Egypt’s ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ making moves with Hamas while making nice with ElBaradei? What it might mean.

As the crisis in Egypt evolves it is becoming murkier and more convoluted. While the face of the protesters being projected is that of liberal-loving Facebook and Twitter activists who only desire freedom from the oppressive reign of Mubarak, there are several other political forces at work behind the scenes.

Yesterday, I received an update from StratFor, indicating that the Muslim Brotherhood–the world’s oldest and largest Islamic political organization–was POSSIBLY starting to work in collusion with the militant organization Hamas to further their own political interests in the developing Egyptian crisis. Jason beat me to the punch on posting the report (Bastard!) so here is a link to his post on the issue.

There should absolutely be no doubt that MB is trying to position itself politically to fill the power vacuum that a Mubarak resignation would provide. Additionally, the Brotherhood has made itself into an effectual political force in Egypt’s parliament since 2005 and should be considered quite politically sophisticated.

In 2005 the Brotherhood won 88 seats in Egypt’s parliament–about 20% of the total seats–increasing their total numbers almost five fold. Ironically though, the MB is considered an illegal organization in Egypt so the members of parliament who are tied to the group actually run under the independent banner. While they cannot effectively block legislation due to the dominance of the National Democratic Party in parliament, they are attempting to openly maneuver the parliamentary process away from its reputation as a rubber stamp for Mubarak. Instead they are apparently trying to move towards a more reform-minded position, concentrating on strengthening its weak legislative capacity and further the empowering the Egyptian people. The Brotherhood has even gone as far as creating a think tank and policy research arm which they refer to as the “parliamentary kitchen. ” Its sole purpose as stated by Husayn Muhammad Ibrahim, vice chairman of the Botherhood’s bloc and a twice-elected MP, “…is to use civil society and consult experts to organize information we use in Parliament.”

While suspicions still remain high as to the true intentions of the Brotherhood, there is an interesting dichotomy which exists between Western perceptions of the Brotherhood and those of the Jihadists. In the West–the United States specifically–there is a great deal of mistrust towards the Brotherhood because of their history of assassinations, terrorism, and capitulation with anti-Israel forces. There is also the reputed fact that one of the major Middle Eastern political thorn in our sides, Hamas,  grew directly out of the Brotherhood. Similarly, the Brotherhood’s supposed embrace of democracy and rejection of jihad has generated feelings of disgust towards the MB from modern-day jihadists.

Presently the MB has officially entered the fray of the protests after remaining relatively silent for days. They have also thrown their support behind the former IAEA director, Nobel laureate, political dissident, and Mubarak opposition figure, Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei. Meanwhile, in lieu of the MB’s attempt at political posturing, whether to foster reforms within Egypt’s autocratic government or to gain political power, they are not lynch pin in the whole crisis. The deciding factor on how this plays out strictly lies within the hands of the Egyptian military.

The important thing to remember is that the Egyptian military, since the founding of the modern republic in 1952, has been the guarantor of regime stability. Over the past several decades, the military has allowed former military commanders to form civilian institutions to take the lead in matters of political governance but never has relinquished its rights to the state.

Now that the political structure of the state is crumbling, the army must directly shoulder the responsibility of security and contain the unrest on the streets. This will not be easy, especially given the historical animosity between the military and the police in Egypt. For now, the demonstrators view the military as an ally, and therefore (whether consciously or not) are facilitating a de facto military takeover of the state. [...]

(Source…StratFor)

The situation like many in the Middle East is not a monolithic one but extremely elastic. There are also many players behind the scenes, both inside Egypt and outside, that are going to weigh heavily on the political outcomes. One wrong move by any of the power brokers involved, and the hopes of a free and democratic Egypt will be dashed upon the rocks. Inevitably the only ones who will suffer will be Egypt’s people.

Commentary

About Mike Elliot

Works in Construction Engineering and Project Management. Mike has been employed by the federal government and worked extensively within the private sector as well. His interests include public policy, economics, politics, foreign policy, philosophy and other assorted mind-numbing practices. Mike can be contacted, complimented, or criticized at twe.mike@gmail.com. He is also available for speaking engagements and prefers to be paid in gum.
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9 Responses to Egypt’s ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ making moves with Hamas while making nice with ElBaradei? What it might mean.

  1. Steve says:

    THANK YOU for posting this! I love your blog!!

    Steve
    Common Cents
    http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

  2. Pingback: Are Conservative histrionics over the Muslim Brotherhood unfounded? Or do they have a point? | The Western Experience

  3. Jonathan says:

    It’s funny how I always used to hear the words “moderate” and “Egypt” right next to each other, before the media suddenly decided to tell me Mubarek is a tyrant. It reminds me of the way the left turned it’s back on LBJ. But anyway, when we say “free and democratic Egypt”, do we mean:

    An Egypt where non-Muslims have full equality in society, instead of dhimmitude? An Egypt where non-Muslims are allowed to employ Muslims and where non-Muslims are free to build houses of worship, expand them and renovate them? An Egypt where gay people can get married and Muslim women are free to marry non-Muslims and where Jews can get elected to Parliament?

    What disturbs me most is the Westerners who talk about “democracy” in Egypt as detached from any of the unspoken REALITIES of life in an Islamic culture. You know, the sorts of realities that liberals RAIL against as being so bad and evil in America, like the subjugation of women. You would think that Western feminists would be encouraging Egyptians to get out in the streets to support a woman’s right to choose.

    But now that I think about it, I don’t see anyone in the streets of Cairo demanding the right to renounce Islam and convert to Judaism, Buddhism or Christianity without fear of death. If I were prone to never thinking about things beyond the surface, then I too would be thinking this is all about “Democracy.” We are SO blind in this country. So blind.

  4. Jonathan says:

    forgot to subscribe.

  5. Mike Elliot says:

    Well Jonathan, while I cannot comment for other blogs or media organizations, but around here at least, we knew of Mubarak’s despotism. For what it is worth.

    I have no illusions that a democracy in Egypt would be a far cry different than what we see here in the US. However, my initial hopes are three fold: 1) Free elections devoid of corruptible influences that express the will of the people. 2) More economic opportunities for the average Egyptian. & 3) Religious tolerance.

    Are these three going to happen? Probably not. Muslim culture, right now, seems incapable of embracing individual choice and responsibility as we understand it. This is the basic problem for the West. The state, whether it be Islamist or a secular dictatorship, is not there as a caretaker or defender of the people’s basic rights but a parent government. Each choice a person makes is under constant scrutiny by some fundamental religious or government entity. A punishing and authoritative hand is all that most people in the ME understand.

    Still we have to try to guide events in Egypt not just for our own interests but for the interests of the Egyptian people. The difficult question is how?

  6. Jonathan says:

    Mike asks:

    “Still we have to try to guide events in Egypt not just for our own interests but for the interests of the Egyptian people. The difficult question is how?”

    The USA, and the West at large, no longer has the moral ability to effect such changes as you outline in Egypt. Moreover, the West is more ripe to receive change than to export it. Just like change came to the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain with great, unexpected suddenness. The “crusader” is seen globally as diminished now, bankrupt, factionalized, decaying, seemingly on its way to the ashbin of history. As stagnant, not progressive. Renaissance Man has been “iconoclasted” by Kurt Kobain.

    Yes, the average Muslim wants cell phones and automobiles and the internet. But no one has believed for a long time that it takes the West to do things right. “Everywhere else” is developing the know-how now. The Iranians are developing their own fighter aircraft now. The fact that the West is broke is not at all lost on these people. Neither is our outsourcing of high tech jobs.

    We are often seen as THE oppressor. Unjustly in many cases, yes. But thanks to the propaganda being generated from OUR OWN NATION. Heck, if we say it about ourselves, then why shouldn’t they believe us? We seem to be getting weak and that is fatal when confronting Islam.

    I could offer my own remedies to your difficult question, but I would be laughed out of the public square. Nevertheless, when we look at past history – at the world shaping conflict between Judeo-Christianity and the children of Ishmael, what do we see? Our best days certainly weren’t when we embraced humanist philosophies openly hostile to the foundational principles of ANY long-lived civilization. Imperfect we were, yes, often times, in the good old days. But what has the West to offer now, save a cup of hemlock? Exactly what “improvements” are we pushing?

  7. bruce says:

    President bongo won’t be happy until he starts a war in the middle east which will happen when Egypt arms the paliosimians in Gaza.I hope the Israelis nuke the rag-heads because they are not real humans and need to be killed in large numbers.

  8. Mike Elliot says:

    Gee…Bruce. Don’t feel like you have to hold back your opinion or anything.

  9. Imthiyaz Ahmed says:

    It means we all are brothers

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