« Sovereignty 101 | Main | Warren Ellis is god, or something »

August 20, 2007



As a supporter of Muslim Brotherhood I appreciate any opportunity for level headed discussion. Even so, I feel the burden of good faith being placed upon MB here is excessive. If the same were applied to, say, Mubarak or to the Saudis or to Musharraf, would they be able to pass the 'convictions instead of facade' test?
I didn't think so. Any American who says he believes in democracy should be appalled at the treatment the MB has received in Egypt. Few are, thus making their own hypocrisy a poor justification for insinuating that the MB is not sincere in what it says.
A good deal of the MB success in Egypt has been to rightly condemn the two-faced nature of traditional Arab leadership, especially the hideous Hashemite King.
The political success of the MB depends on its truth and willingness to seek justice for the Muslims, not to make itself palatable to an American electorate that will succumb to the first Israeli megaphonic blast the moment any American administration shows an inclination to work with the MB. I salute your good intentions, as always, but let's not kid ourselves - Daniel Pipes rings louder with Americans.

You write:
"Paying a high price for its convictions sends a powerful message to those willing to listen that these really are its convictions and not just a convenient facade"

The last 20 years have not been a high enough price?


(1) "[F]irst, a strong public condemnation of the practice of takfír"
(2) "The other area where I push the Brotherhood is on extremism."

That's all a bit over-compartmentalized, is it not? If takfír be not a major and deplorable form of ‘extremism,’ what qualifies, then, only highjacking airliners in Boston and throwing bombs in Ba‘qúba?

At least A.A. puts first things first (by my lights), even if he goes on to tack on secondary items as I might not, even did I know as much about the Egyptian ’Ikhwán as he knows.

In any case, "Words first, deeds later!"

Since the defendants he inculpates are very hopelessly in a word-position as against a deed-position vis-à-vis Generalissimo Mubárak, mere elementary prudence ought to inculcate that much, surely? Even from a word-position they can do something, perhaps, about their own internal Party mukaffirín, whereas who will know about their ‘extremism’ for sure before they sit on the Throne of Husní? Perhaps if they had Pharaoh's power, they'd be quite as ‘moderate’ and even almost even tame as Pharaoh is Himself. (That thesis has been seriously entertained in Pol. Sci., after all. I kid you not.)

A.A. does sort of see the problem that mainly troubles me here:

I hope to see the Brotherhood stick with its public commitments in the face of this adversity (releasing the political party platform, contesting elections where possible, refraining from violence): paying a high price for its convictions sends a powerful message to those willing to listen that these really are its convictions and not just a convenient façade.

"Paying a high price for [one's] convictions sends a powerful message to those willing to listen," though undoubtedly a very spiffy infidel tertiary-educationalist formulation, is rather an ambiguous formulation after all, quite as applicable to wild suicide bombers in Palestine or in the former Iraq as to the (notoriously wimpy and tameable) Egyptians. To "pay a high price" by passively suffering for fifteen centuries rather than exploding oneself immediately in the Path of Whatever is not at all to be summarily accounted an un-Islamic idea, for the idea markets of Iran and Iraq and Bahrain and Lebanon have long been flooded with that particular product. (If A.A. really wants to go it whole-hog, he might recommend the Shí‘a's traditional kitmán or taqiyya to his good MB buddies at Cairo.)

In Sunni International and/or Mubárakite Egypt, however, the marketability of such very extreme Shí‘í anti-extremism wares as A.A. vends is far from assured, as it seems to me.

Yet A.A. really is very good as far as he goes. He even sort of foresaw somebody like me coming after him as I now come after him:

One has to wonder how long the younger, less patient members of the Brotherhood will be able to forebear in the face of provocation (as I'm investigating in yet another article due to come out later this fall). No doubt the régime is waiting eagerly for the first sign of a turn to more violent means of expression on their part which can be used to retroactively justify its crackdown.

One wonders indeed! Indeed, one really does wonder! Probably "later this fall" one will be left wondering still, all the wannabe definitive Abu Aardvark Authoritative Answers notwithstanding.

Meanwhile, is not "the régime is waiting eagerly for the first sign of a turn to more violent means of expression" a very masterly account of our own now global neo-masters here on Planet Kennebunkport-Crawford, whether or not it applies equally well to some parochial and provincial and subaltern Egypt?

Meanwhile, well, God knows best about 'meanwhile,' does He not? 'Nuff said!

Abu Ghayib

The whole article is available on the MB's website:



Interesting choice of highlights at Ikhwanweb. Or are they some sort of standout quotes in FP as well?

O brother, where art thou?

I used to live in Bahrain where the Muslim Brotherhood did contest elections and in de facto alliance with other Islamists had taken over several of the councils. They could have done with reading this FP article. I remember one MB councillor trying to change the by-laws in his area so that all buildings would have to be fitted with one way windows to protect residents' privacy - although his proposal came with an unusual twist: the mirrored glass would be fitted on the inside, to prevent residents from being able to see out.

It's covered in English - http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/1yr_arc_Articles.asp?Article=133438&Sn=BNEW&IssueID=28310&date=1-24-2006

Thomas Strouse

Abu Aardvark -

I'm anxiously awaiting your analysis on the current Maliki situation. Bush took one step back from Maliki yesterday. Earlier today Maliki took a couple swings at the US. Now its time for Bush to calm down Maliki. Bush has now called Maliki "a good guy." Oh Maliki, what a great guy...

The White House decided it should reframe Bush’s comments from yesterday. Bush wasn’t planning on talking about Maliki in his speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars conference today. However, due to the recent war of words between Washington and Maliki, he decided to insert a line of support for Maliki in the speech. So we’ll see how that goes over. At least today’s comment was comprehensible since it was written down for him and all he had to do was read it. We’ll see if it will actually calm down Maliki. Bush may not get a lot of things, but he definitely knows what other friends Maliki is talking about.

NSC spokesman Johndroe is also trying to get across that Bush wasn’t distancing himself from Maliki. Johndroe said, "It appears that did not come through for whatever reason." Oh, really?

I think that Bush’s comments yesterday seemed to be more aimed at a domestic audience, rather than Maliki or what’s going on in Iraq. Bush distancing himself from Maliki is an easy way to deflect criticism of the surge. But the coverage that Bush’s and Levin’s comments got yesterday certainly made their way to Maliki, and he’s not happy. So no matter who Bush’s comments were mostly meant for, they’re definitely having an impact.

charlie woods

An interesting weblog...I wondered if readers of this would be interested in visiting my blog which is still relatively new and is called 'An Unrepentant Communist' Warm greetings to you all from Ireland...



and the expert is........ ABU AARDVARK!!!!

the TIME middle east blog occasionally has some good analyses of things going on in the region. not as technical as this blog, but people that don't follow the middle east regularly can learn a lot from it.

ALSO, someone is taking some swipes at abu aardvark in the comment section. i almost went off on "ras," but that's too much work. aardvark is the expert, you're just a blog commenter. yeah, i think aardvark wins that round.

p.s. and there's nothing wrong with blog commenters.... they're very useful to the debate. i suppose some are just better than others.

Bill B

The spectacle of an American academic telling the Muslim Brotherhood what is required to attain respectability in the eyes of the West is a sight to behold.


Sorry to be dense, but the word "debate" is being used a lot... just exactly what is being debated? What the Ikhwan should do to make itself more palatable to the American public - or to American academics - or to the American administration? If so, who decided that this should be their goal in the first place?


Best guess off the top of my head: Becoming.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Blog powered by Typepad