Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/2/2011 (3738 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
As Muhammad Mursi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, sat at a table on Wednesday to negotiate the future of Egypt with other members of the nation's opposition and the Egyptian government, other members of the Brotherhood were protesting in Jordan, arguing that talks with that country's King Abdullah II were meaningless.
The odd thing is that the Muslim Brotherhood is at the table anywhere. The fundamentalist, Islamist organization is illegal in most countries of the Arab world. In Syria and Iran the Brothers are beheaded as quickly as they can be identified in a deadly game that is played out on a daily basis.
In Jordan, the organization is vaguely tolerated. In Egypt it is illegal but clearly a presence -- in Egypt's next-to-last election, when votes were actually counted, Brotherhood candidates running as independents elected enough members to form the official opposition. President Hosni Mubarak learned that lesson well. In the last election, no Brotherhood-backed candidates won -- not a single seat in an election where votes were more creatively counted by Mr. Mubarak's administration.
In Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood rejected an invitation to join the cabinet, saying it is not as important as the nature of the changes it brings. In other words, if the new government -- and King Abdullah remains the absolute ruler -- "does not deliver on promises of quick reforms," the Brothers' hands are untied if the revolution comes.
Revolution in Jordan seems unlikely at the moment. Revolution in Egypt, the home of the Muslim Brotherhood, seems imminent if President Hosni Mubarak will not resign before the elections scheduled for later this year, and if the groups demanding his resignation cannot form an opposition more credible than the Muslim Brotherhood.
While the Brotherhood tries to distance itself today from its terrorist cousins in al-Qaida, Hezbollah and Hamas, it is useful to remember this is the same organization that routinely murdered Western tourists in Egypt in the 1970s and 1980s, is still linked with terrorist organizations in Sudan, Yemen and Syria and is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. As they sit down at the table with Mr. Mubarak's government and the Muslim Brotherhood, the real Egyptian opposition, the people who have forced this situation, who have won the hour in the streets of Cairo, must realize now is the time to seize the day, to take tomorrow out of the hands of not only Hosni Mubarak, but of Muhammad Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood as well.