Days before the ousting of former Egyptian President Morsi, an Arabic-language report had said that, “al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Muhammad Zawahiri [brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri and a leader of al-Qaeda in Sinai], is currently planning reprisal operations by which to attack the army and the Morsi-opposition all around the Republic [of Egypt].”
That, of course, happened—and in a dramatic fashion, especially the attacks on the Christian Copts, who were scapegoated by the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda. Indeed, hours before Morsi was ousted, Muhammad Zawahiri had declared that al-Qaeda would wage a jihad to save Morsi and his Islamization agenda for Egypt, adding that:
[I]f matters reach a confrontation, then to be sure, that is in our favor—for we have nothing to lose. And at all times and places where chaos reigns, it’s often to the jihad’s advantage…. for we sold our souls to Allah”—a reference to Koranic verses like 9:111—“and welcome the opportunity to fight to the death.
Now, a new report confirms that, back when Morsi was still president, Muhammad Zawahiri had been arrested and was being interrogated—only to be ordered released by a presidential order form Morsi. He then fled to the Sinai, where al-Qaeda is stationed, not to mention where Morsi had reportedly earlier summoned thousands of foreign jihadis to come to his aid whenever necessary.
All of which has come to pass, including the fact that many of those eventually arrested for committing acts of violence in Egypt were not even Egyptian, as was clearly demonstrated by their Arabic dialects.
Thus, once again, we see that the differences between the “largely secular” Muslim Brotherhood—in the words of the U.S. director of national intelligence—and “terroristic” al-Qaeda are actually “largely semantic.”
RAYMOND IBRAHIM, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, best known for The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007), he guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts. Among other media, he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, CBN, and NPR.