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January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
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Rubin Reports: An Islamist President for Egypt?

Egyptian soldiers on their side of the Rafah border crossing

Egyptian soldiers on their side of the Rafah border crossing
Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

The Brotherhood must decide between its two remaining options: to unofficially back one of the Islamists or make a deal with Amr Moussa. And what would be the terms of that deal? Amr Moussa has no party or organized base behind him. He needs the Brotherhood. What would it demand and what would it give?

If Amr Moussa is elected the world will proclaim that Egypt is stable, there is no problem, and the Islamist threat was a mirage. A convenient ruse. The Islamists will use the time to build their base for long-term transformation of Egypt. What can Amr Moussa build? And remember that Amr Moussa is unique and irreplaceable. There is no other figure like him; there are plenty of Islamist leaders who will be interchangeable.

He will be more hostile to Israel and move further away from the United States. He will probably avoid war with Israel or a break with the United States. But what is happening may be a pact with the devil type situation. Amr Moussa will want the Brotherhood and Salafists to make his term in office comfortable. After that, he won’t care. But we will.

Yet increasingly it looks as if the Brotherhood is now too confident to go for such an option. Amr Moussa might not even be a candidate at all.

If Egypt’s next president is an Islamist that means an Islamist regime is coming within months to the country – whatever “moderate” camouflage it receives. How will the mass media and Western governments pretend this isn’t happening? Proclaim that the Brotherhood are the moderates saving Egypt from the Salafists! Absurd, but a possible line of argument for them.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian economy is going down the drain. Does the Brotherhood want to be responsible for dealing with these problems and potentially taking the blame? Still, one should not be too materialistic in evaluating this. Arab states have had many economic difficulties over the decades and they have responded successfully–in political terms, that is–with repression, demagoguery against foreigners as being to blame (the trial of evil American imperialists who aided NGOs is already beginning), and international adventures.

If the Brotherhood decides to go for the prize now, as al-Qaradawi prefers and al-Badi seems to favor, nobody is going to stop them.

 

Originally published by Rubin Reports http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/02/is-egypt-about-to-elect-islamist.html

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


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