For a few days now, conservative media figures have pushed the idea that the spectre of the Muslim Brotherhood – despite considerable evidence to the contrary – was somehow behind the continued uprising in Egypt. Now there seems to be some evidence that when they promoted this information, conservatives were just acting as Mubarak stooges (examples: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Frank Gaffney, Pam Geller, Sean Hannity.)
As ProPublica reports here, the Egyptian government has regularly promoted fear of the Muslim brotherhood as a protective shield against pro-democracy movements.
The Muslim Brotherhood, a key opposition group in Egypt’s anti-Mubarak protests, has long argued that the Egyptian government exaggerates the Muslim Brotherhood’s positions and its likelihood of attaining power in democratic elections. As it turns out, American diplomats agree.
“The Egyptians have a long history of threatening us with the MB bogeyman,” wrote Ambassador Francis Ricciardone to FBI Director Robert Mueller in 2005, in a newly released U.S. embassy cable obtained by WikiLeaks. Another cable from 2006 stated:
We do not accept the proposition that Egypt’s only choices are a slow-to-reform authoritarian regime or an Islamist extremist one; nor do we see greater democracy in Egypt as leading necessarily to a government under the MB.
This proves to us once again that when conservatives say something, it’s generally best to understand that the opposite is true.