Monday, February 25, 2008
By Ibrahim El Houdaiby, Conflicts Forum, February 25, 2008
"Those who believe that the ongoing crackdowns on the Muslim Brotherhood by the Egyptian regime will cause a major setback for the country’s largest and most powerful civil opposition group are definitely mistaken. Brotherhood members are an integral living part of the Egyptian society who can never be marginalized. In fact, the only possible outcome for such crackdowns is increasing the group’s popularity and radicalizing political Islam.....
The regime’s objectives of impeding the Brotherhood to secure the inheritance of the presidency came in line with US foreign policy, which shifted towards a policy of pursuing “stability” rather than democracy, after the ascent of several Islamic groups in the region between 2005 and 2006.
This crackdown also included the imprisonment of the members of parliament, Ayman Nour for five years and Talaat El Sadat for one year. It also included prison sentences for four independent newspapers’ editors......
Today, the Mubarak regime’s crackdowns are not limited to Islamists. In fact, his regime and security forces target every voice of opposition in all different ways. Besides putting political opponents and independent journalists behind bars, intellectuals are marginalized and their articles are banned in mainstream state-owned newspapers, and even cultural events organized by opposition activists are sometimes banned. Over the past year, Egypt has witnessed a larger number of workers’ riots and torture scandals than in has witnessed in decades.
With all that, it can only be expected that more opposition activists, whether Islamists or non-Islamists, will lose faith in peaceful democratic reform. For them, the regime has shut down all possible alternatives for such reform, leaving coups, revolution and violence as the only alternatives of bringing life to the political scene. Of course the Brotherhood disagrees with this view, which could lead to catastrophic results, but with the harsh crackdowns, it – as well as other pro-democracy groups - has a hard time convincing people of the fruitfulness of peaceful democratic reforms."