August 26 2013
photo by Reuters/Muhammad Hamed
This commentary appeared on U.S. News & World Report on August 26, 2013.
Egypt's future trajectory rests not only on the policies of Egypt's current military leaders, but also on the strategy adopted by the Muslim Brotherhood. Even before the army cleared protesters from their strongholds in the streets of Cairo and began arresting those Brotherhood leaders who were still at large, there were reports of generational divisions in the organization.
Some brothers remained committed to confrontation, accepting that such a course might lead to the party being outlawed and forced underground, as it was for decades before the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. Many of the brothers spent years operating in the underground and now feel comfortable there.
Others believe the Brotherhood should stay in the political game, adopting the role of loyal opposition. The Brotherhood would remain a minority party, but it could continue to hold offices, provide social assistance that the government does not and demonstrate its continuing strength at the polls. Circumstances might change, providing an opportunity for the Brotherhood to eventually shed its minority status and return to power.