PART 1: Expert Liars: U.S. think-tank protects Muslim Brotherhood from terrorist designation

Muslim Brotherhood Logo
Muslim Brotherhood Logo

Who are the “experts” who testify against designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group? PART 1 of a 3 part series.

The “experts” who give advice and who testify at Congressional hearings are very devious. One such “expert” compared the Muslim Brotherhood to the Boy Scouts (details in Part 2).

Many of the “experts” come from “think tanks” who pass themselves off as educational and research organizations. Often, the “trustworthy” sources that we rely on, take their “background” information from these think tanks, and this is why we often hear the same repeated lies.

Read Part 2: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Read Part 3: Muslim Brotherhood


Brookings Institute

Brookings is considered to be one of the most trusted think tanks in the world. Its “experts” are some of the most quoted on TV, in newspapers, and, its members often give testimony at Congressional Hearings and send recommendations to the President and his staff. But can Brookings “experts” be trusted?

Qatar donates enormous amounts of money to Brookings every year: $14.8 million in 2013 (Brookings has since stopped disclosing its donors).(1)

Brookings holds its annual conferences in Qatar, where global leaders, including our own heads of state, top members in our armed forces, and influential politicians, schmooze and listen to various Islamists and in many cases, with terrorists — such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

On his weekly al-Jazeera TV show, Sharia and Life, Qaradawi has instructed Palestinian women to conduct suicide bombings on Israelis, encouraged suicide bombings on U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and has promoted the crucifixion of Christians.

Qaradawi has been intrinsically involved in several of Qatar’s “charities”, including Qatar’s top two: Qatar Charity and the Qatar Foundation.

Qatar Charity belongs to Qaradawi’s Union of Good, which is a coalition of 57 Islamic charities in 21 different countries. The 57 charities can make financial transfers between coalition members between the 21 different countries.

Ties between Qatar Charity and al-Qaeda date back to a 1995 assassination attempt on former President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarek.(1)

Qatar Charitable Society played a major role in financing the U.S. embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.(1)

Qatar funded the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigade in Syria, which works jointly with Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria). Qatar did the same in Libya when it openly funded and armed jihadists tied to al-Qaeda there.(1)

Brookings “experts” Will McCants, Michael Doran and Clint Watts have urged against classifying Ahrar al-Sham a terrorist group, even though the group at times fights alongside ISIS, and at other times, with al-Qaeda. Ahrar al-Sham is an Islamist mercenary army financially backed by Qatar and Turkey and its founder was a senior al-Qaeda operative.(1)

The Brookings “experts” argue that U.S. policymakers should be flexible with Ahrar al-Sham because they say it is a “lesser of two evils” when compared to ISIS. But if these “experts” were indeed experts, then they’d know that Ahrar al-Sham not only has fought with ISIS, but behaves exactly as ISIS, and has the exact same ideology and desires of implementing Islamic Law in Syria.

Long before the “Arab Spring” the “experts” have been promoting the idea that Islamist groups must be included in the “democratic” process of new governments in the Middle East and North Africa.

Peter W. Singer, co-coordinator of Brookings Institute’s 2002 Conference, wrote in one of the conference papers that “moderate” Islamist parties must be included in the political systems of Muslim countries. He wrote: “In dealing with burgeoning democracies, a general finding is that outside parties should support integration of Islamist parties into [the] political system rather than exclusion.”(1)

Tamara Wittes, Brookings “Director” for Middle East Policy in 2008, stated that she believes that Islamists, including Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood and Moroccan Muslim Brotherhood are different from Hamas or al-Qaeda. She says they [the Muslim Brotherhood] want to transform society and government into something that is more Islamic, but aim to do so below the radar rather than through revolutionary change.(1)(2)

If Singer and Wittes are “experts”, then they would have known that the main goal of the Muslim Brotherhood has always been Islamic Law.

Islamists do not believe in “government” because governments create laws and constitutions that give rights to, and protects, all citizens. The Muslim Brotherhood believe only in the laws of the Quran (which does not give rights to all people). And they believe in jihad to accomplish this goal. That is why the Muslim Brotherhood has repeatedly tried to take down governments in Algeria, Egypt, Syria and so forth.

Wittes had suggested that some Islamists are different that others, inferring that the Muslim Brotherhood are non-violent. But this is untrue. In 2011, Muslim Brotherhood in every one of the “Arab Spring” countries conducted acts of violence and terrorism.

In Egypt, the kick off to the violence was on February 3, 2011, when Hamas crossed the border into Egypt in armored vehicles, broke into prisons, killed guards, and released terrorists — including Mohammad Morsi — who was to become president (in an un-free, un-fair, violent election that refused women and Christians at voting stations).

Syria’s “moderate” rebels (who consisted of Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda members) kicked off their “revolution” with attacks on Christian towns, slaughtering civilians in order to “take territory” for Islam.

Wittes either made a bad judgement call when she wrote that the Muslim Brotherhood are different than Hamas or al-Qaeda, or was purposefully spreading the pro-Islamist agenda, which is to make the Brotherhood out to be “moderate” and “peaceful”. But did she learn anything after the intense violence and terrorism that occurred from 2011-2013?  No, she did not.

On January 10, 2014, Wittes co-authored an article for the Washington Post with Daniel Byman. Byman was a professor in the “Security Studies” program at Georgetown University and the “Research Director” of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. They wrote:

“Now that the Muslim Brotherhood is declared a terrorist group [in Egypt], it just might become one …Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is not a terrorist movement, at least not currently. But the move by the military-led government to ban it from politics and declare it a terrorist organization may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”(3)

First, Egypt is not a military-run government. Members of the military are not allowed to run for President, nor for Parliament, nor can members of the military make laws or be judges in Egypt’s judicial system. The words “military-led government” are used to make westerners believe something that is untrue. More importantly, in Wittes and Byman’s 2014 article, they totally dismissed the fact that from June 2012, and for eighteen months straight, the Egyptian people suffered from non-stop Muslim Brotherhood violence and terrorism.

There were continuous attacks on citizens in the streets. There were killings and arson. August 2013 saw horrific attacks on both civilians and police (police stations were attacked and police were disemboweled). Also in August of 2013, the Brotherhood torched more than 40 churches. At their rallies, Muslim Brotherhood leaders told their followers to kill and ‘burn’ all Christians.

Then, in December 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood conducted hundreds of small scale bombings, culminating in a large bombing of the police headquarters in Mansoura. It was then that the Muslim Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organization by the Judicial System and the Parliament.

The decision to declare the Brotherhood a terrorist organization had nothing to do with the army, nor the president, who at that time was Adli Mansour, not Sisi (Mansour was president until June 2014). The decision to declare the Brotherhood a terrorist group was made because the Brotherhood were conducting ongoing terrorist attacks. The decision was made by the Egyptian people, who encouraged their representatives to vote yes.

Wittes and Byman ignored all of these facts. And like so many other “experts” from the think tanks, they promoted the rhetoric that declaring the Brotherhood a terrorist group would make them terrorists. How absurd!

Two weeks after that article, Byman and Wittes published another article, originally posted on their “education/research” page at their .edu website (I can’t believe these people teach our youth). The article was addressed to Obama, and was picked up by the Boston Globe and several other major newspapers to send their propaganda message to the American public.

Byman and Wittes wrote:

By declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, Egypt risks radicalizing the group’s members and destabilizing the region … the Obama administration should engage with peaceful Islamists, push Egypt to allow Brotherhood supporters to participate in legitimate political and social activity …”(4)

“Peaceful Islamists” ?? How can they even use those words?

They also wrote:

“The Brotherhood so far has not called its members to arms, but this could change as the government implements its effort to criminalize the group. In the past, the Brotherhood weathered its exclusion from political power by concentrating on social change.”

The entire article was filled with lies, but my blood pressure skyrocketed when I read: The Brotherhood so far has not called its members to arms.”

The Brotherhood began arming themselves in enclaves in southern Egypt decades earlier. But starting in early 2012, they began openly calling on members to join their armed militia. They posted videos of their militia that was forming in the Sinai in coordination with Hamas. By mid-2012, they were calling on Muslims from other countries to come join their militia in the Sinai.

Also in the 2014 article, Byman and Wittes wrote:

“The Brotherhood’s exclusion from politics could lead its members to give up on peaceful politics, radicalize and return to terrorism …The negative effects could spill outside of Egypt’s heartland to Sinai and beyond its borders to Gaza…”

Exclusion from politics? The Muslim Brotherhood had full control of Parliament and the Presidency for more than a year, until July 3, 2013. They were NOT excluded. And the Brotherhood’s armed militia already existed in the Sinai in coordination with Hamas in Gaza for at least two years. Byman and Wittes, like many others from Brookings, lied and spread propaganda for the Islamist agenda.


Originally published at CheriBerens with links to cited sources and additional photo.

Cheri Berens lives in Egypt working as a researcher for the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. She experienced Egypt’s 2011 and 2013 revolutions and witnessed the Muslim Brotherhood takeover and violence that followed.