Friday, March 04, 2011

"Good" Muslim Brotherhood vs. Bad al-Qaeda

Here we go again. I hope I'm not the only one who gets sick of liberals (and paleoconservatives) who roll their eyes and tell the rest of us that we're ignorant cretins for not knowing all about how the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims somehow means that Islam is not all bad. (Al-Qaeda is Sunni. Hezbollah is Shia. Yep, that's real helpful in distinguishing the good guys from the bad guys.)

Get ready for a new manufactured excuse for the liberals to roll their eyes. The administration is telling us that Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood (both Sunni) are also very different in this same way. Barry Rubin skewers this:

Get it? Al-Qaeda is bad because it wants to attack U.S. embassies, the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon.

BUT the Muslim Brotherhood is good! Because it merely wants to seize state power, transform Egypt into an Islamist state, rule almost 90 million people with an iron hand, back Hamas in trying to destroy Israel, overthrow the Palestinian Authority, help Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood overthrow the monarchy, and sponsor terrorism against Americans in the Middle East.
Thanks, Barry. I couldn't have said it better.



Alex said...

I can distinguish between al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood: they have different spelling.

Otherwise, it's another case of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. It's a distinction without a difference when we consider their common objectives - which are implacably hostile to Western interests.

Lydia McGrew said...

Yep. It's amazing how tiny differences of immediate strategy or packaging, or even the mere fact that two groups dislike one another, are magnified by some people into some "exploitable rift." I think it's partly because people really do not want to accept the fact that there may be nothing constructive we can do to direct the course of the Muslim world in a direction we want it to go. There is also a refusal to accept the deep-seated evils of Muslim thought and culture, so that, for example, any Muslim group we support will hate Israel, hate Christians, want to impose death for apostasy, and the like.

The idea that there is no set of "good guys" for us to cheer for just goes against the grain for too many. In this post I'm focusing on liberals, but unfortunately there are conservatives who think this way as well.

Mr Veale said...

I haven't followed developments in Egypt closely enough to make an informed judgment. But friends with contacts in Egypt tell me that the Muslim Brotherhood was embarrassed by its lack of initiative. Some commentators are arguing that it has been on the wane for some time, and so it is desperately struggling to put itself in the centre of the "revolution".

So it would be really helpful if liberal commentators in the West stopped talking up their influence and importance, and handing them a PR victory. A very clear message that these are people that the West can't do business with would be helpful.


Mr Veale said...

I'm not too pessimistic - although I can't see how politicised Islam will cause anything except endless heartache and misery, Arabs have embraced nationalism and communism in significant numbers in the past.

It's only anecdotal evidence - but from what I hear there are plenty of people in Cairo more interested in keeping a job being able to pay for their next meal, than in restoring the Caliphate or imposing Sharia.

Realistically, the Egyptian Army will decide what happens next.


Lydia McGrew said...

Graham, I'm afraid our President probably _is_ interested in doing business with the Muslim Brotherhood.

On your second comment, the army decides what happens next in a sense. But this "deciding" can be by way of neglect as well. See this shocking story on a 4000-man-strong Copt-killing, church-burning riot.

When the army showed up, the Muslim leaders of the town said, "We've got it all under control," and evidently the army left it at that.