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

 

Iraq rejects US criticism of security forces over defeat in Ramadi

Soldier kills comrades in Tunisia barracks shooting

Fierce fighting rocks Yemen as peace hopes fade out

Fukushima nuclear plant wins Qatar contract

UAE launches strategic framework for national space agency

Netanyahu names rightist ally as new Foreign Ministry chief

Hezbollah captures hilltops from Qaeda wing in Syria

Saudi Shiites hold mass funeral for victims of mosque bombing

Sudan targets newspapers in major media crackdown

Iran looks forward to total lifting of sanctions

Syria regime launches air raids around Palmyra

Hezbollah urges broad support for ‘existential battle’ in Syria

Olmert sentenced to eight months for corruption

Nobel Prize-winning John Nash killed in car crash

Blow to Yemen peace efforts as UN conference postponed

US accuses Iraq forces lacking will to fight IS

Weakened by war, Syria regime appears ready for ‘de facto partition’

Iran army ‘needs bigger budget to counter IS’

Saudi Shiites refuse to be provoked by deadly mosque bombing

Iran denies agreement on inspection of military sites

Emirati aid shipment arrives in Yemen port city of Aden

GCC denies air campaign against IS terrorists has failed

Tripoli leaders use migrant issue as they yearn for recognition

‘Islamic State’ takes full control of Iraq-Syria border crossing

Saudi king vows to punish those behind bombing at Shiite mosque

Sudan's Islamists protest against el-Sisi

Saudi mosque attack intended to fan sectarian tension

Islamic State claims Saudi mosque bombing

Israel solicits Platini to sway FIFA

Islamic State reinforces ‘caliphate’ with control of borders

Israeli deputy FM: 'All of it is ours'

Iraqi forces to launch Ramadi offensive

Tunis asks Rome to extradite terror suspect

Suicide bomb attack on Saudi Shiite mosque

Saudi-led coalition warplanes pound Sanaa outskirts

Shebab gunmen raid Kenya village

Kuwait businessman Khorafi dies at 75

IS fighters attack Iraq forces east of Ramadi

Obama offers Tunisia closer security ties

Yemen air strikes continue as Iran calls for talks

Israeli court orders release of Khalida Jarrar

Netanyahu meets with Arab leader Ayman Odeh

U.S. sanctions two companies linked to Iran's plane purchases

Iran supports Yemen talks, denounces foreign interference

IS militants call for attacks on Egypt's judges