October 31, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10919

Columnist In UAE Daily: Hamas, A Muslim Brotherhood Faction, Seeks To Topple Arab Countries And Revive The Caliphate; It Does Not Represent The Palestinians And Has No Right To Embroil Them In Wars

October 31, 2023
Palestinians, United Arab Emirates | Special Dispatch No. 10919

Following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, Yemeni journalist Hani Salem Mashour wrote in his October 17, 2023 column in the London-based UAE Al-Arab daily, titled "Hamas Is Not Palestine," that the aim of Hamas, like that of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) movement to which it belongs and of the other extremist organizations with which it is linked, is to topple the Arab regimes and establish an Islamic Caliphate. He stressed that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have no right to claim to represent the Palestinian people and to embroil them in pointless wars, just as none of the other political Islamic organizations have such a right. He then urged the Arab and Islamic world to wake up and recognize this reality, and decide "to disengage from the legacies exploited by the extremist organizations in order to destroy all of mankind."

Hani Salem Mashour's column "Hamas Is Not Palestine" in Al-Arab, London, October 17, 2023

The following are translated excerpts from Mashour's October 17, 2023 column in the UAE Al-Arab daily:

"We have before us another opportunity to direct the attention of the public, since the current situation of blood and killing demands that we address the unchanging behavior of the political Islam organizations. Since its establishment in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood [MB] has believed that it represents the Muslims. This is a doctrine that is fixed and that has not changed. Although decades, and events, have passed, and the organization has branched out into more than one armed organization, the MB has adhered to this [principle]: It is the sole representative of the people. This can be deduced from the ongoing clashes between the political Islam organizations and the Arab nation-state, after it was established during the Free Officers Movement's revolution in Egypt in 1952.

"In the [October 1954] Manshiyya incident in Alexandria, the nation-state clashed with the religious organization. [This] assassination attempt against President Gamal Abdel Nasser was a conceptual clash between two rivals who cannot coexist because of the inherent contradiction [between them]. At that moment, the MB believed that if it could remove the leader of the nation-state, it could gain control of the government in Egypt. That is what it thought. Moreover, it thought that if its attempt to assassinate [Nasser] succeeded, it would bring an end to the Arab national liberation project [in the different Arab nation-states]. Thus, the fact that Nasser survived symbolized the rescue of the Arab national liberation project in  nation[-states with their own distinct national identities]…

"Even the defeat [of Egypt] in 1967 [i.e. the Six-Day War] was in essence a clash between the nation-state [with its own distinct national identity] and the religious movement. After that defeat, there was a discourse of incitement [led by political Islam] that was imbued with schadenfreude [at the defeat of] the Egyptian regime as a regime with its [its own distinct] national identity... The terrible waves of hatred [buffeting] the political regime, from every direction, were unprecedented, and created a chasm between the peoples and the political regimes in the Arab world. All this occurred because the regimes of the different [Arab] nation-states had not grasped the essence of the religious dimension in which the MB operated freely within the framework of the state.

"The MB exploited the conflict between the republics and the monarchies and with the help of the propaganda of the Arab Left succeeded in expanding the discourse of hatred against the regimes of the [Arab] nation-states [that have their own distinct national identities]. The October 1973 war was the only means that could be used to boost the Arab nationalist regime, with the Egyptian army's accomplishment when it seized the Bar Lev line. [However,] even this extremely valuable and historic victory could not close the large and growing gap between the Arab regimes and their peoples – [the latter of which] had gone back to heeding the propaganda of the anti-state religious groups after the1979 Camp David Egypt-Israel peace accords that led to the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981.

"Lebanon's civil war was essentially an ugly exploitation of the religious and sectarian conflict in the Middle East. The Arab countries did not realize that this war deepened the conflict, shattering the Lebanese nation-state. The Lebanon war led to [a situation in which] the extremist groups, for the first time, acquired weapons from outside the state framework. Hizbullah was born from the Shi'ite Amal Movement, with the intensification of the religious revolutionary discourse; this was after Iran's Islamic Revolution successfully brought down the Shah's secular regime and established an extensive religious state under [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini, the jurisprudent and ruler...

"The Arab political system continued to disregard the consequences, even as these regimes followed with concern the takeover by Juhayman Al-Otaybi and his group of the Great Mosque of Mecca.[1] The Arab regimes – which did not foresee the long-term [results] of sending fighters to Afghanistan as the Cold War escalated between the U.S. and the Soviet Union – were not aware that they were heeding an extremist religious stream that had succeeded in infiltrating the institutions of the Arab nation-states and was capable of directing them in accordance with its multinational Islamic worldview [which does not recognize nation-states with their own distinct national identities].

"With the 1991 convening of the Arab Islamic conference in Khartoum, the MB and its Shi'ite allies consummated their control. Therefore, the emergence of the Al-Qaeda organization in the Arabian Peninsula was just a matter of time, once the international MB organization disseminated the idea that the 1994 invasion of South Yemen constituted a holy war against the communists and Marxists. This was preparation for a larger event – [that is,] when Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden carried out terror attacks against the U.S. on September 11, [2001,] – and by doing so took the Arab and Muslim will hostage. What Al-Qaeda did led to the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.

"This historical narrative is essential in order to understand that the primary goal of the extremist Islamic organizations... is still to crush the nation-state. Thus, the Houthis [i.e. the Houthi Ansar Allah movement in Yemen] emerged, claiming to represent Yemen; Hizbullah [claimed it] represented Lebanon, and Al-Hashd Al-Sha'abi [Popular Mobilization Units, aka PMU][2] and its allies [claimed] to represent Iraq. These organizations engage in taking peoples and countries hostage and entangling them in wars and conflicts that have no clear objectives besides a desire to abolish the political borders of the Arab nation-state. This is the goal pursued by the religious organizations, in order to establish... what they describe as 'the Caliphate State.'

"The Hamas and PIJ movements have no right to claim that they represent the will of the Palestinian people in order to entangle it a pointless war – just as none of the religious organizations have the right to do so. In light of the siege on the Gaza Strip, and following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, it would be appropriate for the wisdom of the Arab collective to awaken [and recognize] the truth as it is. It is inconceivable for the nation-state to be replaced by a caliphate state... [This is because] such a state cannot exist in the [current] political reality. Although today's reality is drenched in blood, it may indeed turn into an opportunity for an awakening, for reexamination, and for deciding to disengage from the legacies exploited by the extremist organizations in order to destroy all of mankind."[3]


[1] Juhayman Al-Otaybi was a Saudi Arabian rebel who led the takeover of the Great Mosque of Mecca on November 20, 1979, and held the worshipers inside hostage for three days. He and his devotees were captured following a clash with security forces and subsequently executed by the regime.

[2] Al-Hashd Al-Sha'abi (Popular Mobilization Units, PMU) is an umbrella organization supported by the Iraqi government which comprises about 40 Shi’ite militias, but also includes Sunni, Christian and Yazidi organizations. PMU forces participated in almost every significant battle against the Islamic State (ISIS). The organization also includes pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias which are subordinate to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and were involved in military operations against the U.S. and Israel.

[3] Al-Arab (London), October 17, 2023.

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