Tracking the Brotherhood’s self-destruction

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

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“It's a movement that was born near a cafe in the city of Ismailia, which died at Cairo’s Rabia al-Adawiya Square,” is one of the many running jokes made across the country since the end of the Muslim Brotherhood’s year-long rule.

The joke refers to the north-eastern Egyptian city of Ismailia where the Muslim Brotherhood movement was first established by Hassan al-Bana in 1928. Rabia al-Adawiya is the place where the movement supporters gathered to defend the Brotherhood, whose leadership insisted to push it towards the end it reached.

When the Brotherhood began to govern in Egypt last year, many saw no end to their rule. The most optimistic of people spoke of an era that will last for more than a decade. Some said that Egypt has ridden the train of civil governance – either backwards or forwards – and will carry on in this path for decades, with the uncertainty whether this train will ever stop. Some adjusted to the idea that the Brotherhood characters who occupied Egypt’s political and social scenes had come to stay and that they have to either co-exist, suffer or leave the country. Those who fled the Brotherhood's governance thought they would never return.

But the Egyptian people surprised us as they carried out an act that even the optimists didn’t expect. They took to the streets and squares and made it clear that they will stay until the Brotherhood exits power. It appeared that many possessed an unprecedented amount of anger inside them.

The Brotherhood was capable of sparking this widespread state of anger and rejection among most Egyptians.

Now, those who are still affiliated with the Brotherhood and are concerned over its future should be asked this: Why have many Egyptians come to hate the Brotherhood to this extent in just a year? The reasons could be their stubbornness and their belief they are superior over many and that they are God's chosen people. Perhaps these factors are what they must begin with when attempting to understand what's happened.

Leading up to their downfall

The main dispute had erupted between the leadership of the Brotherhood's international organization and the group dominating the management of the Brotherhood in Egypt.

The Brotherhood committed suicide, the West was struck with shock, and the Egyptians got back their country.

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

The international group knew from day one that the battle is not in its favor so it requested Egypt's leadership to consider its battle with the Egyptian people on June 30 as one it will lose and therefore better to make concessions quickly and accept all possible demands made by the people.

Their logic was that losing the battle is better than losing the entire war and therefore Mursi should make concessions and the movement must begin organizing its ranks and exploiting all available financial capabilities to bridge the gap with the people. It realized that the Brotherhood's defeat in Egypt in such a manner will lead to a fall in the region - a fall in which has no quick return.

Luckily for Egyptians, the movement's leadership in Egypt was incapable of understanding all that. It was void of wisdom and clear vision, so it decided to resume confronting the people. It seems that it was struck with a hunger for power.

This hunger struck Mursi himself to the point that of all those who gathered on June 30 in Egypt, he only saw 160,000 people! This is what he told Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi when he met with him after protests erupted. This is also what he told his former allies in the West. Denial, stubbornness, desire for power - that all increased quickly - and being unable to even imagine giving up this power is what pushed this movement who had Mursi as president and Khairat al-Shater as a strongman taking Egypt and the Brotherhood affairs to this end.

This all led to the Brotherhood's defeat. The issue is no longer about losing a battle. They've lost a war, and the entire Brotherhood will pay a huge price in the coming times.

Mursi's and the Brotherhood's aim to hold on to power was the political suicide of the movement. To continue championing their supporters in Rabia al-Adawiya has led to a state of tension and anger among Egyptians.

Regional aftershocks

The Brotherhood's success in seizing power in Egypt indicated that the region has entered an era of governments that belong to political Islam. What is happening in Tunisia, Libya and Syria also contributed to this. This has planted fears and suspicions over the Brotherhood's next goals. A few indications lead many to believe that they are attempting to seize governance in any of the Gulf countries to guarantee a source of permanent funding. The problem is that their presence was met by clear support from the U.S. and the West, who were under the impression that this will provide solutions for many problems and will provide a new style of how to run affairs in the region.

This explains the state of shock that struck them when the Egyptians, along with the army, succeeded in toppling the Brotherhood’s rule.

The Brotherhood committed suicide, the West was struck with shock, and the Egyptians got back their country.


Abdel Latif el-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of "Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak," a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy

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