Fouad Ajami: What to Expect From the Muslim Brotherhood

Roundup: Historians' Take

Fouad Ajami is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the author most recently of The Syrian Rebellion, just published by Hoover Press.

With the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate in the presidential election, Egyptian history can be said to have closed a circle. This "Second Republic" marks a return to that tumultuous time, six decades ago, when the military officers overthrew the monarchy in 1952 and announced the birth of a new order.

Two forces inherited the wreckage of the Egyptian monarchy: the officer corps and the Muslim Brotherhood. For a fleeting moment, the Brothers thought the men in uniform were their allies. They dubbed the military seizure "the blessed movement." But the coup makers had a different script in mind. The Muslim Brotherhood would come in for decades of repression.

Mohammed Morsi, the president-elect set to be handed the reins of power on June 30, has done time in prison and is now poised to be his country's first civilian president. Ever since its founding in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood yearned for power as it ran afoul of the authoritarian state. Its adherents dreamt of and agitated for an Islamic state even as its sly leaders understood the limitations imposed by the poverty of Egypt, its need for the kindness of strangers, reliance on foreign aid and the revenues of tourism...

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