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The POMED Wire Archives
Category: Muslim Brotherhood
POMED Notes: “After Mubarak: What do the Egyptian People Really Want?”
February 18th, 2011 by Kyle
On Wednesday, the Middle East Institute hosted an event focused on the public opinions of Egyptians in the wake of Mubarak’s fall from power, entitled, “After Mubarak: What do the Egyptian People Really Want?” The Middle East Institute hosted two speakers; Steven Kull, Middle East public opinion expert and director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, along with, Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Saban Center of the Brookings Institution.
For full notes, click here for pdf. or continue below.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Diplomacy, Egypt, Human Rights, Islam and Democracy, Islamist movements, Mideast Peace Plan, Military, Muslim Brotherhood, Protests, Public Opinion, Reform, Sectarianism​, US foreign policy | Comment »
Writing A New Political Narrative in the Middle East
February 17th, 2011 by Naureen
Writing at The Huffington Post, Lebanese-American political analyst and POMED board member Randa Slim argues that the events in Tunisia and Egypt have “dealt a heavy blow to old myths about democracy and political transformation in the region” and have constructed a new political narrative for the regime with four major themes emerging.  The recent uprisings in the Middle East demonstrate that democracy is not a Western concept. In the past the region has seen democracy in two forms: imposed by the West as in Iraq and the “lip-service democracies of most Arab governments, repressive and corrupt.” We are now seeing a third form emerge in which democracy is “the right of the people to live their lives, and decide their fate without heavy-handed control by a police state.”
These uprisings also show us that real change can come through non-violent means and that a regime which emerges through peaceful uprisings will have “more authenticity and credibility” than those in Iran, Syria and Lebanon.  It is also clear that these movements are not Islamist in nature and while Islamists will have “a seat at the table,” moving forward, leaders of both the Ennahda movement and Muslim Brotherhood have announced that they will not seek to gain presidency or majority seats in parliament. These movements were about governance and spurred by the people’s frustrations over corruption, unemployment and poverty and desire for good change and participation in the decision-making process.  Now, Slim says, the  hard work of nation-building begins; she calls on the West to help these “stories end well.”
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Freedom, Islam and Democracy, Islamist movements, Muslim Brotherhood, Protests, Reform, Tunisia | Comment »
Jordan: King Swears In New Government Amid Criticism
February 9th, 2011 by Alec
King Abdullah II has sworn in the new government with newly appointed Prime Minister Marouf al Bakhit.  Bakhit was given orders to implement “genuine political reforms,” but his appointment is largely seen as appeasement of the Jordanian bedouin tribes that are “the bedrock of the monarchy.”  Bakhit will serve as both PM and Defense Minister while Foreign Minister Judeh Nasser and Finance Minister Mohammed Abu Hammour both kept their portfolios in the reshuffling.   Bakhit has named several leftists to his new cabinet as well as Abdelrahim Akur, an independent Islamist who was once the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.  Akur received the portfolio of Islamic Affairs and Endowments.  The main Islamist opposition, the Islamic Action Front, reacted cautiously to the new government, with its leader Hamzeh Mansur stating that the new government was “just like its predecessors” but that the group would reserve final judgement based on the new government’s actions.
Deb Weinstein, at The AtlanicWire​asks if appointing Bakhit, an ex-general, is really a good idea.  She states that Bakhit was previously the PM from 2005 to 2007 with a relatively “inert” track record and was accused of corruption, government mismanagement, and electoral fraud.  Quoting Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations, Weinstein writes: “Jordanians weren’t looking for a replacement, they were looking for an election to choose their replacement.”  Political and social unrest in Jordan in the wake of events in Tunisia and Egypt prompted both S&P and Moody’s to downgrade their ratings, cutting the local currency to junk status and the government bond rating to negative.
Posted in Islamist movements, Jordan, Muslim Brotherhood, Reform | Comment »
Understanding Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood
February 9th, 2011 by Alec
Mohammed Morsi, from the Muslim Brotherhood’s media office,  said on Wednesday that the Brotherhood was not seeking power and only sought to participate in the process and that the group would not be fielding a presidential candidate. Morsi also stated the group’s rejections of the “religious state” and further distanced the Brotherhood from recent statements made by Iran’s Ayatollah and Supreme Leader Ali Khameini that protests in Egypt were part of a wider “Islamic awakening” in the Middle East.
Jack Shenker and Brian Whitaker of The Guardian published an exclusive interview with Essam el-Erian, a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader, on Tuesday, outlining the history of the group and its stated political intentions in Egypt. Although the authors outline the Brotherhood’s previous history of violence, they say the group has long since renounced violence as a means to achieve its objectives. They claim that decades of repression and semi-illegal status have created a genuine concern within the organization for human rights issues, often agreeing in principle with European notions of the concept.  El-Erian was careful to stress however, that “each country has its own particulars” when it comes to human rights promotion, thereby excluding gay rights.  The go on to quote el-Erian, “an outspoken reformist,” that the group has no plans to run a candidate for the presidency nor even seek a majority in parliament, instead opting to seek out “wide coalitions” and support “unity” candidates for President.  Shenkar and Whitaker also argue that the Brotherhood itself is fractured between members who view “social evangelism” as the group’s main function and those who see political power as the ultimate goal.
Nina Shea, Senior Fellow and Director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, has seemingly remained skeptical of the Muslim Brotherhood, posting at the institute’s NRO Corner blog, that the group remains the likely winner in free and fair elections in Egypt, especially in parliament.  Shea also posted a report by Palestinian Media Watch on former Brotherhood director Mustafa Mashhur’s book Jihad Is The Way.  She states that the book itself reveals much of the Brotherhood’s true ideology that it keeps hidden from public view.
Posted in Egypt, Islam and Democracy, Islamist movements, Muslim Brotherhood, Political Islam | Comment »
Jordan: King Abdullah Meets With Muslim Opposition
February 4th, 2011 by Kyle
For the first time in 10 years King Abdullah II of Jordan met with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Action Front, in an attempt to open dialogue with opposition groups. The Jordanian Royal Court released a statement: “The king reaffirmed in a meeting with a delegation from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Action Front that it is important for them to work together to press political reform that will increase the role of citizens in decision making.” This comes amidst other attempts at reform including those led by new Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit who offered the Muslim Brotherhood a role in the new government. This was rebuffed by a MB representative, Zaki Bani Rsheid, who responded to this offer: “We refused because we want the prime minister to be elected, not appointed by the king, and we want real elections.”
Posted in Jordan, Muslim Brotherhood, Political Islam, Reform | Comment »
POMED Notes: “Egypt on the Brink”
February 4th, 2011 by Naureen
On Thursday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in partnership with the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) hosted a discussion on the rapidly evolving crisis in Egypt. Michele Dunne, Senior Associate in the Middle East Program at Carnegie Endowment moderated the event and introduced the panelists: Amr Hamzawy, Research Director and Senior Associate of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut who joined the panelists from Midan Tahrir in Cairo; Bahey al-Din Hassan, director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies; and Neil Hicks, advisor to Human Rights First.
To read full notes, continue below or click here for pdf.
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Posted in Civil Society, Egypt, Elections, Event Notes, Events, Foreign Aid, Human Rights, Military, Muslim Brotherhood, POMED, Protests, Reform, US foreign policy | Comment »
POMED Notes: “From Tunisia to Egypt: Protests in the Arab World”
February 4th, 2011 by Naureen
On Monday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a discussion of the developments in Egypt and their implications of the Arab world, where protests began in Tunisia and have spread to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, and Algeria. Marwan Muasher, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment, moderated the event and introduced the other panelists: Amr Hamzawy, Research Director and Senior Associate of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut who joined the panelists from Midan Tahrir in Cairo, Michele Dunne, Senior Associate in the Middle East Program at Carnegie Endowment, and Marina Ottaway, Director of the Middle East Program at Carnegie Endowment.
To read full notes continue below or click here for pdf.
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Posted in Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Event Notes, Islam and Democracy, Islamist movements, Journalism, Muslim Brotherhood, Protests, Reform, Tunisia | Comment »
Kerry-McCain Draft Resolution Calling for Transition to Interim Government in Egypt
February 3rd, 2011 by Naureen
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry (D-MA) and Senator John McCain have cosponsored a resolution calling on Egypt President Hosni Mubarak to “immediately begin an orderly and peaceful transition to a democratic political system,” including “the transfer of power to an inclusive interim caretaker government in coordination with leaders from Egypt’s opposition, civil society and military.” While they hope that Egypt will “hold free, fair, and internationally credible elections this year,” they also expressed their “concern over any organization that espouses an extremist ideology, including the Muslim Brotherhood.” They also noted that it is vitally important that any new government continue “to fulfill its international obligations, including commitments under the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.”
On Wednesday, McCain also released a statement calling for Mubarak’s resignation: “The rapidly deteriorating situation in Egypt leads me to the conclusion that President Mubarak needs to step down and relinquish power…I urge President Mubarak to transfer power to a caretaker administration that includes members of Egypt’s military, government, civil society, and pro-democracy opposition, which can lead the country to free, fair, and internationally credible elections this year as part of a real transition to democracy.” While he remained concerned about the role of the Muslim Brotherhood, he stated that “Egypt must have a democratic future. It is the will of the Egyptian people. It is in the interest of the United States. And the greatest contribution that President Mubarak can make to the cause of democracy in his country is to remove himself from power.”
Posted in Civil Society, Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Elections, Islam and Democracy, Israel, Military, Muslim Brotherhood, Reform | Comment »
Egypt: Iran 1979 or Indonesia 1998?
February 3rd, 2011 by Alec
In an opinion piece for The New Republic, Thomas Carothers argues that those who compare the situation in Egypt to Iran in 1979 are making a “dangerously misleading” comparison.  He claims that Egypt is more analogous to Indonesia after President Suharto stepped down in 1998.  Carothers argues that the Muslim Brotherhood is “significantly different” from the Islamist movement of Ayatollah Khomeini as it has renounced violence, undergone decades of moderation, and lacks a charismatic central leader like Khomeini: “Egypt is not ripe for a radical Islamist revolution.”  While admitting it is not a perfect analogy, the economic and social situation in Egypt more closely mirrors that of Indonesia than it does Iran: “[…] from its newly assertive mix of idealistic young protestors, civic groups, and political opposition parties to its longstanding effort to balance secular and Islamist values […] Indonesia’s democratization offers some hope for Egypt.”  Shadi Hamid, writing in Slatesays the the U.S. has an “Islamist dilemma” that paralyzes American policy in the Middle East.  He echoes Carothers sentiments that, “the [Muslim] Brotherhood of today is not the Brotherhood of yesterday.”  Hamid says that the U.S. can deal with the group through “creative policymaking” and calls for the U.S. to begin a substantive dialogue with them: “It is always better to have leverage with opposition groups before they come to power, rather than afterward. Afterward is, often, too late.”
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Iran, Islam and Democracy, Islamist movements, Muslim Brotherhood, Political Islam, Protests, US foreign policy | Comment »
Possible Outcomes of Egypt’s Protests
February 1st, 2011 by Naureen
Writing at Democracy Arsenal, Joel Rubin discusses possible scenarios that could play out, as a result of the protests in Egypt. First, he states that Gamal Mubarak’s political ambitions have been effectively curtailed, given protesters clear resentment of the National Democratic Party and the fact that the “military didn’t want him.” His “crony friends,” Rubin says, are also on their way out of the country. Rubin also argues that Mubarak’s biggest concession, of making Omar Suleiman vice president, will likely mean a crackdown on Islamists and states that the future loyalty of the Army remains unclear. Given that the Army is our closest ally in Egypt after Mubarak, it may be very good for the U.S., but its independence from the Egyptian government and economy may cost us as we strive to keep the peace and stability in the country. And while Congress “has the power of the purse,” voting to cut funding to Egypt will “eliminate rapidly dissipating American influence in Egypt,” especially given that the military is “the only respected institution in that country — and one that we know well — and likely the one that will be central to it for years to come.”
Rubin also states that the chaos in Cairo will “beget repression elsewhere in the region.” Regimes in the region will likely follow the Iranian model, where government crackdown “snuffed out the Green Movement,” which will undoubtedly have negative repercussions for the U.S.’s reputation abroad. Rubin also argues, that Israel will  likely withdraw support for the Middle East peace as they are scared “to take any more risks anytime soon on a peace deal with another Arab autocrat.”
Posted in Egypt, Foreign Aid, Iran, Mideast Peace Plan, Military, Muslim Brotherhood, Protests, Reform | Comment »
Democracy Not Necessarily America’s Ally in the Middle East
January 18th, 2011 by Naureen
Writing at The American Conservative blog, Patrick Buchanan argues that “in the Middle East, democracy is not necessarily America’s ally.” Buchanan criticizes the Bush Administration for its zealous calls for democracy in the region and points to the gains of Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and most recently Muqtada al-Sadr’s party in Iraq as evidence that “when elections are held or monarchs and autocrats overthrown, the masses will turn to leaders who will pull away from America and stand in solidarity with the Palestinians.” He goes on to say that the kings of Morocco, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak have been “more reliable friends than any regime that might come out of one-man, one-vote elections.”
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia | Comment »
Egypt: “Rigging With a Hint of Elections”
December 29th, 2010 by Jason
In a new article at Middle East Report Online, Mona El-Ghobashy details the numerous flaws in Egypt’s recent parliamentary elections saying that they “defied expectations, not because the ruling National Democratic Party again dominates Parliament but because of the lengths to which it proved willing to go to engineer its monopoly.” The elections came at a time of “aggressive economic transformation,” and “intense public anger about corruption scandals involving figures at the peak of the regime,” forcing the regime to rely on its “tool kit of electoral skullduggery.” El-Ghobashy acknowledges that the regime’s desire to “stage manage” the upcoming presidential election was a factor in the heavy handed way in which it went about ensuring overwhelming victory for the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), but she adds that a desire on the part of the NDP to set up a “legal framework” that prepares “public assets for delivery into private hands,” was also a driving factor.
Posted in Civil Society, Corruption, Egypt, Elections, Freedom, Muslim Brotherhood, Political Parties | Comment »
Egypt: Opposition Woes
December 16th, 2010 by Jason
In a letter written shortly after the parliamentary elections, Issandr El Amrani analyzes how the outcome will effect Egypt’s opposition, saying that the Muslim Brotherhood was “reeling,” the Wafd Party may be preparing to “fold back and regroup, preparing for the post-Hosni moment,” and Taggamu is in the middle of a “leadership crisis.” Opposition groups “have little choice but to retreat and wait out succession, and work on their grassroots.” Amrani argues in the letter that the possibility of an opposition “grand coalition” is unlikely due to a lack of leadership. He does say that members of the opposition that advocated for a boycott were “vindicated” by the results, and that this might increase the influence of Mohamed ElBaradei, especially if ElBaradei “show[s] a greater willingness to lead the opposition.”
Posted in Civil Society, Egypt, Elections, Muslim Brotherhood, Political Parties | Comment »
Egypt: Trouble Ahead for NDP
December 14th, 2010 by Jason
Michele Dunne and Amr Hamzawy write in a recent article that the parliamentary elections in Egypt “solved” one problem for the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) by ending the Muslim Brotherhood presence in parliament, but created “a host” of other issues. Dunne and Hamzawy argue that the “three components of legitimacy—voter turnout, a fair electoral process, and balanced representation in the legislative branch combined with its relative autonomy from the executive branch,” have effectively ceased to exist, bringing Egyptian politics to a “new low.” The authors foresee two other problems for the NDP: Legal challenges to the new parliament, which have already begun, and the “political cause for concern” of how the NDP will handle the upcoming presidential race in 2011. “The last thing the NDP wants is real opposition competition for the presidency, but the second-to-last thing it wants is the appearance of no competition at all.”
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Judiciary, Muslim Brotherhood, Political Parties | Comment »
Egypt: Opposition to Form Shadow Parliament, Former MPs Rally
December 13th, 2010 by Jason
Former members of parliament plan to create a “shadow parliament​” to protest the recent parliamentary elections. The group includes members of Wafd Party, the Muslim Brotherhood, and independents. Former MP’s also rallied Monday in front of the State Council Court in Cairo to support the shadow parliament. “The establishment of this democratic People’s Assembly is an act of popular civil disobedience,” said Hamdeen Sabbahi, a former MP from the Karama Party. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in a speech Sunday that “‘As president of Egypt, I wish the rest of the parties had achieved better results…And I wish they hadn’t wasted their efforts in arguments about boycotting the election and then actually participating in it, and then announcing that they are withdrawing from the election over doubts about its results.’”
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Muslim Brotherhood, Political Parties | Comment »
Egypt: Opposition Protest Highlights “Illegitimate” Parliament
December 13th, 2010 by Evan
Opposition party members took to the streets of Cairo to protest Egypt’s new parliament on Sunday (BBC video here). The demonstrators represented a wide spectrum of Egypt’s opposition, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the liberal Wafd and Ghad parties, and the leftist Tagammu. “All political factions are here to announce the illegitimacy of the ruling regime. These shameless elections were the final nail in this regime’s coffin,” activist Gamal Fahmi told Al-Masry Al-Youm. At Time, Abigail Hauslohner described the protests and the opening of the new parliament Monday as the “first day of a new era.” There is a growing consensus in Egypt that the regime went too far in rigging the parliamentary vote: “Both the Brotherhood and the liberal Wafd boycotted the run-off vote; others had boycotted the entire process. The bulk of Egypt’s opposition now finds itself on the outside of parliamentary politics, with some of the unlikeliest of allies now apparently joining hands to craft a new strategy for what may be a moment of opportunity.”
Posted in Civil Society, Egypt, Elections, Muslim Brotherhood | Comment »
Egypt: ElBaradei Interviewed
December 7th, 2010 by Jason
Der Spiegel has released an interview with Mohamed ElBaradei. In the interview, Elbaradei is asked about the recent parliamentary election and specifically “Why was there a lot more interference and manipulation this time?” He answered that “[t]he regime is more desperate and more nervous than it has ever been before during the 29 years that (Egyptian President) Hosni Mubarak has been in power. […] The regime also fears the presidential elections next year. For Mubarak and his people, this poll was a test run for oppression.” In response to a question about his “expectations” of the next parliament ElBaradei replied, “It will function like the Duma in Moscow during the darkest days of the Soviet era. As a consequence, the opposition will close ranks even further. The religious-conservative Muslim Brotherhood and my own National Association for Change will be working together to bring about change.”
Posted in Civil Society, Egypt, Elections, Muslim Brotherhood | Comment »
Egypt: The Brotherhood’s Decision
December 7th, 2010 by Evan
In a new piece for Al Masry Al Youm, Issandr El Amrani explains the challenges facing the Muslim Brotherhood moving forward. As the Egyptian government increases pressure on the Brotherhood ahead of the 2011 presidential vote, the organization must choose “whether it wants to be a quietist religious movement, a banned political party lobbying the regime for a margin of toleration, or the conservative element of a national coalition fighting for greater democracy.” In recent years, the organization has tried to be all three at different times, El Amrani writes, adding that this strategy has “obviously not delivered great results.”
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Muslim Brotherhood | Comment »
Egypt: “The Curtain is Up”
December 1st, 2010 by Jason
Khalil Al-Anani writes at the Daily News Egypt that “[t]he sole outcome of the recent Egyptian parliamentary elections is a powerless assembly.” Recalling events since the surprising success of the Muslim Brotherhood in the elections of 2005, along with the steps the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) has taken to neutralize the influence of the Brotherhood, Al-Anani says the message is clear: “no more politics for the MB.” Jack Shenker, who covered the elections for the Guardian, describes the experience as “surreal,” and calls the elections “a (not particularly artful) piece of stagecraft by Egypt’s political elite.” Both writers feel that the contentious elections are only a precursor to further unrest. Al-Anani concludes his article by saying “if the NDP has managed to eliminate the MB in the parliament, the real battle is still ongoing in the street, which, undoubtedly, will be fierce.” Shenker, who decries the support Western governments have shown for the current regime, says “[t]he curtain is up – and the drama has just begun.”
Posted in Civil Society, Egypt, Elections, Muslim Brotherhood | Comment »
Egypt: MB, Wafd to Boycott Second Round of Elections
December 1st, 2010 by Evan
Egypt’s two largest opposition movements, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wafd Party, said they will boycott the second round of parliamentary voting to protest massive government fraud during the first round. A Wafd party spokesperson told Reuters that the party is also considering giving up the seats it won outright in the first round of the election.
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Muslim Brotherhood, Political Parties | Comment »
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