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Interview with Writer of the US Advice to MB
Interview with Writer of the US Advice to MB
Marc Lynch, Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington university in the US capital, wrote in the last issue of the periodical "Foreign Policy"- issue of September and October- a memo directed to the Muslim Brotherhood"s (MB) chairman, Mohamed Mahdi Akef, in what can be described as a US recipe to be able to hold a dialogue with the United States.
Saturday, September 1,2007 19:07
by Mohamed Al Menshawi
Marc Lynch, Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington university in the US capital, wrote in the last issue of the periodical "Foreign Policy"- issue of September and October- a memo directed to the Muslim Brotherhood"s (MB) chairman, Mohamed Mahdi Akef, in what can be described as a US recipe to be able to hold a dialogue with the United States. The memo was analyzed by the Egyptian newspapers, Al-Masri Al-Yom and Al-Ahram hebdo. Lynch advised Mahdi Akef to necessarily adopt a cautious strategy in contacting and talking with the United States. The writer focused on several points, foremost among which are :
 
- That he should watch out what he says and to abandon  ambiguity. The writer advised the MB chairman to necessarily be clear as much as the foreign policy of the Muslim Brotherhood and its attitude towards Hamas attacks against Israel are concerned. The writer drew the attention of the Muslim Brotherhood chairman twards what the MB and the United States have in common, including democratization and fighting Islamic extremist movements .
 
- Speak in Arabic because "the Americans pay more attention to what you say in Arabic. The writer advised the Muslim Brotherhood not to be entrapped or shown as turning its back to the democratic process", a trap which some in the United States want to show the MB in. Hamas movement win in the Palestinian elections and the West"s unrecognizing its should not be taken a pretext for refusing the peaceful democratic process.
 
- Applying democracy inside the Muslim Brotherhood group, allowing more freedoms, and encouraging a generation of youth inside the group to have a free expression of speech.
Marc Lynch sees that president Hosni Mubarak"s regime suffers from a painful headache embodied in the Muslim Brotherhood group not only because the MB uses of a more moderate and pragmatist discourse, but because the United States started to take positive steps towards the group, citing the initiative of the US embassy when it broke a taboo and invited the MB parliamentary bloc leader to a reception party for US congressmen in Cairo.
 
The following is Washington report"s interview with Marc Lynch.
 
Washington report:
How has it struck you to write a memo directed to the Muslim Brotherhood"s chairman, Mohamed Mahdi Akef on "Foreign policy"?
 
Marc Lynch: The idea came from "Foreign Policy" magazine editors. There is a section allocated for sending a memo to an influential international leader. They decided in this issue to send the memo to the Muslim Brotherhood chairman. I wrote it fully without any intervention from the magazine editors.
 
Washington report:
How was the reaction towards your memo. Have you received any response from the US administration or Congress?
 
Marc Lynch: I haven"t received any reaction from US officials although I know that many officials read the memo and discussed it among them.
 
Washington report:
Have you received any reaction from the Egyptian government or the Muslim Brotherhood group?
 
Marc Lynch: No response came to me from the Muslim Brotherhood or the Egyptian government although I know that they have read it after it was published in Arabic.
 
Washington report
How can the Muslim Brotherhood chairman engage in a dialogue with the US administration?
 
Marc Lynch: I am not sure whether a dialogue can be held with the MB chairman in such a level. I do not expect that President George Bush will sit with Mohamed Mahdi Akef, although it is reasonable that dialogues can be held with the State Secretary officials and other non-governmental academics, journalists and think tanks.
 
Washington report
Do you think that the US administration should necessarily speak with the various opposition groups in Arab countries?
 
Marc Lynch: Yes, as this dialogue is in line with pragmatic diplomacy and political principles. This is because the United States should, if it believes in democracy, be ready to interact with any political movement that addresses the main commitments towards freedom and democracy and rejects violence. We maintain good relations with the opposition parties in US-allied democratic countries. We should do the same with opposition parties in Arab countries which are allied to us.
 
Washington report
The rate of enmity against the United States is so high in Egypt. Why do you ask the Muslim Brotherhood chairman to jeopardize his public support inside and outside Egypt if he talks with the US administration?
 
Marc Lynch: This is a good question. If the Muslim Brotherhood manages to persuade the United States that it is committed to the democratic process and fights extremism, the United States can prevent the Egyptian government from maintaining the systematic repression against the Muslim Brotherhood. I do not think that such a pragmatic relation won"t deprive each party of their supporters. 
 
Washington report
Who cares for listening to the Muslim Brotherhood in Washington?
 
Marc Lynch: Many in Washington are interested in the Muslim Brotherhood"s ability to be a moderate Islamic power for two reasons:
First: Fighting extremist radical movements
Second: Because it is the biggest opposition group that can not be neglected in case there is a real democracy. However, many experts in Washington still see the Muslim Brotherhood group as a group that backs or sympathizes with terrorism or sympathizes with it . Therefore, this theory will have so much opposition.
 
Washington report
Do you think that the Muslim Brotherhood chairman will listen to and implement your advices?
 
Marc Lynch: We will see. The Muslim Brotherhood"s insistence on establishing political party rules is promising, but we should remember that the dialogue may fail and may lead to a fact that there is no common ground to cooperate or common interests between the United States and the Muslim Brotherhood. However, both parties should give a chance to this dialogue.
 
Washington report
What about your weblog and its visitors?, is it enjoying an interest in Arab countries?
 
Marc Lynch: There are about 2000 surfers to it everyday, including many government officials, journalists and academics. There are many Arab readers from Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf region.
 
Finally
Marc Lynch got his PhD from Cornel university in New York, and he has several books, the latest of which is entitled:" Voices of the new Arab audience: Iraq, the peninsula and the changing Middle East", published by Colombia university. He has also a weblog interested in world and Middle East affairs and politics
 http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/
 
As for "Foreign Policy" magazine. It is one of the most influential magazines in the US foreign policies. It distributes more than 100 thousand copies of its English version, in addition to its translations into Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, French, Portuguese and Bulgarian,. The periodical is distributed all over the world.  
tags: US / MB / Akef / Marc Lynch / Hamas
Posted in MB in International press , Interviews  
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