|Muslim Brotherhood is a survivor: Prof. Entessar||
TEHRAN – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has a “long history of operating under severe political constraints and repression” and this has taught it to survive in a hostile environment, South Alabama University professor Nader Entessar says.
He made the remarks during a recent interview with the Tehran Times.
Entessar is the author of Kurdish Ethnonationalism (1992) and the co-editor of Reconstruction and Regional Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf (Routledge, 1992) and Iran and the Arab world.
Following is the text the interview:
Q: Why the Muslim Brotherhood cannot stay in power in Egypt?
A: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has a long history dating back to eighty years ago. However, for most of its existence, the Brotherhood had to operate under severe political constraints and repression directed against it by the various Egyptian governments, including the nationalist administration of Gamal Abdul Nasser. As a consequence, the Brotherhood had to constantly devise new strategies to cope with the existing realities in Egypt, including underground activities. Despite unfavorable environment, the Muslim Brotherhood survived as a political force, albeit under different umbrellas, and it was able to provide needed social services to the poor people. Even Egyptians, who did not agree with the Brotherhood's philosophy, developed a healthy respect for that organization. That is why when the (Hosni) Mubarak regime was overthrown and we witnessed an opening in Egypt's political space, the Brotherhood resurfaced as the most organized political force in that country. Mohamed Morsi’s victory was made possible because a critical mass of non-Brotherhood Egyptians voted for him.
As is usually the case, organizations that have remained in a prolonged period of repression may be good opposition parties but once in power, they may not have the necessary skills or personnel to run a government. This happened in Egypt during Morsi's government. Also, given the fact that Morsi had received only a narrow majority in his presidential bid, he should have established a broad-based coalition government by involving representatives of several non-Muslim Brotherhood groups that had participated in forcing Mubarak out of power. Furthermore, two important elements of the Egyptian system, namely the military and the judiciary, did not change much from the Mubarak era. As a result, Morsi could never attain the full support of these two important bureaucracies in Egypt, and the Egyptian military took advantage of the chaos in the country to remove Morsi from his elected office.
Foreign players also played an important role in undermining Morsi's government. In particular Saudi Arabia, which saw the reemergence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a threat to its aggressive supremacy in the Sunni world, provided funding and organizational support to undermine Morsi. Although at this time it is not clear what role the United States played in bolstering anti-Morsi upheaval in Egypt, Washington may have given its blessing to the Saudis to undermine Morsi. It is important to note that despite Morsi's adherence to the Mubarak-era Egyptian-Israeli agreements, including the Camp David Accords, the United States was unsure of the long-term loyalty of Morsi to Washington's foreign policy objectives in the region.
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