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

 

Push on IS capital Raqqa gathers momentum

Ailing Bouteflika 'doing well' despite health scare

Iraq forces look to build floating bridge in Mosul

Boosting presidental powers will 'stabilise' Turkey, says PM

Film on Syria's White Helmets wins Academy Award

Key Egyptian legislator says poverty more dangerous than terrorism

UN chief says disregard for rights 'spreading'

GCC geopolitics spike military sales at IDEX

Saudi Aramco to invest $7 billion in Malaysia oil refinery

ISIS has brought Saudi Arabia and the United States closer

Erdogan ‘not welcome’ to campaign in Austria

Morocco to withdraw from Western Sahara tension zone

Shia leadership struggle ahead after Khamenei and Sistani

The huge risks of Trump’s call to ‘take’ Iraqi oil

Trump set to zero in on Hezbollah in bid to curb Iran

Time bomb of unemployment among Arab youth

Woman journalist says targeted by hardliners in Sudan

Iran's Ahmadinejad writes open letter to Trump

Iran's Rouhani to run for re-election

Kurdish reporter killed while covering Mosul battle

Libya govt secures ceasefire after Tripoli clashes

Saudi Foreign Minister in landmark visit to Iraq

Iraqi forces push deeper into west Mosul

Suicide attacks kill 42 in Syria's Homs

Top US commander in secret Syria trip

Israel to deny Human Rights Watch visas for being ‘biased’

UN considers Syria sanctions over chemical attacks

Saudi Comic-Con slammed as ‘sin’ in online backlash

Jordanians protest government price hikes

Baghdad coordinated anti-IS airstrikes with Damascus says source

New Hamas Gaza leader makes first public appearance

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli soldiers in West Bank

Jordanian F-16 crashes in Saudi, pilot survives

Suicide bomb attack on rebels kills 51 near Al-Bab

Iraqi PM says air force strikes IS targets in Syria

Iraqi forces enter IS-held west Mosul

UN slams light sentence for Israeli soldier

Saudi king seeks investment on rare Asia tour

UN Syria peace talks begin in Geneva

Saudi minister discusses hajj with Iran

136 Turkish diplomats, soldiers seek German asylum since coup

New Hamas ‘strongman’ could spell fresh Israeli conflict

Suicide car bomb kills eight outside Yemen army base

Fired Turkish academics protest ‘unjust’ dismissals

Iraqi forces jovial after Mosul airport entry