The era of the Muslim Brotherhood

The political history of the modern Middle East can easily be divided into three eras. In 1952, a military coup in Egypt signaled the start of the period in which radical Arab nationalism dominated. The 1979 Iranian revolution began the challenge of revolutionary Islamism. And then, in 2011, in the wake of more revolutions, Arab nationalism collapsed completely.

In most of the Arab world we are now in the era of the Muslim Brotherhood. Finally, there is a new “Middle East,” but instead of being directed by moderation, peace, and a hunger for material prosperity, it is dominated by Islamists determined to transform their own societies and to conquer the region for their cause.

The Muslim Brotherhood is overwhelmingly the most powerful organization in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Tunisia, and very probably Libya, where its branches will control the governments. In Jordan, the brotherhood leads the opposition; in Syria, it plays an important role in the revolutionary upheaval.

There is much talk in the West, but little in the Middle East where people know it best, about how the brotherhood is becoming more moderate. Yet there is remarkably little evidence for this claim. Only self-serving statements by brotherhood leaders to Western journalists and governments make claims that the brotherhood has rejected its radical past and extremist ideology....

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