Will the Muslim Brotherhood seize power in Egypt? This often repeated question, or rather fear, assumes that the Islamist organization does not already wield power yet may be able to hijack the largely secular revolution owing to its superior organization, tight discipline, and ideological single-mindedness.
In fact, this situation already exists. For while the Muslim Brotherhood does not formally or organizationally rule Egypt, it has ideologically controlled the country for nearly sixty years since the overthrow of the monarchy by the July 1952 coup d’état (euphemized as the “July Revolution”). The real question, then, is not whether the Muslim Brotherhood will seize power but whether it will continue to hold it, either directly or by proxy.
The Free Officers’ Islamist-Fascist Roots
|Notwithstanding some cosmetic measures to satisfy popular demands for change (notably the arrest of Mubarak and his two sons), the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, headed by Field Marshall Muhammad Hussein Tantawi (right, with President Mubarak), has been busy ensuring continuity with past conduct of the regime, including the arrest of a prominent blogger and reaffirmation of the Shari’a's position as “the principal source of legislation.”|
Since it is exceptionally difficult to define ideological differences and allegiances in Egypt’s Islamic politics, a simple rule of thumb will suffice: Politicians or institutions bent on implementing the Shari’a (Islamic law), or some elements of it, qualify as Islamists; Egypt’s ruling military oligarchy clearly falls into this category.