Brotherhood’s Lucky Break?

Here’s a speculation. So far all the attention has gone to the Muslim Brotherhood possibly losing power in Egypt, which is of course not a good thing for them. Or is it?

I reckon perhaps Egypt can be compared to Turkey of the ’80s and 90s, when the army made a habit of stepping in to protect Turkey’s secular legacy. Look where this, ultimately, got them: electorally pushed out of power in favor of the very Islamists they wished to obstruct, and, indeed, largely in jail.

The speculation, then, is this: should the Muslim Brotherhood lose power now (particularly at the hands of the army), one year after having been legitimately elected, this might mean a short-term loss but a long-term gain in the following two senses. First, MBD would be seen as a martyr party that never got the chance to complete its legitimate term (akin, perhaps, to Chile’s Allende and Iran’s Mossadegh). Second, and at least equally importantly, MBD will no longer have to bear responsibility for the impossible economic and political situation in which Egypt now finds itself, allowing it instead to return to the safety of the sidelines.

As such, though of course this must remain entirely abstract for the moment, today’s protests may yet come to constitute an important milestone helping, rather than hurting MBD’s prospects of long-term power. In that case, Egypt’s secularists will have to think twice about what they started that rueful day, June 30th 2013.

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