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Why did the Muslim Brotherhood Retreat? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Muslim Brotherhood [MB] shied away from defending the Hezbollah cell in Egypt saying that “Egypt comes first.” The MB backed down despite that its General Guide stated that what had been published in the media about the Hezbollah organization in Egypt is “unnecessary buffoonery on the media’s part,” and that “Nasrallah’s comments are 100 per cent true.”

The MB rushed to announce its retraction on every platform; some of its members wrote to provide an explanation and others delivered speeches to give justifications after its media apparatus rushed to Nasrallah’s defense, and it did not stop there. It divided into groups; one team embarked upon accusing those who defended Egypt’s sovereignty of treason; another team took charge of fine-tuning the speech in which Nasrallah admitted that Hezbollah was involved in sending a cell to Egypt, and embarked upon polishing up the image of the Iranian-affiliated party vis-à-vis public opinion based on the consideration that it is the sole and legitimate representative of resistance – without recollecting its role in the Beirut coup of course!

Another team apparent in some Gulf newspapers – Saudi, Kuwaiti and Qatari in particular – and some Lebanese publications, worked on organized campaigns to mislead the average Arab who has no ideology and believes in Palestinian rights and in real resistance but does not accept Iranian interference in our region.

The question is: why is the MB backing down and why has it suddenly realized that “Egypt comes first,” despite that Nasrallah spared them the trouble of denying [the presence of Hezbollah in Egypt] and admitted that the cell was affiliated to his party?

An Arab observer who is in contact with some MB leaders said, “The question on the street in Egypt is no longer are you with or against the regime; the question is now are you with or against Egypt?” Therefore the MB has become aware of the danger of clashing with public opinion. This is only natural as the MB was waging on the Arab and Egyptian publics believing that they will support Nasrallah and repeat the words of Mehdi Akef: ‘To hell with Egypt!’ But the MB was shocked to see that the Arabs, before the Egyptians, said ‘Not Egypt.’

If the MB retreat comes in the context of the idea that it is better to follow the path of truth, will the MB come out and apologize to all those that they cursed and cast accusations of treachery against, whose names were mentioned in pro-Iranian newspapers in our region? Or is this merely a tactical move to win over public opinion? This isn’t the first error of its kind on the MB’s part; it was the MB that opposed its very own Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi when he demanded that Iran stop tampering with the issue of religious denomination in our region.

Lastly, will Hamas shy away from solidarity with Hezbollah and follow in the footsteps of the MB movement that gave birth to it, or will it insist on solidarity with Hezbollah, especially as available information indicates that there is an interesting contradiction? A few days ago, a senior official within the Hamas leadership made an unannounced visit to a Gulf state and visited its assemblies and some of its media institutions. In front of many attendees, he swore that he knew nothing about “individuals or groups affiliated to Hezbollah in Egypt carrying out logistic work in support of Hamas.” These comments indicate that Nasrallah’s cell was working purely on a subversive mission in Egypt and not transporting goods to Gaza as Nasrallah claimed.

Can Hamas also retreat? Let us wait and see.