by Barry Rubin
On November 28, Egyptians will vote for a parliament which will also write the country’s new constitution. The Western media at first told us that the Muslim Brotherhood was weak and unimportant as well as moderate. Now, when it’s too late, the Western media is admitting they are strong and radical. But the Obama administration insists they are strong and moderate.
The last time I read an article in the Atlantic on the Brotherhood, it claimed that the group was a joke and only had 13 percent support. Now it is publishing an article that takes it for granted that the Brotherhood will win the election.
There’s a new poll out that I don’t think is accurate, but keep reading and I’ll tell you why it is misleading in a moment.
According to the poll, 38 percent of Egyptians would vote for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. (Remember when we were told that this was a moderate split-off from the Brotherhood?) and 12 percent would vote for the even more radical al-Nour Party.
Why, then, do I think this poll isn’t accurate? Because it was a poll conducted on Facebook. Get it? Of course the poll isn’t scientific and people can cheat. But this was done on Facebook, supposedly the domain of the moderates. Thus, it might actually understate the Islamists’ appeal!
(By the way, you want women candidates? The Brotherhood has women candidates. Unfortunately, they think precisely the same way as the male candidates.)
Also in the Islamists’ favor is the fact that their enemies will split their votes and thus the Brotherhood is likely to end up with a higher percentage of the seats than the percentage of the votes it receives.
A third factor in the poll tending to help the Islamists is that 26 percent said they hadn’t decided yet, which means even more could choose the Brotherhood.
The army is increasingly seen as the Brotherhood’s rival for power. It’s interesting to note that the moderates are starting to pull back from opposing the military, panicking about the Brotherhood’s power and perhaps beginning to wonder whether they might be better off if the junta continues to have veto power.
The Obama administration, however, opposes the military’s continued authority. In theory this means it is siding with good, democratic, civilian reformists who just want democracy.
In practice, it means the U.S. government is siding with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Meawhile, the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood held its first public event and announced it would organize a political party, led by Suleiman Abdelkader. The guest speakers included a representative of the Tunisian Ennahda party and someone from the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
So here’s the bottom line. There’s a new power in the Middle East. It is an alliance of the Muslim Brotherhood groups already ruling the Gaza Strip (Hamas), Egypt and Tunisia (likely to be ruling parties), Libya, Syria, and Jordan. That’s pretty impressive.
They are all dedicated to revolution (even if it has to be achieved through the ballet box) and genocide against the Jews in Israel.
And the U.S. government supports them.
How can anyone believe this will turn out well? Those most powerful in the West do.
How can anyone not be thoroughly ashamed for their persistent misreading of the situation since January? Those most powerful in the West aren’t.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction will be published by Yale University Press in January. Latest books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com