The Rise and Fall of the Muslim Brotherhood

My latest piece in The Nation about the rise of the conservative wing within the Muslim Brotherhood and what options the movement has after the overthrow of Morsi:

It took the Muslim Brotherhood eighty-five years to reach the pinnacle of its power in Egypt—culminating in the inauguration last year of one its members, Mohamed Morsi, as the country’s first elected president—only for the group to lose it all twelve months later.

After a wave of popular anger led to an unprecedented mass mobilization on June 30, opening the door for Morsi’s sudden overthrow in a military coup, the Brotherhood went from controlling the presidency, the legislature and the cabinet to finding itself thrust out of office, its members protesting in the streets and hounded by security forces.

This was neither predicted nor preordained. Although it faced immediate political opposition upon winning at the ballot box, along with a declining economy and stiff resistance within the judiciary and state bureaucracy, critics largely blame the Brotherhood’s precipitous fall on the organization’s unilateral decision-making and an exclusionary style of governance—marked by hubris and a winner-take-all logic—that left it politically alienated, engendering open hostility from most sectors of Egyptian society.

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