by Ryan Mauro
As the U.S. struggles with a troubled economy, burdened with a nearly $16 trillion debt, the State Department’s Special Coordinator for the Office of Middle East Transitions, William Taylor, explained on May 3 how the U.S. is spending money to help Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Taylor’s past statements and indications give every reason to believe that money will fall into the wallets of the Islamists and further their ambitions.
Taylor said that the U.S. has already given a $100 million cash transfer to Tunisia and will provide a loan guarantee of $300 million over the summer to help the Islamist-led government balance its budget—something the U.S. isn’t even doing for itself. The U.S. will also establish an enterprise fund that will give money to the private sector.
The Tunisian government is led by the Islamist Nahda Party. Take a look at the party’s founder, Rachid Ghannouchi and what has happened since it won the parliamentary elections and you’ll see why this use of taxpayer money is so outrageous. The U.S. has made no effort to differentiate between Islamist and secularist in the Arab Spring for fear of being seen as “meddling.”
Taylor was vague when it came to Egypt, saying that his office would continue to provide economic assistance and hopes to establish an enterprise fund there as well. These enterprise funds may invest in the private sector, but they’ll still assist the Islamists. In fact, Undersecretary of State Robert Hormats said in April that the State Department was meeting with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to discuss how to promote small businesses. He described the Brotherhood as a worthy partner in this because it is “very pragmatic” and knows “they need to deliver results.” And apparently, we’re going to help the Brotherhood “deliver results” and succeed politically.
He said that Libya is not in need of funding but will receive technical assistance and help preparing for its elections set for June 19, though they may be delayed by a few days. The best way to judge what this assistance will look like is to look at how Taylor’s office provided election assistance in Egypt. His office trained everyone—including the Islamists.
After the story broke that the U.S. was helping the Muslim Brotherhood prepare for the elections, Taylor brushed off concerns. “As long as parties, entities do not espouse or conduct violence, we’ll work with them,” he explained. “This is something we are used to, and should not be afraid of. We should deal with them.” He condescendingly rejected those raising the alarm about the Brotherhood, saying, “What we need to do is judge people and parties and movements on what they do, not what they’re called.”
That’s the U.S. official overseeing how taxpayer’s money is spent on the Arab Spring.
We shouldn’t be surprised about what Taylor said or where he said it. He talked about these initiatives at the annual conference of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy(CSID), where John Esposito is Vice Chair. Esposito is one of the biggest advocates of the Muslim Brotherhood, appearing as an expert witness for the defense during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a Brotherhood entity shut down for financing Hamas. He speaks at events run by other Brotherhood fronts like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and upholds the pro-terrorism Brotherhood cleric Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi as a moderate.
Before becoming the State Department’s overseer of the Arab Spring, Taylor was the vice president of the U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP), which works closely with CSID and Esposito. The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report described CSID’s 2010 conference, sponsored by USIP, as “perhaps the largest public gathering of global Muslim Brotherhood leaders and U.S. government officials to date.”
An e-mail sent out by CSID on May 24 about the 2012 conference shows nothing has changed. David Warren, a doctoral candidate that spoke on a panel titled, “Islam and Democratic Transitions,” spoke about Sheikh Qaradawi in a positive light, focusing on his involvement in “present-day debates in creating political systems that are equally respectful of Muslim and non-Muslim groups.”
“Building upon Qaradawi’s recent writing on the status of Muslims in the West and his surprisingly favorable portrayal of aspects of the philosophy of secularism, particularly its religious neutrality, as an acceptable concept, Warren posits al-Qaradawi as one of the most widely respected scholars, and one whose teachings can invariably have deep impacts…,” the email summarizes.
On the panel titled, “Challenges Faced by Specific Countries,” CSID selected Anwar Haddam, founder and president of the Movement of Liberty and Social Justice, to speak about Algeria. His message was that a “red flag of Islamism is being waved as a danger signal” and it is an “unwarranted warning.”
It appears, based on the e-mail, that not a single speaker focused on the Islamist threat or spoke out against the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s no wonder then why Taylor felt welcomed. And as you read this, he is using U.S. money to implement a policy that sees the Islamists as groups that “we should not be afraid of.”
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.