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Thread: Islamic Democrats?

  1. #1
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Largo, Florida

    Default Islamic Democrats?

    29 April NY Times - Islamic Democrats? by James Traub.

    ... Not long after his inaugural address, President Bush called Mubarak to urge him to allow independent monitors to oversee the elections and to loose the asphyxiating controls on political activity and the press. For his part, Mubarak needed to respond not only to Washington but also to a rising tide of domestic dissent — and to the continued enfeeblement of his own National Democratic Party, which performed badly in legislative elections five years earlier. He agreed to hold Egypt’s first contested presidential elections and to permit unprecedented, if carefully circumscribed, political freedom. The U.S. Agency for International Development, which in years past had allowed the regime to control the hundreds of millions of dollars it spent in Egypt, earmarked $50 million for democracy and governance; much of the money went to the training of political party activists and election monitors.

    The Muslim Brotherhood was not at that time a major force in national electoral politics. Since its founding in 1928, the brotherhood had sunk deep roots in the country’s urban working and middle classes, and especially among the professions, establishing a powerful base in the “syndicates” that represent doctors, lawyers, journalists and others. The organization began dipping its toes in the water of parliamentary electioneering in the mid-’80s; in 2000 it gained 17 seats. But the group responded to the new climate of openness by fielding a much larger slate of candidates for the 2005 elections — 160 in all. Candidates from old-line Nasserist and left-wing parties ran as well.

    After decades of quiet organizing, the Islamists proved to be far more popular, and more disciplined, than the isolated leaders of Mubarak’s ruling party expected...

  2. #2
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    New York, NY


    The recent Constitutional "reform" and the latest crackdown on MB leadership in Egypt is obviously aimed at one thing: securing Gamal Mubarak's accession to the presidency. This has been telegraphed for some time and frankly is an enormous snake pit for the West --- endorse a farcical monarchic succession in the most critical Arab country in the Middle East, thus gutting any remaining pretense of democracy promotion, or side with the MB and the ineffective secular opposition.

    Of course in real power terms, the U.S. has no choice. But just how warm our relations will be with a Gamal Mubarak regime should be viewed as key.


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