- May 12, 2009
MB and the Question of Inherited Succession
There are no documented statistics on the exact size of the MB in Egypt. Some estimate the number of its members to be around 2 million as opposed to 15 million following different Sufi paths. The MB, however, say that their size doesn’t exceed 20% of the Egyptian voting force.
I believe, actually, that the MB isn’t exaggerating in its estimation of its political size and popular weight as the statements issued by its leadership on this matter are pretty moderate and reasonable. The question about the weight of the MB is one of great merit rather than triviality, and probably the movement is aware of the real meaning behind it. Probably the first of these merits, which such questions target, is the question of “inherited succession” and the MB’s position on it. Moreover, the word “position” is not sufficient to shed light on the details of the practices actually implied by the word as some believe that the movement has the ability to “prevent” this inherited succession, which is an exaggerated belief.
I was impressed with Dr. Mohamed Habib’s reply to a question on this matter, in a symposium held by El-Shuruq moderated by our fellow Diaa Rashwan, when Habib said that there was a difference between “opposing” inherited succession and “preventing” it. It was clear by the response of the MB’s second man that they the movement was just like any other Egyptian political force having no option other than “refusal” and that they are unable to “prevent” anything unless backed by widespread mass support.
The movement alone, therefore, will not do anything, and the problem is in whoever requests the MB to prevent inherited succession as it is in those who call on Obama to bet on Egyptian political forces rather than the Egyptian regime.
In the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy’s annual conference recently held in Washington, the Muslim representative in the American Congress, Keith Allison, said that Obama, like any other politician, will not respond except to the party which possesses an organized force practicing pressure on him.
According to Allison, Obama isn’t moving in a vacuum but rather within a system controlling all institutions possessing organized forces. Therefore, he doesn’t look at forces whose relative weights don’t encourage him to venture in with his system. Probably, the only organized force enjoying unmatched wide and popular support in Egypt is the Sufist force comprising of 15 million Egyptians who owe obedience to it. This may explain America’s unprecedented concern with Sufis in Egypt.
As for the MB in Egypt and confrontation of the inherited succession scenario, America doesn’t see in the Egyptian political opposition parties but a political vacuum which doesn’t encourage it to venture much with confronting the state via these parties which enjoy neither political nor popular weight that would represent some form of a credit line to protect the MB on the one hand and guarantee the achievement of hindering inherited succession on the other hand. So, the final benefit from the current situation of Egypt would be zero which allows the Egyptian regime to go on in its scenario of passing down power the way it pleases without incurring any high costs for its action.
This is the most suitable explanation of the true number and sizes of forces in Egypt. Therefore, bearing the MB the sole responsibility of “confronting inherited succession” will be, no doubt, an unjust request lacking in objectivity and further useless agitation of the movement.