“Yes, I do,” Stalin answered, before going on to assert that these countries of Asia and the Middle East constitute a rear threat that will bring about a “revolutionary crisis in the West.” The West will be “attacked on two sides — in the rear as well as in front,” he said, and “will be forced to admit that it is doomed.”
In the decades that followed, Stalin and his Kremlin successors did their best to insure that the Middle East would indeed become the graveyard that would doom the United States and the non-communist countries of the West. An army of Soviet agents, advisors, agitators, propagandists, and terrorist trainers were dispatched throughout the Middle East to set it aflame. Since 1990 and the apparent collapse of communism, it has become fashionable to consider concerns of a continuing Marxist-Leninist threat in the region passé, a relic of the “Cold War mentality.” After all, communist ideology and organization have been supplanted by Islamist ideology and organization, right?
But did the elaborate networks established throughout the Middle East during the Soviet era disappear? Or do the dire words spoken by Stalin in 1925 also bespeak a relevance to the recent events that are roiling the Arab states of the Mediterranean from Rabat in Morocco to the Suez Canal in Egypt, to Amman in Jordan, and along the Arabian peninsula from Yemen to Oman and Bahrain?
Commentators on both the Left and Right, from Chris Matthews at MSNBC to William Kristol at the Weekly Standard, have all taken jabs at Glenn Beck and Art Thompson, CEO of The John Birch Society, for challenging the conventional wisdom and daring to point out to the oblivious what the mainstream media is still either ignorant of or just unwilling to acknowledge — that these revolutions demonstrate an unmistakable Islamo-communist connection.
In the case of Egypt, particularly, a lot of attention has been placed on fears of an Iranian-style revolutionary takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood. These fears are not without merit, but, unfortunately, are mistakenly taken as proof of an Islamic revolution, because the word Muslim is in its name. This sort of simplistic explanation ignores the true nature and history of the Muslim Brotherhood and because of such is folly to a meticulous understanding of the revolution. Any reasonable analysis of the socio-political tumult in the Middle East must factor in the very prominent ongoing role played by the various communist parties and coalitions, which have the most disciplined and organized cadres, as well as decades of practice at orchestrating “spontaneous” demonstrations — or commandeering genuine grass-roots efforts started by others.
Founded in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood’s unholy alliance with communism stretches as far back as the 1940s and ’50s, during the early days of the Cold War, when Stalin had his eyes set on the revolutionary communist takeover of Egypt. It is true that the communists and the Muslim Brotherhood have also battled each other, but the various factions of the communist and socialist parties also battle amongst themselves — and then come together to battle their common enemies.
In November 1951, in an article entitled “Detailed Stalin Plan Is Coming True,” AP foreign news analyst William L. Ryan noted in the Telegraph-Herald: “Communists have infiltrated heavily in the Moslem brotherhood, now in the forefront of the chaos in Egypt after having been suppressed for some time.”
In October 1954, upon the signing of the Anglo-Egyptian agreement on Britain’s troop withdrawal from the Suez Canal zone, communist and Muslim Brotherhood protesters took to the streets of Cairo, inciting acts of violence as they celebrated.
The subsequent year, in Aleppo, Syria, students with communist, socialist, and Muslim Brotherhood affiliations violently demonstrated against the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and his proposal for a Middle East Treaty Organization (METO; later renamed the Central Treaty Organization — CENTO) with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Britain.
In April 1995, a new communist faction emerged in Egypt called the Revolutionary Socialists’ Tendency, with the slogan “Sometimes with the Islamists, never with the state.” Since 2005, RST has worked closely with the Muslim Brotherhood just as the Communist Party has in years past.
Hamza Piccardo, the Secretary-General of the UCOII (Unione delle Comunità e Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia), the Italian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is a “former” communist who converted to Islam — but continues to work closely with various communist parties and to fuse Marxist-Leninist and Islamo-Leninist ideologies. He regularly works with the Committees for the Support of the Resistance for Communism (CARC), a hard-line Maoist group that defiantly continues to fly the red flag and the hammer-and-sickle on its website and at its public events. In March 2007, for instance, Piccardo was an advertised speaker at a CARC-sponsored conference in Chinciano, Italy. Piccardo’s speech, broadcast over Italian television, praised the “strength” of “the young Muslims of Europe.” Which young Muslims? Piccardo was specific: “Those that set on fire 36,000 cars in a few days” during the violent Muslim youth riots that rocked France. They are the ones he targeted for recruitment. Italian journalist Lorenzo Vidino of the Investigative Project on Terrorism writes: “Piccardo’s speech seems that of a Communist leader, rather than that of the leader of one of Italy’s most important Muslim organizations.”
In Britain, Marxist radical George Galloway has formed the Respect coalition, whose principal partners are the Socialist Workers Party and the Muslim Association of Britain, the UK branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Galloway, who publicly admires Stalin and Saddam Hussein, is too extreme even for the left-wing Labour Party, which booted him; but the Muslim Brotherhood has no problem sticking with him. Galloway is an avid Hamas supporter and over the past two years has led a number of the Gaza convoys of anti-Mubarak, anti-Israel militants to Egypt, along with Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, the Indian Communist Party, and many other Marxist-Leninist groups and individuals.
In an article in the Spring 2007 issue of the Middle East Report, Edmad Mubarak (no relation to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak), a lawyer with the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, a leadership force in Egypt’s recent upheavals, admitted to the continued Islamo-communist connection:
“Most of my clients are [student members of the] Muslim Brothers,” Mubarak said. “I tell them, ‘I’m a communist,’ and they are fine with that.”
In an interview on January 14, 2011, Salah Adly of the Communist Party of Egypt referred to the Muslim Brotherhood as “the maximum right.” And although he claimed “we do not ally ourselves with them,” he nevertheless added, “but we are coordinating some of the issues of democracy and an end to a state of emergency against the practices of torture and to guarantee free elections.” (Emphasis added.) In discussing some of the problems the Communist Party has had with the Muslim Brotherhood, Comrade Adly admits to “alliances made with them in recent years.”
A Bit Player to Begin With
Sorting through the available evidence, it would appear that the Brotherhood played only a secondary role in Egypt’s recent turmoil, involving itself only when it realized that it could capitalize on the turn of events and benefit politically from them.
Other than the Brotherhood, the only group with the organizational skill and capacity that could stage such demonstrations is the Communist Party of Egypt (CPE), a criminal organization with a notorious pedigree.
One of the founding leaders of the CPE in 1942 was Henri Curiel, an Egyptian of Italian ancestry and a Soviet agent who would decades later become one of the KGB’s principal coordinators of terrorism in Europe. Expelled from Egypt in 1950 for his communist activities, Curiel settled in France and set up a KGB network that funneled money, arms, and documents to such left-wing transnational terror groups as the German Baader-Meinhoff Gang, the Basque ETA, the Japanese Red Army, and the Uruguayan Tupamaros.
Among Curiel’s many other claims to infamy is his KGB role in helping manage Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, the spokesman for Ayatollah Khomeini in Paris and, following the Islamic Revolution, the Ayatollah’s Foreign Minister in Tehran. Curiel’s tie to the Islamic Revolution and governing regime in Iran gives further credence to the connection between radical Islam and communism.
An article in Socialist Review of February 2009 notes:
Many regarded and still regard Khomeini as a “fundamentalist.” This isn’t so.... Khomeini fashioned a radical reinterpretation of Shia Islam, under influence from the popular Shia theologian Ali Shariati who had attempted to incorporate the ideas of Frantz Fanon and Karl Marx into Islam.
The CPE’s longstanding ties with Islamists can be observed throughout its history and in its current coordination with the Brotherhood, as admitted by CPE spokesman Salah Adly. The role of the CPE in the events in Egypt is revealed in the communist website “21stcenturymanifesto,” which admits: “The Egyptian Communist Party is deeply involved in the current struggle against the continuation of the Mubarak dynasty.”
This claim is vindicated by photos showing many communist flags and banners among the protesters and by the CPE on its own website, openly admitting to having participated in the revolution, asserting:
Hundreds of patriotic and democratic forces and cadres of our Party in the Cairo district of Abidin and in other places in the capital as well as other demonstrations in Port Said and Alexandria against the inheritance of power to Gamal Mubarak, or an extension for Hosni Mubarak....
Our party has participated in the demonstration raising banners of the Communist Party to fly the red in the field of Abdeen and confirm the position of the Communist Party of rejection of this system. [Emphasis added.]
Tunisia, Yemen: Same Pattern
The Islamo-communist connection is not isolated only to the revolution in Egypt; its involvement can be observed in all the revolutions of the region.
In Tunisia, the Communist Workers Party, led by Hamma Hammami, distributed a document that outlined a plan for the transition from dictatorship to democracy. The plan focused around five elements: (1) sweeping out the dictatorship; (2) forming a transitional government; (3) defining the functions of the transitional government; (4) defining the council government constitution and determining its functions; and (5) defining the nature of the Tunisian Democratic Republic. You can be sure that Hammami and his comrades will keep the “defining” process going until it attains the proper (in their opinion) Marxist-Leninist denoument.
Although President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has been overthrown and Hamma Hammami has declared the revolution in Tunisia a success, he, nevertheless, has called on his followers to continue the revolutionary course.
An association of various political parties, including the Islamic Renaissance Party and the Communist Workers Party, joined together in the establishment of the National Council for the Protection of the Revolution, to carry their “reforms” forward.
In Yemen, on January 25, 2011, opposition forces called upon the people to rise up against the government in “Days of Rage,” which so happens to be the same name given to the infamous days of demonstrations orchestrated October 8-11, 1969 in Chicago by the Weathermen Underground, a communist terrorist faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
The Yemeni opposition forces have called for a Mubarak-style overthrow of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and for the creation of an independent South Yemen. This “democratic” opposition is composed of the Al Islah Party (the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen), Hizb ut-Tahrir (a pan-Islamist party that advocates for the establishment of a world Caliphate), the Nasserite Unionist People’s Organisation, and the Yemen Socialist Party, which ruled as the one-party dictatorship of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen). It also includes Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which purports to be a subordinate organization under Osama bin Laden.
During the Cold War, South Yemen served as the crown jewel satellite for Soviet KGB-backed terror operations, exporting fully trained left-wing terrorists, including George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian Rejection Front.
Even after the apparent fall of communism and the end of the Soviet Union, and despite there being a “pro-Western” government in power, many of those camps in South Yemen continued to produce and export terrorism.
Today, as Yemen is rattled by protest, socialist involvement also runs deep. The Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) is the hardcore pro-Soviet communist party from the Cold War era that still operates in Yemen. Dr. Yasin Said Numan, the Secretary-General of the YSP, endorsed the student demonstrations and called on the Yemeni people to join them. Under the banner of “change” and “democracy,” the YSP has taken advantage of the situation to call for an end to the Saleh government. “We want real democracy, in a peaceful way. And we are against the continuation of Saleh’s authority,” said Ali Huraibi, a journalist and member of the communist YSP.
Another factor in the current protests and civil unrest is the armed South Yemeni insurgency, which has been ongoing since 2009. Among the leaders of that militant insurgency are many communists, including Yasin Said Numan, who was the Prime Minister of communist South Yemen from 1986 until unification in 1990, and Ali Salem al-Baid, the General Secretary of the Yemeni Socialist Party from 1986 to 1994.
There is much more evidence than space here will allow to show the very prominent role that the Islamo-communist elements are playing in the current turmoil in the Middle East. President Mubarak was not a paragon of virtue, and his repressive, socialist regime (his National Democratic Party was a longtime member party of the notorious Socialist International) was far from being a model of free enterprise and individual liberty. It is also debatable how firm an ally he would have been without the steady transfusion of billions of dollars that successive U.S. administrations showered upon him in the form of unconstitutional foreign aid. Nevertheless, though we may sympathize with the aspirations of the peoples of Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and other countries in the region for greater freedom, we would do well to look critically at the forces at work in the current commotions in the Middle East. There is ample reason to suspect that their machinations, rather than leading to genuine reform, will lead to increasing chaos and, ultimately, to even more repressive tyrannies.
— Poster depicting Stalin & Lenin during 2010 Moscow rally marking 1917 Bolshevik Revolution: AP Images