Ezzedine Choukry: The Army, the Brotherhood and the Liberals in Egypt

Read Ezzedine Choukry in the Financial Times.

Since February, the Muslim Brothers have indeed out-manoeuvered their competitors, locking the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) into an ill-conceived plan that positions them to dominate the nascent political institutions. The military adopted a minimalist approach to change. As predicted, liberal forces failed to ready themselves to cope with the better organised and funded Muslim Brothers, or to face the military.

Choukry is optimistic that the current protestors will defeat the army and authoritarianism, and will then need to take on Islamic fundamentalism.

Alternatively, read Seamus Milne who implies, without stating, that the Muslim Brotherhood was the force behind the current demonstrations:

But it was their attempt to grab permanent constitutional power that reignited the uprising and brought them into conflict with the powerful Muslim Brotherhood. Now the army junta has once again been forced to make serious concessions and may yet be brought down if it can be prevented from isolating the mass of protesters from the wider population.

Hard to square completely with the following story in the Egyptian press, linked to by The Guardian:

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed El-Beltagi was thrown out of Tahrir Square ‎by protesters on Monday.‎

El-Beltagi, a former MP and leader of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice ‎Party, has expressed support for the protesters since they first locked horns with Central Security ‎Forces (CSF) on Saturday in and around the iconic square. ‎

On Monday afternoon, Beltagi announced that the Brotherhood would, after all, join the Tahrir protesters. Expecting to be joined by several thousand Brotherhood youth, the Tahrir protesters were surprised to find Beltagi himself, accompanied by a few supporters, coming to the square. These seem to have enraged the protesters who denied the leader of the Freedom and Justice Party entry to the square, and sent him away.

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