No doubt this sentiment went over well with the diplomats as Kumar told Katatni that the US “is seeking dialogue with all the political forces in Egypt, especially after the changes post-revolution.”
Barry Rubin suggests that rather than dialoguing with the Brotherhood, the US should be working to forge alliances between the more secular, liberal, and moderate parties. The CIA ran such a covert program after World War II saving Italy and France from a Communist takeover. There’s no reason to believe it wouldn’t work again, given the stakes involved and the united belief of non-Islamic parties that religion should play a minor or non-existent role in the new Egyptian government and constitution.
Despite their exalted position as the best organized political entity, the Freedom and Justice Party has its own problems that could very well shrink its numbers in the election. The defection of the Wafd party from their alliance is a significant blow considering that while they may not be as large as FJP, their name recognition is equally as strong. The party also suffered significant defections among the youth, and some of its more radical members who didn’t like the MB dealing with the military government.
But the JFP has correctly analyzed the situation and has made common cause with the generals running Egypt. A recent agreement between the military and many of the larger parties would put off the presidential election until 2013 while allowing a committee of both the upper and lower houses of parliament to draft a new constitution. The agreement guarantees a power sharing arrangement where the Brotherhood would be in virtual charge of the legislative branch while the military maintained executive authority.
However, this alliance is not likely to lead to stability or peace. The young demonstrators who acted as shock troops for the revolution have been totally frozen out of the political process and deal making. This has angered them, as they have lost faith in the transition process. Might they take to the streets once again to force change more to their liking? Egypt’s military fears them more than they do the Muslim Brotherhood because the youth represent real, substantive change that would unseat the generals from their privileged role in society.
The Brotherhood can threaten street action but their concerns are more likely to cross the generals on issues such as peace with Israel and American aid. Neither the generals or the FJP care as much about issues like economic liberalization, the break up of state monopolies, or equal access to media for all.
Because of that, they may pay for their dismissal of the young revolutionaries with more destabilizing protests that will hinder any economic recovery and further plunge Egypt into disarray and despair.
On Thursday, Egyptians marked the beginning of the 1973 Yom Kippur war. They don’t call it “Yom Kippur,” but rather the “6th of October.” As Wendell Steavenson in the New Yorker points out, the date marks “the only time in four Arab-Israeli wars that the Egyptians had the better of the Israelis.” Despite warnings from several quarters, the Israelis were woefully unprepared for the attack on the eve of one of their most sacred holidays, and the gains made by the Egyptians — taking back the Sinai captured during the 1967 War — allowed the Egyptian leaders and people to fool themselves into believing they actually won the war. (The Israelis pushed the Egyptians back in less than a week and advanced within about 50 miles of Cairo before being stopped by Nixon.)
The Israelis returned the Sinai to Egypt as a result of the Camp David accords in exchange for a “cold peace” that is fraying at the edges as a result of the revolution. Muslim Brotherhood leaders have made it clear that they hate the peace treaty and several of their leaders have said that they want to scrap it.
And yet, several high ranking members of the Obama administration sat down with these anti-Semites and made it clear that they would deal with them as if they were a legitimate political party on the cusp of taking power. Sweet words about “democracy” and “human rights” and accepting the fait accompli of an organization taking power that birthed al-Qaeda and Hamas to this day reveal an administration either fooling itself or glutted with wishful thinking.
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