The move by the army-backed government in Egypt declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization will not silence the radical elements in the group, Ret. Gen. Jack Keane said Thursday.
He predicted during an appearance on Fox News that attacks on the Egyptian government "will grow in size and scale" as militants members of the brotherhood begin to assert themselves.
"There is a part of the Muslim Brotherhood that will wait for another political opportunity. But, then there's another part of the Muslim Brotherhood, to the right and much more radical," Keane said.
"They are already conducting armed violence, terrorist attacks. This will grow in size and scale."
The Egyptian government formally declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization Wednesday. The move makes the group's activities illegal, and is seen as an effort by the army-backed government to suppress opposition.
The Brotherhood played a significant role in the government itself before former President Mohamed Morsi was removed from power. Keane, a Fox News military analyst, said the Egyptian government was answering what they thought was the will of the people by getting rid of Morsi, who rose to power as a member of the brotherhood.
"The military regime believes that they are answering the clarion call of the people by suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood. They do not want them to participate in the political process again," he said.
The current political tensions mask what Keane believes is the real problem facing Egypt — poverty among the majority of its people. He says the protests during the Arab Spring that eventually helped sweep Morsi into office were prompted by the nation's economic and social problems.
"Remember the Arab Spring when they took to the streets a number of years ago? It was all about economic opportunity and social justice and political justice," Keane said. " And, hopefully, this regime will get back to trying to solve some of these problems."
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