Underestimating The Brotherhood

Experts, trotted out to all manner of television outlets consistently downplay the potential role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  The experts point to the fact that the Brotherhood has never polled more than 20%.  That is true, but the context of that polling remains unaddressed as context so often is.  In the first case elections in Egypt are comprehensively corrupt.  In the second case Brotherhood candidates were recently allowed to run for Parliament, however they had to do so as independent candidates.  The adoption of the label in no way addressed the prevalent ideology.

The essential power base for the Brotherhood resides in Egypt’s Mosques and in the Egyptian educational system, specifically at renown al-Azhar University.  Egyptians who favor Sharia as the basis for Egyptian society have, essentially, nowhere to go outside of the Brotherhood.  Polling over the years indicates well more than 20% in sympathy with the Brotherhood’s program.  The supposed loose alliance of the Brotherhood and the Clerical class in Egypt is likely not as loose as portrayed demonstrated, to a degree, by the growth in the demonstrations in the aftermath of Friday prayers.

The Brotherhood’s essential ideological has changed little since Sayyid Qtub and Hassan al-Banna long predating Israel or U.S. involvement in the region.  What has changed is tactics and strategic analysis.  The long term thinking of the Brotherhood is undeniable as is their ability to demonstrate patience in pursuit of the desired global Caliphate.  Egypt was the point of origin for the development of these ideas.

These ideas and Brotherhood interpretations of these ideas spawned Hamas, Islamic Jihad and provided ideological support for Hiz’bAllah and al Qaeda.  In the interest of broad context the Brotherhood is represented in 70 countries according to Frank Gaffney.

Experts also point to splits within the Brotherhood as a rational for minimizing their potential influence.  They offer this opinion as if organizational splits are, somehow rare, when they are in fact common to nearly any religious or political organization.  What they fail to identify is that the split in the Brotherhood is not over ideology but over the degree of aggressiveness and tactics.  There is no split over the fundamental ideology.

Experts fail to identify the wide range of relationships and sub-organizations maintained and supported by the Brotherhood.  Nearly anywhere you look in the radicalized Islamic world the Brotherhood is present as the strategic lexis.

K.T. McFarland identified the natural flow of events that could take hold in Egypt as they did in Iran.  The overthrow of Mubarak followed by a failed attempt by Social Democrats to lift Egypt out of its morass; followed by radical takeover as postscript to that failure.  The Brotherhood is nothing if not patient.

They are also, likely, smarter than our team!