The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

WaPo on MB Crackdown

Cairo Moving More Aggressively To Cripple Muslim Brotherhood:

CAIRO -- After imprisoning or prodding into exile Egypt's leading secular opposition activists, the government is using detentions and legal changes to neutralize the country's last surviving major political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Brotherhood leaders and rights groups contend the government is clearing the stage of opponents in politics, civil society and the news media ahead of the end of the 26-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak, who is 79. Egyptians widely expect the transition to be tense and that Mubarak's son Gamal will be a top contender.

"Tyranny has reached unprecedented limits from any previous regime," said Mohammed Mahdi Akef, the supreme guide, or highest leader, of the Brotherhood, which the government has outlawed for decades but allowed to operate within narrow limits. "This is insane tyranny."

Egyptian officials point to the group's high level of organization and violent past, and insist it remains the most dangerous force in Egypt. "The Muslim Brotherhood represents the framework for future violence," said Mohamed Abdel-Fattah Omar, a lawmaker from the ruling party and a former head of the state security apparatus.
The article continues to link the crackdown on the MB with a general wave of repression (the press, civil society, etc.) linked to succession. This theory, frequently aired in the local press, is that the regime is moving to ensure that all vehicles of dissent are unable to organize when the time for succession comes, presumably in the next 24 months. But that would mean that there is a plan in motion for succession, and nothing could be less certain (even if some candidates may be maneuvering). Maybe it's not that the crackdown is in preparation for succession, but rather that the uncertainty over succession has become such an existential problem (in the philosophical sense, not life-or-death sense) that it pushing various political actors (opposition parties, the MB, the press, civil society, etc.) to assert themselves and make a push on long-held beliefs and positions.

Or maybe things are so opaque it's hard to make heads of tails of regime strategy, if strategy there is.