First Published: 2012-12-11

 

The Muslim Brotherhood's Power Play

 

Someday, someone -- perhaps me -- will compile a list of all those ignorant observers of Egypt who argued that the Muslim Brotherhood would not dominate Egypt after the fall of the Mubarak regime. An exact replay of the voices who, in 1979, argued that Ayatollah Khomeini would never dominate Iran’s post-revolution politics, points out Robert Dreyfuss.

 

Middle East Online

Is there anything that President Obama can do, or should do, about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? The unfortunate answer is no, and no. For years, the Muslim Brotherhood simmered in the background, feeding on and growing strength from Egypt’s unfortunate, long term process of Islamization. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, a paltry few Egyptians cared at all about political Islam and Islamism, and very few women, if any, covered themselves in public. Long before the fall of President Mubarak, however, Egypt had fallen under the spell of the Muslim Brotherhood’s benighted version of Islam.

It is that historical legacy that Egypt’s valiant secular, leftist, and nationalist movement is battling against. It will be a long, uphill struggle, and it will have to be accomplished without American help.

Someday, someone -- perhaps me -- will compile a list of all those ignorant observers of Egypt who argued that the Muslim Brotherhood would not dominate Egypt after the fall of the Mubarak regime. Many commentators said that it was all scare talk by Mubarak, who often warned that the Brothers would inherit Egypt once he was gone. Many others said that the Muslim Brotherhood would win only a minority position in the parliament, and would get just 15 percent or 25 percent of the vote. Well, they were all wrong. And now, a burgeoning alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military is threatening to create a new authoritarian regime.

It’s an exact replay of the voices who, in 1979, argued that Ayatollah Khomeini would never dominate Iran’s post-revolution politics. Khomeini, they said, would stay in the background, and they argued that the mullahs were pro-democracy, or even progressive-minded. Not so. And neither is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is an extreme, right-wing, cult-like organization with a cell-based structure whose goal is anathema to progressives inside Egypt and out.

The problem is, it’s not America’s problem, and anything that the Obama administration might do will only make the situation worse. Any anti-Muslim Brotherhood actions by Washington will only bolster the Brotherhood’s power, just as Israel’s arrogance and violence bolsters not Fatah but the reactionary, Muslim Brotherhood-linked Hamas.

Long ago, in writing about the Arab Spring in Egypt, I predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood would form an alliance with the generals, not because I had inside information but because it was so obvious. And it is coming to pass.

Last week, in Washington, President Morsi’s chief adviser told anyone who would listen that Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood is a fine place, and that Morsi is “taking all the checks and balances in order to have an evolving democracy, not the creation of a stereotype of a state which is theocratic. We have no acceptance of a theocratic state.” Liar, liar…

Having claimed vast new powers, designed to ram through a constitutional draft by referendum next week, Morsi is now officially promising to use the military to enforce the vote, despite huge protests from an anti-Muslim Brotherhood coalition. Paranoically blaming “foreigners” for the protests, Morsi has deployed the military’s tanks around his office, adding: “It is my duty to defend the homeland.” Morsi, and the government-controlled newspaper Al Ahram, are using precisely the same language as the generals did in pledging to protect Egypt’s “institutions.”

Listen to Morsi’s paranoia and threats, as he warned of “conspiracies”:

“I have sent warnings to many people who know who they are, who may be committing crimes against the homeland. If anybody tries to derail the transition, I will not allow them. To the corrupters who hide under respectable cover, I say, ‘Never imagine that I can’t see you.’ I’m on the lookout for them and will never let them go.”

Al Ahram, the newspaper, reports that Morsi plans to use the military to arrest civilians.

Robert Dreyfuss, a contributing editor for The Nation magazine, is an investigative journalist in Alexandria, Virginia, specializing in politics and national security. He is the author of Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, and is a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone, The American Prospect, and Mother Jones.

Copyright © 2012 The Nation -- distributed by Agence Global

 

UAE warns Qatar to take neighbours' demands 'seriously'

Russia warships, submarine strike IS targets in Syria

France sets out tough new anti-terror law

Morocco dismantles 'IS-linked cell plotting tourist attacks'

Prime time for Ramadan on Gulf fashion calendar

Asian states downplay 'Russia proposal' to send troops to Syria

Iran’s Salehi urges West to save historic nuclear deal

Iran, allies mark Jerusalem Day with rallies

US-led Syria strikes kill 472 civilians in one month

Nine killed in Iraq suicide bomb attack

Trump-Saudi ties help pave way for new Saudi crown prince

Makeshift clinic saves lives near Syria’s Raqa

Egyptian fuel helps restart Gaza power station

Rights groups say Morocco protest leader 'severely beaten' during arrest

5 killed in Mogadishu car bomb attack

UN experts urge Egypt to halt executions after 'flawed trials'

Qatar emir congratulates newly-appointed Saudi crown prince

Kushner hails 'productive' Palestine-Israel talks

Macron says removing Assad no longer priority in Syria

Turkey sends first aid ship to isolated ally Qatar

Iraq PM says IS admitting defeat in Mosul

Egypt delivers fuel to ease Gaza electricity shortage

Saudi Arabia named after ruling dynasty

Turkey detains catering boss after army food poisoning

Israel says will unleash 'unimaginable power' in future Lebanon war

Brussels nail bomber identified as Moroccan

Saudi stock market bullish on new heir

Lebanon's Salame to be new UN Libya envoy

New Saudi heir is king's agent of change

Turkish President accused of influencing courts

Mohammed bin Salman named Saudi crown prince

Algeria leader drops Panama Papers libel suit vs Le Monde

Morocco detains three as Rif protests continue

Israel starts work on new settlements amid Trump 'peace' push

At least 10 dead in Mogadishu suicide attack

Iraq forces advance in Mosul Old City

Yemen cholera death toll passes 1,100

Iran-made drone shot down by US plane in Syria

Raqa’s own battle to liberate hometown from IS rule

Saudi, Iraq hail 'qualitative leap' in relations

French journalist killed in Mosul

Iran protests against Tillerson 'transition' comments

Saudi foils ‘terrorist act’ in territorial waters

Ex-Barclays CEO charged with fraud over Qatar funding

London mosque terror attack suspect named in media