Tag Archives: Al-Qaeda

My thoughts on Mohamed Mursi, the Muslim-Brotherhood & a potentially new Egypt:

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The Muslim Brotherhood has recently acquired, via one of their own, the reigns of the Presidency of Egypt. Now, the office of President, in the hands of Mohamed Mursi,  has caused a lot of concern, as well as controversy, within Egypt herself, within the Mideast, among her regional neighbors, as well as on the international political stage, by virtue of the Muslim Brotherhood’s history of being religiously radical, extremist, etc., or, in many cases, falsely accused of being religiously radical, extremist, etc. But, let’s look at the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a proper perspective, to see how the Muslim Brotherhood emerged, evolved, and, why are they such a feared political force in the Muslim/Arab-World, as well as in the eyes of the broader international-community.

The Muslims Brotherhood was actually formed as a result of the want, within Egypt, among its people, to rise against British influence/rule, during the waning years of Egypt’s last monarchy, the Mamlukes. Initially, the Muslim Brotherhood served as a revolutionary movement, to rout the Mamlukes, as well as the British shadow-rulers & kick them out of Egypt, leaving & letting Egyptians to write their own story, on the walls of time-The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood was known as Hassan al-Banna.(The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood, Robert S. Leiken & Steven Brooke, Foreign Affairs Magazine)

The Muslim Brotherhood is now, what it has always been: a religious movement, centralized, but, not limited to Egypt or the Muslim/Arab-World, geared towards making Islam the law of the land. Now, in theory, this seems great. However, if/when not applied correctly, actually based upon the Qur’an & Sunnah (Prophetic-Tradition), this objective & fervor, for the establishment of the Shari`ah (Islamic-Law), can/will have very dangerous & disastrous results. And, historically, unfortunately, the Muslim Brotherhood has deviated from its roots, at different times, from simply being a religious-movement, to lowering itself to more like a religious-gang, even to the extent of the Muslim Brotherhood being directly responsible for the assassinations of many prominent figures in Egypt, like Prime Minister  Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha, as well as their own founder, Hassan al-Banna himself, in 1949.(BBC News: “Profile: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood”, Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience, Caryle Murphy)

After the expulsion of the Mamlukes & the British, in 1952, Egypt, was finally free to carve out her own political path. However, there were a lot of hurdles for the Muslim Brotherhood, mainly because of the fact that that they had directly supported a military-coup, lead by a secularist, with military strength, by the name of Gamal Abdel Nasser. He was very clear on making Egypt a secular state, which was in complete contradiction to the fundamental founding principles of the Muslim Brotherhood. The establishment of a secular Egypt really rubbed the Muslim Brotherhood the wrong way, to the extent that they, in 1954, began to openly oppose the newly formed constitution of Egypt, taking the stance that it was not in accordance to the Shari`ah.(BBC: “Power of Nightmares”)

Also, they openly opposed Gamal Abdel Nasser, whom, ironically, they had once willingly supported, against the Mamlukes & the British. The Muslim Brotherhood was actually blamed for an assassination-attempt, against Gamal Abdel Nasser, in 1954. And, this was definitely something that Nasser used, to his advantage, to marginalize his potential political competition-He immediately made moves, to hunt down, arrest, prosecute, torture, imprison, and, even execute members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, the most famous member of the Muslim Brotherhood, even overshadowing its founder, Hassan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, was executed under the Nasser administration, in 1965. Qutb, a Muslim thinker, activist, and, anti-Nasser propagator, was famous, mainly, for issuing his work, Milestones.

At first, Qutb was imprisoned & tortured, after the assassination attempt on Nasser. Being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood made him an easy-target, among many other easy-targets. Then, after being released from prison, he committed himself to the writing of what would be his most famous work, Milestones, in 1964. Milestones laid the groundwork for what Qutb’s vision of how to recreate an Islamic-State should be approached, within the traditional & external Muslim-World, particularly, within the Arab-World. However, this work, in the text itself, is responsible for ideas that have given rise & justification, used by latter peoples, influenced by his works, to pronounce Takfir (Blasphemy) upon other Muslims, for not ruling their respective countries, according to the Shari`ah. Upon this, it seemed as though Qutb, within his work, Milestones was blatantly giving Muslims the green-light to assassinate their own leaders, because of the fact that they were governing over others, with secular/non-religious laws, thereby making it okay to declare them Non-Muslims & thus lawful to kill.(BBC: “Power of Nightmares”)

This placed Muslim leaders, within the Arab-World under immense fear, because if the common-people were to buy into this concept, that they were no longer Muslims, not only would they lose their power, but, they would also lose their lives. So, Nasser spared no expense to get rid of Qutb any way that he could, which he did. After the execution of Sayyid Qutb, in 1965, he became a Pan-Islamic/Pan-Arab icon, not only in Egypt, but all across the Muslim-World, as well as the Arab-World.  This act of the execution of Qutb, along with other prominent figures in the Muslim Brotherhood, at the time, charged up this movement to be even more radical against their government, in Egypt, and, their influence, which had been spreading to other parts of the Muslim-World, in other countries, had begun to expand rapidly.

Over the course of the next 4 decades, after the execution of Sayyid Qutb, the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood has shaped the revolutionary landscape & mindset of Muslims, in the Muslim-World, that has not reversed since. The Muslim Brotherhood has been credited, most notably, of inspiring the rise of various splinter movements & groups, such as Hamas, in Palestine & Syria, al-Qaeda, globally, Al Eslah Society, in Bahrain, Iraqi Islamic Party, Muslim Brotherhood Society, in Jordan & Palestine, National Islamic Front, in Sudan,  Movement for the Society of Peace, in Algeria, and Hadas, in Kuwait-As far as personalities go, the Muslim Brotherhood has also been credited in shaping the ideologies of people like Ayman al-Zawahri, the mentor of Osama bin-Laden.(BBC: “Power of Nightmares”,  Financial Times, Newsweek journalists Mark Hosenball & Michael Isikoff) Now, with all of this said, what should our conclusion be, and what do we learn from this, and, more specifically, what does this mean for a future Egypt?

My take on this is very simple:
The historical backdrop of the Muslim Brotherhood is very important to know, as to get a very clear sense of why some people may love them, as well as why some people may hate them, as well as knowing how they, as a group, as a movement have, for better or for worse, been a dominant factor in how politics in the Muslim/Arab-World has played out. Also, knowing the past gives us a better insight into how the future may develop. Egypt has a lot of problems, not saying not. However, maybe if given the chance, Mursi, along with his new administration, along with the support of Egyptians, themselves, may be able to pick up Egypt, by her bootstraps, and take her to a better place. I’m of the stance that Mohamed Mursi needs to be given a fair shot, to do the job right, before he is criticized, for causing instability & danger in the Mideast, by Egypt’s neighbors, or nations with particular interests, and/or alterior motives, to dominate the region.

Gareth Bryant/2012

What “Change” has there really been in America?!!!

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Since we are approaching the last official year of the 1st. presidential term of Barack Obama, one has to honestly reflect upon how his presidency has affected this country & the world. We cannot just get caught up in the nostalgia of “He’s the first Black President, woo hoo!!!”. We must critically think about what policies that he’s supported & carried out as the Chief Executive of the United States, during his nearly four-year tenure of what could potentially be his only term as the leader of the “Free-World”.

No, it’s not time to break out the worn out Obama hats, shirts, bumper stickers, etc. labelled “Yes, We Can”, or “Change We Can Believe In”. It is truly time for reflection as to whether the U.S. is truly a better country since this man’s been a President. For this reflection, I’ll be taking the liberty of mentioning several happenings throughout the current tenure of this U.S. President & I’ll let you decide has “Change” that this man had promised for this country truly come.

Hate crimes:
Dec. 3rd, 2010-
A twenty-seven year old Black man, by the name of Frederick Jermaine Carter, was found hanging to a tree, in Greenwood, Miss. The Obama administration has yet to even acknowledge the event taking place, and there was no mention of a Federal investigation of this case (ironically enough, Greenwood is a mere 10 miles away from Money, Miss., where Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black youth, was tortured and murdered by racist whites, over 50 years after the Emmet Til tragedy)-This case was just swept under the rug, by Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks, along with the county coroner, declaring Carter’s death a “Suicide”, as a result of him having a history of “Mental-Illness”.

Now, for you & I, who possess basic-intelligence, here’s some serious questions for us to sincerely ask ourselves: When is the last time that a legitimately mentally-ill person used a tree to assist them in a “Suicide”?!!! (Never); when is the the last time that a Black man used a tree to assist him in a “Suicide”?!!! (Never!!!); also, how is the man going to “hang himself”, when he was found tied/bounded to the actual tree that he “hanged himself” from?!!! (Impossible!!!).

Now, just by virtue of the fact that there’s a Black man in the White House is justification enough to have had this case world-wide news; however, sadly, it was just another important issue that was kept under cover, for fear that people would truly realize that having a Black man as a President doesn’t secure shit for Black people, those who came out in droves to vote for this man, really believing that he was their savior-If a White man, or any group of Non-Black individuals would’ve done the same to one of them, this case would’ve been treated the same exact way, especially if they weren’t of any type of known, significant status in our society.

The economy:
It’s not that the Federal bailouts given to the Wall Street titans were bad enough, but to add insult-to-injury, they’ve grown more wealthy & powerful during the Obama years, thus far-According to a report, by Zachary Goldfarb, of the Washington Post:

  • Wall Street firms — independent companies and the securities-trading arms of banks — are doing even better. They earned more in the first 2 1/2 years of the Obama administration than they did during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, industry data show. […]
  • The largest banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, earned $34 billion in profit in the first half of the year, nearly matching what they earned in the same period in 2007 and more than in the same period of any other year.
  • Securities firms — the trading arms of big banks and hundreds of other independent firms — have fared even better. They’ve generated at least $83 billion in profit during the past 2 1/2 years, compared with $77 billion during the entire Bush administration, according to data from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

#Enough said!!!

International-Relations:
Anwar Al-Awlaki, a Muslim, as well as a U.S.-citizen, was violently blown to bits, by a CIA-controlled drone-missile attack in Yemen. What still puzzles me, till this very day, is the simple fact that none of the actual charges of “terrorist-activity” against this man was even established, until after he conveniently out of the country, relocated to Yemen, even though he was continually probed by the Feds for at least 5 years before he even left the U.S. to spend the rest of his life in Yemen-Ironically the charges that he had actually gotten arrested for & then released while in the U.S. had absolutely nothing to do with “terrorist-activity”. This is something really difficult to wrap my head around: Anwar Al-Awlaki was accused of being the chief recruitment figure for Al-Qaeda in America, yet you wait until the man leaves the U.S. to go to Yemen to do something about it?!!! What sense does this all make?!!! (None).

He was denied his right as a Human being & a U.S.-citizen to have his day in court/any court, via due-process, even though his historical counterpart, Oliver North, the most corrupt U.S. Military official on record, who aided known terrorist-groups, by supplying them with money gins, in exchanges for drugs to be smuggled into the U.S. during the 1980′s, infamously known as the Iran-Contra Affair, did more than Al-Awlaki was even accused of. Yet, North was eventually acquitted of all 16 counts of Federal felonies thrown at him, received an official Presidential-Pardon, and retired with full rank & pension as a Lt. Colonel of the U.S. Marines (check out my article on this same blog, titled, “If Anwar Al-Awlaki were Oliver North, he’d still be alive & chillin’” for more info. about the Iran-Contra Affair). Then, there’s Somalia, the mythical land of African Al-Qaeda & pirates, even though, unlike the Taliban, Saddam, and Qaddafi, Ash-Shabab have not been ousted (check out my article on this same blog, “Somalia [The Anatomy of a Tragedy]” to find out why).

These are just a few of the countless examples of how the mythos of Barack Obama has continually become a political epic-fail, and has been able to keep the American people deaf, dumb & blind. It’s very obvious to me, and should be just as obvious to you all, that Obama being a President, the first Black President, or what ever posthumous title that you’d wish to refer to him by, has not changed any of the business-as-usual policies well-established in this nation.

In short, “Ain’t shit change, except da number after da dot, on da Range (Rover).”
Christopher Wallace (AKA: Notorious B.I.G.)

Gareth Bryant/2012

If Anwar Al-Awlaki were Oliver North, he’d still be alive & chillin’!!!

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A popular Muslim Cleric/Lecturer, who was also an American-Citizen by birth, Anwar Al-Awlaki was murdered, via a C.I.A. operated spy-drone missile, without due process of law, without confirmation of any direct acts of terror or treason against the U.S. Yet, it was made justifiable to make an example of him, to tell the world that the U.S. doesn’t mind punking & murdering its own citizens, in order to perpetuate a lie that started on 9/11. For educational purposes, I’ll take the liberty of comparing the lives & careers of both Anwar Al-Awalki & Oliver North respectively, just for you who are reading this to get a clear picture of how hypocritical the United States of America really is.

Anwar Al-Awlaki:
The short intro.-
Anwar Al-Awlaki was a U.S. citizen of Arab/Yemeni descent, who lived primarily in the United States, was an academic in the fields of  Civil-Engineering, and Education-Leadership, earning a B.S. degree in the former, from Colorado State University & an M.A. degree in the latter, from the University of San Diego. In addition, he was very well-versed in Islamic-Sciences, despite not having an extensive formal Islamic religious education, and served as a religious leader/advisor at several mosques in the U.S. before permanently relocating to Yemen, as well as several successful & popular audio lecture serials on various Islamic topics & subject to boot.

Now, on to the gritty stuff-
He did in fact have some far-right/extreme religious views, which ended up surfacing later on in his life through many of his teachings. But, this didn’t in any way, mean that he personally or actively participated in any confirmed act of terror, either against civilians of any nation, or military personnel of any nation or coalition. Up until his recent death, the U.S. kept the opinion, though unfounded, that Anwar Al-Awlaki was an active Al-Qaeda operative & recruiter in both the U.S. and in the Arabian-Peninsula. Now, to be honest, he did in fact put himself out there in a lot of respects, and placed himself in unnecessary situations & conditions. But, this doesn’t make him an active terrorist. And, in addition to the shady ways that the U.S. government classified Anwar Al-Awlaki, it would’ve made a lot more sense to either question, indict, or even detain him for his alleged terrorist activities and/or terrorist recruitment. But, while in the U.S., he was never officially charged with any such crime, nor questioned, arrested, indicted, arraigned, prosecuted or convicted for anything even remotely related to terror or terrorism. In fact, the only known jail time that he had ever served was in Yemen.

Oliver North:
The short intro.-
Oliver Laurence North, like Anwar Al-Awlaki, was born & raised in the U.S., is a forty-year military veteran, of the U.S. Marine Corps., attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, with military awards ranging from a Silver & Bronze Star, to a Purple Heart Medal, twice received, during his military tours during the Vietnam War. He was also a commanding officer & strategist, during the hunt for the assailants responsible for the Beirut bombings in Lebanon as well as the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada, in the 1980’s.

Now, on to the gritty stuff-
His main claim to fame, or infamy to be more accurate was the fact that he was officially indicted by a Congressional committee, of 16 separate Federal felonies, regarding his direct involvement in the infamous Iran-Contra Affair. The Iran-Contra Affair was one of the greatest examples of intelligence, military, diplomatic & political corruption in the history of the United States.

This is basically what happened in regards to the Iran Contra Affair:
North, being a high-ranking military man, having connections to every major U.S. military branch, intelligence agency, and also in the U.S. Congress & the White House, was able to use his influence via his important military position, to commit open treason against the people of the United States & our government. Basically, at that time, Iran was just recently considered a rogue state, as a result of the Islamic-Revolution that took place during the late seventies, coupled with the fact that nearly a hundred U.S. citizens were held for ransom against their will while in Iran, during the waning months of the Carter Presidential administration, also in that same decade.

So, Ollie got the bright idea to not only openly deal with a known, newly declared rogue state, that took U.S. citizens as hostages,  but, he also chose to deal with a group of known terrorists, commonly known as the Contras. The Contras were then in bloody opposition against the legitimate government of Nicaragua of that time, the Sandinistas. However, because the Sandinistas were Pro-Communists, Oliver North decided that the best way to deal with rogue states in the Mid-East & terrorists groups in Central America was to make business deals with them, of course, all in the good name of spread freedom, justice, equality, and Democracy throughout the world, via deception, usurpation, and backroom cut-throat dirty arms & drug deals.

So, here’s where it really gets good:
Oliver North began smuggling arms to several terrorists groups, with ties to Iran, in Lebanon (keep in mind that the U.S. has always held an official policy since like forever which states the following, “We don’t negotiate with Terrorists” & I’ve heard that in movies & real-life for as long as I could possibly remember), in exchange for U.S. nationals, captured in the Mid-East. But, it didn’t stop there, check this out: On the other side of the world, deep down in Central America, there was another thing going on, the U.S. deliberately turned a blind-eye & allowed the Contras, who eventually ousted the legitimate government of the Sandinistas, to traffic drugs (Cocaine to be more accurate & specific), with the exclusive permission & transportation support of the U.S. military, under direct supervision of Ollie North, which he later admitted while being questioned at his own Congressional hearings in D.C. after he was busted and exposed publicly) into the United States itself, which by default helped fuel our already drug-dependent economy during the 1980’s, which resulted in the largest mass use of Cocaine & Crack-Cocaine drug-dealing in the history of our nation, which has contributed to countless acts of street/gang violence, drug-addiction, and basically represented one of the perfect examples of domestic-terrorism ever. The U.S. purposely gave corrupt CIA/U.S. military personnel the green-light to very graciously supply drug dealing thugs across our nation, via the narcotic connections established with the Contras in Central America, with lethal/life-destroying narcotics, for personal profit, contributing to domestic chemical-warfare against their fellow citizens of the U.S. (just in case you didn’t know or realize, drugs/narcotics are in fact chemically-based & are therefore chemicals by definition, also, the effects that are caused by consuming these drugs/narcotics casually has many dangerous/life-threatening/fatal results).

How does all of this fit together, concerning Al-Awlaki & North?
Great question, now here’s the answer: Al-Awlaki just happened to be a Muslim, with a few radical ideas, and he was automatically considered fair-game to kill although there were never any established proofs against him, nor was he allowed his day in court, the right of any U.S. citizen. Hell, even John Walker-Lindh was at least extradited to U.S. custody. Meanwhile, someone like North, who was one of the top players of this corruption food-chain, known as the Iran-Contra Affair, was not only given a bullshit sentence, but was eventually vacated of all charges against him, received an officially Presidential pardon, retired from the U.S. Armed forces without court-martial & with full honors, rank & pension, got his own television show, when I was a lil’ kid during the 1980’s naturally named “War Stories With Oliver North” (I actually remember watching this damned show). And, to date, this guy is a regular commentator/reporter for FOX News.

Now, what does all of these really mean?
Well I could tell you, but I’d really let you use your own intellect, integrity, and objectivity to decide for yourselves what this means. I’m willing to leave this post the way that it is. What I would appreciate greatly though is for anyone and/or everyone who so chooses to read this be very object, simply look at the facts that I’ve presented, and decide for yourselves what all of this means.

Gareth Bryant/2012

Somalia (The Anatomy of a Tragedy):

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I shouldn’t have to reiterate what’s gruesomely obvious, but it seems that I must: significantly large populations of people, living in four countries in the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, are currently facing one of the most devastating famines ever seen in recent memory & possibly in the entire history of the African continent itself. One country particularly, Somalia, has the most to lose as a result of this famine getting worse. Somalia has indeed suffered the most in the Horn of Africa region from this terrible famine, for several reasons: the lack of U.N. relief aid getting into Somalia, the severe the lack of accessibility into this country (making it basically impossible for on-the-ground assessments, as to who needs the most help in Somalia, so relief aid can reach the proper places & people in the first place), the result of over twenty years worth of carnage, murder, political imbalance (which has ruined the political and financial infrastructure of this entire country, making Somalia completely unable to deal with the severity of this famine on their own). Ever since 1991, the Somali people have been given not only the short end of the stick, but, they haven’t even been given a stick to hold on to, for any potential hope to come their way. Unfortunately, they are the perpetual victims & subjects of massive abuse, externally by the international-community, as well as internally, by even their own people. The Somali warlords, ruling with iron fists & fear, who control food, water, life & death, etc., preside over autonomous pocket-sections all over of this nation, as if they were like the notorious mafia chieftains, who ruled America, during the prohibition-era.

One of the most tragic realities of this whole affair is that since Somalia hasn’t had a stable central government in two decades, this has given these ruthless, tribal-warlords a free-hand, to rob, rape & pillage their own people, without any form of accountability. And, because of this unchecked oppression, Somalis are left with little options for survival, because quite frankly, no one seems to care. I mean, there hasn’t been a great international out cry at any U.N. general assemblies that I’ve heard of as of recent, or any move to rid the nation of Somalia of its tyrannical warlords. In Iraq, all you had to say was “WMD’s”, and the U.S., along with her “gong-ho” coalition forces were right there on the scene, like they were the members of Marvel Comic’s “The Avengers”, or D.C. Comic’s “The Justice League”. In the early 1980’s, during the Reagan-Administration, the moment that the U.S. got wind of Socialist/Communist influence expanding beyond Cuba & into Central America, particularly in the republic of Nicaragua, the U.S. gladly gave support, via military/intelligence, arms and money to the Contras (who would in our modern political context be classified as “terrorists-groups”), to do battle against the pro-Socialist/Communist Sandinista government.

I just wonder…..with all the U.S. & U.N. confirmations of “terrorists-cells” & “terrorists-groups”, loyal to “Al-Qaeda”, having swept threw Somalia, with their authority virtually unchallenged by the Democratic/Western-world…..why hasn’t there been a great move to relieve Somalia of its warlords & to help bring stability to this 20-year long war-torn nation?!!!

Is it because the U.S. is still sour about that ass-whippin’ that the U.S. Military was served, early on during the Clinton-Administration in the early 1990’s, by Somali rebel forces…..could be. Or, maybe, it’s because the whole “Al-Qaeda in Africa” story (which is just as much a sham as the whole “WMD” fantasy in Iraq) is an excuse needed to not go the extra-mile, to help these people-Like in the case of Rwanda: a million people were slaughtered within three months, while the “civilized-world” just sat back, and enjoyed the show, like it was a cool made-for-T.V. “Movie of the Week”…..probably.

Or, last but not least, it may just stem from the old colonial mentality of not wanting former prized colonial possessions of the “Dark-Continent” to rise and be economically & politically independent nations, to be forces-to-be-reckoned-with in the world, because the former colonial masters of Africa would no longer be able to further rape its land and/or its people of their innumerable resources…..yeah, I think this is the reason.

But, whatever the reason, the excuses for not giving the Somalis, or any other country help in times of crises like this are pathetic, despicable, and are no longer acceptable, and in truth, they were really never acceptable to begin with.

There a lot of other people here to blame for the tragedy that is Somalia’s current plight. I mainly blame the Muslim-World itself. From an Islamic perspective, these oil-rich Muslim/Arab royal families & kingdoms have enough wealth in their individual & national coffers, to rid not just Somalia, not just the Horn of Africa, not just Africa, not just the rest of the Muslim-World, but the entire globe of starvation. In fact, it’s their inherent religious obligation to do so, just because they have more, while others have less.

But, why has hunger still remained an undisputed champion in our lifetimes, in a world of unprecedented human wealth & possession-There’s plenty for all, but it seems that no one wants to share, because they just don’t care.

Gareth Bryant/2011