FMC Blog: Free Speech Zone

Egypt, Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood

To the surprise of everyone, a nonviolent movement was able to topple a modern day pharaoh in Egypt. For that, the Free Muslims Coalition congratulates the Egyptian people.

In assessing the revolution, most experts focused on Mubarak's authoritarian government as the catalyst for the revolution. It is true that Mubarak was authoritarian but he has been authoritarian for 30 years. What ultimately brought him down were inflation, unemployment, corruption and a poor economy in general. This is why more authoritarian governments such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar are less likely to have a revolution. The governments in those nations are able to provide their people with a good standard of living.

Nevertheless, news reports suggest that the U.S. is sending envoys to allies such as Jordan to encourage political reform. This is a mistake. If the United States wants to help allies it should focus on reducing corruption and increasing economic growth before focusing on political reform. Political reform should be natural and not appear to come from outside.

As to the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the main reasons why a significant number of people in the Middle East seek Islamic based fundamentalist governments is because of the expectation that such governments would eliminate corruption, produce stronger economies, reduced unemployment and create higher standards of living. Obviously, Islamic states, as with any state based on religion, are much less likely to produce peace and prosperity. However, by the time supporters of religious states discover that such states produce failure; it is usually too late to do anything about their governments. Religious governments usually equate opposition to their rule with opposition to God, which is a strong deterrent to protesters. Iran is an example.

As to Israel, there are only two states which have diplomatic relations with Israel and this number will never increase unless Israel makes peace with the Palestinians. Egypt and Jordan established political relations with Israel against the will of their people. They established relations because of political, strategic and economic necessity. Israel's other neighbors do not have the same pressures that Jordan and Egypt had and thus they have no incentive to establish relations with Israel. Thus, democratic changes in Middle Easter nations will produce one of the following two results with respect to Israel: 1. the status quo will be maintained or 2. diplomatic relations will cool. Under any circumstance, there will be no improvement in relations and no new peace agreements unless peace is made with the Palestinians. As to war, that is highly unlikely no matter who takes control.

It is still unknown which direction Egypt and Tunisia will go in terms of creating secular or religious governments. Hopefully, the people of Egypt and Tunis create secular governments while maintaining their conservative cultures.

Media inquiries should be directed to Kamal Nawash, 202-776-7190, [email protected],

Posted February 13, 2011 by Kamal Nawash