The sounds of explosions that take place in Egypt from time to time by some extremist groups, which are perceived as part of the Islamic radical political trend, or the arrests by the authorities in Egypt against the members of the Brotherhood and their sympathisers did not prevent the voices that talk about reconciliation between the authority and the Muslim Brotherhood Group from being heard.
One year ago, it was unacceptable of the regime or the political street to talk about reconciliation. However, after one year under President Al-Sisi’s leadership, the voice of reconciliation this time has started finding listeners among both parties in the conflict. These two parties throw the street’s test balloons to each other by talking about reconciliation from time to time.
Moreover, the issue was developed by talking about regional efforts and mediation over the reconciliation by Saudi Arabia, that believes that reconciliation is necessary for the time being. This is in order to achieve local stability in Egypt and other countries experiencing conflict with the radical Islam trend, in order to face the new danger coming from Iran.
During the last two weeks, media sources from Egypt and the Gulf talked about King Salman bin Abdulaziz adoption of reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, and that he proposed that to Egypt’s President Al-Sisi. Al-Sisi declared this to the media people travelling with him in one of his visits to the Kingdom. The same issue was declared by the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, through a leader in the Brotherhood Youssef Nada, in his message about talking to any party for the sake of Egypt.
And finally, the Tunisian leader’s in the group Rashid Al-Ghannushi holding talks with Saudi Arabia to intervene with the Egyptian regime, to stop the arrests and the death sentences against the leaders of the group. Even the Egyptian government did not close the door in front of the possibilities of the dialogue with the group, in exchange for suspending the violence against the army and the police. The government released from prison some of the moderate Brotherhood leaders who were not sentenced, like the leader Helmy El-Gazzar, Dr Ali Batteekh, and Dr Abu El Ela Madi, head of the Wasat Party, the moderate Islamic leader.
In the past few days, Helmy El-Gazzar and Ali Batikh travelled to Turkey, with the knowledge of the Egyptian security, to attend the meetings of the election of the new guidance office and manage a dialogue about the Brotherhood’s future in Egypt, and the possibility of talking with the state. Another Brotherhood figure, Hassan Malek, who is still free, travelled to Saudi Arabia last month, where he met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Egyptian security forces at the airport did not stop him on departing or arriving, which means Egyptian security approval was granted for his moves.
Thus, there is a hope for reconciliation, though they may be faint, as both of the opposing parties are still stepping in all the tracks of resistance in public, while holding their talks behind closed doors or through intermediaries. But, is the reconciliation, despite the necessity, easy and close or what?
The answer is that the reconciliation is not easy and will not happen overnight. Bodies of the dead of both sides stand in the way of any party coming out in public and expressing their desire for reconciliation. President Al-Sisi cannot come out and say that he is reconciliating with the Brotherhood.
The man’s legitimacy came from diminishing the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule, and therefore, in this case, he will have to answer the questions of the people and why he ended their regime if he is to reconcile with them now? Hence, he does not talk about reconciliation, despite the scattered statements of state officials refusing reconciliation with the brotherhood. I believe that such a thing, Sisi will refer it to the coming parliament, so the decision of the matter is in the hands of the people’ representatives – this way he does not have to solo deal with the consequences. Reconciliation itself between the brotherhood and the state is not new.
Following the executions verdicts in the 1960’s against the Muslim Brotherhood, many were granted pardons. President El-Sadat then came to let them go into political life until they were able to rule after the fall of Mubarak following the January 25 revolution.
The reconciliation is not easy for the Brotherhood as well. The current Brotherhood’s leaderships, whose majority seek or not refusing the dialogue with the regime in Egypt, face difficulties to convince the waves of rebellious youth of reconciliation. These youth are the ones who top demonstrations and any important events.
These youth are the ones who are in the front lines of the demonstrations and any activities, and face the weapons of the security forces. These youth refuse the reconciliation with the current regime. Their friends and brothers’ corpses in Rabaa El-Adaweya and Al-Nahda Squares are still there in front of their eyes. These are the youth who were thrown in prison and were pushed by the Brotherhood to top the revolutionary scene, whatever its risks are. None of the leaders can say to them now stop or step back. Youth members of the Brotherhood are no more committed to the principal of obedience to the leaders, specifically regarding this issue.
The way to reconciliation seems difficult and hard, but not impossible. It needs simultaneous steps to be taken by both sides to prove their will of seeking reconciliation. The Egyptian regime has to stop the security harassment against the Brotherhood and the indiscriminate arrest. Arrest should only be for those who practice violence.
The young and old who are not involved in violent acts should be released. It has also to conduct dialogues with youth and to try to convince them of letting go their radical ideas, and to reintegrate them in the society.
The Egyptian regime needs the reconciliation to achieve internal stability, allowing it to only concentrate on re-building the country and face the external dangers. From their side, the Brotherhood has to send messages of apology to Egyptians before the Authority, for their violent acts which removed a lot of their credit among the people who sympathised with them during the time of Mubarak. To achieve this, the Brotherhood should believe that it has to revisit its ideas, to adapt with the political changes the region in particular witnesses and to present itself again as a moderate political body which seeks a civil sate.
To conclude, the loser in this conflict between the Brotherhood and the military is always the people, of which its mouthpiece says for both parties, “O elephants, if you fight or hug each other, you will always run over the grass with your feet. I am the grass…I am the People”
Hussien Abd Rabu is an Egyptian journalist and assistant Editor-in-Chief of Al-Borsa newspaper