We are continuing publication of Thierry Meyssan’s book, “Before Our Eyes “. In this installment, he describes the creation of an Egyptian secret society, the Muslim Brotherhood, and its reactivation after the Second World War by the British secret services, and the use of this group by MI6 to carry out political assassinations in the former Crown colony.
In 1951, the Anglo-Saxon secret services formed, from the former homonymous organization, a political secret society: the Muslim Brotherhood. They used it first as an instrument to assassinate individuals who resisted them, and then from 1979 as mercenaries against the Soviets. In the early 1990s, they incorporated them into NATO and in the 1990s tried to bring them to power in Arab countries. Ultimately, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Sufi Order of the Naqchbandis were funded to the tune of $80 billion annually by the Saudi ruling family, making it one of the largest armies in the world. All jihadist leaders, including those of Daesh, belong to this military system.
1- The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood
Four empires disappeared during the First World War: the Germanic Reich, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Holy Tsarist Russia, and the Sublime Ottoman Gateway. The victors were completely unrestrained in imposing their conditions on the defeated. Thus, in Europe, the Treaty of Versailles established conditions that were unacceptable to Germany, and made Germany solely responsible for the conflict. In the East, the carving up of the Ottoman Caliphate was going badly: at the San Remo Conference (1920), in accordance with the Sykes-Picot-Sazonov secret agreements (1916), the United Kingdom was allowed to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine, while France was allowed to colonize Syria (which at the time included the present-day Lebanon). However, in what remained of the Ottoman Empire, Mustafa Kemal revolted both against the Sultan who had lost the war and against the Westerners who were seizing his country. At the Sèvres conference (1920), the Caliphate was divided into sections to create a variety of new states, including Kurdistan. The Turkish-Mongolian population of Thrace and Anatolia rose up and brought Kemal to power. In the end, the Lausanne Conference (1923) drew the current borders, renounced Kurdistan and organised huge population transfers that left more than half a million people dead.
But, just as in Germany Adolf Hitler would challenge the fate of his country, in the Middle East, a man stood up against the new division of the region. An Egyptian teacher founded a movement to restore the Caliphate that the Westerners had defeated. This man is Hassan el-Banna and the organization was the Muslim Brotherhood (1928).
The Caliph was in principle the successor of the Prophet to whom all owed obedience; a highly coveted de facto title. Several great lines of caliphs followed one another: the Umayyads, the Abbasids, the Fatimids and the Ottomans. The next Caliph would be the one who would assume the title, in this case the “General Guide” of the Brotherhood, which would see itself as the master of the Muslim world.
The secret society developed very quickly. It intended to work from within the system to restore Islamic institutions. Applicants were required to swear loyalty to the founder on the Koran and on a sword, or on a revolver. The purpose of the Brotherhood was exclusively political, even if it was expressed in religious terms. Hassan el-Banna and his successors would never speak of Islam as a religion or evoke a Muslim spirituality. For them, Islam was no more than a dogma, a submission to God and a means of exercising power. Naturally, the Egyptians who support the Brotherhood do not perceive it as such. They follow them because they claim to follow God.
For Hassan el-Banna, the legitimacy of a government was not measured by its representativeness as assessed by Western governments, but by its ability to defend the “Islamic way of life”, that is, that of 19th century Ottoman Egypt. The Brothers would never consider that Islam has a History and that Muslim lifestyles vary considerably according to regions and times. Nor would they ever consider that the Prophet revolutionized Bedouin society and the way of life described in the Koran was a fixed stage for these men. For them, the penal rules of the Koran – the Shariah – did not therefore correspond to a given situation, but established the immutable laws on which an authority could base itself.
The fact that the Muslim religion had often spread by the sword justified the use of force for the Brotherhood. Never would the Brothers recognize that Islam could also have spread by example.This did not prevent Al-Banna and his Brothers from running for election – and losing. If they condemned political parties, it was not in opposition to a multi-party system, but because by separating religion from politics, they allegedly fell into corruption.
The doctrine of the Muslim Brotherhood was the ideology of “political Islam”, in French we say “Islamism”; a word that would become very popular.
In 1936, Hassan el-Banna wrote to Prime Minister Mustafa el-Nahhas Pasha. He demanded:
– a reform of the law and the union of all courts under Sharia law;
– recruitment into the armed forces by establishing a voluntary service under the banner of jihad;
– the connection of Muslim countries and the preparation of the restoration of the Caliphate, in accordance with the unity required by Islam.
During the Second World War, the Brotherhood declared itself neutral. In reality, it transformed into a German Reich Intelligence Service. But from the time the United States entered the war, when the fate of their weapons seemed to be reversed, they played a double game and were financed by the British to provide them with information on their first employer. In doing so, the Brotherhood demonstrated its total absence of principle and its pure political opportunism.
On February 24, 1945, the Brothers made their move and assassinated the Egyptian Prime Minister in the middle of a parliamentary session. This led to an escalation of violence: repression against them and a series of political assassinations, including that of the new Prime Minister on 28 December 1948 and retaliation by Hassan el-Banna himself on 12 February 1949. Shortly afterwards, a court instituted by martial law sentenced most of the Brothers to a term of detention and dissolved their association.
This secret organization was fundamentally a band of assassins who wanted to seize power by concealing its lust behind the Koran. Its story should have ended there. This was not the case.
2- The Brotherhood re-founded by the Anglo-Saxons
and separate peace with Israel
The Brotherhood’s ability to mobilize people and turn them into murderers intrigued the Great Powers.
Two and a half years after its dissolution, a new organization was formed by the Anglo-Saxons by reusing the name of “Muslim Brothers”. Taking advantage of the imprisonment of the historical leaders, former Judge Hassan Al-Hodeibi was elected General Guide. Contrary to an often accepted idea, there was no historical continuity between the old and the new brotherhood. It appeared that a unit of the former secret society, the “Secret Apparatus”, had been commissioned by Hassan el-Banna to carry out the attacks for which he denied responsibility. This organization within the organization was so secret that it was not affected by the dissolution of the Brotherhood and was now at the disposal of its successor. The Guide decided to disavow it and declared that it only wanted to achieve its objectives in a peaceful way. It is difficult to establish exactly what happened at that time between the Anglo-Saxons who wanted to recreate the old society and the Guide who believed he could obtain his audience back among the masses. In any case, the “Secret Apparatus” continued and the authority of the Guide had been erased in favour of that of other leaders of the Brotherhood opening a real internal war. The CIA introduced Freemason Sayyid Qutb, the jihad theorist, to their leadership, which the Guide condemned before concluding an agreement with MI6.
It is impossible to specify the internal subordination relationships of each other, on the one hand because each foreign branch has its own autonomy and on the other hand because the secret units within the organization no longer necessarily depend on either the General Guide or the Local Guide, but often directly on the CIA and the MI6.
In the period following the Second World War, the British tried to organize the world in such a way as to keep it out of the reach of the Soviets. In September 1946, in Zurich, Winston Churchill launched the idea of the United States of Europe. On the same principle, he launched the Arab League. In both cases, it was a question of uniting a region without Russia. At the beginning of the Cold War, the United States of America, for its part, created associations to support this movement for its benefit, the American Committee on United Europe and the American Friends of the Middle East. In the Arab world, the CIA organized two coups d’état, first in favour of General Hosni Zaim in Damascus (March 1949), then with the Free Officers in Cairo (July 1952). It was a question of supporting nationalists who were supposed to be hostile to communists. It is in this spirit that Washington brings SS General Otto Skorzeny to Egypt and Nazi General Fazlollah Zahedi to Iran, accompanied by hundreds of former Gestapo officials to lead the anti-communist struggle. Unfortunately, Skorzeny fashioned the Egyptian police into a tradition of violence. In 1963, he chose the CIA and Mossad over Nasser. Zahedi created the SAVAK, the most cruel political police of the time.
If Hassan el-Banna had set the objective – to take power by manipulating religion – Qutb would define the means: jihad. Once the followers recognized the superiority of the Koran, it could be used to organize them into an army and send them into battle. Qutb developed a Manichean theory distinguishing between what was Islamist and what was “tenebrous”. For the CIA and MI6, this brainwashing allowed adepts to be used to control Arab nationalist governments and then to destabilize the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union. The Brotherhood became an inexhaustible reservoir of terrorists under the slogan: “Allah is our goal. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Martyrdom, our vow”.
Qutb’s thinking was rational, but not reasonable. It deployed an invariable rhetoric of Allah/Prophet/Koran/Jihad/Martyrdom that left no opportunity for discussion at any time. He placed the superiority of his logic over human reason.
The CIA organized a symposium at Princeton University on “The Situation of Muslims in the Soviet Union”. It was an opportunity to receive a delegation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States led by one of the leaders of its armed wing, Said Ramadan. In his report, the CIA monitoring officer noted that Ramadan was not a religious extremist, but rather a fascist; a way of emphasizing the exclusively political nature of the Muslim Brotherhood. The symposium concluded with a reception at the White House by President Eisenhower on September 23, 1953. The alliance between Washington and jihadism is established.
The CIA, which had recreated the Brotherhood against the communists, first used it to help the nationalists. At that time the Agency was represented in the Middle East by anti-Zionists from the middle classes. They were quickly ousted in favour of senior officials of Anglo-Saxon and Puritan origin, who had graduated from the major universities and were in favour of Israel. Washington came into conflict with the nationalists and the CIA turned the Brotherhood against them.
Said Ramadan had commanded some of the Brotherhood’s fighters during the brief war against Israel in 1948, then helped Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi to create the paramilitary organization of the Jamaat-i-Islami in Pakistan. The idea was to create an Islamic identity for Muslim Indians so that they could form a new state, Pakistan. The Jamaat-i-Islami would also draft the Pakistani constitution. Ramadan married Hassan Al-Banna’s daughter and became the head of the armed wing of the new “Muslim Brotherhood”.
While in Egypt, the Brothers participated in the coup d’état of General Mohammed Naguib’s Free Officers – Sayyid Qutb was their liaison officer – they were responsible for eliminating one of their leaders, Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had come into conflict with Naguib. Not only did they fail, on October 26, 1954, but Nasser took power, repressed the Brotherhood and placed Naguib under house arrest. Sayyid Qutb was hanged a few years later.
Prohibited in Egypt, the Brothers withdrew to the Wahhabi states (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Sharjah Emirate) and to Europe (Germany, France and the United Kingdom, plus neutral Switzerland). Each time, they were welcomed as Western agents fighting against the emerging alliance between Arab nationalists and the Soviet Union. Said Ramadan received a Jordanian diplomatic passport and settled in Geneva in 1958, from where he led the destabilization of the Caucasus and Central Asia (both Pakistan/Afghanistan and the Soviet Ferghana Valley). He took control of the Commission for the construction of a mosque in Munich, which allowed him to supervise almost all Muslims in Western Europe. With the help of the American Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia (AmComLib), i. e. the CIA, he had at his disposal Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, a station directly financed by the United States Congress to disseminate the Brotherhood’s teachings.
After the Suez Canal crisis and Nasser’s spectacular turnaround on the Soviet side, Washington decided to support the Muslim Brotherhood without limits against Arab nationalists. A senior CIA official, Miles Copeland, was asked – in vain – to select from the Brotherhood a personality who could play a role in the Arab world equivalent to that of Pastor Billy Graham in the United States. It was not until the 1980s that a preacher of this stature, the Egyptian Youssef Al-Qaradâwî, was found.
In 1961, the Brotherhood established a connection with another secret society, the Order of the Naqchbandis. It is a kind of Muslim Freemasonry mixing Sufi and political initiation. One of his Indian theorists, Abu Al-Hasan Ali Al-Nadwi, published an article in the Brothers’ journal. The Order was established and has a presence in many countries. In Iraq, the great master was none other than the future vice-president Ezzat Ibrahim Al-Douri. He supported the Brothers’ attempted coup d’état in Syria in 1982, and then the “return to faith campaign” organized by President Saddam Hussein to restore his country’s identity after the establishment of the no-fly zone by the West. In Turkey, the Order would play a more complex role. It would include leaders Fethullah Güllen (founder of Hizmet), President Turgut Özal (1989-93) and Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan (1996-97), responsible for the Justice Party (1961) and Millî Görüs (1969). In Afghanistan, former President Sibghatullah Mojaddedi (1992) was its grand master. In Russia, with the help of the Ottoman Empire, the Order had raised Crimea, Uzbekistan, Chechnya and Dagestan against the Tsar in the 19th century. Until the fall of the USSR, there would be no news of this branch; the same would apply in China’s Xinjiang. The proximity of the Brothers and the Naqchbandis is very seldom studied in view of the Islamists’ opposition in principle to Sufi mysticism and orders in general.
The Saudi headquarters of the World Islamic League. By 2015, its budget was higher than that of the Saudi Ministry of Defence. As the world’s largest buyer of weapons, Saudi Arabia acquired weapons that the League distributed to the organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Naqchbandis.
In 1962, the CIA encouraged Saudi Arabia to create the World Islamic League and to finance the Brotherhood and Order against nationalists and communists. This structure was first financed by Aramco (Arabian-American Oil Company). Among its twenty or so founding members were three Islamist theorists we have already mentioned: the Egyptian Said Ramadan, the Pakistani Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi and the Indian Abu Al-Hasan Ali Al-Nadwi.
De facto Arabia, which suddenly had enormous liquidity thanks to the oil trade, became the godfather of the Brothers in the world. The Monarchy entrusted them with the school and university education system in a country where almost no one could read and write. The Brothers had to adapt to their hosts. Indeed, their allegiance to the king prevented them from lending loyalty to the General Guide. In any case, they organized themselves around Mohamed Qutb, Sayyid’s brother, in two directions: the Saudi Brothers on the one hand and the “Sourists” on the other. The latter, who are Saudi, attempted a synthesis between the political ideology of the Brotherhood and Wahhabi theology. This sect, of which the royal family is a member, has an understanding of Islam based on Bedouin, iconoclastic and antihistoric thought. Until Riyadh had petrodollars, it was anathema to traditional Muslim schools, which, in turn, considered it to be heretical.
In reality, the Brothers’ politics and the Wahhabi religion have nothing in common, but they are compatible. Except that the pact that links the Saud family to the Wahhabi preachers cannot exist with the Brotherhood: the idea of a monarchy of divine right clashed with the Brothers’ appetite for power. It was therefore agreed that the Saud people would support the Brothers all over the world, on the condition that they refrained from entering politics in Arabia.
The Saudi Wahhabi support for the Brothers provoked an additional rivalry between Arabia and the other two Wahhabi states of Qatar and the Emirate of Sharjah.
From 1962 to 1970, the Muslim Brotherhood participated in the civil war in North Yemen and tried to restore the monarchy alongside Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, against Arab nationalists, Egypt and the USSR; a conflict that foreshadowed what would follow for the next half-century.
In 1970, Gamal Abdel Nasser managed to reach an agreement between the Palestinian factions and King Hussein of Jordan that ended the “black September”. On the evening of the Arab League summit that endorsed the agreement, he died, officially of a heart attack, much more likely murdered. Nasser had three vice-presidents, one from the left – extremely popular -, one from the centre – well known -, and one conservative chosen at the request of the United States and Saudi Arabia: Anwar Sadat. Under pressure, the left-wing vice-president declared himself unworthy of the position. The centrist vice-president preferred to abandon politics. Sadat was nominated as a candidate of the Nasserians. This is the tragedy of many countries: the president chooses a vice-president from among his rivals in order to broaden his electoral base, but he replaces him when he dies and destroys his legacy.
Sadat, who had served the Reich during the Second World War and had great admiration for the Führer, was an ultra-conservative military man who served as Sayyid Qutb’s alter ego as a liaison between the Brotherhood and the Free Officers. As soon as he came to power, he freed the Brothers imprisoned by Nasser. The “Believing President” was the Brotherhood’s ally in the Islamization of society (the “rectification revolution”), but its rival when it derived political benefit from it. This ambiguous relationship was illustrated by the creation of three armed groups, which are not divisions of the Brotherhood but external units obeying it: the Islamic Liberation Party, Islamic Jihad (of Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman), and Excommunication and Immigration (the “Takfir”). All of them declared that they were implementing Sayyid Qutb’s instructions. Armed by the secret services, Islamic Jihad launched attacks against Coptic Christians. Far from appeasing the situation, the “Believing President” accused the Copts of sedition and imprisoned their pope and eight of their bishops. In the end, Sadat intervened in the conduct of the Brotherhood and took a stand for Islamic Jihad against the General Guide, whom he had arrested.
On instructions from US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, he convinced Syria to join Egypt in attacking Israel and restoring Palestinian rights. On October 6, 1973, the two armies took Israel in force during the Yom Kippur festival. The Egyptian army crossed the Suez Canal while the Syrian army attacked from the Golan Heights. However, Sadat only partially deployed his anti-aircraft cover and stopped his army 15 kilometres east of the canal, while the Israelis rushed to the Syrians who found themselves trapped and roared about the plot. It was only once the Israeli reservists had been mobilized and the Syrian army surrounded by Ariel Sharon’s troops that Sadat ordered his army to resume its progress and then to halt in order to negotiate a ceasefire. Observing the Egyptian betrayal, the Soviets, who had already lost an ally with Nasser’s death, threatened the United States and demanded an immediate end to the fighting.
Former liaison officer with Sayyid Qutb between the “Free Officers” and the Brotherhood, the “believing president” Anwar Sadat was to be proclaimed “sixth Caliph” by the Egyptian parliament. Here, the admirer of Adolf Hitler in the Knesset alongside his partners Golda Meïr and Shimon Peres.
Four years later – pursuing the CIA plan – President Sadat went to Jerusalem and decided to sign a separate peace with Israel at the expense of the Palestinians. From then on, the alliance between the Brothers and Israel was sealed. All Arab peoples were protesting this betrayal and Egypt was excluded from the Arab League, whose headquarters had been moved to Algiers.
Responsible for the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Secret Apparatus”, Ayman al-Zawahiri (current head of Al Qaeda) organized the assassination of President Sadat (October 6, 1981).
Washington decided to turn the page in 1981. Islamic Jihad was tasked with liquidating Sadat, no longer necessary. He was assassinated during a military parade, when Parliament was about to proclaim him “Sixth Caliph”. In the official gallery 7 people were killed and 28 wounded, but, sitting next to the President, his Vice-President General Mubarak escaped. He was the only person in the official gallery to wear a bullet-proof vest. He succeeded the “believing president” and the Arab League was repatriated to Cairo.
(To be continued…)
1] “Sayyid Qutb was a Freemason”, Voltaire Network, May 28, 2018.
2] America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, Hugh Wilford, Basic Books (2013).
3] A Mosque in Munich: Naz
In Italiano: https://www.voltairenet.org/article206792.html