Elizabeth Iskander Monier and Annette Ranko
Dr. Monier is a research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, University of Warwick; Ms. Ranko is a research fellow at GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies. Dr. Monier's research for this article was supported by the large-scale FP7 project, Global Reordering: Evolution of European Networks (GR:EEN). European Commission Project Number 266809.
Under former President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt was a major power in the Middle East.1 Despite Mubarak's weakened credibility in the latter years of his presidency, which contributed to a decline in Egypt's regional political status,2 Egypt continued to lay claim to its historical and physical place at the center of the Arab world.3 One of the ways in which Mubarak had sought to shore up his domestic authority and regional influence was by promoting Egypt's role as a security guard for the Arab world. Among the enemies Mubarak claimed to be securing Egypt and the Arab world against were Islamists.4 Yet it was Islamists, notably the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), who gradually came to dominate Egypt's post-revolution transition5 and took responsibility for determining Egypt's domestic and foreign policies. Although this was initially seen as an endorsement of political Islam, even during the ascendency of Islamist forces there was a refusal to label the January 25 Revolution an Islamic awakening and a preference for understanding the uprising as an Egyptian nationalist renaissance.6 The varied reactions to the MB's rise from other Middle East actors contributed to expectations of the tensions to come. The MB's political success was relatively brief. Comparisons between Mubarak and MB President Mohammed Morsi quickly arose as the latter was accused of simply continuing Mubarak's authoritarianism in a new garb. Then, with the "second revolution" of June 30, 2013, and the overthrow of Morsi, the MB was discredited and represented as an enemy of the 2011 revolution, a threat to the state and, by extension, to the Arab world.
This article examines the process through which the Brotherhood became discredited and what the implications of its resultant failure are for the international relations of the Middle East. We contend that it was not so much the content of the MB's vision that failed to win support, but that the organization became a discredited vehicle for achieving a new and stronger Egypt, free from internal authoritarianism, regional weakness and foreign dependence. We suggest that this failure had both regional and domestic causes, and that the MB's collapse will lead to a shift in regional alliances and in Egypt's status. This will come as a result of a revitalized version of Mubarak's anti-MB narrative, used by the post-June 30 government but with a stronger emphasis on Egyptian national interests than existed under Mubarak's regime. This has earned the transitional government a broad mandate from the Egyptian public and accorded it the credibility that Mubarak's discourse lacked, especially as the army has succeeded in framing itself as pro-revolution by promoting Egyptian sovereignty and independence in foreign policy. If this narrative is successfully entrenched, the MB "brand" will experience a setback throughout the Middle East, and Egypt will re-emerge in a stronger regional leadership role with an enhanced profile as the guardian of Arab interests.
REGIONAL POWER NARRATIVES
Mubarak's framing of Egypt's regional leadership role relied on portraying Egypt as a guarantor of regional stability, but Egypt's uprising initially appeared to dismiss this narrative. Egypt was clearly vulnerable to violent political change and the instability that ensued; more important, according to this vision of Egypt as regional policeman, Islamists were one of the key enemies of both national and regional stability.7 Mubarak's reliance on the security/stability paradigm can be viewed as a hangover from the securitization approach to the region adopted by both internal and external actors during the Cold War era.8 Securitization, besides entrenching a traditional understanding of stability as a priority, also placed an emphasis on top-down military approaches that failed to take into account a broader understanding of security.9 This framework privileged the army as the only institution capable of safeguarding security, but it also required something to be securitized against.
Political Islam often provided this "enemy," which Mubarak used as a form of pressure against domestic opposition and to maintain Western alliances.10 State media under Mubarak portrayed the concept of a religious state as intolerant and extremist and its proponents as extremist.11 This was contrasted with the civil state, which guards citizenship and upholds moderate Egyptian views against Islamism. The Islamist threat was often symbolized by the Brotherhood (al-Mahthura, the prohibited group), but was extended to portraying Hamas — an offshoot of the MB in Palestine — Hezbollah and the Iranian government as radically religious actors seeking to change the character of the region. They therefore represented major threats to the stability of the Arab world as a whole. When Egyptian security services uncovered the existence of a Hezbollah cell in the Sinai on April 8, 2009, the government and media (both state and independent) quickly evoked Hezbollah and Iran as security threats to the Arab world as a whole.12
Narratives claiming a central place for Egypt in the politics of the Arab world continued to have resonance then, despite the decline of Arab nationalism and Arabism.13 Although Mubarak's claim to domestic and regional legitimacy had been tarnished by the authoritarian nature of his presidency, his Egypt remained a candidate for Arab world leader. Since World War II, Egypt has employed a strategy of claiming this role in order to consolidate domestic power and both regional and international status.14 In order to resist British influence in the region, Egypt began to use a discourse of Arabism to set itself up as the champion of Arab interests. The competition to define what is, and is not, in Arab interests became strongly established as part of the politics of the region in this period and was consolidated under Gamal Abdel Nasser. This led Michael Barnett to view "Arab politics as a series of dialogues between Arab states regarding the desired regional order."15
But Mubarak's regional-leadership project was not one of Arab unity as understood under Nasser. The vision of stability and unity was no longer for the sake of creating a single Arab nation but for preserving the sovereignty of individual Arab states. This diluted Arabism used the resonance of the claim to be defending Arab interests while avoiding competition with the system of national sovereignty that emerged after the failure of Nasserism.16 The waning of pan-Arabist ideology, however, opened the way for pan-Islamism. According to Fred Halliday, "The apparent failure of the socialists' projects to resolve the problems of the countries they ruled in the 1960s and 1970s, and their inability to confront either Israel or the west, opened the field to the new nationalism framed in terms of religion, heritage and identity."17 As a result, political Islam became a real force in Egypt in the 1970s.18 The undermining of pan-Arabism as the foundation of Egypt's authority and system for regional order forced leaders like Sadat and Mubarak to cede political space to Islamism.19
The combination of the weakened discourse of Arab nationalism with the rise of Islamism set up the framing of regional security as an existential battle between Islamists and the Arab nation-state system. It also meant that protecting the sovereignty of one Arab state from political Islam was conflated as the protection of the Arab world as a whole. This balance was one exploited throughout Mubarak's presidency. Consequently, these developments underpinned intraregional relations and Egypt's narratives of regional security under Mubarak. It also enabled the MB to be easily framed as undermining that national sovereignty and, by extension, the regional order.
THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD
The MB was not a passive actor in this struggle to define the nature of Egypt or the Arab world; it sought to undermine Mubarak's discourse on Egypt's regional role. The group also constructed a security threat that Egypt and, by extension, the whole region was facing. It was portrayed as stemming, not from Islamist actors such as Hamas or Hezbollah, but rather from the United States and Israel and from the authoritarian regimes in the Middle East that were deemed to be collaborating with these hostile foreign powers.20 The struggle was not between nationalism and Islamism but between the Islamic world and the West. The Brotherhood's argument was based on a specific definition of the legitimate and illegitimate uses of violence. The MB considered the violent activities of Hamas and Hezbollah legitimate, as they were provoked by foreign attack or occupation. There were three sources of this legitimation: The teachings of Islam, which can be interpreted to prescribe warfare (jihad) in the event of an attack carried out on Muslim territory; international laws and agreements, which protect a nation's sovereignty over its territory and the right of defense; and the will of the people in support of armed resistance.21
In contrast to this legitimate form of violence, the Brotherhood considered Israel and the United States to have committed two illegal forms of violence.First, both had engaged in military aggression against the Middle East and in the occupation of foreign territory. Examples were the U.S.-led war and occupation of Afghanistan since 2001 and of Iraq since 2003, the Lebanon war of 2006 and the Gaza war of 2008-09. The United States and Israel were believed to be planning, via George W. Bush's Greater Middle East Initiative, to restructure the whole Middle East in order to foster the region's subjugation.22 The second form of illegitimate violence attributed to the United States against Middle East societies did not involve military means. Instead, it was understood as being "the imposition [not necessarily through the use of force] of an opinion, a conviction, a certain religion or ideology."23 Thus, exerting influence in the political, social, or economic realms in Middle Eastern societies — via institutions such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank or a hegemonic American youth culture — was considered illegitimate violence. This was perceived as geared at dissolving the cohesion among Middle Eastern societies and weakening society from within.24
Authoritarian regimes of the region that collaborated with the United States and Israel were also deemed security threats. These regimes — including Mubarak's — were portrayed as installed and then kept alive by the United States and Israel in order to secure their influence in the Middle East. The direct result of the installation of authoritarianism in the region was declared to have been the weakening of the region as a whole, Egypt in particular. Egypt was deemed the natural leader of the region, but it was being held back due to the penetration of external actors.25 The solution the MB presented was simple: unleash the will of the people through political reforms. The group argued that democratic elections must first be established.26 These would do away with authoritarian regimes and bring the Islamists, believed to enjoy wide-ranging popular support, to power. There would then be congruence between the rulers and the ruled, the Brotherhood argued, as both rejected the subordination of Arab interests to those of Israel and the United States. The Middle Eastern region would subsequently recover its strength, and Egypt would rise to become the regional leader that the MB envisioned.27
As examples to prove that this path would work, the Brotherhood cited Iran and Turkey. Both were deemed strong regional actors because they were supposedly based on democratic elections, which established harmony between the ruler and the ruled.28 Iran was admired for its strong countering of Israeli and Western interests in the region, but some MB members viewed the country's elections as less than democratic. Turkey was therefore considered to be an even better role model. It was admired for its electoral democracy and diplomatic skills, through which it had managed to maintain good relations with the West and Israel without succumbing to Western interests.29 Unleashing the popular will would produce Islamist-dominated governments that would end Arab subordination. The result would be a truly independent foreign-policy with Egypt at the center.
CHALLENGES TO MB FOREIGN POLICY
This discourse of the Brotherhood resonated well among large sections of Egyptian, as well as other Arab societies. A growing opposition trend countered Egypt's role as a bystander or even partner for an increasingly aggressive U.S. and Israeli foreign policy in the region after the attacks of September 11, 2001.30 Egypt increasingly witnessed mass demonstrations in Mubarak's last decade of rule concerning regional issues, such as the Iraq war of 2003, the Lebanon-Israel war of 2006 and the Gaza war of 2008-09.31 In fact, the Brotherhood was not the only force linking foreign-policy with domestic issues. Groups like Kifaya and April 6 were formed at the time, and opposition voices argued that Mubarak only subordinated Egyptian interests to Western and Israeli interests in the region in order to garner support for the succession of his son Gamal. From at least 2004 to 2005, the protest movement linked the call for democratic elections to a critique of Egypt's foreign-policy.32
Several problems were inherent in the Brotherhood's foreign-policy discourse, however, that were to come to the fore after Mubarak's fall. They would make it difficult for the Brotherhood to provide a regional vision that could become broadly popular. Though the Brotherhood might have been a credible proponent of a discourse that was critical of the role of the West and Israel and that opposed Egypt's increasing collaboration with them, there was nothing very "Brotherhood specific" about it.33
Furthermore, the emergence of this discourse had been linked to the domestic protest movement that had evolved in Egypt in the 2000-11 period. Accordingly, it was oriented towards bringing about domestic political reform, in order to end authoritarian rule and bring about democratic elections. Once that was achieved, the discourse did not provide a clear outline for Egypt's future. The uprising was supposed to inspire the region to bring about Islamist governments that would act in accordance with the will of the people. In turn, this would lead to the establishment of a foreign policy independent of Israel and the West. However, the methods presented for achieving this were often very vague.
While in opposition, this lack of clarity did not significantly damage the MB's domestic support base. However, with its rise to power after the revolution, the onus was on the MB to live up to its promises to eliminate authoritarianism and establish Egypt as an independent regional power. This level of expectation meant that the Brotherhood began suffering damage to its credibility because of perceived political incompetence soon after becoming the largest bloc in parliament in early 2012. Although the Brotherhood was still able to gain enough support at the ballot box for Mohammed Morsi to take office as president in June 2012, disillusionment grew. The constitution-drafting process was flawed and Morsi's presidential decree of November 2012 was perceived as a step towards establishing a new MB-style authoritarian system. In response, the Tamarrud campaign for early presidential elections succeeded in bringing massive numbers of protesters out onto the streets on June 30, 2013. This paved the way for the army to isolate Morsi and drive the MB from power.
These developments were the consequences of the MB's failure to deliver on promises to do away with authoritarianism, put Egypt on a path towards democracy, or to implement a program of social justice. Yet, because the MB was consumed with managing the domestic political transition, it did not have the capacity to make any significant moves on the foreign-policy level either, with the exception of the Gaza truce Morsi helped broker in November 2011. Although the MB's failure was initially political, its fall from power quickly became an ideological struggle. Its discourse of independence and Islam garnered it domestic support but also enhanced its political failure. Its incompetence was seen by many ordinary Egyptians as a sign that its agenda was not legitimized by religion, but was actually exploiting it. The accusation that they were tujjar al-din ("traders in religion," implying religious exploitation for personal gain) increased in resonance.
In contrast, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the leader of the armed forces, emerged as a hero, portrayed as supporting the people in taking back the revolution from the MB. On Wednesday, July 24, al-Sisi used a speech to a military graduation ceremony to call on Egyptians who supported Morsi's ouster to come back into the streets on the following Friday. He requested a popular mandate in order to "confront terrorism." Egyptians responded in the millions to support the army against both the MB sit-ins in Cairo and the militant attacks in Sinai. This speech pointed to the major narrative emerging from the crisis: confronting terrorism and religious fascism as a threat to stability in Egypt and the Arab World.34 Although the fall of the Brotherhood began as a domestic political failure, stemming from an inability to capitalize on the popular vision of an independent foreign policy as well as the failure to put Egypt on a path to democracy or to improve peoples' lives, it has taken on a broader ideological dynamic. The discourse has shifted so entirely that the Brotherhood has become not only an enemy of the revolution, but a terrorist group threatening the nation's borders.
This switch back to a narrative in which Islamists are a threat to nation and region occurred because of confusion regarding the MB's commitment. Was it to the Egyptian nation-state or to a transnational Islamist project? This tension has existed since the MB's inception. When it was founded in 1928, the group was part of the Egyptian national movement that sought to establish independence from the colonial powers. The pan-Islamic camp sought to restore Muslim unity and the Islamic caliphate (abolished in 1924) as a transnational Muslim community. As an Islamist movement, the MB was naturally linked to this camp. Indeed, the vision of the group's founding father, Hassan al-Banna, of reforming society and state so that an ideal Islamic order would gradually evolve included not only Egypt, but ultimately the Muslim world as a whole.35
The other camp within the nationalist movement at the time was secular and focused on establishing the sovereignty of the Egyptian nation-state. Its slogan was "al-din li-Allah wal-watan lil-jami (religion is for God and the state is for everyone)," and the Wafd party its most important proponent. The Brotherhood wanted to establish itself as a mass movement and sought to garner broad popular support. It was intent not to alienate the followers of the secular camp, and so tended to avoid taking a clear stance on the divisive topic of Muslim unity and the caliphate.36 The group, for example, deliberately left unclear what form the caliphate should take. At least two versions were offered: (1) a confederation of independent and sovereign Muslim nation-states, and (2) a confederation that led ultimately to complete political unity. Often, the group sought to
This lack of clarity endured in the MB's "double discourse" during the last decade of Mubarak's presidency and after his ouster. The first element was a "political-pragmatic" discourse38 on establishing popular sovereignty and overthrowing authoritarianism, depicted as the main stumbling block to Egypt's natural regional-leadership role. This discourse drew to a large extent on the notion of a regional system consisting of sovereign states. It did not seek to infringe on the current regional system.39 This pragmatic discourse was able to garner wide public support. It took up the demands of the growing protest movement that evolved in Mubarak's last decade of rule and employed the foreign-policy rhetoric that had evolved under Nasser and Sadat as well as Mubarak.40
However, on another level, the Brotherhood leaders followed an "emotional" discourse when addressing their own followers in speeches. It is also found in their nonpolitical writings,41 in which there are clear references to the notion of transnational Muslim unity, building on the notion of Islamic reform extending to the whole Muslim world and the caliphate as the ideal political order.42 How exactly this should be organized was not clear.
There were also no adequate attempts by the Brotherhood to harmonize these two narratives and the contradictions between them. 43 In the public sphere, this double discourse undermined the Brotherhood's credibility. There were suggestions that the Brotherhood would ultimately be more loyal to some kind of Islamist agenda that it shared with Islamist groups abroad. This also brought with it suggestions that the MB might in the long term seek to establish a supranational Islamist political entity of which Egypt would become part.44 Both contributed to popular fears that the group would hijack the revolution and replace Mubarak's dictatorship with its own.45 This lack of clarity appeared to some to represent a split in the group, with members of the old guard such as Mahmoud Ezzat and Mohammad al-Badia,46 who apparently favored the emotional discourse, seeming to be on top. Those who favored pragmatism were perceived as having less leverage within the strict hierarchy of the organization.47 This contributed to undermining credibility and trust with the public.
THE MB AND REGIONAL ACTOR
The Brotherhood's political-pragmatic discourse — empowering the people to bring about a restoration of the strength of the Arab world vis-à-vis the West — had the potential to resonate not only within Egypt but also in the wider Middle East. Realizing that a strong regional role for Egypt would bolster domestic support, the MB initially made some strong moves, for example, through its engagement as a mediator in the Gaza conflict.48 This, along with its discourse of combining democracy and Islamism, offered the MB potential regional support. At the same time, it challenged some Arab states in terms of the organization of power: authoritarian monarchic rule versus democratic republican rule.
But a Brotherhood-led Egypt was also threatening in terms of Islamic legitimacy; the group had not explicitly discarded its "emotional discourse." In late 2011, for example, Supreme Guide Mohammad al-Badia publicly declared that the ultimate goal of establishing the caliphate was close at hand.49 This prospect increased the fear of regional state actors already predisposed to be hostile. Saudi Arabia and other Arab states in the Gulf are particularly sensitive to the dangers of a renewed rise of Islamism as a transnational movement. These states regarded Iran's revolution as a very real threat to the regional order, but it was somewhat mitigated by its being a Shiite movement. In contrast, if the MB, as a Sunni organization, achieved domestic legitimacy, it might garner so much credibility as to trigger more uprisings and dramatically shift the balance of alliances.
The Saudi monarchy claims to represent Sunni Muslim legitimacy in the region, with the king portraying himself as protector of the holy places of Mecca and Medina. Competition from an Islamist-led Egypt was clearly regarded with suspicion by state actors such as Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia, which quickly demonstrated their support for Egypt after Morsi was removed from power.50 This was clear in the financial aid offered and also in the change of rhetoric. A Kuwaiti delegation visiting Egypt after June 30 portrayed the Egyptian army as a great Arab army, fighting an ideological battle in Egypt in order to secure the stability and strength of the Arab world.51 This endorsement was in stark contrast to more ambivalent speech regarding the MB's government in Egypt, which had made Egypt's regional role and legitimacy less secure under Morsi.
The MB was not entirely without the support of regional actors at the state level, however. The reactions of Turkey towards the new Brotherhood government were among the most positive. The foreign-policy discourses of the Egyptian Brotherhood and Turkey's Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP) overlapped, with both taking the view that "Muslim" parties coming to power in democratic elections would naturally lead to a renegotiation of which states were considered the most influential players in the region. The AKP sought to portray Turkey and Egypt as partners in an emerging "axis of democracy" that would establish the two countries as the leading powers in the region.52 Initially there was clear enthusiasm in Egypt for the Turkish model, particularly regarding the entrenchment of democracy, constitutional reforms, and a reduced role of the army in politics. However, this did not endure. The Turkish emphasis on secularism was unacceptable to the Brotherhood and to Egypt's Salafists.53 Although Robert Malley, et al., argued that "the Turkish model is increasingly becoming what people look to,"54 the MB soon began to suggest that the Turkish model was inappropriate for Egypt. The model was further undermined by the Turkish government's response to protests in Taksim Square during the summer of 2013. This ensured that Turkey was no longer such an attractive partner; the legitimacy gained from democracy55 and anti-authoritarianism was damaged.
Qatar and Iran were also major supporters of the MB ascendency, but this did not help the Brotherhood; it was a hindrance to Egypt's position regionally. Iran in particular has been regarded with suspicion in the region, most notably by the Arab Gulf states, because of its perceived potential to disrupt the regional security order.56 In April 2011, a number of the Arab Gulf states claimed that a rapprochement between Iran and Egypt would endanger their national security. The support of Qatar and Iran also had detrimental effects on the Brotherhood's popular support within Egypt. As Iran sought to portray the Arab Spring in Egypt as an Islamic awakening and the extension of the 1978-79 Islamic revolution in Iran,57 this only fuelled fears in Egyptian society about the true goals of the MB. Further, Qatar's support for the Brotherhood was increasingly rejected as foreign interference in Egypt's internal affairs; Qatar was seen as unworthy of inheriting Egypt's regional-leadership role. In these ways, regional reactions worked against the Brotherhood's goals and only increased fears at both levels regarding the intentions of the MB for Egypt and for the Middle East order, ultimately contributing to the group's failure.
THE END OF THE MB?
In his major work arguing that political Islam was failing, Olivier Roy acknowledges that the MB has been among the most successful Islamist groups in terms of establishing a supranational framework. While these networks have been able to disseminate ideas and propaganda, Roy suggests, they have failed to shape international policy except where they have been manipulated by states in accordance with state interests.58 Yet in the wake of Egypt's 2011 uprisings, it had initially appeared that the region was witnessing the renewed popularity of political Islam. With Turkey's star rising, the Egyptian MB and Tunisia's al-Nahda taking power in the gap left by Hosni Mubarak and Zine al Abidine Ben Ali, respectively, political Islam did triumph temporarily. This led Matteo Legrenzi and Marina Calculli to argue that the 2011 revolts indicated the breakup of the Arab-based regional political system and its replacement with an Islam-based legitimacy.59
In the case of post-June 30 Egypt, at least, this judgment may have been premature. Although in opposition the MB was able to garner support through Islam-based legitimacy, challenging authoritarianism, and offering an independent foreign policy to empower the Muslim world, its inability to deliver on any of these promises ultimately undermined its popularity. As in Turkey after the Taksim protests, accusations of authoritarianism leveled against Morsi and the MB served to taint the credibility they had won by appearing to emerge from the January 25 Revolution as a democratic force. Moreover, the MB's double discourse amplified concerns that were easily transformed into a weapon against them, enabling al-Sisi to represent the MB as disloyal to Egypt, in contrast with the army.60
Katerina Dalacoura has perceptively noted, "If, indeed, the uprisings were firmly focused on domestic, national issues, to which the rival concerns of Arabism and Islam were secondary, Islamist movements will need to adjust their ideological message in this direction."61 Yet the MB failed to implement those aspects of its agenda that had appealed to Egyptians before or after the uprising. Furthermore, despite revising its discourse to place more emphasis on democracy and the Egyptian nation-state,62 the MB — due to its "emotional discourse" alluding to a transnational Islamist project — was perceived as placing "Islamic causes over the interests and policies of nation-state governments."63 For a post-uprising Egypt, this seemed unsuitable; in addition, the MB's political failure was seen as endangering the "aims of the revolution." The transitional government that succeeded Morsi has been more effective in convincing large numbers of Egyptians that it puts Egyptian interests first and that the army is the means to ensure them. This harkens back to Sadat's "Egypt first" narrative,64 but without giving space to Islamists as Sadat and Mubarak had done.65
This strategy has clear parallels with Mubarak's discourse on the MB and on Egypt's role in the regional political system. This is not a repetition but rebirth, and it will have different implications for Egyptian and regional politics. Although Mubarak used similar language, it was backed by less action and was therefore seen as less credible, especially in a climate where Islamists were conceived of as the only alternative to Mubarak. It is likely that a more credible version of Mubarak's security narrative will emerge, emphasizing national interests and identities within the regional system, with Egypt in a leading role. But it will be built on a more explicit base of "Egyptianism" as its legitimizing source. By this means, it will reclaim its role as defender of Arab world stability.
For a complex and even contradictory series of reasons, the MB failed to convince either domestic audiences or regional actors that it was able to realize a viable or attractive transition for Egypt. Part of this was due to a lack of sufficient planning and part to the tension between Islamism as a transnational project and the regional system of sovereign Arab states. The MB did not present a viable regional role for Egypt. The pressures of the political situation made this difficult. In addition, the MB has historically based its structure on transnational nonstate networks to promote its message rather than trying to influence national or regional policy. Yet if it had pursued a more ambitious foreign-policy agenda, it might have appealed to the popular sentiment favoring a stronger and more independent Egypt. Domestic support soared after Egypt's successful mediation of the Gaza conflict in November 2012.
Instead, political incompetence and the perception of a hidden agenda concerning the MB's vision for Egypt and the Middle East undermined support. This lack of clarity did not fit with the assertive "Egypt first" climate that emerged from the 2011 uprising. Mubarak was ousted because Egyptians saw him as serving his own interests; Morsi was overthrown for seeming to prioritize the MB's Islamic project (al-mashru' al-islami). By contrast, the demands of the revolution were very much Egypt-focused, anti-authoritarian, and pro-independence. Consequently, Morsi soon became a symbol of both authoritarianism and the continuing weakness of Egyptian regional leadership that the MB had criticized while in opposition.
We suggest that it is not so much the MB's political vision that has been rejected but its inability to incorporate the new post-Arab Spring ideas into it or to demonstrate real progress in securing Egypt's interests. The goals of an independent foreign policy and a stronger role for Egypt, albeit packaged in a very different discourse, is now offered by the MB's successors: Egyptian security backed by the army, rather than the MB's Islamism and anti-imperialism. While this may not be the end of MB-style political Islam as a transnational ideology in the Middle East, its influence as a regional discourse has been reduced. A renewed nationalistic framework will see Egypt's regional status as a political and ideological leader of the Arab world increase, strengthened by greater cooperation among like-minded states, notably Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE. These alliances will draw on the resonance of Arab cooperation, but with a stronger emphasis on Egyptian security, agency and independence.
1 See, for example, Ann Mosley Lesch, "Contrasting Reactions to the Persian Gulf Crisis: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinians," Middle East Journal 45, no. 1 (1991): 30-50.
2 John R. Bradley, Inside Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution (New York: Palgrave, 2008), 202; see also Bruce K. Rutherford, Egypt after Mubarak: Liberalism, Islam and Democracy in the Arab World (Princeton University Press, 2008).
3 Boutros Boutros-Ghali, "The Foreign Policy of Egypt in the Post-Sadat Era," Foreign Affairs 60, no. 4 (1982): 769-788.
4 Jason Brownlee, "The Decline of Pluralism in Mubarak's Egypt," Journal of Democracy 13, no. 4 (2002): 6-14.
5 Maha Abdulrahman, "In Praise of Organization: Egypt between Activism and Revolution," Development and Change 44, no. 3 (2013): 569–585.
6 Elizabeth Iskander, "The 'Mediation' of Muslim-Christian Relations in Egypt: The Strategies and Discourses of the Official Egyptian Press during Mubarak's Presidency," Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 23, no. 1 (2012): 31-44, 35.
7 Elizabeth Iskander, Sectarian Conflict in Egypt (Routledge, 2012), 178-9.
8 See Pinar Bilgin, Regional Security in the Middle East: A Critical Perspective (Routledge, 2005).
9 See Bilgin, Regional Security in the Middle East, 2.
10 Katerina Dalacoura, Engagement or Coercion? Weighing Western Human Rights Policies towards Turkey, Iran and Egypt (Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2004), 47.
11 For example, Asfur G. "Mukhatir al-Dawla al-Diniya (The Dangers of a Religious State)," al-Ahram, January 29, 2007.
12 See, for example, H. Al-Nimnim, "Larijani aw Nasrallah," Al-Masry al-Youm, April 16, 2009, http://www.almasry-alyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=207272, accessed June 2011; and A. Farahat, "Iran wa Hizbullah: tab'aiya diniya wa siyasa li darb istiqrar al-mantiqa," Al-Masry al-Youm, April 16, 2009, http://www.almasryalyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=207274, accessed June 2011.
13 Bilgin, Regional Security in the Middle East.
14 Michael Doran, Pan-Arabism before Nasser: Egyptian Power Politics and the Palestine Question (Oxford University Press, 2002).
15 Michael Barnett, Dialogues in Arab Politics: Negotiations in Regional Order (Columbia University Press, 1998), 5.
16 Michael Barnett, "Sovereignty, Nationalism, and Regional Order in the Arab States System," International Organization 49, no. 3 (1995): 479-510.
17 Fred Halliday, The Middle East in International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2005), 204.
18 Halliday, Middle East in International Relations, 171-2.
19 Matteo Legrenzi and Marina Calculli, "Middle East Security: Continuity amid Change," in International Relations of the Middle East, ed. Louise Fawcett (Oxford University Press, 2013), 208-9.
20 al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin, "Barnamaj Hizb al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin," al-Isdar al-Awwal, August 25, 2007.
21 Muhammad Mahdi Akif, "Bayan 'an al-Irhab wa-l-Muqawama," in al-Ikwhan wa-l-'Unf, February 5, 2005.
22 al-Ikhwan, "Barnamaj Hizb al-Ikhwan."
23 Akif, "Bayan 'an al-Irhab wa-l-Muqawama," 212f.
24 Muhammad Mahdi Akif, unpublished interview on March 6, 2004, in Tahawwulat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin, ed. Hossam Tammam (Cairo: Maktabat Madbuli, 2006).
25 al-Ikhwan, "Barnamaj Hizb al-Ikhwan."
26 On how the Brotherhood partially adapted to the language of democracy, see Mariz Tadros, The Muslim Brotherhood in Contemporary Egypt: Democracy Redefined or Confined? (Routledge, 2012). See also Khalil Al-Anani, al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun fi Misr: Shaykhukha Tusari al-Zaman? (Cairo: al-Shorouq Publishers, 2007).
27 See, for example, al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, Barnamaj al-Intikhabi li-l-Ikhwan al-Muslimin fi Majlis al-Shab (2005); and Muhammad Mahdi Akif, "Mubadarat al-Murshid al-'Amm li-l-Ikhwan al-Muslimin Hawla al-Mabadi al-Amma li-l-Islah fi Misr," March 3, 2004.
28 Akif, "Mubadarat al-Murshid al-Amm ...." See also: Interview Abdel Hamid al-Ghazali, MB member, 2010; and interview with Rashad al-Bayoumi, deputy general guide, 2010.
29 Interview with Abdelrahman Mansour, then member of the Muslim Brotherhood, 2010.
30 Houdaiby discusses how the Brotherhood shared its foreign-policy vision with the broader opposition in Egypt in Mubarak's last decade of rule. lbrahim EI Houdaiby. "Islamism in and after Egypt's Revolution." In Arab Spring in Egypt — Revolution and Beyond, eds. Bahgat Korani and Rabab El-Mahdi (American University of Cairo Press, 2012).
31 See Dina Shehata, Islamist and Secularists in Egypt: Opposition, Conflict and Cooperation (Routledge, 2010).
32 The Arab Strategic Report 2004-2005, ACPSS.
34 Iskander, Sectarian Conflict in Egypt, 118.
35 Ivesa Lübben, "Nationalstaat und islamische Umma bei Hassan al-Banna," in Geschichtskonzeptionen und Erinnerungsprozesse im Islam, ed. Angelika Hartmann, Sabine Damir-Geilsdorf,and Béatrice Hendrich (Göttingen: Author's Version, 2004).
36 Lübben, "Nationalstaat und islamische Umma bei Hassan al-Banna," PAGE.
37 Interview with Hossam Tammam, researcher and expert on the Muslim Brotherhood, 2010; and interview with Abdel Hamid Al Gahazali, 2010.
38 Compare, for example, Anani, who stresses the pragmatism of Islamists in power also on the level of foreign policy, i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and al-Nahda in Tunisia. Khalil al-Anani, "Islamist Parties Post-Arab Spring," Mediterranean Politics 17, no.3 (2012): 466-472.
39 Hizb al-Hurriyya wa al-'Adala, "Barnamaj al-Hizb al-Hurriya wa al-'Adala," Facebook 2011, http://www.facebookcom/FJParty.official?sk=app_7146470109 accessed on March 3, 2012.
40 Mohammed Ayoob, "Political Islam: Image and Reality," World Policy Journal 21, no. 3 (2004): 1-14.
41 Interview with Hossam Tammam, 2010.
42 Popularly circulated were, for example, booklets authored by Mustafa Mashur, late supreme guide of the Brotherhood. He is viewed as having been one of the key persons propagating the notion of the caliphate within the Brotherhood: Mustafa Mashur, "Al Tayyar al-Islami" (Dar al-Tawzi wa al-Nashr al-Islamiyya); and Mustafa Mashur, "Qadaia Asasia ala tariq al-Dawa" (Dar al-Tawzi wa al-Nashr al-Islamiyya) (year of publication unknown).
43 See Hossam Tammam, Tahawalit al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin (Cairo: Maktabat Madbouli, 2010).
44 Mohammed Hagag and Mohammed Ismail, "Badi'a: al-Khilafa al-Rashida wa Ihiya' Dawlat al-Islam wa al-Shari'a Hadaf al-Ikhwan", al-Youm al-Sab'a, December 29, 2011, http://www.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=565958, accessed October 2013; 'Abdul 'Aziz Hisham, "al-Ikhwan Yustaqbilun Erdogan fi al-Matar bi Hatifit Tutalib bi Khilafa Islamiya," al-Ahram, September 13, 2013, http://gate.ahram.org.eg/News/115108.aspx, accessed October 2013; and "al-Ikhwan Yas'aun li Iqama Khilafa Islamiya," al-Nahar, June 22, 2012, http://www.alnaharegypt.com/t~76178, accessed October 2012.
45 See, for example, Jano Charbel, "Labor Activists: New Decree Eyes 'Brotherhoodization' of Unions," Egypt Independent, November 26, 2012, http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/labor-activists-new-decree-eyes-br…; also Ali Abdel Mohsen, "Overheard in Tahrir," Egypt Independent, November 28, 2012, http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/blog-overheard-tahrir accessed October 2013; Hatem Hosni, "Hadith al-Ikhwan 'an al-Khilafa In'adam li al-Wa'ay al-Siyasi," Akhbar al-Youm, May 2, 2012, http://www.akhbarelyom.com/news/newdetails/28953/1/0.html#.Uk6pKoZJOSp, accessed October 2013.
46 Interview with Abu Ella Madi, founder of al-Wasat party, former member of the Brotherhood, 2010.
47 Interview with Heba Raouf, assistant professor, Cairo University, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, 2009.
48 Robert Malley, Karim Sadjadpour and Omer Taspinar, "Israel, Turkey and Iran in the Changing Arab World," Middle East Policy 19, no. 1 (2012): 1-24.
49 Omar Halawa, "Brotherhood Close to Achieving Its Ultimate Goal, Says Badie," December 29, 2011, http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/brotherhood-close-achieving-its-ul….
50 "Morsi's Fall Disconcerts Qatar, Comforts Saudis — Gulf Fears Brotherhood Would Push Radical, Islamist Agenda," Kuwait Times, July 12, 2013, http://news.kuwaittimes.net/morsis-fall-disconcerts-qatar-comforts-saud…, accessed October 2013; and Mourad Hicham, "The Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia," al-Ahram, May 15, 2013, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContentP/4/71498/Opinion/The-Muslim-Bro…, accessed October 2013.
51 Mohammed Taha, "Ra'is al-Bayt al-Kuwaiti li Wazirat al-`Alam: al-Jaysh al-Misri Hamaya li kul al-`Arab," al-Masry al-Youm, September 26, 2013, http://www.almasryalyoum.com/node/2150946.
52 Ibrahim Kalin, "Soft Power and Public Diplomacy in Turkey." Perceptions 16, no. 3 (2011): 9.
53 See, for example, Abdel-Rahman Hussein,"Erdogan Visit Comes at a Sensitive Time for Egypt's Rulers." Egypt Independent, September 12, 2011, http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/erdogan-visit-comes-sensitive-time… , accessed March 1, 2013.
54 Malley, Sadjadpour and Taspinar, "Israel, Turkey and Iran in the Changing Arab World," 7.
55 Hasan Kosebalaban, "Turkey and the New Middle East: Between Liberalism and Realism." Perceptions 16, no. 3 (2011): 112.
56 Hamid Ahmady, "al-'Alaqat al-Iraniya-al-Misriya wa al-Nizam al-Dawli al-Mu'asir," in Iran-Misr: Muqaribit Mustaqbiliya, ed. T. Shoman (Beirut: Markaz al-Hadara li Tanmiya al-Fikr al-Islami, 2009).
57 "al-Khutba al-'Arabiya li Samaha Ayatollah Khamenei 'an Thawrat Misr," al-Alam, February 4, 2011, http://www.alalam-news.com/node/318229, accessed April 2012.
58 Olivier Roy, The Failure of Political Islam (I.B. Tauris, 1994), 129.
59 Legrenzi and Calculli, "Middle East Security," 214.
60 Yasir Rizk, "al-Sisi li al-Masry al-Youm: Adraktu in Morsi laysa Ra'isun li kul al-Masryin wa Qult lahu: qad Fashaltum," al-Masry al-Youm, October 7, 2013, http://www.almasryalyoum.com/node/2185751, accessed October 2013.
61 Katerina Dalacoura, "The 2011 Uprisings in the Arab Middle East: Political Change and Geopolitical Implications," International Affairs 88, no. 1 (2012): 75.
62 See Katerina Dalacoura, Islamist Terrorism and Democracy in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
63 Peter Mandaville, "Islam and International Relations in the Middle East: From Umma to Nation State," in International Relations of the Middle East, ed. Louise Fawcett, 173.
64 Warburg, "Islam and Politics in Egypt: 1952–80," Middle Eastern Studies 18, no. 2 (1982): 150.
65 Dalacoura, Islamist Terrorism and Democracy in the Middle East, 124; and Bradley, Inside Egypt, 4.