Is Muslim Brotherhood Getting Weaker/ Prof.B.Rubin

There’s Lots of Wishful Thinking Involved
July 7, 2011
The main U.S. newspapers are running articles on how internal splits are weakening the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (here’s an example). Some of this is real but there is also a strong element of wishful thinking involved that exaggerates some real problems. Yet after all the important issue is not just whether Brotherhood people win but whether radical Islamists win. Afterward they will be able to work together.

In addition, the new election law—still to be approved by the leadership junta–favors the Islamists. Briefly, half the seats would be on party lists and half for individuals. Since the Brotherhood says it will contest half the seats, it could run candidates in all the party list seats, facing a badly divided, huge number of other parties which would split the vote. Then, Brotherhood and other Islamists could run in the individually elected seats and pick up even more. There should also be a large number of independents many of whom would be close to the Islamists.

The liberal forces are very unhappy with the election law. They are very disorganized and even if the elections were to be postponed they probably wouldn’t be much better at it.

I am definitely not predicting that the Islamists, much less the Brotherhood, will win a majority. But I am predicting that they will be the most powerful bloc by far. Amr Moussa, the most likely president, will constrain them on some issues (becoming too radical internationally or going to war with Israel), make concessions on others (domestic Islamization), and agree with them on some points (more hostility to U.S. and Israel; alliance with Hamas).

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