Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The General Guide and the renunciation of senior positions | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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During the celebrations held by the General Guide of the “ruling” Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to mark the inauguration of the Brotherhood’s new branch in the city of Beni Suef, Mohammed Badi spoke about his group’s “abstention” from high profile positions. According to “Al-Ahram” newspaper, the General Guide opened fire again on the Ganzouri government, criticizing its performance in all economic and security fields. He wondered at Ganzouri and his ministers’ desire to cling on to the frayed ropes of their government, and called upon them to declare their absolute failure.

Badi added: “We are not seeking positions”. This is an idealist statement embodying the evasive language of the Brotherhood, especially in the Egyptian branch. On the one hand, they have political and global ambitions, and on the other, they raise the banner of religion, asceticism and moral integrity. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt have caused everyone to be wary, including their military friends from the recent past, after developing a voracious appetite to control all hinges of power and marginalize everyone else, or at least restrict them to superficial roles.

They Brotherhood said they wouldn’t put forward a presidential candidate. But now they say a different thing. Earlier, they said that they wouldn’t step in with full force to control the parliament and that they would take into account the international balance of power and the concerns of others in Egypt. However, they have operated the electoral machine to the maximum and now control the majority of parliamentary committees. Then they dealt the fatal blow by monopolizing the constituent assembly. They did so in explicit betrayal of the pledges they had made earlier. This has forced some of the Brotherhood’s friends, who boarded their political ship and sailed into the high seas of politics with them, to subsequently withdraw out of shame.

All the aforementioned fatty power dishes are being placed on the Brotherhood’s table one after the other, and the Brotherhood cannot stop devouring them. Nevertheless, their General Guide humbly says that they are not position seekers. Isn’t the General Guide supposed to distance himself from politics and devote his entire attention to social work? After all, at least from a legal point of view, there is a party already operating on behalf of the Brotherhood, and the General Guide should have nothing to do with it.

This kind of discourse is reminiscent of that of Hezbollah of Lebanon. The latter has always said that it was neither interested in power nor politics and that its sole aim was to mount resistance. It has always claimed that it only entered the world of politics to protect the resistance project. Hassan Nasrallah has always reiterated that cliché, stating that Hezbollah was not interested in positions, parliamentary seats or ministerial portfolios. However, in the end, especially with Najib Mikati’s government, Hezbollah proved that indeed it was not interested in “limited” positions, but rather in consuming power as a whole, or as a revolutionary poet once said: “Either it will be Life, which pleases the friend, Or Death, which angers the enemy.”

Strangely enough, the discourse of Hezbollah, which happens to be the ruling party in Lebanon, still adopts the tone of the aggrieved, the victim and the underdog. A knowledgeable Lebanese friend of mine, who is opposed to Hezbollah and its camp, recalled a discussion he had with a member of the party, in which the Hezbollah representative repeated that same old discourse of injustice. So my friend told him: We are more entitled than you to adopt this discourse now, especially after the Beirut invasion. Only you possess weapons and missiles which you say are capable of reaching the heart of Israel, whereas people like us have nothing to defend ourselves with except kitchen knives. Who then should really talk along the lines of being the underdog? Then my friend concluded his story by saying: They have monopolized everything, even the sense of injustice and vulnerability.

It seems that the rhetoric of the Brotherhood’s General Guide, Mohammed Badi, with regards to his group’s renunciation of senior positions, despite their apparent appetite for power, is not too far away from the remarks made by my Lebanese friend.