Rollback on Muslim Brotherhood Ban a Hopeful Sign Of Progress in Egypt
After all of the escalating turmoil faced in the Middle East, Egypt may have finally found their Hail Mary. The interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi has just stated that Egypt should not ban the Muslim Brotherhood. This has been the first evidence of the state's softened rhetoric against the organization after the secular-leaning army's overthrow of democratically elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. If the government decides to not exclude the Brotherhood in the political process, they may thankfully open the door to healthy and peaceful governmental discussion rather than hyper-escalated physical violence to settle issues of law.
In fact, this sudden 180° spin in behavior has only added to speculation that the current government is planning on initiating a possible political settlement to the country's crisis, not only easing the lives of those in the country, but the minds of those countries intently watching on the international stage. Hazem el-Beblawi's original idea was actually proposed to the minister of social affairs in August, and argued that the Muslim Brotherhood, the Arab world's oldest and arguably best organized Islamist group, should be dissolved.
However, this week, Beblawi said in an interview with state new agency MENA that the government would instead monitor the group and its political wing. He aptly noted that, "Dissolving the party or the group is not the solution and it is wrong to make decisions in turbulent situations." In particular, the government is looking to avoid having the Brotherhood forced to "act in secret."
At this point, the actions of its members would determine its fate, and whether the government will continue their options for peace talks or if Egypt will continue to be mired in civil conflict. Unfortunately, as radical as the Brotherhood is to many, the group has gained popularity beyond the religious public by functioning as a charitable network since 1928 and even through their outlawed time during the 29-year rule of Hosni Mubarak
The legally registered political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, has won all five national votes held since 2011, including Mohamed Morsi's election as president last year. As such, the organization represents a portion of the public who are looking for peaceful reconciliation with the secular military government. Since Morsi's ousting, more than 1,000 people, including about 100 police and soldiers, have been killed in the worst bout of violence in Egypt's modern history.
The military-backed interim government has announced that their next steps include passing a new constitution, followed by calling parliamentary and presidential elections within months. Though the expected peace talks may not last in the long term, the hope is that a calmer approach to discussion may lead to a productive and progressive new regime.