The Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military are at odds over how to move forward with Egyptian rule. The Islamist organization is using any means it can to weaken the military's grip over power in the country.
Such strife with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) at this stage while the economy is collapsing, instead of caring for the economy, made it clear that the primary interest of the Muslim Brotherhood is not to improve the Egyptian economy but rather a bid for control in Egypt.
One of the reasons that made the Muslim Brotherhood become extremely aggressive is that the military is the only available power in the country that can impede its plan and its Islamist agenda. In short, the Muslim Brotherhood wants Egypt to look like Iran.
During the military leadership of the country in the last few decades, female circumcision was criminalized, the minimum age of marriage for girls was 18 years old, and women were given the right to divorce their husbands for the first time.
Contrary to these secular attitudes, some of the earliest topics that have been discussed by the Islamist parliament after the revolution were to stop the ban on female circumcision, decrease the age of marriage for girls to 12 years, and end the right of Egyptian women to divorce their husbands.
Another reason that made the Muslim Brotherhood aggressive toward the military is its feeling that their rapidly declining image could made the organization lose the next democratic elections.
The loss of Islamists in Libya has made the Muslim Brotherhood more frightened about this possibility in Egypt. Getting rid of the military and controlling all political powers in the country will allow the organization to prevent this expected loss simply by stopping the next elections altogether.
Preventing the elections for fear of losing them could be a repetition of what Hamas did in Gaza when it refused to hold elections because Hamas realized it would lose.
The third reason why the Muslim Brotherhood is intensifying its pressure on the military in this critical time is that the latter — despite its mistakes — provides a shelter for the Christian minority and protects their economic interests.
The Muslim Brotherhood knows well that creating pressure on these Christian minorities — including limiting their personal freedoms and ignoring violent acts against them — will ultimately force many of the them to leave the country and thus sell their assets with a very low price to the wealthy members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. In such a case, the Muslim Brotherhood can have a tight grip over Egypt and start the first step in their agenda of reinstituting the Islamic caliphate.
The Muslim Brotherhood also wants to weaken the military because the military is committed to protecting the peace treaty with Israel and, in contrast to the Muslim Brotherhood which has very strong ties with the Hamas organization — is unlikely to cooperate with radical groups such as the Hamas organization in Gaza.
In its war against the military, the Muslim Brotherhood has used many tactics:
- Inciting their supporters to continue demonstrating against the military and the legal system
- Issuing statements after the Jan. 25 revolution to weaken the tourism industry including possibly a ban on alcohol and on women wearing bikinis. Such statements hit the tourism industry and weakened the economy of the country. The weak economy gives the Muslim Brotherhood more opportunity to deceive the public and ruin the image of the military by holding it responsible for the country's economic failures
- Pressuring the military to stop emergency laws that are crucial at this stage to bring safety to the streets. The resultant increase in crimes can be easily used by the Islamists to criticize the performance of the military and to also convince the population with the dire need to implement tough Shariah rules such as beheadings, stoning, and crucifixion
- Using their supporters in the U.S. and other Western countries to defame the military to deprive it of support
- Creating reasons to cause instability in the country. For example, after the Islamist parliament had elected a panel of a 100 members to create the new constitution in early 2012. The selected panel was considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Constitutional Court — as it was not supposed to include members of the parliament. When the same Islamist parliament was given the opportunity to choose another panel instead of the ‘dissolved’ one, they repeated the same mistake again and choose members of the parliament to be part of the new panel. This seems as if they intentionally repeated the same mistake so that when the Supreme Court dissolve the second panel again (likely soon) and thus the military will thus have the legal right to create the third panel the Muslim Brotherhood find a justification to incite their Islamist supporters to demonstrate in masses against the military and cause troubles which can further weaken the position of the military.
It is important for the United States and other Western nations to realize that weakening the military in Egypt or depriving it of U.S. support can only allow the Muslim Brotherhood to achieve its agenda to Islamize Egypt and block U.S. influence in the Middle East.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam." Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.
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