Friday, March 25, 2011

NY Times 'Duh' Story: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Takes the Lead

Yusuf Al Qaradawi's return to Egypt was received rapturously
in Tahrir Squre

Against all the fatuous predictions by its commentators, The NY Times' Michael Stackman reports this morning: "In post-revolutionary Egypt, where hope and confusion collide in the daily struggle to build a new nation, religion has emerged as a powerful political force, following an uprising that was based on secular ideals. The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group once banned by the state, is at the forefront, transformed into a tacit partner with the military government that many fear will thwart fundamental changes."

Further: "In the early stages of the revolution, the Brotherhood was reluctant to join the call for demonstrations. It jumped in only after it was clear that the protest movement had gained traction. Throughout, the Brotherhood kept a low profile, part of a survival instinct honed during decades of repression by the state.
"The question at the time was whether the Brotherhood would move to take charge with its superior organizational structure. It now appears that it has.
'“The Brotherhood didn’t want this revolution; it has never been a revolutionary movement,” said Mr. Zarwan of the International Crisis Group. “Now it has happened; they participated cautiously, and they realize they can set their sights higher.”'
For all those who pooh-poohed the fears -- expressed by Israel and other less-than-infatuated observers -- that the Muslim Brotherhood was just biding its time, this reality bites straight into their naiveté. It seems that the reason the MB folks were keeping a low profile was they were simply hedging their bets, not because they had no interest in power. Slackman tries very hard to tone down the alarm:
"This is not to say that the Brotherhood is intent on establishing an Islamic state. From the first days of the protests, Brotherhood leaders proclaimed their dedication to religious tolerance and a democratic and pluralist form of government. They said they would not offer a candidate for president, that they would contest only a bit more than a third of the total seats in Parliament, and that Coptic Christians and women would be welcomed into the political party affiliated with the movement.None of that has changed, Mr. Erian, the spokesman, said in an interview. “We are keen to spread our ideas and  and our values,” he said. “We are not keen for power.”' 

OK we'll give it time but please do not be surprised if in another few months Slackman reports back with further evidence of the MB's power grab. I hope I'm wrong but it seems as though their rise should have been predicted when Yusuf Al Qaradawi returned to Egypt to a thunderous welcome.


  1. Just some thoughts.
    If the Brotherhood takes control, a stronger case for Israel closing its border with Gaza can be made. One of the Gaza issues has always been Egypt's lack of willingness to be the conduit between Gaza and the rest of the world, and in effect merging Gaza into the Sinai. It will be tricky row to hoe for the MB.

    If the Suez Canal falls into Islamist hands, how about a new canal? I wonder if something can be built between Ashdod or Ashkelon and Elat.
    I don't know the logistics, but it seems possible. It would be a great economic boon if it could be accomplished.


  2. Interesting idea -- of course it will be called an Apartheid canal but what the heck.


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