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Egypt: The failure of the Brotherhood revolution

Attempts to oust the current government and return the Brotherhood to power in Egypt have failed

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

In the last five years, Egypt has had two revolutions. The first overthrew President Hosni Mubarak, the second toppled his successor Mohamed Mursi and got the Muslim Brotherhood out of politics. Attempts at a third revolution to oust the current government and return the Brotherhood to power have failed.

To carry out a third revolution, the organization conducted the largest media and political campaign in its history. Internationally, the Brotherhood worked hard to marshal human rights organizations, research centers and Western government institutions. It succeeded in raising media attention and sympathy from some international NGOs.

Western governments tried to pressure Cairo to cancel the ban on the Brotherhood’s political activities, but in vain. The party was unable to mobilize the Egyptian street against the government, or convince the international community to place sanctions on Cairo.

New TV channels were launched to mobilize the street. Many large channels, newspapers and websites teamed up with new ones to conduct social media campaigns urging the youth to rise up. Agreements were made with Western public relations companies for solidarity with the Brotherhood against the government, but all this failed.

The party even failed in exploiting violence, which was carried out by extremist groups in the Sinai and elsewhere, and which the Brotherhood rushed to justify, claiming that the only solution would be its return to power so terrorism would not engulf Egypt. I believe that the Brotherhood knows it is unable to bring about rapid change. It believes in grassroots change via education, media, culture, mosques, syndicates and charities. However, this time it rushed into battle.

Naivety

It was naive to think the Brotherhood could confront the Egyptian army and authorities. It believed that what happened to Mubarak could happen to any president, disregarding the fact that his regime was weak and old. The Brotherhood did not understand that had the army not supported the uprising against Mubarak, it would have failed.

There is no place for it in Arab politics unless it embraces new ideas. Fundamentally, there needs to be a revolution within the organization itself

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The party might justify its failure by saying security forces prevented people from taking to the streets. However, they tried to do so five years ago, yet people still went out and toppled Mubarak. Egyptians are tired of the Brotherhood and of regional chaos. They want to give the current government the chance to work and succeed.

I believe that the Brotherhood’s failure will delay its chances for another decade at least. There is no place for it in Arab politics unless it embraces new ideas, such as the abolition of the concept of itself as an international organization.

This concept goes against nationalism - to be Jordanian, Kuwaiti, Saudi or Yemeni is a main requirement to belong to the modern state. There is also a need to enlighten the Brotherhood about many social issues. Fundamentally, there needs to be a revolution within the organization itself.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Mar. 05, 2016.
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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former 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.

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