The Muslim Brotherhood, a victim of its own mistakes

Raed Omari

Published: Updated:

Aside from sentiments or rhetoric of conspiracy, as opposed to fully-fledged political thinking, what happened and is happening to the Muslim Brotherhood is a tragedy of its own making.

In response to what happened to Egypt’s Brotherhood, Arabs, like many other people around the globe, have been divided – in fact polarized – over the startling yet expected incidents that erupted in the Arab world’s most populous nation.

What widened the division more was actually the bloodshed in Cairo’s Rabia al-Adawiya Square and Nahda Square after the security forces’ intervention to disperse the Brotherhood demonstrators.

The Egyptian Islamists, like their Tunisian brothers, had come to rule after revolutions they did not begin

Raed Omari

Not to underestimate the value of the blood that was shed from both sides, the protesters and security personnel, and not to argue whether or not the pro-Mohammed Mursi supporters were completely peaceful, or the crackdown was really needed, the incident and its aftermath was just part of the Brotherhood’s accumulated mistakes.

In fact, it lay at the heart of the Brotherhood’s stubbornness, lack of political manoeuvring and pragmatism, not conspiracy, that caused the bloodshed and will lead to the exclusion – if not the dissolution – of the group from the political scene.

I am talking here about the Arab world’s oldest political movement that is supposed to be fully aware of political engagement tactics and pragmatic give-and-take principles.

What would the scenario be if Mursi had listened to the massive crowds and agreed to hold early elections? Would there be bloodshed if the Brotherhood’s leaders (many of whom are in prison now) had abandoned the streets and squares and engaged in political dialogue with the authorities?

Of course, the outcome would be different. At least, the group’s leaders would have secured their undeniable presence in Egypt’s politics, but not in its jails.

Loyalty and obedience do not necessarily make for greater influence, that is always ensured through professionalism, resourcefulness, cunningness and knowing how to remain there.

Ruling others’ revolutions

What very few have missed, or purposely neglected – I mean political analysts and commentators – is that the Egyptian Islamists, like their Tunisian brothers, had come to rule after revolutions they did not begin.

People elected them during a time of despair and perplexity not because they were the best politicians but probably to just try them out. Or to phrase it this way, the organized Egyptian Islamists won because of the division of other politicians.

For many observers, including myself, the downfall of the Brotherhood, or it least its now single-digit popularity, depending on its unsuccessful model of rule in Egypt and Tunisia, has come a lot quicker than anticipated.
Egypt’s Brotherhood, during Mursi’s presidency, has committed many follies that all made the downfall of the group and its ruling model if not inevitable, very quickly anticipated.

Jordan's Islamists, will they learn the lesson?

The official Jordan is definitely relieved and probably at its best time in two years not only because of the end of the Brotherhood rule in Egypt but also having seen Cairo regaining its vacant seat in the so-called “moderation camp” along with Saudi Arabia, UAE and the Fateh-led Palestinian Authority.

Jordan’s releif after the new developments in Egypt is expressed overtly. King Abdullah was the first Arab leader to visit Cairo after the June 30 Revolution which unseated the Islamist-oriented Mursi.

The Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour has also been reported as stressing Jordan’s support for the Egyptian government, calling on the Egyptian army to remain firm in the face of terrorism.

“A strong and stable Egypt is both a Jordanian and a regional interest…We want to see Egypt strong so it may remain the heart of the Arab and Islamic nation,” Ensour was quoted in media outlets as saying.

In other words, the kingdom is on the side of the Egyptian army and transitional government, maybe delivering a message to the Jordanian Brotherhood and its political arm, the Islamic Action Front, that this is an irreversible stance.

But Jordan’s Brotherhood is seemingly still very stubborn, unwilling so far to make any compromises and thus is expected to end up sharing the fate of its Egyptian sister.

Jordan’s Brotherhood has recently issued a statement condemning the “oppression” that started with the ouster of Mursi, denouncing the “bloody military coup” and the violence committed against Mursi supporters, in addition to the recent arrest of the movement’s leader in Egypt Mohammed Badie.

Jordan’s Islamists showing solidarity with their Egyptian “brothers” is an understandable matter as there is some kind of “organic unity” among all the Brotherhood groups worldwide, but it seems that they are still unwilling to recognize the kingdom’s distinctiveness as a different story from Egypt.

In Jordan now, there is a talk in the official rhetoric about dissolution of the Brotherhood.

There seems to be no change in Jordan’s Islamist’s overconfident discourse as if Mursi is still in power. Their rhetoric is still marked with arrogance, sentimentality and confrontation with authorities. But politics means dealing with facts and actualities.

More stubbornness from Jordan’s Brotherhood means more negligence and crackdown from the state or maybe violence which is not a wise attitude of a group presenting itself as a political power.

The Brotherhood movements everywhere need to admit mistakes and conduct thorough revisions to their policies because otherwise they will suffer again from a prolonged state of hibernation and isolation.

As a matter of fact, it is the totalitarian model and unsuccessful rule of Mursi’s Freedom and Justice Party and that of Tunisia’s ruling Ennahda party which is the driving factor behind the counter revolts against the Muslim Brotherhood more than anything else.


Raed Omari is a Jordanian journalist, political analyst, parliamentary affairs expert, and commentator on local and regional political affairs. His writing focuses on the Arab Spring, press freedoms, Islamist groups, emerging economies, climate change, natural disasters, agriculture, the environment and social media. He is a writer for The Jordan Times, and contributes to Al Arabiya English. He can be reached via [email protected], or on Twitter @RaedAlOmari2

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.