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Brotherhood and violence

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Ziad Akl

Ziad Akl

The Muslim Brotherhood refuses to be anything but a problematic “existence”. Trying to identify what kind of political entity the Brotherhood is has always been problematic. Trying to work with the Brotherhood during Mubarak’s late years hasn’t been an easy process either. Adapting to the Brotherhood’s repeated administrative failures during former president Mohamed Morsi’s presidency was beyond difficult. It was almost impossible.

Similarly, and even though the Brotherhood is out of power, coping with them and with what they’re doing post-Morsi is a process too difficult to be realised. Most likely, the Brotherhood’s problematic, antagonism-driven behavior will lead to inevitable episodes of violence.

While most of us are expecting a violent confrontation between the two major actors, the army and the Brotherhood, the more likely scenario would involve a series of violent confrontations on a small scale between small groups of pro-Morsi protesters and different forces in the state and society.

Among the frequent outcomes of revolutions is the emergence of radicals in the camps of the revolution and the old regime. The Brotherhood’s camp already contains radicals from its very beginning. Hearing all the threatening speeches said by Brotherhood leadership indeed points to how these radicals are being used by the leadership.

However, the real danger would be the moment when small groups of these radicals decide to become a separate entity, no longer coordinating with the Brotherhood and most likely seeing the Brotherhood to no longer be representative of them. Such small radical groups might well continue even after the sit-ins are dispersed.

At the same time, the Brotherhood managed to make new enemies wherever they went. One of the most serious confrontations the Brotherhood has to face wherever they go now is with individual citizens, inhabitants of the neighborhoods the Brotherhood decides to brutally abuse by their very unique sit-ins.

Morsi’s supporters have managed to resurrect a social force that hasn’t been active in years. Usually political revolutions like those which took place in January 2011 and June 2013 do not involve any class-based mobilisation. However, what we’re witnessing right now involves an evident middle and lower-middle class mobilisation.

And while there are thousands who are waiting for the army to diffuse and disperse the sit-in in Rabaa, it has become clear that there is no way to do this without violence and casualties.

This sad fact is due to many reasons the most important out of which is how the Brotherhood itself has sent many political messages and sometimes even direct outspoken messages saying they will not allow the dispersal of the sit-ins without a violent confrontation, to which they are ready to offer martyrs.

Other than how eager the Brotherhood is to see bloodshed so that it could use it internationally for political sympathy that would give it a boost in negotiations with the army, both the army and the police have horrific records of dispersing sit-ins and demonstrations.

There are those who really care about how humane and non-violent the sit-in dispersal is, and unfortunately there are those who don’t. However, it seems like it is no longer possible to actually avoid violence. Despite the statements the Ministry of Interior and the army are making about how peaceful their intervention will be, neither the Brotherhood has the political will to avoid violence, nor state and social forces have the techniques and experiences to give up the use of force.

Certainly there are measures to be taken to reduce the extent of violence and its consequences, but we have clearly passed the stage where it was possible to diffuse the political tension without violent confrontations of some sort.

About the author

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl is a political analyst and sociologist. He is a senior researcher at the Egyptian Studies Unit in Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

  • DAMNtoMilitaryrule

    “Among the frequent outcomes of revolutions is the emergence of radicals in the camps of the revolution and the old regime. The Brotherhood’s camp already contains radicals from its very beginning”. In such situation Army ,police should remain neutral but that is not the case and they are doing this in purpose:

    -To carry on holding 40% of Egypt economy and USA dollars(£1.3billion)
    -Nostalgia of old time under MUBARAK and sympathy towards MUBARAK remnants.
    I really suspect despite the hate between MB and Army which is well known, another new government from liberal will also lead in the same fate like MORSI unless Army clearly conserve their interest. That why Egyptians must wake up and deal this issue before it becomes late.

    • Sam Boulis

      Hi Stephen, I think the people of Egypt have learned their lesson,I have a full faith that they will not elect another Morsi or any Islamist. The problem lies with the low information voters, just hope they have good and well informed leadership this time around!

      • DAMNtoMilitaryrule

        Sam Boulis you want to not elect any Islamist but all contact and Egyptians society is clearly indicated that MB still have a clear majority and a coup d’Etat has just had little impact on their popularity.One expert has put at the way their electoral code stand no one can have majority unless the form a bloc with islamist who is going to lead again a future election if not rigged. It is all those statistics who is confusing at Moment White House and his Egypt liberal (El-baradei) . Any election organised now , El baradei and his band won’t go anywhere.
        The backbone of MB still standing firmly only some ribs have been touched. So if that is the case We are going to see another Coup of Army?

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  • Sue D. Nim

    It doesn’t matter who is elected. If they are not doing what is expected, the answer is not to take them out by force. To have a democracy, you have to go through a process. You vote to impeach a president, if they are truly causing harm. If enough people agree, then he’s out. Or if they don’t agree, he should stay in office until the next election. The people “hired” him and they should have “fired” him if necessary. I’m an American and I would have loved to see President Bush impeached, but I would never have supported our army using force to remove him, even though I truly believed he was guilty of criminal actions. The majority did not want him gone, so I had to be patient. When a candidate is voted in by the people and then removed by the army, that isn’t much better than a dictatorship. Let the people decide and elect to keep or remove the people in office. The Egyptian army took away the people’s right to self-determine their own future. They will never be free of oppression, until they get to decide what happens for themselves. Sometimes they will decide the wrong thing. But it is not a complete disaster because a president is temporary.

    I’m an American Muslim. I know very little about the MB, nor do I automatically endorse them because they have Muslim in their name. I don’t know what Morsi did wrong because the news is different than the information from the Egyptians I have talked to. But the people voted Morsi in and should have been able to take him out themselves if they willed it. Early if they judged it best. The people, not the army. The army are supposed to work for the people too! They should stop violence and protect the people and remain apolitical (non?). I know this is not my business, but I have dear friends in Egypt, not to mention my Muslim brothers and sisters and I do care. I hope and pray that Egypt one day becomes a strong and healthy country, inshallah.

  • alfred simmings

    On a different note, if you Ziad would like to open a discussion of the atrocities done by the personnel department at the egyptian ministry of foreign affairs,i will be more than willing to expand this discussion. I am an egyptian ambassador myself,and i think it is rather timely for the serious governmental decision making bodies,to take note of these atrocities,as it is a self depleting mechanism for all those diplomats who can professionaly serve their country,at the expense of nepotism and personal greed.I will withhold my true name for obvious reasons.best regards.

  • alfred simmings

    The major atrocities performed by the Personnel Department At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Of egypt.

    The denial of professional and humanitarian rights,with regards to the postings of diplomats abroad.The principles of nepotism and favoratism is the main indicator for these postings.Any pleas presented to the personnel department ,or even to the minister is neglected, with the pretext that it does not entail any such posting abroad. On the other side, personnel department ,with impunity ,carries on as usual, tailoring any posts in concurrence with their nepotism and the persons feeding on their remains. An intolerable situation for those dispriviliged,and whose career has been one of seriousness and perseverance. Also given the isolation of Egypt from the workings of world politics,under two long serving ministers of foreign affairs ,serious diplomats are are still being pushed into an empty rejectionism.I want to raise this issue in the hope that i myself,together with those who can see my point of view,to rectify this molestation , and start operating in the sense of rightouseness and professionalism.waiting for your contributions,thanks.

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