Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

When the Brotherhood Supports Iran | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Adversaries in a country usually unite, no matter what their disagreements, on two occasions, in times of national disasters and when an external danger exists.

But what happened in Egypt was the opposite. The Muslim Brotherhood [MB] Group Guide Mahdi Akif attacked the Egyptian Government because it criticizes Iran and levels exaggerated accusations at Lebanese Hezbollah.

This is a strange stand at a time when his country faces a real and serious crisis. It can be interpreted only as a move to settle political scores between the opposition and the government. This stand would be understandable and justified in normal situations and in times of domestic disagreements, but what we currently see is a state of war against Egypt.

The Hezbollah secretary general acknowledged what happened when he admitted his party’s connection to the primary detainee and 10 others. He previously called for a coup against the Egyptian regime.

Had the MB Group leaders supported their country in this case, they would have achieved a great regional influence and their position would have become important. Moreover, their national, political, and, naturally, moral standing would have been boosted among all parties and this would have embarrassed the Egyptian Government itself. However, their attack on their government weakened them as an MB Group and did not help Iran.

It is a cheap opportunistic stand. In this respect, I recall two cases that are suitable for comparison. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the Kuwaiti opposition was in a severe dispute with the authorities while demonstrations and clashes with the police took place. Given this situation, Saddam thought that the Kuwaiti oppositionists would join his plan to remove the Kuwaiti regime. Therefore, he presented himself at the beginning of the occupation as a person who would save Kuwait from the rule of the Al-Sabah family.

However, the invader was surprised to see the Kuwaiti opposition publicly announce its rejection of the invasion and adhere to legitimacy, represented by the Kuwaiti regime. Even though the Kuwaiti leaders were removed by force, the opposition refused an offer to assume power and insisted on supporting the Kuwaiti regime in spite of its disagreement with it. The opposition did so because it held the view that there is no bargaining over loyalty, patriotism, and rejection of foreign intervention.

The second case involves the stands that were taken by the leaders of three Islamic organizations during the same crisis of the occupation of Kuwait. These organizations supported Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, believing that Kuwait was gone forever. They were not interested in adopting a principled and ethical stand against the occupation and did not care about supporting the rights of people whose country was occupied in an act of aggression.

The leaders of these three organizations went to see their enemy, Saddam, and supported his crime. The irony is that these opportunistic organizations originally depended on the sympathy and support of states, such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and others. They turned against these countries in their ordeal and stood by the aggressor. In the end, however, Kuwait was taken back, and these organizations lost everything.

As an Egyptian organization, the MB Group members can say that the group’s relationship with the government is bad and that it has a long list of grievances against the government. The MB Group may be right in many of these grievances as part of the struggle for power. Nevertheless, it is expected to stand by its country in its time of ordeal. Any observer can now read how the MB Group leaders support Iran against their country and justify Hezbollah’s acts. By making these statements, they expose Egypt to a genuine danger.

Regardless of the MB Group leaders’ view, principles and ethics require a respectable opposition everywhere to stand alongside its country during crises, instead of using the opportunity and revenging against its adversaries inside the country by supporting foreigners.

What makes this stand even stranger is the fact that the MB Group, as an extremist religious Sunni movement, should be more involved in dispute with the extremist Shiite Hezbollah and Tehran regime than the Egyptian Government, which has been known as a moderate Sunni regime that is tolerant toward sects and religions. But this is politics after all.