What’s in a Name? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
What’s in a Name?

The editorial writer for the Washington Post (a propaganda arm of the Democrat party) was in quite the tizzy on Wednesday morning. Islamic State (ISIS) had rounded up and beheaded 21 Egyptian Christian workers in Libya, in a sacred rite required by the Koran, that was duly recorded for posterity by an ISIS videographer. Egypt’s president Sisi was understandably put out for, though a Muslim, he regards all citizens of his country as equals. He ordered air strikes against ISIS camps in Libya, and who could blame him?

The Washington Post, that’s who. The editorial prissily complained that Sisi had bombed the wrong terrorist camp. According to the Post, the bloody assassins hailed from the Sirte camps, and Sisi had bombed the Derna camps.

Sisi’s problem, carped the Post, is his chronic failure to make distinctions amongst terrorist groups. That’s a view widely shared on the left. According to a European diplomat quoted in the Wall Street Journal, “Sisi doesn’t have credibility with…moderate Islamists [italics added].”

The “moderate Islamists” include Obama’s bff, the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi doesn’t distinguish between them and the terrorists operating in the Sinai. Both groups are working to cause turmoil in Egypt and to deliver Iranian weapons to Hamas in Gaza.

The “moderate Islamists” also include Libya Dawn, based in Tripoli. They’re opposed by a legitimate, anti-Islamist Libyan government which is backed by General Khalifa Haftar, described (again, by a European diplomat) as a “rogue former general” with a sorry human rights record. About the decapitated Christians there is not so much worry, apparently, at least not on the part of European diplomats. General Haftar does worry, however, and he has endorsed Sisi’s air strikes against ISIS.

Needless to say, the Obama administration sides with Libya Dawn and the Muslim Brotherhood, and has serious problems with Sisi. Just how did that come about? Both the Clinton and Bush administrations had put pressure on the former President Mubarak to implement political and legal reforms, tying progress in this area to U.S. aid to Egypt.

Then in June 9, 2009, Obama visited Egypt where he stunned the world by opening the door to dialogue with Islamist states such as Iran and Islamist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood. This was followed by drastic cuts in funding for democracy-promoting programs in Egypt: Funding for democracy and governance programming was cut from $50 million in 2008 to $20 million in 2009; funding for civil society programs and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) was cut from $32 million $7 million.

These actions had an immediate cascading effect. Protesters filled the streets of Cairo and Tahrir Square, demanding democracy. Obama made a series of nagging phone calls, urging Mubarak to resign, until the beleaguered dictator told him, “I don’t take orders from you.” Soon the pro-democracy protesters were joined — and outnumbered — by the Muslim Brotherhood, who emerged as if on cue from out of the shadows of Egyptian society, where they’d been lurking and biding their time. Elections were hurriedly called, and the Muslim Brotherhood, being the only group that was already organized and funded, were elected, and their leader, Mohamed Morsi, became president.

Morsi and his government set about rewriting the Constitution according to their whims. The judiciary was nullified. No edict of the Morsi government could be challenged — judicially or extrajudicially. Sharia law was implemented and enforced. Young women were scooped up from off the street and subjected to virginity tests. Churches were torched and Christians feared for their lives. Their children were kidnapped and forcibly converted. Many were imprisoned for blaspheming by confessing their religion. Terror once more flourished in the Sinai. Deals were struck with Hezbollah and Hamas, and Iranian weapons were permitted to be smuggled into Gaza via the Sinai. Rockets rained down on Israeli cities.

And the Egyptian people, who’d for years considered themselves to be “Egyptian rather than Arab,” which was to say educated and moderate, and who had for some years enjoyed a sort of peace with Israel, rose up against Morsi and his Islamist thugs. This did not sit well with of the Obama Administration, who for some reason insisted on calling the Muslim Brotherhood “moderate” and “non-violent” notwithstanding their declarations of intended genocide against Israel.

Neither did the persecution of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority bother Obama and his minions. His ambassador met with the Coptic Pope and urged him to keep his flock in line — they were not to participate in anti-Morsi demonstrations. The Pope declined: he was a spiritual, not a political, guide to his flock, he said.

In the end, the Egyptian people forced Morsi to step down, and General Sisi resigned his military posts so that he could fill the leadership void.

The world watched to see what Sisi would do, and they were surprised. He shut down the tunnels that allowed the Iranians to funnel arms to Hamas in Gaza, and he vowed not to allow Sinai to become a staging ground for terrorism. He visited a Coptic Church on the Coptic Christmas — the first Egyptian president ever to do so — and assured the worshipers that they would be protected by their government in the same way as Egyptian Muslims were. At home — Al-Azhar University in Cairo — and abroad — the Davos World Economic Forum — Sisi dared to say what Obama was afraid to say:

Islam is a religion of tolerance yet over recent years it has become associated with violence and extremism. It is time to stop and think and consider a religious discourse that sets aside the elements that can lead to misunderstanding. No one has the monopoly of truth and no one should believe their ideas are better than those of others.

Astonishingly, none of this sat well with the Obama administration. Sisi was given the Obama cold shoulder (the one he reserves for the likes of Israel’s Netanyahu, India’s Modi, and America’s Republicans) and the Muslim Brotherhood invited to the White House and State Department for private meetings.

And so we are brought back to the Post’s distinctions between good and bad Islamists. “While terrorists must be fought everywhere,” the Post pontificates, “attempts to destroy Islamist political movements in countries such as Egypt and Libya are counterproductive and futile.”

Get that?

We have to distinguish between the good and bad Taliban, the good and bad Hamas, political and violent Islamists, terror groups and insurgencies. In addition to Hamas (which has recently been removed from the UN’s terrorist list), Hezbollah, Al-Nusra, Boko Haram, Taliban and affiliates, Al Qaeda and affiliates, Islamic State, Al Shabab, there are the CAIR and the American Muslim Society, two American groups that are friendly with the Obama administration but have been put on the terror list of the United Arab Emirates. New terror groups seem to spring up daily, and to understand what differentiates them requires a certain nuance that comes more naturally to the Left than to the rest of us; a pettifogging chicanery that seeks to present serious global jihad as nothing more than a series of micro aggressions.

I am reminded of a scene in The Exorcist. Father Damien Karras is a young priest who has been asked to perform an exorcism on a child who has been exhibiting bizarre behavior, but he needs the help of a man with more experience dealing with the Devil, and so he calls in Father Merrin.

Father Karras: I think it might be helpful if I gave you some background on the different personalities Regan has manifested. So far, I’d say there seem to be three. She’s convinced….

Father Merrin: There is only one.

Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, would agree with Father Merrin. “Success [in combatting terrorism] can only be achieved through a comprehensive approach to dealing with terrorist threats…. It is futile to make the distinction between those terrorists who are evil and must be defeated and the terrorists who are good and should be absorbed.”

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