CIA & State Department Back al-Ikhwan

by Laurence on 9/11/2004 · 1 comment

Central Asia’s Hizb-ut-Tahrir movement is a spinoff from al-Ikwhan al-Muslimun. Today’s Washington Post reports that the group, known as the Muslim Brotherhood, has been supported by the CIA and State Department, which might partly explain why Human Rights Watch and other NGOs appear to be on their side, too:

Some federal agents worry that the Muslim Brotherhood has dangerous links to terrorism. But some U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials believe its influence offers an opportunity for political engagement that could help isolate violent jihadists.”It is the preeminent movement in the Muslim world,” said Graham E. Fuller, a former CIA official specializing in the Middle East. “It’s something we can work with.” Demonizing the Brotherhood “would be foolhardy in the extreme,” he warned.

The Brotherhood’s history and the challenges it poses to U.S. officials illustrate the complexity of the political front in the campaign against terrorism three years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. FBI agents and financial investigators probe the group for terrorist ties and legal violations, while diplomats simultaneously discuss strategies for co-opting at least its moderate wings. In both sectors of the U.S. government, the Brotherhood often remains a mystery.

The Brotherhood — or al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, as it is known in Arabic — is a sprawling and secretive society with followers in more than 70 countries. It is dedicated to creating an Islamic civilization that harks back to the caliphates of the 7th and 8th centuries, one that would segregate women from public life and scorn nonbelievers.

You can read the whole thing here.

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{ 1 comment }

praktike September 11, 2004 at 2:22 pm

I have no clue what that last person was babbling about, but I will say this: the US and the Saudis have collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood for years. They used them against Nasser, and I would expect us to have some remaining contacts.

That said, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is something of a spent force. They have representatives in parliament, unofficially, but the Egyptian government knows the deal.

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