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Will the Muslim Brotherhood Soon Be Running Egypt?

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For the first couple of days of unrest in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest, best-organized and most potentially ruthless opposition group, sat on the sidelines.

As expected, after Friday prayers at mosques around the country, the "Ikwan," as the Muslim Brotherhood is known, swung into action, swelling the protests and escalating the violence.

Now the key question for the Arab world’s most important nation is who will lead Egypt? ... There are really only three groups with the power to end up leading Egypt: the Mubarak family, the military and the Islamists in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood.

President Mubarak, 82, has been in power since 1981-- when a hail of Islamist gunfire felled Anwar Sadat. He had been grooming his son, Gamal Mubarak, 48, an investment banker by profession, to run for president in elections scheduled for late this year. That plan has died in the chaos of Cairo’s streets.

Lieutenant General Omar Suleiman, 74, Egypt’s spy chief since 1993, is the leading military rival to Gamal. That the military’s discipline appears spotty in this crisis bodes ill for both General Suleiman and Mubarak.

That leaves the Muslim Brotherhood, a well-organized but outlawed group with mass support among Egypt’s poor and religiously inclined people. The Ikwan is in a roughly analogous position to the Communists in Russia in 1917, whose iron will and willingness to use violence required only seven months to seize power from the fragile transitional government that overthrew the czar.

Just who is Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood? Are they violent and anti-Western, or can we work with them?

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood takes its religious and ideological cues from Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi, one of the most important Sunni Islam voices in the world. Qaradawi, an Egyptian, lives in exile in Qatar.

Qaradawi is an Islamist who knows how to look like a moderate to Western observers – but his core beliefs are anything but moderate. Should he return from exile to Egypt, look for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to ascend to power in a manner reminiscent of the mullahs in Iran under the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. And, should the Ikwan prevail, Egypt’s sizable Coptic Christian minority and Egypt’s historic peace with Israel will both be at risk.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/01/28/protests-muslim-brotherhood-soon-running-egypt/

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Fox news? Really, aj. Is there a news source drought out there? It reads more like an opinion piece than a news piece.

Well, gee, no wonder! It is an opinion piece, duh!

There are really only three groups with the power to end up leading Egypt: the Mubarak family, the military and the Islamists in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Yes, it's an opinion piece, posted to get feedback from people who know the region well. People like you.

So what are your thoughts on the excerpt above?

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There are really only three groups with the power to end up leading Egypt: the Mubarak family, the military and the Islamists in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Yes, it's an opinion piece, posted to get feedback from people who know the region well. People like you.

So what are your thoughts on the excerpt above?

I don't think that's all there is out there to succeed Mubarak, nor do I pretend to know what will happen. After the Iranian revolution, Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and break up of the Soviet Union, I know better than to speculate.

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From what has been portrayed in the reporting so far, the Egyptian Army is very much in control, and well liked by the people. I wonder if that will change.

John R. Guardiano of The American Spectator:

While Islamist elements may well try to take advantage of the Egyptian revolution, they face one almost insurmountable obstacle: the Egyptian military, a professional force and a nationally respected institution which views itself as the guardians of greater Egypt.

Indeed, the Egyptian military is not dominated by Islamists; and it will not allow Egypt to descend into total anarchy.

In fact, the Egyptian military will play a major role in Egypt's next government, just as it has ever since the Mamluks of the Middle Ages.

In more recent times (1952), the Egyptian military's "Free Officers Movement" led a coup d'état that overthrew the monarchy in order to establish a less corrupt and more representative government. One of the young officers involved in that movement: Anwar El Sadat.

Sadat, of course, would go on to become president of Egypt in 1970. And, in 1978, Sadat signed the historic Camp David Peace Accords with Israel.

Egypt's 1952 revolution also outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that stood in violent opposition to Egypt's new and overtly secular constitution.

In short, within the context of Egyptian and Middle Eastern politics, the Egyptian military is a progressive and modernizing force.

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In your opinion, based on whatever you know, is a prominent Muslim Brotherhood role in whatever comes next improbable?

The MB didn't even see this coming. They've had to play catch up. I was in Cairo earlier this month, and I didn't see it coming. Unlike 24/7 "news" services, I have the luxury of gathering facts before I opine.

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I don't think that's all there is out there to succeed Mubarak, nor do I pretend to know what will happen. After the Iranian revolution, Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and break up of the Soviet Union, I know better than to speculate.

What speculation could there have been about what would happen after the fall of the Berlin Wall? Germany was headed for reunification. Speculation could have been around the time frame but not the eventual - and inevitable - outcome.

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My parents watch Fox News all the time. All. The. Time.

I was over at their house last night from about 5:30 pm to 8:30 (Eastern). Fox was blaring in the living room and my parents could not be rooted away from it. Shepard Smith was the host.

A gentleman who was a former Ambassador to the Middle East (sorry cannot recall his name) was being interviewed. Someone opined that the Muslim Brotherhood was on the fringes of the days activities, trying to take advantage of the anarchy.

Before I left my parent's home at 8:30 pm, Shepard Smith was reporting that the Muslim Brotherhood was "assisting" the protesters.

During the time I watched the broadcast, I observed several commercials for gold coins (from more than one firm), an ad for a solar powered generator, and an advertisement ala Palin regarding the government telling us what to eat and drink.

Really such nonsense. And hard to believe that people believe this to be a source of legitimate news.


Our journey together on this earth has come to an end.

I will see you one day again, my love.

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Fox is obsessed with the Muslim Brotherhood. I had to switch to CNN. We're trying to contact close relatives and old friends in Cairo, Sharm el-Sheikh and a few smaller locales in Egypt. So far, not much luck.

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The Return of the Challenger

Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei is headed back to Egypt despite direct threats against his life. On the eve of his return, the former U.N. official who is the Mubarak regime's most high-profile opponent shared his thoughts about the young people who’ve taken to the streets, political Islam, and the role of the United States.

by Mohamed El Baradei

January 26, 2011

1296146074742.jpg

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former U.N. atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei attends a demonstration in Alexandria on June 25.

When Egypt had parliamentary elections only two months ago, they were completely rigged. The party of President Hosni Mubarak left the opposition with only 3 percent of the seats. Imagine that. And the American government said that it was “dismayed.” Well, frankly, I was dismayed that all it could say is that it was dismayed. The word was hardly adequate to express the way the Egyptian people felt.

Then, as protests built in the streets of Egypt following the overthrow of Tunisia’s dictator, I heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s assessment that the government in Egypt is “stable” and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.” I was flabbergasted—and I was puzzled. What did she mean by stable, and at what price? Is it the stability of 29 years of “emergency” laws, a president with imperial power for 30 years, a Parliament that is almost a mockery, a judiciary that is not independent? Is that what you call stability? I am sure it is not. And I am positive that it is not the standard you apply to other countries. What we see in Egypt is pseudo-stability, because real stability only comes with a democratically elected government.

If you would like to know why the United States does not have credibility in the Middle East, that is precisely the answer. People were absolutely disappointed in the way you reacted to Egypt’s last election. You reaffirmed their belief that you are applying a double standard for your friends, and siding with an authoritarian regime just because you think it represents your interests. We are staring at social disintegration, economic stagnation, political repression, and we do not hear anything from you, the Americans, or, for that matter, from the Europeans.

So when you say the Egyptian government is looking for ways to respond to the needs of the Egyptian people, I feel like saying, “Well, it’s too late!” This isn’t even good realpolitik. We have seen what happened in Tunisia, and before that in Iran. That should teach people there is no stability except when you have government freely chosen by its own people.

Of course, you in the West have been sold the idea that the only options in the Arab world are between authoritarian regimes and Islamic jihadists. That’s obviously bogus. If we are talking about Egypt, there is a whole rainbow variety of people who are secular, liberal, market-oriented, and if you give them a chance they will organize themselves to elect a government that is modern and moderate. They want desperately to catch up with the rest of the world.

Instead of equating political Islam with Al Qaeda all the time, take a closer look. Historically, Islam was hijacked about 20 or 30 years after the Prophet and interpreted in such a way that the ruler has absolute power and is accountable only to God. That, of course, was a very convenient interpretation for whoever was the ruler. Only a few weeks ago, the leader of a group of ultra-conservative Muslims in Egypt issued a fatwa, or religious edict, calling for me to “repent” for inciting public opposition to President Hosni Mubarak, and declaring the ruler has a right to kill me, if I do not desist. This sort of thing moves us toward the Dark Ages. But did we hear a single word of protest or denunciation from the Egyptian government? No.

Despite all this, I have hoped to find a way toward change through peaceful means. In a country like Egypt, it’s not easy to get people to put down their names and government ID numbers on a document calling for fundamental democratic reforms, yet a million people have done just that. The regime, like the monkey that sees nothing and hears nothing, simply ignored us.

As a result, the young people of Egypt have lost patience, and what you’ve seen in the streets these last few days has all been organized by them. I have been out of Egypt because that is the only way I can be heard. I have been totally cut off from the local media when I am there. But I am going back to Cairo, and back onto the streets because, really, there is no choice. You go out there with this massive number of people, and you hope things will not turn ugly, but so far the regime does not seem to have gotten that message.

Each day it gets harder to work with Mubarak’s government, even for a transition, and for many of the people you talk to in Egypt, that is no longer an option. They think he has been there 30 years, he is 82 years old, and it is time for a change. For them, the only option is a new beginning.

How long this can go on, I don’t know. In Egypt, as in Tunisia, there are other forces than just the president and the people. The Army has been quite neutral so far, and I would expect it to remain that way. The soldiers and officers are part of the Egyptian people. They know the frustrations. They want to protect the nation.

But this week the Egyptian people broke the barrier of fear, and once that is broken, there is no stopping them.

Edited by Sofiyya

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Fox is obsessed with the Muslim Brotherhood. I had to switch to CNN. We're trying to contact close relatives and old friends in Cairo, Sharm el-Sheikh and a few smaller locales in Egypt. So far, not much luck.

I know some people consider CNN to be left wing, but IMO that award goes to MSNBC.

I think CNN is a good source for News. It's easier to filter through the bits that go left OR right.

Personally, the news source we are following for reporting on this issue is the BBC.


Our journey together on this earth has come to an end.

I will see you one day again, my love.

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I know some people consider CNN to be left wing, but IMO that award goes to MSNBC.

I think CNN is a good source for News. It's easier to filter through the bits that go left OR right.

Personally, the news source we are following for reporting on this issue is the BBC.

We've got several new outlets going at the same time. Our preferred source is Al Jazeera.

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