Jan 29, 2011

Islamists Behind 'Protests' Toppling Arab Regimes

Aaron KleinBy Aaron Klein

Islamists stand to gain the most from the so-called popular revolts targeting the regimes of Egypt, Yemin, and Tunisia, Israeli and Middle Eastern security officials warned today.

Also, the Hezbollah terrorist organization stands poised to hijack the Lebanese government, the security officials told WND.

The security officials said the hands of Islamists can be seen in the orchestration of the street protests, which have been championed by the White House and painted by much of the world news media as popular uprisings.

Algeria, Jordan and Morocco are taking note, fearing similar outbreaks.

In recent days, violent protests have targeted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and toppled the 23-year rule of President Zine Abidine Ben Ali, who fled Tunisia Jan. 14. Also, Hezbollah collapsed the Lebanese government, which is in the process of forming a new government led by a Hezbollah-backed prime minister.

Today witnessed the largest protests in years against Yemen's leader, Ali Abullah Saleh, who is considered a crucial ally in the U.S. fight against al-Qaida in his country and in the Middle East.

Similarly, Tunisia's Ben Ali largely was seen as an ally of the West, even working behind the scenes with Israel on occasion, Israeli security official said.

The news media largely has painted the revolts in Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt as popular unrest, citing the use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to make the arrangements for the demonstrations.

But the Israeli and Arab governments fear the protests are being used by Islamists who seek power.

Israeli security officials told WND the Islamists have been taking advantage of populous sentiment against the Arab regimes to work up the masses into revolt that can usher in Islamic rule.

An Egyptian security official noted the main opposition group in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, was directly involved in protest organization.

The Brotherhood seeks to spread Islam around the world, in large part using nonviolent means. Hamas and al-Qaida are violent Brotherhood offshoots.

Israeli officials believe Mubarak will survive since his regime has a tight grip over his country's security forces. Less certain is the political stability of the country after the aging Mubarak's demise.

White House officials today announced protests in Egypt give Mubarak's regime a "great opportunity" to advance some of the political reforms U.S. officials have been discussing with Cairo, including freedom of speech.

Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, speaking in a White House webcast, also urged the government and protesters in Egypt to refrain from violence.

Egyptian officials, however, warned the Muslim Brotherhood has the most to gain from any political reform.

While the protests in Egypt may be tempered, they already toppled the Tunisian regime of Ben Ali.

Just today Tunisia's foreign minister announced his resignation, as the country's security forces continued to battle with protesters who want the ouster of Ben Ali's other authorities.

According to both Israeli and other Middle Eastern security officials speaking in recent days to WND, Islamists were largely instigating the protests in Tunisia under the cover of a popular uprising.

"It is absolutely a popular uprising, but the Islamists are using the faces of ordinary citizens, the images of doctors and lawyers we are seeing, to bring themselves to power. They (Islamists) are instigating the protests behind the scenes," said an Egyptian security official.

Clearly emboldened by the Tunisian and Egyptian protests, banners wielded by protesters in Yemen today demanded the country's president abandon changes to the constitution that would grant Saleh another 10 years in power.

"If the (ruling) party doesn't respond to our demands, we will escalate this until the president falls, just like what happened in Tunisia," Ayub Hassan, one protester, told the UK Telegraph.

In Egypt today, protests continued for a third consecutive day, with tens of thousands reportedly congregating in the nation's main cities, some chanting anti-regime slogans.

Meanwhile in Lebanon, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia seems to be hijacking the country's government using legal means.

Earlier this month, Hezbollah used its veto power to topple the government of the Western-oriented prime minister, Saad Hariri.

Hezbollah feared Hariri would use security forces to arrest members of its militia following indictments expected to be issued in the near future against Hezbollah for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

This week, the Hezbollah-backed candidate for prime minister, Najib Mikat, seemed poised to form the next government, sending Hariri into the opposition amid the threat of sectarian clashes.

Hezbollah members reportedly deployed on the streets of Beirut this week in a clear signal intended to deter Hariri backers from rioting.

Related Links

Sources in Egypt and West: US secretly backed protest - DEBKAfile
Israeli intelligence: Hizbullah to control Lebanon but will avoid official role - World Tribune
Without Egypt, Israel will be left with no friends in Mideast - Ha'aretz
Muslim Brotherhood as the only force capable of replacing Mubarak - Canada Free Press
New protests erupt in Yemen - Aljazeera.net
Pressure on Jordan’s king grows in third week of Friday protests - Boston Globe
Psalm 83 … Preview of a Coming Attraction - BPB (Jack Kelley)