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

 

Syria nearly completes surrendering chemical weapons

Netanyahu: Unity with Hamas ‘giant leap backward’ for peace

Kuwait MPs seek to question PM over alleged corruption

UK reaches out to Muslim women to prevent Syria jihad ‘tragedies’

Cleaner power starts being generated in southwestern Morocco

Thirteen killed in Iraq car bomb attack

Yemen Qaeda militants seize hospitals to treat wounded

Second-ranking US diplomat warns of rising extremism in Libya

Algeria blogger who ‘mocked’ Bouteflika goes free on bail

Syria army launches deadly air raid on market area in Aleppo

Armenia leader accuses Ankara of 'utter denial' on genocide

Mauritanian president will stand for re-election

Washington easing aid freeze to Cairo

France, US mull sanctions against South Sudan

Israel weighs response to Palestinian unity deal

South Sudan leader sacks army chief

Jordan amends anti-terror law to curb Jihadist threat

Netayahu to Abbas: Does you want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel?

Bahrain expels representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

Witnesses in Morsi trial: Hamas and Hezbollah attacked Egypt prisons

Family of detained Al-Jazeera reporter in Egypt call for his release

Bomb targets convoy of Education Minister in north Iraq

After Ervin scandal, Iran Prisons Chief becomes Head of Justice Department

Egypt FM travels to US as Washington relaxes hold on military aid

No Qatar ‘concessions’ on end of dispute with fellow Gulf states

US diplomat visits Libya amid political upheaval

Blair calls on West to combat ‘growing’ danger of Islamist extremism

Jarba asks Saudi Arabia to increase support for Syria rebels

Better late than never: Erdogan offers condolences over mass WWI killings of Armenians

Hezbollah veto dashes Geagea dreams of presidency

UN aid chiefs make impassionate call for Syria access

Police brigadier general killed in Cairo bomb attack

11 new MERS infections registered in Saudi

EU denounces Syria plans for June 3 election

Iran envoy row fails to make headway at UN

Amnesty: Qatar fails to protect domestic workers

US will deliver 10 Apache choppers to Egypt to counter terrorism

US expresses horror at South Sudan violence

Egypt's next president will have to deal with frustrated workers

Rival Palestinian leaders agree on national unity govt

Jumblatt backs lawmaker Henri Helou for Lebanon presidency

Global chemical watchdog: Syria weapons handover at 86.5 percent

Kerry ‘prefers’ Cold War-like situation to current complex challenges

Israel to call up Christian Arabs for military service

Egypt prosecutors submit new evidence in Jazeera trial