“They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity” – a statement that was often used to describe Palestinian negotiators, seems to apply as much on the Muslim Brotherhood. Every time in history they get a chance to gain legitimacy and to be accepted as a normal political player, they quickly end up in a confrontation with the regime, the military, the liberal elite, and the international interests. They are the main reason for consolidating their own enemies – this is the sad reality.
Last week, everyone was thinking that the Brotherhood is on the offensive, and on its way to gain full control of the state. They control the parliament. They were on their way to control the constitutional committee. They were pushing for a new government, led by the Brotherhood and their allies. And the final move was targeting the Presidency. For some, this seemed like a fait accompli.
The reality, I would argue, is quite the opposite. The Brotherhood feels that it is in a high risk situation, and it is getting on the defensive. The military is raising the threat of dissolving the parliament, and is refusing to replace the Ganzoury government with a Brotherhood government. The Brotherhood is also facing significant challenges in the constitutional committee, and they’re not able to find a suitable presidential candidate to support. The final blow would be a pro-military President, who is most likely to start his term by dissolving the parliament and then the Brotherhood would be left with nothing.
This scenario seems to be highly probably. Over the next few days, Hazem Abu Ismail is likely to withdraw (or get disqualified) , and soon after a military candidate will be announced (possibly Omar Soliman or someone of a similar profile), or one of the current candidates will be heavily promoted as the consensus candidate. This will lead to the consolidation of the Islamist vote behind Al-Shater, and the rest behind the military or consensus candidate, who “will” end up winning in a second round.
So why did the Muslim Brotherhood nominate Al-Shater to the Presidency? Pick your choice from seven good reasons: http://www.masrawy.com/News/reports/2012/april/1/4912711.aspx.
Either way, the result is that the counter-revolution scenario is almost complete.
Why? Because the Brotherhood sold-out too early and for too little. They betrayed the revolution, and joined the counter-revolution. Today, they pay the price, but we will all pay a higher price. They are the main reason that we may get Soliman, Shafik or Moussa as the first post-revolution President. I hope that this won’t be the end.
The tragedy of the Brotherhood is, not only that they failed to gain power or even legitimacy in over a century, but also that they failed to stand up to their principles and values, when they had the chance to do so.
Amin Elmasry. 3 April 2012.