Reports originating from the SITE Intelligence Group (SIG) claim that a video shows the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff. Another American journalist James Foley was beheaded by the same group two weeks earlier.
As was the case with Foley, Soltoff appeared to be sympathetic to the causes of opposition groups in Libya and Syria as well as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Unfortunately, these American journalists are often times far too willing to befriend Muslim fundamentalists who will turn on them.
In the days after the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt was overthrown last year, Soltoff visited the site of the Brotherhood protests at the Raba’a al-Adawiyya mosque and wrote about the experience:
When I told my Egyptian friend Ahmad Kamal that I wanted to go to the Muslim Brotherhood protest camp in Nasser City, a pallid look gripped him. “Don’t go there!” he pleaded. “They are fanatics who hate foreigners. Americans like you are in danger there.” After an hour of fruitless conversation over endless glasses of sweet tea, I rose, shook Ahmad’s hand, and headed straight to the lair where he believed I would be devoured.
But when I arrived at Nasser City, the picture Ahmad painted of long-bearded, club-wielding extremists bent on roughing up secular Egyptians was just as devoid of truth so much else in this divided country. Coups depicted as revolutions, peaceful protesters painted as fanatics, and disgruntled citizens hailed as revolutionaries have transformed Egypt into a circus where the main attraction is the uncertainty of heading into the unknown.
The full details surrounding Sotloff’s disappearance are not known but it happened about one month later in Syria and if he was willing to go to Raba’a al-Adawiyya in the days after Mursi was overthrown, there’s no telling what he was willing to do in Syria.
As Shoebat.com has reported, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood are now fighting each other, not because of a difference in ideology but more over turf and what each side envisions as the model and leadership of any Caliphate.
In hindsight, Sotloff would have done well to listen to Ahmad, the man who pleaded with him to stay away from Raba’a al-Adawiyya. These journalists who don’t understand the mindset of the likes of the FSA in Syria (as Foley apparently did not) also don’t understand the stealth mindset of Muslim Brotherhood figures like Gehad el-Haddad.
While at the mosque, Sotloff interacted with a former Clinton Foundation employee and Muslim Brotherhood leader Gehad el-Haddad, who was the Chief of Staff to Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Khairat el-Shater:
Drawing on his vast knowledge of Western liberalism, Haddad explained how the military’s coup contravened the pillars of democracy. “President Morsi was elected by the people at the ballot box,” he noted, scratching his perfectly trimmed beard. “Only there can his legitimacy and position be removed. Not in the streets with tanks and machine gun toting soldiers.”
Haddad’s sentiments were echoed by those in the crowd albeit less articulately and more fragmented. “The people voted for Morsi,” 45-year-old teacher Sa’id Rashwan told me. “Why have a few now decided he cannot rule?’
Such frustrations were the main theme of the Nasser City protests. But others expressed puzzlement with the very fundamentals of electoral politics. “Is this how democracy functions?” asked a 38-year-old carpenter, Salim Moussa. “When people get mad at your president does he have to resign?”
Despite their indignation, Morsi supporters were adamant they would not resort to violence. “We have made our commitment to elections and democracy,” Haddad explained. “We believe violence neither serves our cause nor that of the Egyptian people.”
At the time, one of Sotloff’s tweets directed followers to Haddad’s twitter feed in order to get the Muslim Brotherhood perspective about what was going on in Egypt:
Haddad’s last tweet was on September 12th of last year. He was jailed soon thereafter as Egypt came under the control of Gen. Abdel Fatah el-Sisi. As Shoebat.com has reported on extensively, Haddad was an employee of the Clintons (Bill and Hillary) for years.
In a bizarre type of macabre foreshadowing, Sotloff ended his article with a paragraph that would ultimately prove his friend Ahmad right:
Ahmad refuses to countenance that the Brotherhood and its supporters have legitimate grievances. Such stubbornness is blocking the path to reconciliation Egypt desperately needs to extricate itself from its security and economic woes. And until Egyptians like Ahmad extend an olive branch to those in Nasser City, Egypt will continue to be mired in a zone of uncertainty.
In the case of Foley, as Shoebat.com reported, despite his support for the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a group affiliated with the FSA reportedly turned Foley over to his ultimate killers as a goodwill gesture.
As for Sotloff, he demonstrated a willingness to put himself in a very bad spot and attempted to ingratiate himself with bad actors.
When those bad actors are Muslim fundamentalists, betrayal should always be in the calculus.