Oh No! Not the Middle East Again!
by Shira Sorko-Ram
Millions of protestors demonstrated against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood
movementuntil Egypt's military ousted him. Now hundreds of thousands of Brotherhood sympathizers insist they
will continue to demonstrate for Morsi until he is reinstated.
Our outgoing Israeli ambassador to the U.S. made a fascinating, and I believe quite accurate, evaluation of the atmosphere that dominates the U.S.
“There is a great weariness now in America,” says Michael Oren, “that is leading to a kind of neo-isolationism. In the past decade, this great nation has been through two difficult wars and a traumatic economic shakeup. So you have this exhaustion and cutbacks in the defense budget and a shrinking of the military and an aversion to any more overseas intervention.
Lawmakers are asking why send money to Egypt or the Palestinians rather than invest that money in a new bridge. Americans are tired of the Middle East. They don’t want to hear about it, and they don’t want to know what is happening in Egypt and Syria and Iran.
And what I am compelled to repeat here over and over is that when the helicopters took off from the Saigon embassy in 1975, the Vietcong did not chase the Americans all the way to Fifth Avenue. But it won’t be the same with the Middle East. You can’t run away from the Middle East, because if you run away from the Middle East, the Middle East will come running after you.” (haaretz. com,11July2013)
WHAT’S WRONG WITH EGYPT
Egypt is dirt poor. Poverty and filth smothers the city slums; infrastructure is non-existent. The peasant farmers in the countryside live much like their ancestors thousands of years ago. Fifty percent live under the poverty line, making about $2.00 a day. When I visited Egypt many years ago, it reminded me more of India than any other country I had been to. But today the masses in urban slums have had it. The problem is that there are two camps: the very religious and the less religious. Both are in dire economic straits and now they are at each other’s throats.
The principle reason that millions of people have risen up against President Mohamed Morsi is because he made great economic promises. This latest revolution is all about promises that Morsi didn’t - couldn’t keep.
As columnist Caroline B. Glick of the Jerusalem Post describes it: “There are only three things knowable about the future of Egypt. First it will be poor. Egypt is a failed state. It cannot feed its people. It has failed to educate its people. It has no private sector to speak of. It has no foreign investment.” (JP, 5July2013)
Given Egypt’s dire economic plight, it is impossible to see how any government will be able to deliver on any promises - large or small - that its politicians will make.
A crying lack of investment, the death of tourism, and above all the need to feed and provide livelihoods for more than 84 million people every day - even Morsi’s ouster will solve none of these problems, which seem too big for any regime to cope with.” (Amos Harel, Haaretz, 4July2013)
There are only two powers in Egypt: the military and the Islamists, explains Daniel Pipes, Middle East expert. The army with its half a million conscripts, has three times overthrown its leaders. The military officer corps has a vast and unhealthy control over the country’s economy. They own somewhere between 15 to 40% of the economy. Even those are wild estimates. (Aljazeera, 15Feb2012)
The military’s massive economic interests in Egypt are one of those secrets which is not really a secret. The military has, over decades, created an industrial complex that is well-oiled and well-funded. They produce everything from flat-screen televisions and pasta to refrigerators and cars. They own restaurants and football grounds. They are huge land owners in the country.
Their economic interest transcends all else: officers may disagree on other matters, but they concur on the need to pass these privileges intact to their children. Conversely, this materialism means that they will make a deal with anyone who guarantees its privileges. (www.danielpipes.org)
There were many conspiracy rumors back in 2012 that the army actually helped the Muslim Brotherhood with money to buy votes in the “democratic elections” last year because then candidate Mohamed Morsi promised to not interfere with the army’s finances.
Secondly, Dr. Michael Youssef, founding pastor of the 3,000 member Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, who was born in Egypt, said that the elections were anything but fair.
He insists that “in thousands of villages during the elections, the Muslim Brotherhood stood with guns outside the polling booths. And if a Christian wanted to go in to vote, they would say, ‘You go in, and we’ll kill you.’ So hundreds of thousands of Christians couldn’t vote.” The Coptic Christians are approximately 10 percent of the 84,000,000 Egyptians.
Mohamed Morsi won the election by 51 percent.
The Salafists who are Islamists even more extreme than the Muslim Brotherhood came out of nowhere winning 25 percent of the vote. How? Salafist leader Tal’at Zahra called the democratic system “infidel,” “criminal,” and “out of the Elders of Zion.” He cynically observed that “it is our duty to forge elections; God will reward us for this.”
Salafis want one thing and one thing only: Sharia law. Now. They promote lawlessness - violence and terrorism. They have been heavy persecutors of the Coptic Church.
THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AND THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE
Egypt is not a secular nation. Islam is engrained and intertwined into every aspect of Egyptian culture. Seventy-four percent of Egyptians who favor Sharia law believe it should be applied to non-Muslims, and 86 percent believe that a Muslim who changes his religion should be executed. (Economist, 30April2013)
Many Westerners believe that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “moderate” Islamic movement. Perhaps in method but not in goal. While al Qaeda is willing to use every possible means of violence to establish Sharia law, the Muslim Brotherhood believes they can reach the same goal through elections.
In both movements, Sharia law and a world Caliphate is their raison d’etre. If you wonder what a Caliphate would look like, think Taliban. Think mandatory hijabs, hands chopped off of thieves, acid in the faces of women, instant execution for anyone thought to be an opponent of Mohammed or Allah.
But if the Egyptian people are so Islamic in their beliefs, why did they turn on Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi? The answer is that it began to dawn on the poor that instead of delivering jobs and bread, as Morsi had promised, he gave them gas lines and electricity cuts. Morsi is now being accused by the army of concentrating power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, sending the economy into free fall and failing to protect minorities.
But for the well-wishing Westerners, here is a very important point to remember. The liberals might have started the protests, but when it comes to power, the liberals don’t have it. They are not a solid front as is the massively organized Brotherhood. And these “liberals” don’t like the U.S. They don’t like Jews. And they don’t want the peace treaty with Israel. Plainly, if anyone thinks democracy will spring from the current mess, he is dreaming.
Meanwhile the Muslim Brotherhood has plotted and planned its takeover of Egypt for 80 long years. They are not about to give up now. Moreover, at this writing, the U.S. and Germany are demanding that the Egyptians free Morsi from house arrest. Massive counter-demonstrations of Muslim Brotherhood activists claim they will stay on the streets until Morsi is returned to his presidency. One can only imagine what the future holds for the hapless Egyptians.
The renowned British American scholar of Islamic studies, Bernard Lewis, explained, “Democracy is a political concept that has no history, no record whatsoever in the Arab Islamic world.” “In the West,” he says, “we tend to get excessively concerned with elections, regarding the holding of elections as the purest expression of democracy, as the climax of the process of democratization.” However he warns, “Consider, for example, that democracy was fairly new in Germany after World War I, and Hitler came to power in a free and fair election.”
In our April 2011 Maoz Report, (before the elections were held) we quoted Lewis as saying, “As for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, I don’t think it is in any sense benign. I think it is a very dangerous, radical Islamic movement. If they obtain power, the consequence would be disastrous for Egypt.” (see archives March 2011 and April 2011 newsletters)
Because the Brotherhood is so well organized and powerful, there can be no “democratic” government without them. They will probably run in the next election again, and they may win the presidency again. Or they may boycott the elections with the goal of making it an illegitimate vote in the eyes of the Egyptians and the world. Whatever they decide, their goal to bring Sharia law to all of Egypt is still before their eyes.
Israel’s greatest concern is that as Egypt grows more chaotic, al Qaeda terrorists will flood the Sinai desert - coming from both Gaza and other countries. The Sinai Bedouin are being radicalized by extremists and hundreds of mosques are mushrooming all over the Sinai. They threaten both Egypt and Israel’s borders. For that reason, the Egyptian and Israeli military have been working closely together. The dangers are real. At this very moment, there is a fierce gun-battle between Egyptian soldiers and jihadists in process near the Israeli border.
The U.S. leadership and media do not yet grasp the threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood; they continue to see the movement as a moderate one. In fact, a number of individuals from the Brotherhood work for the American administration - which means they are an influencing force. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) recently said, “This administration has so many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America.” In July 2012, Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN) led the charge, pointing a finger at top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Bachmann’s accusations were widely condemned at the time.
The only way to reverse Egypt’s downward spiral into more hunger, poverty and violence, is through a genuine outpouring of God’s Spirit on the land, a true revival. Only about 10 percent of the Egyptian Christians are Evangelicals. But they are crying out to God for revival. We who are from democratic nations can stand with them and know that when we pray for revival, we are agreeing with God’s word. He has promised that Egypt will know the one and only True God.
Thank you for your fervent prayers,
Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram
Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram are the founders of Maoz Israel Ministries. The mission of MAOZ is: 1) To declare the Message of Messiah and make disciples in the city of Tel Aviv and throughout Israel. 2) To raise up Israeli leaders to prepare for the coming spiritual awakening among the people of Israel. 3) To educate and inform Christians world-wide of the strategic importance of Israel and the Jewish people in God's plan for world revival. The MAOZ web site is http://www.maozisrael.org/.