The Islamists' Choice…

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Wed 24 May / May 2017. 11:00 PM - آخر تعديل في Thu 25 May / May 2017. 10:28 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

Yes. We are still talking about the outputs of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s conference on the Future of Political Islam in a Troubled Territory last Tuesday.

Yesterday, my article featured aspects of the Moroccan and Tunisian Islamist models, which have helped reshape the Islamist discourse throughout the Arab region.

According to scholars, Dr Idriss Kanbouri from Morocco and Dr Abdullatif Hanbouchi from Tunisia, Islamists in their countries successfully avoided collision with the deep state, be it the throne in Morocco or old regime in Tunisia.

Instead, they took a dramatically pragmatic turn to save themselves a fate similar to that of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

However, by settling for the mere formalities of being in power, they missed on an outstanding opportunity to constitute real change in their countries’ economic and social conditions.

So far, nothing has changed, and that is for two main reasons.

The first is the fact that the economic and financial situation has culminated so bad that resolving any of the intensely complex issues at hand has become extremely difficult.

Second, seemingly, Islamists have become bound to their alliances with the ruling powers, which have always been, and still are, indivisible components of the old regime.

Combined, these factors have incapacitated the Islamists in power there, rendering them unable to set any fundamental reformation in motion.

While having avoided the Egyptian and Algerian scenario, they have become no more than a cog in the very same system they had opposed for years.

They were easily incorporated into the system as is, devoid of any differentiated, added-value, in terms of bettering the socio-economic or political situation.

Likewise, in Algeria, Dr Dalia Ghanem said, the Muslim Brotherhood did conjure agreement with the authorities, putting an end to the domestic violence.

They too were transformed into merely instruments of political governance and popular containment.

Needless to say, they also did not succeed in constituting real steps towards democracy or in putting an end to political corruption.

More so, Dr Ghanem stated that Islamists in Algeria are drifting away from the populace into their own isolated bourgeoisie.

As a result, they are losing their popularity, due to the deal they cut with the Algerian authorities, let alone the internal dispute and the recurrent divisions which are weakening the party.

That said, the important question is what options do they have?

If Islamists should follow in the steps of their counterparts in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, and broker deals with the forces in power, they will be reduced to just cogs in the same old machinery.

Of course, this would serve the interests of avoiding the standing outcomes in each of Egypt and Syria.

Contrarily, should they consider the other option, which is to pressure authorities into advancing democratic reforms, what will be the result?!

Either they come tools of popular containment or they push their countries to the brinks of civil war!

Neither one of those scenarios is acceptable, naturally. So, what other options do they have?

No doubt, this is a crucial and extremely difficult question.

At the same time, it stirs numerous questions as to what happened in Egypt; the storming debate among the political elite and the divide among the Muslim Brotherhood itself, as underscored by Dr Khalil Anani.

Within the Brotherhood in Egypt, there is a dispute between the current which favours reconciliation via regional mediation, and the youth current.

Notably, the Brotherhood’s youth current has already begun their review of their organisation’s classic approach, and have begun to push against the Brotherhood’s ways.

As we speak, there is an encompassing current within the Brotherhood’s youth components in Egypt, advocating for popularisation and unarmed, revolutionary violence, as means to overthrow the regime without resorting to the Daeshi method!

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.