.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hamas hooking up with Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? (UPDATE)

From Stratfor, a report that they admit is unconfirmed:

The Egyptian police are no longer patrolling the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. Hamas armed men are entering into Egypt and are closely collaborating with the MB. The MB has fully engaged itself in the demonstrations, and they are unsatisfied with the dismissal of the Cabinet. They are insisting on a new Cabinet that does not include members of the ruling National Democratic Party.

Security forces in plainclothes are engaged in destroying public property in order to give the impression that many protesters represent a public menace. The MB is meanwhile forming people’s committees to protect public property and also to coordinate demonstrators’ activities, including supplying them with food, beverages and first aid.
OlehGirl adds, based on tweets she's been monitoring:
The border between Gaza and Egypt has pretty much ceased to exist, at least as far as armed Hamas militants are concerned. Towns in the Sinai close to the Gaza border have been taken over by Muslim Brotherhood protesters, with Hamas militants from Gaza joining their ranks. The border, according to twitter updates and now more ‘official’ confirmation, is pretty much open season.

As of last evening I’ve been getting twitter reports that the Muslim Brotherhood, backed by local Beduins, have pretty much ousted Egyptian forces from villages such as El Arish along the Gaza/Egyptian border. For the last 8 hours, I’ve gotten twitter updates suggesting that Hamas men from Gaza have been freely crossing the border, now virtually open, to provide reinforcements to the Muslim Brotherhood.
So the US was pouring $1.5 billion into Egypt annually partially to stop stuff like this from happening.

As I wrote in the run-up to Egypt's elections last October:

Any way you look at it, Egyptians have no freedom and no democracy. But before free elections can be held, a few years of true freedom needs to come first, so the people can make truly informed decisions. This means freedom of the press and freedom of assembly, not to mention freedom of religion.

The government might be better than some of the alternatives but it is sacrificing freedom altogether, and the result is that all Egyptians are losing.
And now, the Muslim Brotherhood - which may be the only opposition party that is well organized enough to take full advantage of the chaos - is poised to use the banner of "freedom" to turn Egypt into an Islamist, theocratic nightmare - an even worse situation than it has been under.

UPDATE: A Firas Press article reminds us that the Egyptian army is restricted from some areas of the Sinai, including Rafah, under the Camp David accords - so Hamas can easily help along the anarchy.