There are two camps within the Brotherhood, the hawks and the doves. But historically, the final say is with the superior hawks: don't give up because doing so threatens the organization with collapse and the Brotherhood would need another 50 years to return. This was the message of the Brotherhood's hawk Khairat al-Shater to Islamist president Mohammad Mursi.
He prevented him from accepting the Egyptian army's call 10 days ago, and the military warned that they will not allow crises to disturb the country's security, voicing hope that it reaches a political solution with other political parties.
The second opinion is reconciliatory and pragmatic. They told the president that it would be wise to accept the demands of the opposition. Foreign Islamic leaders called for such cooperation. It's attributed to Sheikh Rashed al-Ghannouchi, head of the Tunisian Ennahda movement, in which he said "we grew old waiting for this historical moment" and urged for reconciliation so the opportunity wouldn’t be wasted.
The Brotherhood's fascism
The Brotherhood lost the moment. They lost the governance of the biggest Arab country - a governance that they easily were served on a golden platter. The price requested of them to remain was co-existence, participation and accepting a comprehensive democratic system. Mursi, Shater and the supreme guide were incapable of walking this path after they won the elections and the right of the presidency became theirs as an Egyptian party in which existence, popularity and suffering (due to eliminating it) cannot be denied.
The Brotherhood lost the moment. They lost the governance of the biggest Arab country - a governance that they easily were served on a golden platter.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
The Brotherhood's problem can be summed up in one word: Fascism. As painful and hurtful as this word is, it unfortunately properly describes the mentality leading the Brotherhood. Nazism was a national movement in Germany and Fascism was also as such in Italy. Nazism won in democratic elections but Hitler and his party cancelled institutions and decided to eliminate their rivals claiming that the national project Hitler is leading justifies such a move.
The Brotherhood kept talking about believing in co-existence with people of different ideas, of accepting the peaceful transition of power and most importantly of working within institutions. But once they attained authority, they clashed with the political parties that began the revolution.
They eliminated the parties that voted for them whether they were youths, Nasserites and others as well as parties who allied with them against their rival Ahmad Shafiq. After winning the presidency, the Brotherhood engaged in a dispute with state institutions. They wanted to exclude the republic's Grand Mufti, expel the Al-Azhar Sheikh, isolate the attorney general and alter all judicial leaders. They even isolated defense minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi who stood with the revolution and enabled the Brotherhood to attain the presidency. All these hurt parties formed a front against the Brotherhood by allying with those already excluded, like the Copts and the remnants of the previous regime.
The number of Mubarak-era officials is estimated to be tens of thousands from the National Democratic Party, provinces and governmental institutions. Then the Brotherhood became enemies with media outlets by filing complaints to either arrest media figures or have media outlets pay fines. Two weeks ago, they issued a decision to stop the broadcast of the five biggest opposition private TV channels under weak investment excuses.
Angering the army, threatening the judiciary, excluding allies of youths and leftists and becoming rivals with the biggest media sector made Mursi's collapse inevitable.
The Brotherhood's problem is that of intellectual understandings and behaviors. They are not ready yet to transform into a democratic civil organization. They still have the same fascist mentality, and they believe their stances are the only right ones, claiming that they alone represent Islam and rejecting to politically co-exist with others! Their behavior since day one expressed ignorance of the most important skills for governance: pragmatism.
They lost the greatest opportunity for them to govern Egypt, the most important and the biggest country in the Arab world, because of their superiority. They also made the Egyptian people lose the greatest chance in a historical transition towards a peaceful, democratic and civil system that changes the country. And they are not alone at this. The experiences of political Islam organizations are similar.
They think democracy is a means to take over governance. This is what buried the dream of the Algerian FIS movement and what enabled dictatorship to rule Sudan because of the Al-Turabi front there. The fascist governance in Iran gave the worst image of political Islam. And now, the defeated Brotherhood expelled from Egypt has done the same.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on July 4, 2013.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.
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