Here’s something important: The Muslim Brotherhood’s leader has endorsed anti-American jihad and a view virtually identical to al-Qaida’s ideology. Since the Brotherhood is the main opposition in Egypt and Jordan and the most powerful group in Muslim communities of Europe and North America, this is serious stuff.

Does that mean all these branches are going to launch terror attacks, as one affiliate, Hamas, has long done? Not necessarily.

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But hundreds of thousands of Brotherhood followers are being given a signal. Some will engage in terrorism; others will redouble efforts to seize control of countries and turn them into bases for war on the West.

The Brotherhood is the group that often dominates Muslim communities and runs mosques in the West. Its front groups are often courted by Western governments and media.

Yet here is the Brotherhood’s new supreme guide, Muhammad Badi giving a sermon entitled, “How Islam Confronts the Oppression and Tyranny,” translated by MEMRI in which he says:

• Arab and Muslim regimes betray their people unless they confront not only Israel but also the US. Waging jihad against both is mandatory for all Muslims. Otherwise, “They are disregarding Allah’s commandment to wage jihad... so that Allah’s word will reign supreme” over all non-Muslims.

• All Muslims are required by their religion to fight as their highest priority, since “the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice, and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as its enemies pursue life.”

• The US is easy to defeat through violence, since it is “experiencing the beginning of its end and is heading toward its demise.”

• Palestinians should back Hamas in overthrowing the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and unite in waging war on Israel.

• Rational calculations applied by the West to adversaries, assuming Muslims won’t act in a revolutionary and even suicidal manner, want a better future for their children, etc., don’t apply to the Islamist movement: “Allah said: ‘The hosts will all be routed and will turn and flee’ (Koran 54:45). This verse is a promise to the believers that they shall defeat their enemies... and that through Allah you shall triumph... The outcome of the confrontation has been predetermined by Allah.”

Thus, it doesn’t matter how long the battle lasts or its cost in destruction and death, you should go on fighting.

IN THE real world, Islamists are unlikely to win over, say, 50 or 100 years. But those views mean these 50 or 100 years are going to be filled with instability and bloodshed. Muslims don’t have to agree with Badi’s views, yet hundreds of thousands will, and millions will cheer them.

There’s even more food for thought in Badi’s speech.

“Resistance is the only solution... The United States cannot impose an agreement upon the Palestinians, despite all the power at its disposal. [Today] it is withdrawing from Iraq, defeated and wounded, and is also on the verge of withdrawing from Afghanistan” because it has been defeated by Islamist warriors.

First, US efforts that seem to be succeeding at brokering Israel-Palestinian peace would only spark more violence, not less, as Islamists seek to defeat them. Desirable as peace or even progress toward peace might be, the West should have no illusions about those things providing regional stability; they will produce more instability.

Second, US apologies, concessions and withdrawals are interpreted by Islamists and many in the Middle East as signs of weakness, which spark further aggression and violence.

Note that it is precisely fear of a tough opponent thet keeps Badi from saying anything about fighting Egypt’s government, which won’t hesitate to throw Brotherhood leaders in prison and even torture them.

STILL, THE coming leadership transition in Egypt, with the death or retirement of President Husni Mubarak, seems to offer opportunities. The new harder line coincides with the Brotherhood’s announcement that it will run candidates in the November elections – another sign of its confidence and increased militancy.

The Brotherhood is not a legal group, but the government lets members run in other parties. Its candidates won about 20 percent of the vote in the last elections – especially impressive given the regime’s repressive measures. If the Brotherhood intends to defy Egyptian law now, there will be confrontations, mass arrests and perhaps violence.

Most important, however, Badi and many others sense weakness on the part of the West, especially the US leaders, and victory for the Islamists.

Even former British prime minister Tony Blair is warning about such things. Blair comes from the British Labor Party. Many conservatives understand these issues. But the West can never respond successfully without a broader consensus about the nature of the threat and the need for a strong response. Where are Blair’s counterparts in the left-of-center forces in North America, the kind of people who played such a critical role in confronting and defeating the previous wave of anti-democratic extremism, communism?

This new hard line signals:

1. Increased internal conflict in Egypt, the start of a decade-long struggle for power in the Arabic-speaking world’s most important country.

2. The likelihood that more Brotherhood supporters in the West will turn to violence and fund-raising for terrorism.

3. The true nature of the radical indoctrination – preparing people for future extremism and terrorism – in the mosques and groups they control.

4. A probable upturn in anti-American terrorist attacks in the Middle East and Europe.

In August 1996, al-Qaida declared war on America, the West, Christians and Jews. Nobody important paid much attention. Almost exactly five years later, September 11 forced them to notice. Let it be said that in September 2010 the Muslim Brotherhood, a group with 100 times more activists than al-Qaida, issued its declaration of war. What remains is the history of the future.

The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center and editor of Middle East Review of International Affairs and Turkish Studies. He blogs at www.rubinreports.blogspot.com

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