From Egypt, information was received about the readiness of Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Jamaat) organization to resume its political life. After the seizure of power by General Sisi, the party was excluded from the politics of Egypt because of the unification with the Muslim Brotherhood against the military junta.

At the current stage, the leaders of the "Jamaat" declare the fallacy of their previous positions (namely, ties with the "Brotherhood"), they are ready to engage in a dialogue with the military dictatorship and are trying to achieve legitimacy in domestic politics.

In general, this behavior of the Islamic organization is understandable: the disillusionment of the alliance with the Ikhwans has played a role, and the inability to make effective political decisions due to backwardness in the analytic sphere (the same applies to all the Islamic groups in Egypt). But still no one wants to vegetate on the sidelines of history. Therefore, "Jamaat" uses all the available options to participate in political life, provided by the junta - including "local elections".

(The elections in Egypt as such are the result of the junta's maneuvers in foreign and domestic policy, it is a game of "democracy" for the West – outside the country, the continuation of the policy of weakening the Ikhwans by opposing one another - inside the country).

The main reasons for the retreat of the "Jamaat" from the Ikhwans still are personal disputes, rather than the shadow influence of the junta or the intrigues of a foreign enemy.

Thus, it became known that Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya immediately abandoned the alliance with the “Brothers” after the statement of the deputy head of the Ikhwans, made in the British House of Commons, in which he accused "Jamaat" of "incitement to violence" (in fact, there was no call to violence against the army indeed).

Retreat from the Ikhwans and overture with the junta can be considered as an attempt to play the game in their own way. Under the conditions in which the Jamaat is forced to act, it may be a temporary solution for the crisis that has overwhelmed the organization, but how effective the members of the movement will use the new tactics is not clear yet. It should be kept in mind that at any time the dictatorship of generals can sacrifice another victim from the Islamic opposition of Egypt to better relations with the West. The ritual "fight against terrorism", as well as "the fight against Iranian influence" is traditionally used by Arab dictators as a qualitative credit in relations with imperialism. Therefore, the current attempts to build a new paradigm of relationships can easily collapse like a card-castle, and the Islamic Jamaat as a hostage to the situation hardly can change and reform something.

Have the Ikhwans become a burden?

We can see how the connection with the “Muslim Brotherhood”, whether ideological (Hamas) or tactical (Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya*), starts having "inferiority" nature. The main reason lies in the inability of the Ikhwans to pragmatic politics and ideological stagnation: to put it simply, the lack of development in all the spheres, except for social work for the benefit of the population, played a role. Plus the ignorance to the advice of the Allies had a negative effect, which subsequently had a very painful impact on the party - both in domestic and in foreign politics. But if the issue with the "ignorance" is generally acceptable, then the collapse of ideas is visible to the naked eye. The Ikhwans could not progress and were "stuck" at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. There is no need to talk about any analysis of the situation or the image of the future.

Additionally the revolutionary zeal of the party exhausted itself immediately after the statement "we are the Egyptians", when they openly abstracted from the uprising of the Arab masses. Some will regard this behavior as "cowardice", others will say: "Ikhwans are not politicians, and even less are revolutionaries." Both of these statements are true. But the main reason for the failure of Ikhwanism is still in the retreat from the original principles of the legendary Hasan Al-Banna and moving to more "liberal" position [1]. If the unwillingness to take the lead in the revolutionary struggle can still be explained by the lack of experience in such a sphere, the refusal to protect the people and even their own community by preventing the creation of a combat organization cannot withstand any criticism.

(By the way, there is a version about the parasitic influence of the British agents on the Ikhwans since the birth of the organization, if this fact is confirmed, then much will become clear. On the other hand, it is also known that the Egyptian regime used the “Islamic Jamaat” as a barrier preventing the spread of left ideas. Moreover, it is also known that one of the main ideologists of the organization, Abboud al-Zumar, had been a military intelligence officer prior to his imprisonment on a false charge of murdering dictator Sadat. He was released after the revolution in 2011.

There is an opinion that the junta, which has an extensive network in all the layers of the Egyptian community, deliberately allowed the "Jamaat"* to revive its activities, and, by activating the "old" ties in the organization, tries to play it off against the "Brotherhood". Despite the influence of Western intelligence agencies, the tyranny of the Gulf and the local junta, Islamic organizations should look for the cause of the failure primarily in themselves.

[1] Hamas should carefully study the situation of the Egyptian Ikhwans: in case of a complete retreat from the principles of the late Sheik Yassin, the Palestinian organization is going to face something similar.

At the moment of becoming a registered political organization, the Egyptian Ikhwans, after successful internal work with the population, received even more support after the formation of groups of volunteers and sending them to the battle for Palestine in 1948-1949. In other words, the "Islamic democrats" and the Ikhwas, who positioned themselves primarily as a public organization, nevertheless had a military wing and a ramified apparatus of strategic planning, since the call to fight the occupation spread throughout the ummah. However, the assassination of Hassan al-Banna and the wave of repression against the Islamic movement knocked down  the brotherhood, and its leaders decided to turn to the path of struggle under "democratic rules." The result was the square of Rabia drenched in blood of the supporters of the Ikhwans and the rout of the organization.

This is the just outcome of the rejection of "revolutionism" and its identity as a combat organization (immediately after the end of the war with the Zionists, the fighting wing ceased to exist under the pressure of the Egyptian authorities).

Let us recall that something similar happened to Hamas. A shift towards "democratism", a retreat from the Axis of Resistance, readiness to recognize the Zionist state within the borders of 1967, pressure on its own military wing - all this took place, but the coming to power of Yahya Sinvar - one of the founders of the "Brigades al-Kassam" stopped these processes, in the future we will see whether the "old school" politician will manage to keep the main core of Hamas and will not allow "moderate sentiments", in fact, to "castrate" this movement.


Damir Nazarov is a Russian journalist, residing in the city of Tyumen.