

On  the other hand, Algerian leaders, including President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, are not strangers to complicated maneuvers that  involve occasional secret contacts with the Jihadists. It was Bouteflika who not  so long ago decided to release about 2,000 imprisoned Jihadists in an attempt to  let bygones be bygones with the hope that it would pacify the country in the  aftermath of a long and bloody conflict.

With  this action, Pres. Bouteflika demonstrated an astounding lack of ability to  learn from one of the most important lessons of history, the essence of which is  simple: like all totalitarians, the Jihadists don’t recognize the existence of a  category called generosity or compassion. For them every statesman showing  tolerance is stupid, or weak, or both. Small wonder that the released jihadists  in Algeria quickly vanished from the city areas in order to emerge as guerilla  fighters.

The  creation of an Islamic enclave on the territory of northern Mali and the hostage  taking in southeastern Algeria were closely connected Jihadist endeavors.  Algerians played an important role in the occupied cities of Mali. At the same  time, the recent hostage taking was an operation in which 29 out of 40  participants were Tuaregs. Many among them were former black mercenaries in the  Qaddafi Army.

The  dramatic events that shook part of the African continent that not many people  care about could have extremely important consequences in the not-so-distant  future.

The  limited French military intervention in Mali that precipitated the hostage  crisis prevented for the time being the Islamic takeover of Mali. At the same  time however, the Islamic influence in the Sahel region, where the poorest  African countries are located, continues to grow.

In  other words the Jihadists have strong positions and connections in the states  that are located between the Arab-populated northern Africa and the rest of the  continent. There is an Islamic continuum between the Horn of Africa, with  Somalia as the best example, all the way to Mauritania.

If  the Islamic offensive in this region continues undisturbed, the next victims of  the Islamo-totalitarian assault will be Algeria and Morocco. The same factor  will influence and possibly speed up the ongoing Islamization of Egypt , Libya,  and Tunisia.

The  establishment of an Islamic stronghold on the Mediterranean coast of Africa will  represent a direct threat to France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and will have a  tremendous impact on the ongoing process of the Islamization of  Europe.

There  is a way to prevent these sinister developments that sooner or later will affect  the United States. An effective strategy would require a joint effort of an  American led NATO-Organization for African Unity (OAU) coalition, which should  organize the protection and defense of the continent. The current situation in  sub-Saharan Africa provides little assurance that any such steps will be  taken.

Georgy  Gounev teaches the ideology and strategy of radical Islam in Southern  California within the framework of the Emeritus program. He is also the author  of The Dark Side of the Crescent Moon, Foreign Policy Challenges,  Laguna Woods, CA, 2011. The book explores the international impact of the  Islamization of Europe.

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The Spring of Islamic Fundamentalism

August 2, 2012

Georgy Gounev - First Published by Gatestone Institute – August 2, 2012

To what extent should an Islamic leader be trusted when he proclaims his intention to act in keeping with all the requirements of a democratic political system and to respect the principles of religious and political freedom?

The ability of the American media to ignore a “politically incorrect” event, regardless of its importance, is familiar. One of the best examples is the invitation issued by President Obama to the President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, to pay an official visit to the United States during the September session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The most frequently asked question in the immediate aftermath of the presidential elections in Egypt is: To what extent should an Islamic leader be trusted when he proclaims his intention to act in keeping with all the requirements of a democratic political system? Also, how much should an Islamic leader be trusted when he promises to respect the principles of religious and political freedom?

What, for instance, is the value of the following statement: “Islamic clerics will help lead the Revolution but then they step aside to let others rule”? Or: “Criticism of the Islamic Government will be tolerated.”?

Oops..! Sorry for the mistake! Those were not the words of the newly elected President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi. These encouraging thoughts were expressed by Ayatollah Khomeini on September 25, 1978, just four months before his triumphant return to Teheran.

What Khomeini then did is well known; there is no need to repeat it here. On August 18, 1979, however — less than a year after his pro-democracy statements — the thoughts of the powerful dictator of Iran had acquired a different direction. When he addressed the participants in the demonstrations of some disappointed former young supporters, the angry cleric issued the following warning: “I repeat for the last time: “Abstain from holding meetings, from blaspheming, from public protests. Otherwise I will break your teeth.”

On February 2, 2011, The American Thinker published an article by this author, exploring the similarities and differences between developments in Egypt and Iran. While the mainstream media was elated by what seemed a sunrise of democracy over the Nile, the article stated: “[T]he demonstrations shaking Tehran at the time and Cairo now have a clearly visible violent and Islamic component.” It also emphasized the prominent role the actions of President Obama’s administration were about to play in shaping the future political system of the most important Arab country.

As President-Elect, Mohammed Morsi promised to establish a “civil and democratic state in Egypt.” He also said he would appoint as Vice Presidents both a woman and a Christian, and assured Egyptian journalists that there would be no Islamization of the cultural life of the country. Morsi added, however, that those journalists who had published articles supporting the peace treaty with Israel would not be allowed to practice their profession.

If one again compares the Egyptian developments with the Iranian precedents, Mohamed Morsi currently is using Khomeini’s vocabulary from September of 1978. The question is: What kind of statement will he make if he reaches the degree of power Khomeini was enjoying in August of 1979?

Secretary of State Clinton proudly declared in Cairo that the United States did not have any preferences regarding the participants in the Egyptian elections. Although her announcement followed a well-established pattern of political correctness, at the same time it reflected the completely wrong strategy of the Obama administration. That policy is based on the absurd premise that by exposing Islamic Fundamentalism as the main enemy of democracy and Western civilization, American policymakers are endangering the United States more than are the actions of the Jihadists.

It was this “strategy” that contributed immensely to the electoral victory of the Muslim Brotherhood. Twenty-Five million out of eighty million Egyptians preferred not to vote at all; the rest of the votes were almost split between Mohamed Morsi and his main rival – General Ahmed Shafik, a close associate of former President Hosni Mubarak.

American diplomacy had a better path to follow. A definite assurance should have been given to the effect that the United States would respect the choice of the Egyptian people. At the same time, if the new Government tried to change Egypt’s political system by imposing an ideology, that discriminated against women and minorities, and that violated its peace treaty with Israel, it should not expect any support from the United States.

One of the many questions Secretary Clinton could have asked President-Elect Morsi was: “If the Brotherhood has so tightly embraced the ideals of political democracy, how is it possible that such a crucial change did not in any way affect the ideology of the organization?”

No one will be surprised that Mohamed Morsi failed to mention to Ms. Clinton that the most essential part of his fiery speech delivered in front of an enthusiastic crowd on May13, 2012 was the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood: “The Koran is our constitution. The Prophet Muhammad is our leader. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.”

Wouldn’t it be logical to expect that before issuing an invitation to Morsi to visit him at the White House, President Obama would ask his future guest how, if he believes that the country must be subjected to Islamic Law, he intends to defend the secular constitution of Egypt?

If Jihad is the path Morsi wants to follow, then how can President Obama treat him as his guest? It is understandable: Once he contributed to Morsi’s ascension to power, the President has to deal with him on the issues of international politics. This fact does not mean, however, that Mr. Obama should lay down a red carpet for him. A White House reception for Morsi will represent a huge boost to — and an endorsement of — the “gathering storm” of Islamic Fundamentalism. Weren’t the Jihadists the ones who murdered thousands of Americans, and have openly stated that one of their most important goals has always been to destroy the American political system?

If the occupant of the White House after November 2012 does not know how to say the words ‘Islamic Fundamentalism’, America will face tough times ahead not only abroad, but at home as well.

Georgy Gounev, PhD, teaches ‘The Ideology and Strategy of Radical Islam’ and is the author of the book “The Dark Side of the Crescent Moon. The Islamization of Europe and its Impact on the American-Russian Relations,” Foreign Policy Challenges LLC, Laguna Hills, 2011.

The United States, Russia and the Syrian Crisis

July 29, 2012

Georgy Gounev – Published first by American Thinker July 29 2012

The most important international factor that influences the Syrian crisis is the politics of the United States and Russia. In the eyes of the majority of the American observers, the primary factor for the continuing bloodshed in Syria is the diplomatic and military support rendered to Assad’s regime by Russia. Read the rest of this entry »

Is it Foreign Policy – Stupid?

June 13, 2012

Georgy Gounev – georgygounev@yahoo.com – June 8, 2012 Let’s make it abundantly clear from the very beginning; what is absent from the intensifying election campaign of 2012 is a serious discussion on the numerous foreign policy challenges the country is facing. The only issue which both President Obama and Governor Romney are able to see eye-to-eye on is a silent consent to ignore the issues of foreign policy. Read the rest of this entry »

Vladimir Putin and the Future of Russian Anti-Americanism

March 25, 2012

By Georgy Gounev – First Published by American Thinker – March 24, 2012

The first logical question involving Russian anti-Americanism is: What were the origins and dynamics of the phenomenon? Secondly: What is its role in the politics of President Putin? And last, but not least, what are the nature and the magnitude of the real danger Russia is facing? The appearance of post-Soviet Russian anti-Americanism has been determined to a large degree by the events that took place during the early nineties of the last century. Read the rest of this entry »

Washington, Moscow & the Invisible Tip of the Syrian Iceberg

January 17, 2012

January 15, 2012
By Georgy Gounev – first printed by American Thinker Jan 15, 2012

The obvious truth is that Syria is in deep crisis. What remains unclear is the vast area encompassing the answer to some important questions involving the regime that ruled Syria for decades. For instance, what are its strengths (if any) and its weaknesses? What about the background of the motivation and the actions of the international enemies and supporters of President Bashar Assad? Read the rest of this entry »

Iran, the U.S. and the Strait of Hormuz Crisis

January 17, 2012

By George Friedman Reprinted From Stratfor Jan 17, 2012
The United States reportedly sent a letter to Iran via multiple intermediaries last week warning Tehran that any attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz constituted a red line for Washington. The same week, a chemist associated with Iran’s nuclear program was killed in Tehran. In Ankara, Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani met with Turkish officials and has been floating hints of flexibility in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

Read the rest of this entry »


September 16, 2011

Georgy Gounev, georgygounev@yahoo.com            September 9, 2011

Is there such a thing as radical Islam?

The authors of a rather pretentious report entitled “Fear,Inc – the Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” created by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington D.C. based left-wing think tank are absolutely certain that there is no such thing. They go even further with their claim that everyone who holds the opposite view is a sinister character obsessed by a dark force with the name of Islamophobia. Read the rest of this entry »

Geert Wilders: Speech in Rome

March 29, 2011
Reprinted from  http://www.americanthinker.com/- March 26, 2011
Andrew Bostom: 
Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders made a seminal address yesterday evening (March 25, 2011) at the Annual Lecture of the Magna Carta Foundation in Rome, Italy.
As is his wont, Wilders presentation moved far beyond the timorous platitudes about the most obvious (and dangerous) failures of cultural relativism belatedly echoed by Western European leaders Angela Merkel, Nicholas Sarkozy, and David Cameron. Wilders demands that the West acknowledge the jihad-both cultural and military-being waged against it openly and incessantly by institutional Islam, Muslim nations, and the global umma. The Ducth Parlaimentarian concludes his eloquent and informative speech by insisting that four concrete measures must be taken immediately, quoting Ronald Reagan, so we can “…act today to preserve tomorrow.”
  • (1) Defend freedom of speech
  • (2) End cultural relativism and re-assert our belief in the superiority of Western culture compared to Islamic culture
  • (3) Stop the Islamization of the West because, “more Islam means less freedom.”
  • (4) Restore the supremacy and sovereignty of the nation-state Read the rest of this entry »


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