An analysis of recent Egyptian media reports reveals more evidence supporting the persistent accusations that former president Mohamed Morsi was in direct contact and cooperating with al-Qaida during his time in power.
Morsi, is on trial and facing the death penalty for alleged involvement in terrorism.
The Egyptian newspaper El-Watan, which tends to support the military and oppose the Muslim Brotherhood, published supposed recorded conversations between Morsi and Muhammad al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian-based brother of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
One El-Watan report from December said the Brotherhood established a communications network using an American company in order to communicate with al-Qaida and prevent spying on their email messages.
“Much of the substance of the alleged conversations is further corroborated by events that occurred during Morsi’s one-year rule, most of which were reported by a variety of Arabic media outlets, though not by Western media,” said Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum, in an article published on the Christian Broadcasting Network News website on Tuesday.
According to the Egyptian report, recordings revealed that Pakistani and Palestinian elements, who were in direct contact with the leader of al-Qaida, met with top Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shater.
Ibrahim has previously written about an Egyptian media report that when Morsi visited Pakistan he had met with Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a meeting “facilitated” by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence intelligence agency, and made arrangements to smuggle him back to Sinai.
Ibrahim, the son of Coptic Christian Egyptian parents, an expert on al-Qaida and the author of the book The Al Qaeda Reader, explains that Morsi’s presidential palace was in regular contact with Muhammad al-Zawahiri, who in turn was the link to his brother, the leader of al-Qaida.
In one recording between them, which took place a month after Morsi became president, he told Zawahiri that the Brotherhood would support the jihadis and that in turn they should support the Brotherhood.
In one telephone call, Zawahiri told Morsi to govern according to Islamic law and, in turn, we will support you.
“This assertion comports extremely well with his brother Ayman al-Zawahiri’s views. A former Muslim Brotherhood member himself, some 30 years ago, the al-Qaida leader wrote Al Hissad Al Murr (“The Bitter Harvest”), a scathing book condemning the Brotherhood for ‘taking advantage of the Muslim youths’ fervor by… steer[ing] their onetime passionate, Islamic zeal for jihad to conferences and elections,’” said Ibrahim.
In a subsequent phone call, reports Ibrahim, Zawahiri was upset because the Egyptian government was not implementing Shari’a, and Morsi responded: “We are currently in the stage of consolidating power and need the help of all parties – and we cannot at this time apply the Iranian model or Taliban rule in Egypt; it is impossible to do so now.”
Zawahiri then sent a list to Morsi and called on him to at least release jihadists from jail. Morsi later did so.
Asked how authentic these reports are, Ibrahim told The Jerusalem Post, “Although Watan and other Arabic media are prone to exaggerate, in this case, the reports repeatedly dropped the phrase ‘according to intelligence’ sources, which, as others from the region confirmed to me, is especially indicative of authenticity.”
Reports that refer to vague “sources” tend to be “more prone to be exaggerated,” he said.