Unholy Alliance: Mubarak & the Muslim Brotherhood
I’ve had a dream! (Sorry for using the cliché MLK quote, but it’s appropriate) That dream was that Egypt, the country that I love, would soon be able to shed its old skin, and have democratic reforms that would bring change and breathe a new life in a dying country. That dream was that I would able to say what I want here, without being afraid that someone from Amn El Dawla (National security) might knock on my door at 3 am and arresting me for saying things that are considered “unpopular” by the government. I had a dream that Egyptians would join their Iraqi and Palestinian brothers, be given the right to chose and be able to decide their own destiny. And you know, up until yesterday, it seemed like that dream might actually come true. It seemed that we, in Egypt, were about to embark on an era of changes and reforms- sparked by inside movements and sustained by American pressure- that would eventually bring us democratic presidential elections, and maybe, just maybe, end to the state of political stagnation and corrupt despotic rule we have been living under for the past 24 years. Sure, fulfilling that dream wouldn’t be easy, and there would be a rocky road ahead, but at least we were going to start walking on that road. Good or bad , we would be moving forward, and wherever we would end up going, it would probably be better where we were. The only opposition movement wasn’t the Muslim Brotherhood any longer; we had Hezb Elghad, we had the Kifayah movement, we had the Save Egypt Front. We, for the first time ever, had real options, and the government didn’t seem to be the scary Boogeyman that terrified and eviscerated any opposition to its rule for the past 2 decades. My dream was slowly becoming reality. And now my dream is crushed! What happened? Well, let me tell you. Apparently, the Mubarak government and the Muslim Brotherhood have been talking to each other for quite some time. According to “The Egyptian Today” ( Masr el Youm) Newspaper , they were having negotiations with the top level Hanchos in the Egyptian government and they have struck a deal: The Muslim Brotherhood would “calm down” their public anti-government demonstrations that get the attention of the international media, they would publicly denounce “American pressure” and every other form of “foreign intervention” and their agents, they would not meet or have any kind of deal with the American administration, and to not collaborate with the “Kefayah” or the “Save Egypt” movements. In return , the Government would release the imprisoned MB members arrested in those last few demonstrations , they would release some of the Movement’s imprisoned leaders and members and improve the conditions of the rest, they would ease the pressure on the Brotherhood and Improve the government relations with it and most importantly allow them to form in the near future a Political Party so that they can participate in the parliamentarian elections. The MB promised that if their demands are met, they would not only voice their support for another 6 years of Mubarak’s rule, but they would actively campaign for him. Now isn’t that nice of them? Well, I can hear some of you wondering, “Well Sam, why is that bad news exactly? How does such an alliance kill your dream?” Hmm, allow me to explain: Mubarak has been in a tight spot lately, with the Americans on one hand giving him the cold shoulder and announcing that they would support whomever the democratic elections would bring to power, even if they were islamists, and the various opposition movements making all kinds of demonstrations against him. Without the Americans support, Mubarak basically has no legitimacy and couldn’t fake his way into another 6 years of Power. What the man needed was inside support, support from the majority of the Egyptian people, something to counter the massive hissy-fit that the American administration would have if he ran for another 6 year term and won. He would need to show them that he is democratically elected, that he is a credible leader, and that the people do want him to stay in power despite his massive incompetence and autocratic rule over the past 24 years. He needed the popular support of the people, and not having it, he made a deal with those who did. It’s a desperate move of someone who wanted no matter what to stay in power, consequences be damned! I’ve got to give props to Mubarak: he is far shrewder then I’ve given him credit for. He did it again, but this time he won't get away with it unscathed! Mark my words, this is what is going to happen in Egypt, more or less, over the next few months if both parties keep their end of the bargin: The MB would start massive rallies in support of President Mubarak and against any form of “American & Foreign intervention in Egyptian affairs” and branding those who have connections or funding from abroad ( Elghad, Save Egypt, etc..) as “American agents” who are nothing short of “American pawns” used to serve the interests of their “American Zionist imperialistic masters”. This would lead to the marginalization of Ayman Nour, the only remaining opposition or challenge to Mubarak, cause then Nour would be nothing more of an American agent. The rallies would also allow the MB to stretch its political muscles and show its true size, and ready its support base for the next parliamentarian elections. Whether or not they got the approved to form a political party is irrelevant, because the organizational structure is already there and their candidates are already known; getting their party approved is a symbolic gesture at best that shows that the government recognizes them. Running candidates whose campaign slogan will be “Islam is the solution”, they are bound to sweep the majority of the seats and gain control of the Parliament. In exchange they won’t challenge Mubarak in the presidential election and allow him to stay in power for the next 6 years. Mubarak wins, the MB wins, the rest of Egypt loses. The MB, as the new party in power in the parliament, would have control over new party approval and suspension, and amending the laws and the constitution. They would then start demanding the practical implementation of the Sharia in every aspect of Egyptian life, and if Mubarak refuses, they would start public demonstrations that would denounce him as “Islam’s enemy” and an “Infidel” and there might be a couple of assassination attempts on him based on someone’s fatwa. It will be the Sadat story all over again and the victim list this time won’t just be the Christians. It would include the women, the freethinkers, the liberals, the Pro-US people, and anyone who basically won’t agree with their view or what they want to do with the country. We will be living in Iran and Life would suck really really hard! You think I am exaggerating? It has already started. Check this out: The deputy for the General Guide of the banned Ikhwan al-Muslimin (Muslim Bothers) group in Egypt, Muhammad Habib, said that his group is making negotiations with the Egyptian authorities over plan to organize a massive demonstration in Cairo in rejection of foreign pressures that aim at forcing internal reform for the sake of change. The leading Muslim Brothers figure expressed his confidence that the authorities will agree with the organization on the demonstration in the few coming months which Habib expected to be "attended by hundreds of thousands." Habib explained that the government will make use of showing citizen's opposition to foreign and American pressure, in particular for maintaining the political change in Egypt where President Hosni Mubarak assumed power since 1981. He added that the demonstration will send a message to the authorities stating that in order to be able to withstand the American pressures you have to "accelerate reforms." The deputy chairman of the Muslim Brothers described the activities if the Egyptian movement for the change "Kefaya" (Enough), which is dominated by liberals and leftists with few Islamists, as a mere parade rather that an organized group. It has already started! I’ve had a dream, and now that dream is dead!