By the way, if you didn’t notice earlier, a Russian probe into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat found that his death was not caused by radiation or radiation poisoning. Swiss authorities had speculated his death was consistent with polonium poisoning. Sorry. Wrong number. The head of Russia’s Federal Medical and Biological Agency reported that Arafat died of natural causes. Looks like Palestinian’s claims that Israel caused Arafat’s death is equally awry.
Egyptian crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood continues. Near the end of December further sweeping arrests were made across the nation. The group received a government warning that anyone holding a leadership position in the Brotherhood could face a death penalty. The Brotherhood has not been declared to be a terrorist organization. This designation means that hundreds of thousands who hold membership could be arrested under anti-terrorism laws. The government promises some leeway for those who renounce the group’s ideology. The point is that a relationship with this group has become a life and death matter within Egypt.
When the military chief Gen. Abel-Fattah el-Sissi spoke to military graduates on December 26, he promised the country would stand fast in attacking terrorism. Of course, he meant the Brotherhood. Sissi isn’t fooling around.
The crackdown reaches beyond the boundaries of Egypt. In a recent blog, I noted that Hamas’s plans for receiving shipments of arms out of Egypt had been severely curtailed. It now appears that is an understatement. The tradition of strong Arab rulers has been to eliminate any possible threat. (ala the Brotherhood). Sissi knows that contemporary Muslims in the Middle East are not seeking the truth as much as they are attempting to restore power to their groups. When the name of the game becomes political dominance, then the playing gets rough. The Muslim Brotherhood got in trouble because their goal was to first Islamize Egypt and then take control of the country. The ultimate goal was to capture the region, renew the caliphate, and establish Muslim controlled states. Of course, this was the issue when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.
Because Hamas is directly linked to the Brotherhood, Hamas is now involved in the continuing struggle against the current Egyptian regime. The leadership of this terrorist organization must now recognize that they too are part of the crackdown going on in Egypt. Jonathan Schanzer with Foundation for Defense of Democracies recently reported that in his 10 years of following terror finances, he had never seen a group come so close to financial ruin as has followed Egypt’s actions against Hamas.
Hama’s finances have been severely crippled and the tunnels used as a supply line closed. Toughies for Hamas!
As winter turns into summer, we can expect new information to surface on how these shifts in the Arab world are effecting the on-going struggles in a number of countries. The reversals seem to never stop.