- Prison inmates take up ‘Knockout’ game, target female officers
- U.S. Army hails success with drone-shooting laser
- John Kerry: Israel-Palestinian peace deal paved for April
- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float as Hawaii health director killed in crash
Overthrow, crackdown may push Muslim Brotherhood back to extremism in Egypt
Egypt’s crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters risks driving the Islamist movement back toward the violent extremism it renounced decades ago, analysts said Thursday as security forces spent a second day fighting protesters who torched government buildings, churches and police stations.
Former CIA officer Bruce Riedel noted that the Brotherhood joined the political process after the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and won presidential and legislative elections only to see the military overthrow their leaders last month.
“The largest and oldest Islamic party, the Muslim Brotherhood, tried the path of elections and protests and was met with a coup d’etat by the army and then mass violence,” said Mr. Riedel, who now heads the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution. “It’s leadership will not blame itself. It will either become more radical or lose its base to the radicals.”
He predicted the conflict in Cairo will rock the region.
“The Egyptian drama will shape the course of Middle East history and the direction of political Islam for years, maybe decades,” Mr. Riedel said.
Middle East analyst Mirette F. Mabrouk added that the Brotherhood has a “healthy following,” as shown in last year’s presidential election in which Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi won 51.7 percent of the vote.
“It would be a mistake to think that they are going to disappear off the political landscape,” said Ms. Mabrouk, a deputy director at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “If we shove them out onto the periphery, it is possible that we may be looking to a return of the violence that Egypt saw in the 1990s.”
The Muslim Brotherhood was banned in Egypt in 1954 after a failed attempt to assassinate President Gamal Abdel Nasser. The Islamists were blamed for the attempt and many of their leaders were imprisoned, tortured and executed.
“The problem is that even though the Brotherhood renounced violence decades ago, there is a possibility that you might get foreigners who are going to try and help the Muslim Brotherhood in their struggle against the state,” Ms. Mabrouk said.
By June 30, millions of demonstrators were protesting Mr. Morsi's government, and the military responded by removing him from office and arresting him.
On Wednesday, riot police backed by armored vehicles and bulldozers destroyed two large camps of Morsi supporters who began their own sit-ins in Cairo after he was ousted July 3. More than 600 people have died in two days of clashes between police and protesters.
Analysts disagree over whether the Brotherhood will gain any sympathy from the violence.
“The days of the military moving without being held accountable are over. Likewise, the Muslim Brotherhood gaining popularity based on victimhood is also over,” said Manal Omar, associate vice president of the Middle East and North Africa program at the United States Institute of Peace.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- U.S. teacher shot dead in Benghazi after al Qaeda call for violence
- Syria nightmare: Fresh fears about al Qaeda fighters there returning home as sleeper terrorists
- Iran official: Sanctions 'utterly failed' to stop nuclear program
- China accuses Japan of raising tensions over new air defense zone
- Joe Biden meets Xi Jinping in China to try to defuse tensions on air defense zone
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- U.S. Navy-China showdown: Chinese try to halt U.S. cruiser in international waters
- Obama birther theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Billy Graham near death, close to going home to be with the Lord
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- North Korea's official report on Jang Song Thaek
- Dr. Ben Carson disavows efforts at presidential draft
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Our Choice: Individual responsibility and self-government or the abandonment of the American Revolution
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
John Glaser turns his pen toward foreign policy and international relations around the world
A conservative commentator and satirist takes on the worlds of politics and entertainment in pursuit of truth, justice and all things America.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow