Monday, April 23, 2012

Analysis: The multiple sins of the Brothers

Al-Masry Al-Youm

Counting their losses

All of a sudden, the Brothers felt empty-handed faced with a pervasive and domineering military institution, and decided to shift from a quiescent to a confrontational discourse. But none of these traps should come as a surprise to the Brotherhood: all could have been foreseen from day one.

Besides Shater's exclusion and a weakened Parliament, the Brotherhood is incurring other, less apparent losses.

First, their perplexed performance has exposed what many observers perceive as political immaturity, to an extent that some of their prominent backers in intelligentsia circles have turned against them. The columns of Islamist writer Fahmy Howeidy are a case in point. Recently, Howeidy — long known for his Brotherhood sympathies — bashed their decision to field a presidential candidate (they had previously promised not to), saying they lack administrative skills and political expertise. He deemed them unfit to rule the country.

Second, the group's credibility must have been shaken in the eyes of nearly 13 million voters who cast ballots in its favor, hoping that Parliament would be able to fix their urgent problems.

Third, the group damaged its relations with revolutionary forces in a way that seems beyond repair, portraying itself as a reactionary camp allegedly interested in secret deals with the generals.

Experts on Islamist movements have long held that the Brotherhood is "a burden" that could always abort the transition to democracy. Today and throughout Egypt's troubled transition, this hypothesis has been put to a test. For some, the group's performance has already substantiated it.

Instead of employing its weight and popularity to spearhead a genuine transition to democratic rule and trim the wings of an ambitious military, the group's non-revolutionary outlook has caused it to rubber stamp an ambiguous transitional road map full of legal loopholes that seem to exclusively favor the generals."

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