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It appears that relations between the United States and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt have gone further than mutual courtship. It is clear that it is an old relationship, and it was revealed yesterday that Washington and the Brotherhood have indeed been communicating. Yet here is the bottom line; the communication took place not after the fall of Mubarak, but before. It is now clear that there has been communication between the two parties since 2006. This means that the Brotherhood and Washington were in negotiations at a time when the Muslim Brotherhood was raising its voice against the West, and primarily America. This was during the era of the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006, and afterwards Israel’s war on Gaza, not to mention the term of former U.S. President George W. Bush. At that time, the Muslim Brotherhood and their followers, whether knowingly or not, hypocritically betrayed all those who had criticized the Brotherhood and its political line.

Today, after nearly five years, it is clear that the Muslim Brotherhood was open to the Americans at a time when the organization was attacking Mubarak, and most of the Arab regimes, because of Israel’s wars on Lebanon and Gaza, and accused Mubarak of cutting off the Gaza strip to appease Israel and the West. Yet the Brotherhood itself was open to Washington. Of course, the ready and easy excuse for the Brotherhood is that those members who met the Americans in 2006 did not represent the organization directly, but they functioned as representatives of the Egyptian people, as elected members of the People’s Assembly, which brings up a question; at the time, was Mubarak’s regime representing Mozambique at the time?

This excuse is incorrect, and a trick we must be aware of. Of course the duty here is to focus on the Muslim Brotherhood, and not what the Americans are doing, for the simple reason that Washington is playing politics, as the famous expression goes. Here we see the Americans today negotiating with the Taliban in Afghanistan for example. This is not a witch hunt against the Brotherhood, but we must point out that they are the proponents of the slogan “Islam is the solution”; while today we see that the slogan in practice is “power is the solution”. Thus today we should not consider the slogans of the Brotherhood, whether in Egypt or elsewhere, but rather their plans for the future of Egypt, or our other nations. God protects the home [The Kaaba], but when it comes to people’s lives, their security and economy, this is the responsibility of those who govern. We all know that mere slogans will not protect the people from hunger, and now the facts tell us that the proponents of Islamic slogans are negotiating with the Americans, and have been for years.

The good thing about the timing of this revealed openness between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Americans is that it comes as the Brotherhood is fighting an internal battle between different members of the organization. There are those who want to run for the presidency in Egypt, those who are frustrated at the monopoly of the old guard, and those who are angry that the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were not elected. So far, five parties have split off from the parent movement, and this is something to be expected. When a danger is present, i.e. the Mubarak regime, the enemy unites, but politics is ultimately a divisive force, unless based on the language of interests. If the politics of a movement is based on slogans, then this can lead to unexpected shocks for its followers, as we see today that the proponents of the “Islam is the solution” slogan have been open to America for a long time.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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