Left-wing leader warns Muslim Brotherhood of alliance with US
By Mohammed Hassan Shabaan
Cairo, Asharq al-Awsat- reservations by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood over the
US Administration's use of the expression "resuming" contacts reveals the
group's awareness of the probable dangers that stem from opening up to
Washington, which in general does not enjoy the "appreciation" of the
Despite the Muslim Brotherhood's immediate welcoming of US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton's statements in which she stated her country's desire
to continue contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood, the most organized group
in Egypt has stipulated conditions for such rapprochement. The Muslim
Brotherhood says that the group "does not rush hurriedly to open a channel
of communication with the United States."
Analysts say that the US statements might worsen the apprehensions of
Egypt's liberals and left-wingers about the Muslim Brotherhood monopolizing
power. The Muslim Brotherhood is trying to remove the causes of these
apprehensions before the parliamentary elections which are scheduled for
The Muslim Brotherhood, which has the largest presence in the Egyptian
street, has announced that it will compete over half the parliamentary
seats, has engaged in a dialog with major parties over the coordination of
the principles of the new constitution of the country, has announced that it
would be possible to revise the number of the parliamentary seats it aims to
occupy in the upcoming parliament that will elect the commission that
prepares the constitution, and has announced that it will not compete over
the post of president.
Former Muslim Brotherhood Guide Mahdi Akif wonders: "What more can the group
offer (to calm down apprehensions)? They attack us without any logic or
vision, but the Muslim Brotherhood should not pay any attention to such
words." Akif plays down the impact within the group of the US desire to open
up to the Muslim Brotherhood. Akif told Asharq Al-Awsat: "These statements
are worthless, because our policy is firm. We work for the benefit of this
country, and for serving the faith."
Days before the US statements, the Muslim Brotherhood Group ostracized a
national newspaper that published details of a meeting that took place
during the final days of Mubarak's rule between the US ambassador to Cairo
and Dr Saad al-Katatni, member of the Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau.
The group has been keen to explain this by saying that Al-Katatni's meeting
at the US Embassy was undertaken in his capacity as a Member of Parliament,
with the knowledge of the previous regime, and with the attendance of former
People's Assembly Speaker Dr Fathi Surur.
In statements to the press, Clinton hinted that the US Administration's
contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood were part of a policy that commenced in
2006, when the group won 88 seats in the parliament that was elected in
2005, which was the greatest percentage of representation obtained by an
Egyptian opposition power since the former Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat
restored partisan life to Egypt.
However, Dr Rifat al-Said, leader of the left-wing National Progressive
Unionist Grouping Party [NPUG], warned the Muslim Brotherhood against
opening up to Washington; telling Asharq Al-Awsat, "Every time the Muslim
Brotherhood has tried to engage in alliance with tyranny under the pretext
that necessity knows no law, its fingers were burned."
Al-Said went on to say that: "The Muslim Brotherhood has allowed itself to
establish relations with foreign countries as part of the joint-interests
game. This has not only happened today. The German documents that the
British discovered in the office of a German press attaché say that Hasan
al-Banna (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928) received funds
allocated to him to promote the propaganda of the Axis (Germany, Italy, and
Japan) in Egypt. This was done to the extent that Al-Banna then claimed that
the three countries converted to Islam."
Al-Said adds that the Muslim Brotherhood have engaged in an alliance with
King Farooq, and this ended up with a catastrophe; in an alliance with
Al-Nuqrashi Pasha (Mustafa al-Nuqrashi was one of the Egyptian prime
ministers before the 1952 revolution), before he ordered the dissolution of
the group, which led to his assassination; and in an alliance with former
Egyptian President (Jamal) Abdul-Nasser, before he launched his campaign
against them. This time, the issue is more serious because the US statements
refer to that the US Administration is contacting the cadres of the second
rank of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The expected rapprochement between the Muslim Brotherhood and the US, which
is trying to establish a foothold in post-Mubarak Egypt, is a test for the
group. Observers say that the relations between Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood
and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which is considered a part of
the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, and with which the
United States has labeled a terrorist organization, will be one of the most
sensitive issues. Analysts are contemplating what the group can offer to get
closer to the US dealing with the Islamic resistance movements.
Leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood (Freedom and Justice Party)
express their belief that the latest US statements (about resuming dialog
with the Muslim Brotherhood) mean implicitly contacting Hamas. Dr Essam
al-Aryan says: "The Muslim Brotherhood Group as a public Islamic
organization is the umbrella for many Islamist movements, including Hamas."
Al-Aryan points out that any contact with the United States ought to be
established on Washington's interests and not Israeli interests.