Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's decision not to step down begs what comes next. The Egyptian Army, a professional pro-Western force, stepped in to "safeguard the interests" of the country, and new powers were delegated to Vice President Omar Suleiman, the intelligence chief. The wild card is the mob in the streets.
From the outset of the Cairo crisis, the Obama administration overlooked vital U.S. interests at stake. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States was "not advocating any specific outcome," which left the door open for all outcomes, including a radical Islamic takeover. There's been debate about the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood, the most likely of the radical successors to Mr. Mubarak and an organization the State Department accepts as "a fact of life" in Egypt. On Sunday, President Obama conceded, "There are strains of their ideology that are anti-U.S. There's no doubt about it." More to the point, there's little about their ideology that doesn't threaten America.
This week, Palestinian Media Watch published a translation of a lengthy treatise from 1996-2002 by Mustafa Mashhur, leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, titled "Jihad is the Way." It contains a simple summation of their political program: "Allah is our goal, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our constitution, the Jihad is our way, and the Death for Allah is our most exalted wish."
The Muslim Brotherhood believes jihad is an obligation for all Muslims "for the purpose of realizing the great task of establishing an Islamic state and strengthening the religion and spreading it around the world." This fight to impose hardline Islamic law is "not limited to the specific region of the Islamic countries" but extends to the entire world. "The banner of Jihad has already been raised in some of its parts," Mr. Mashhur writes, "and it shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated, the State of Islam will be established."
For those still unclear about the concept - or for hair-splitters like Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan, who waxes philosophically about jihad as a peaceful act of religious purification - Mr. Mashhur explains, "The symbol of the Brotherhood is the book of Allah [the Koran] between two swords. The swords symbolize Jihad and the force that protects the truth represented in Allah's book." One man's purification is another man's religious war.
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