Muslim Brotherhood | Power & Policy

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Egypt’s Economic Winter

By Ben W. Heineman Jr. (This article first appeared on, where Ben Heineman writes frequently) The international media have made a huge story out of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s power-consolidating decrees and the balloting on his proposed constitution. How … Continue reading >

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Why Egypt’s Economy Matters

By Ben W. Heineman Jr. Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Note: This commentary first appeared on The economy was an important cause of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow. The Mubarak regime failed to deal with … Continue reading >

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The Power of the Ikhwan

Sitting on the sidelines as students and workers poured into Tahrir Square for the initial demonstrations that ultimately brought down Hosni Mubarak were the well organized cells of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, known in Arabic as the brothers, or the Ikhwan. Their leadership decided to hold back and see what developed in the protests. Why?

Among the many reasons considered by the Ikhwan leaders was probably the simple fact that the protesters in the square were not their people.  Many of the protesters were secular democrats, some were even Coptic Christians. A large number were women. The Ikhwan has always stood for an Islamic religious state, where the government would enforce strict interpretations of Islamic law, not a place for secularists, Christians, or activist women. For decades their view of democracy had been as one possible means to gain power, but in the sense that the Algerian Islamists viewed elections: “one man, one vote, one time.”

When it was clear, however, that the Egyptian movement was powerful and might succeed, the Ikhwan joined in. They were invited to the table to negotiate with Mubarak’s Vice President. After Mubarak fell, they were invited to appoint a representative on the new committee to recommend constitutional change.
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Values, Emotions and Strategy on the Nile

The Power & Policy Fellows’ Forum By Chuck Freilich We all rejoice when dictators fall and the prospects for democracy flourish. What has happened in Egypt and Tunisia is a regional earthquake and it may be far from over. An … Continue reading >

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Religious actors can be democratizers

With news of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepping down, the key question becomes “who will govern Egypt?” Although Mubarak has handed power over to the military, there is still the possibility that other actors, including the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), could … Continue reading >

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