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Cablegate: Egypt's Muslim Brothers - Part 2: A Popular

P 211120Z JUN 01
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1939
INFO ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 CAIRO 003757

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/20/2005
TAGS: KISL PGOV PTER EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT'S MUSLIM BROTHERS - PART 2: A POPULAR
POLITICAL FORCE

REF: CAIRO 3303

CLASSIFIED BY DCM RENO HARNISH FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).

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SUMMARY
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1. (C) IN THIS, THE SECOND OF TWO CABLES ON EGYPT'S MUSLIM
BROTHERHOOD (MB), WE LOOK AT THE BANNED MOVEMENT'S POPULARITY
AND ITS SOURCES. DESPITE INTERNAL TENSIONS AND IMPRISONMENT
OF THE MOST DYNAMIC OF ITS YOUNG LEADERS SINCE THE
MID-1990'S, THE MB HAS ENJOYED AN UPSURGE IN POPULARITY,
WINNING 17 PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY (PA) SEATS IN THE FALL 2000
ELECTIONS AND A RETURN TO THE BOARD OF THE BAR SYNDICATE IN
FEBRUARY ELECTIONS. REASONS FOR THEIR POPULARITY ARE MANY;
AMONG THEM ARE PERCEPTIONS THAT THEY ARE NOT CORRUPT, THEY
ARE THE ONLY REAL POLITICAL OPPOSITION TO THE GOVERNMENT AND
RULING NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY, AND THAT THEY HAVE AN
EFFECTIVE ORGANIZATION AND DISCIPLINED MEMBERSHIP.

2. (C) PUBLIC OUTREACH TO ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS HAS
INCREASED MB POPULARITY WHICH IS STRONGEST AMONG THE POOR.
BUT THEY ARE NOT UNIVERSALLY RESPECTED. INTELLECTUALS -
WHETHER SECULAR OR RELIGIOUS - MISTRUST THE GROUP AND
QUESTION ITS POLITICAL VIABILITY IN A DEMOCRACY AND ITS
RELIGIOUS CREDENTIALS. DETRACTORS CLAIM THERE IS CORRUPTION
WITHIN MB RANKS AND CONTINUE TO SUSPECT THAT IT HAS A
CAPACITY FOR VIOLENCE.

3. (C) MB INDEPENDENTS ELECTED TO THE PA LAST FALL TRIED
BRIEFLY TO COEXIST WITH THE GOVERNMENT, BUT THE EFFORT WAS
SHORT-LIVED. IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS, THE MB HAVE TAKEN ON
KEY GOVERNMENT MINISTERS DURING PA SESSIONS AND HAVE AROUSED
PUBLIC SENTIMENT WITH THEIR STRONG ANTI-GOVERNMENT POSITIONS
ON DOMESTIC AND REGIONAL ISSUES, PARTICULARLY THOSE RELATING
TO ISRAEL AND STRIDENT SUPPORT FOR THE PALESTINIANS. THE
GOVERNMENT HAS RESPONDED, MAKING CLEAR THAT IT, NOT THE MB,
IS SETTING THE POLITICAL AGENDA. END SUMMARY

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POPULAR REACTIONS TO THE MB
---------------------------

4. (C) DESPITE GOVERNMENT REPRESSION AND THEIR OWN INTERNAL
PROBLEMS (SEE REFTEL) IN RECENT YEARS, EGYPT'S MUSLIM
BROTHERS (MB) ARE ENJOYING AN UPSURGE IN POPULARITY. THEIR
SUCCESS IN THE FALL 2000 PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY (PA) ELECTIONS,
ALBEIT AS INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES, AND IN THE LAWYERS'
SYNDICATE ELECTIONS IN FEBRUARY, ATTEST TO THIS. DESPITE AN
INTENSIVE CAMPAIGN OF ARRESTS AND HARASSMENT, OF 40 MB
INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES FOR THE PA, 17 WON SEATS. IN THE
LAWYERS' SYNDICATE ELECTIONS MB CANDIDATES WON 8 OF 24 SEATS
ON THE BOARD. IN AN ERA OF PERCEIVED VAST CORRUPTION, HIGH
UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH AND PRIVILEGES,
AND OF ECONOMIC DOWNTURN, THE MB ARE GAINING GROUND. MANY
EGYPTIANS SYMPATHIZE WITH THE SIMPLE, DIRECT MESSAGE, "ISLAM
IS THE SOLUTION," AS WELL AS WITH THE IMAGES IT PROJECTS
REGARDING ITS PURITY OF RELIGIOUS VALUES AND THE PROVISION OF
SOCIAL SERVICES. ACCORDING TO ITS LEADERS, THE MB ADVOCATE
STRONGER ISLAMIC INFLUENCE IN SOCIETY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE.
INTERESTED IN THE COMMON WELFARE OF THE AVERAGE EGYPTIAN,
THEY PROJECT THEMSELVES AND ARE PERCEIVED BY MANY AS THE
ANTITHESIS OF A CORRUPT, WEALTHY, SECULAR RULING ELITE.

5. (C) WHILE MANY, PARTICULARLY AMONG THE POOREST, BELIEVE
THE MB SINCERE IN ITS OBJECTIVES, MANY ISLAMIST AND SECULAR
INTELLECTUALS WITH WHOM WE SPOKE BELIEVE THE SIMPLICITY OF
THEIR MESSAGE CONCEALS A POLICY VACUUM AT BEST, OR NEFARIOUS
INTENTIONS AT WORST. ANTI-MB INTELLECTUALS CLAIM THAT THE
ORGANIZATION IS POISED AT ANY OPPORTUNE MOMENT TO USE
VIOLENCE TO ACHIEVE ITS OBJECTIVES. TOO LITTLE, THEY SAY, IS
KNOWN ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION'S STRUCTURE AND POLITICS (SEE
REFTEL). FOR INSTANCE, WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF THE MB
GOVERNING BOARD AND WHAT DECISIONS ARE THEY MAKING? LITTLE
IS KNOWN ABOUT THE SIZE AND COMPOSITION OF ITS MEMBERSHIP AND
LESS ABOUT THEIR STRATEGY FOR SPREADING MB INFLUENCE AND
IDEAS IN EGYPTIAN SOCIETY.

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THE ONLY OPPOSITION IN TOWN
---------------------------

6. (C) AFTER THE GOVERNMENT'S TARGETING OF THE MB IN 1994
AND 1995, THE ORGANIZATION EFFECTIVELY WENT UNDERGROUND UNTIL
2000 WHEN SOME OF THE TOP YOUNG LEADERS WERE RELEASED FROM
PRISON. ONE ACADEMIC ARGUED THAT THE MB HAD TO SHOW ITS FACE
TO SURVIVE. "THEY HAD NO CHOICE. THEY NEEDED TO PROVE THAT
THE CRACKDOWN HAS NOT BROKEN THEM AND THAT THEY CONTINUE TO
EXIST AS A VIABLE MOVEMENT." DESPITE THE PRE-ELECTION
CRACKDOWN, THE MB PROVIDED DISCIPLINED SUPPORT TO ITS
CANDIDATES IN THE FALL 2000 PA ELECTIONS, UNLIKE OTHER
PARTIES INCLUDING THE RULING NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (NDP).

7. (C) THE MB'S INFLUENCE WAS AMPLIFIED BY THE LACK OF A
SECULAR OPPOSITION POLITICAL MOVEMENT IN EGYPT WHICH
CONSTITUTED A CREDIBLE POLITICAL ALTERNATIVE TO THE RULING
PARTY AT ELECTION TIME. ACADEMICS ESTIMATE THE POLITICALLY
ACTIVE SECTOR OF THIS SOCIETY RANGES BETWEEN 2-8%, DEPENDING
UPON THE TIME (E.G. ELECTIONS) AND THE ISSUE (E.G.
CORRUPTION). IN THE FALL 2000 PA ELECTIONS, MB CANDIDATES
CAPTURED THE POPULAR TIDE OF VOTES AGAINST THE (RULING) NDP
IN THE SMALL NUMBER OF DISTRICTS WHERE THEY FIELDED
CANDIDATES. DESPITE MANY ARRESTS, HARSH TREATMENT OF MB
MEMBERS AND SYMPATHIZERS AND ITS STATUS AS AN ILLEGAL PARTY,
THE 40 MB CANDIDATES RUNNING AS "INDEPENDENTS" MANAGED TO WIN
17 PA SEATS. THEY RECENTLY CINCHED ONE-THIRD (8) OF THE
BOARD SEATS IN THE EGYPTIAN BAR SYNDICATE IN ITS FIRST
ELECTIONS SINCE 1992. THEY CONTINUE TO HAVE SIGNIFICANT
INFLUENCE IN ALL EGYPTIAN LABOR AND PROFESSIONAL SYNDICATES,
MANY HOLDING SEATS ON UNION BOARDS FROZEN FOR THAT VERY
REASON BY THE GOVERNMENT IN 1996. WHILE NO MB POPULARITY
POLLS HAVE BEEN CONDUCTED, ESTIMATES THAT THEY COULD GAIN 20
TO 30 PERCENT OF PARLIAMENTARY SEATS IN A FREE AND FAIR
ELECTION SEEM PLAUSIBLE.

--------------------------------------------
STRONG POLITICAL ORGANIZATION AND DISCIPLINE
--------------------------------------------

8. (C) IN THE FALL 2000 PA ELECTIONS AND AGAIN IN THE BAR
SYNDICATE IN FEBRUARY, THE MB DEMONSTRATED BETTER
ORGANIZATION AND MORE PARTY DISCIPLINE THAN OTHER PARTIES AND
CANDIDATES. A FORMER DIRECTOR OF STATE SECURITY TOLD "ROSE
EL YOUSSEF" MAGAZINE ON APRIL 21, 2001 THAT THE VICTORY OF
THE MB IN THE PA ELECTIONS "WAS NOT A RESULT OF THEIR
STRENGTH IN PROPAGATING THEIR IDEOLOGY, BUT (WAS) A RESULT OF
THE PASSIVENESS AND LACK OF ORGANIZATION OF OTHER FORCES ON
THE POLITICAL SCENE." NDP AND OPPOSITION PARTY OFFICIALS
HAVE COME TO THE SAME REALIZATION. ISLAMIC AND SECULAR
INTELLECTUALS DOUBT THAT WERE THE MB TO GAIN A SIGNIFICANT
NUMBER OF SEATS IN THE PARLIAMENT THAT THEY WOULD BE
REELECTED TO SECOND TERMS, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO MEANINGFUL
MESSAGE. THE GOVERNMENT PREVENTED THEM FROM RUNNING IN THE
SHURA COUNCIL (UPPER HOUSE) ELECTIONS HELD MAY 16-JUNE 12 BY
ARRESTING CANDIDATES AND SUPPORTERS IN PRE-ELECTION SWEEPS, A
RE-PLAY OF STEPS TAKEN BEFORE THE PA ELECTIONS. OF A
POSSIBLE 20 INDEPENDENT MB CANDIDATES, ONLY ONE REMAINED BY
ELECTION TIME TO RUN FOR A SHURA COUNCIL SEAT. HE DID NOT
WIN. THE SUCCESS OF THE MB WHEN IT IS PERMITTED TO RUN IS
DUE IN PART TO THE INABILITY OF THE RULING AND OPPOSITION
PARTIES TO ORGANIZE OR IMPROVE PARTY DISCIPLINE AND TO PUT
FORWARD POPULAR CANDIDATES.

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OUTREACH KEY TO POPULARITY
--------------------------

9. (U) MUSLIM BROTHERS' OUTREACH IS DIRECTED TOWARDS THE
POOR BUT THEIR SERVICES ARE NOT LIMITED ONLY TO THE POOR.
THEY ARE ACTIVELY DELIVERING EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND LEGAL
SERVICES TO THOSE WHO CAN AFFORD IT. THEY ARE INVOLVED IN
ALL THE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS (SYNDICATES) AND ARE THE
BACKBONE OF THE EGYPTIAN MEDICAL AND TEACHERS' SYNDICATES.
WITHIN THE SYNDICATES THEY HAVE REACHED OUT TO A BROAD
AUDIENCE, BY FOR INSTANCE, OFFERING MEMBERS REDUCED PRICE
MEDICAL COVERAGE. IN THE JOURNALISTS' SYNDICATE, THE MB
HELPED MEMBERS TO GET INCREASED BENEFITS INCLUDING SUBSIDIZED
HOUSING AND CREDIT CARDS (WITH A US$1,500 LIMIT), A BENEFIT
VIEWED VERY POSITIVELY EVEN BY ANTI-MB JOURNALISTS.

10. (U) DOCTORS AND NURSES PROVIDE INEXPENSIVE, SOMETIMES
FREE MEDICAL CARE TO THE POOR FOR WHOM THERE ARE NO OR
INSUFFICIENT GOVERNMENT SERVICES. WHILE THE MB SOMETIMES
OPERATE MEDICAL CLINICS AT MOSQUES, THE LACK OF INFORMATION
ABOUT WHO IS ACTUALLY AN MB MEMBER HAS SOMETIMES RESULTED IN
BENEFICIARIES THINKING THE MB HAS HELPED THEM WHEN IT HAS
NOT. THE MB-DOMINATED DOCTORS' SYNDICATE HAS MADE IT
POSSIBLE FOR MEMBERS OF ALL SYNDICATES TO OBTAIN REASONABLY
PRICED HEALTH INSURANCE. THE MB REPORTEDLY PROVIDES
STIPENDS, COVERING LIVING AND BOOK EXPENSES, TO POOR MB
STUDENTS AT UNIVERSITIES. MB SHOP OWNERS PROVIDE SUBSIDIZED,
SOMETIMES FREE, FOOD AND CLOTHING TO THE NEEDY IN
IMPOVERISHED AREAS. THE MB IS FILLING A GAP IN A SOCIETY
WITH FEW GOVERNMENT SERVICES AND POOR ADMINISTRATION OF THOSE
THAT EXIST.

11. (C) MANY KNOWN MUSLIM BROTHER LEADERS ARE FROM EDUCATED,
SOMETIMES WEALTHY FAMILY BACKGROUNDS. THE LEADERS ARE
INVOLVED IN MOST ASPECTS OF PROFESSIONAL AND COMMERCIAL LIFE
IN EGYPT: MEDICINE, LAW, ENGINEERING, EDUCATION, AND
BUSINESS, FROM SMALL STORES AND BASIC SERVICES TO HEADING
LARGE COMPANIES. A LARGE AMOUNT OF THEIR FINANCING IS
THOUGHT TO COME FROM ABROAD, PRINCIPALLY FROM SAUDI SOURCES,
INTERESTED IN PROMOTING A MORE CONSERVATIVE RELIGIOUS TREND
IN EGYPT.

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CONTROVERSY ABOUNDS
-------------------

12. (C) THE MB'S POPULAR IMAGE IS NOT WITHOUT CONTROVERSY.
WHEN THE BAR SYNDICATE WAS JUDICIALLY SEQUESTERED IN 1996, IT
WAS ON THE BASIS OF A COMPLAINT BY NON-MB LAWYERS THAT MB
SYNDICAL LEADERS WERE DISPENSING THE SYNDICATE'S CONTRACTS
AND LOANS TO MB SUPPORTERS, CHANNELING EMPLOYMENT
OPPORTUNITIES AND PROFITS TO MB COMPANIES. (IN THIS WAY,
THEIR OPERATIONS MIRRORED THAT OF THE RULING PARTY.)
NONETHELESS, THEY ARE BROADLY PERCEIVED AS MORE HONEST THAN
THE RULING NDP.

13. (C) ONE PROFESSOR ASKED RHETORICALLY, "THINGS ARE SO
BAD, COULD THEY (THE MB) REALLY BE ANY WORSE?" A WELL-KNOWN
ISLAMIST LAWYER HOWEVER, TAKES ISSUE WITH THAT CONTENTION,
"THEIR POPULARITY RESTS ON A SLOGAN... THEY HAVE NO ANSWERS,
NO SOLUTIONS TO EGYPT'S VERY REAL PROBLEMS (PARTICULARLY) THE
ECONOMIC CRISIS - THE MOST SERIOUS OF EGYPT'S PROBLEMS," HE
STRESSED. ANALYSIS OF MB ACTIVITIES IN THE PA, HE AND OTHERS
SAY, SUPPORTS THE CLAIM THAT THE MB HAS NO SOLUTIONS. "THE
MB IS ABSORBED WITH PAROCHIAL, RELIGIOUS ISSUES RATHER THAN
ISSUES OF NATIONAL CONSEQUENCE," A POLITICAL SCIENCE
PROFESSOR ASSESSED. AN NDP PA MEMBER COMMENTED THAT MB
MEMBERS ARE COMPLETELY IGNORANT OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES,
CONSEQUENTLY WASTING A GREAT DEAL OF THE ASSEMBLY'S TIME.

-----------------------------------
REGIONAL ISSUES WORK IN THEIR FAVOR
-----------------------------------

14. (C) REGIONAL POLITICS HAVE BOLSTERED THE MB'S IMAGE.
RISING DISCONTENT OVER ISRAEL'S TREATMENT OF THE PALESTINIANS
AND WHAT IS PERCEIVED AS A HALF-HEARTED RESPONSE BY ARAB
LEADERS HAVE STRENGTHENED THE MB, WHO HAVE MADE A NAME FOR
THEMSELVES AS STAUNCH SUPPORTERS OF THE PALESTINIANS. THEY
ARE THE MAIN INSTIGATORS OF PRO-PALESTINIAN AND
ANTI-ISRAEL/U.S. DEMONSTRATIONS ON THE CAMPUSES AND AT THE
SYNDICATES AND ARE THE BENEFICIARIES OF POPULAR ANGER OVER
THE AL AQSA INTIFADA. MANY OF OUR INTERLOCUTORS, INCLUDING
AN EGYPTIAN-AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENTIST, REMIND US THAT THE
MB RIDE THE TIDE OF POPULAR CONCERNS: ANTI-CORRUPTION,
PRO-PALESTINE, ANTI-ISRAEL AND THE PEACE PROCESS. THEY ARE
USING THESE HOT ISSUES, HE ESTIMATES, TO "PENETRATE" STUDENT
UNIONS AND PROFESSIONAL SYNDICATES. THE PROFESSOR, LIKE MANY
EGYPTIANS, BELIEVES THE MB HAS NO STRATEGY PER SE OTHER THAN
GAINING POWER. HE DOES NOT BELIEVE THEY ARE SUCCESSFUL IN
INCREASING THEIR OUTREACH BEYOND A COMMITTED NUCLEUS, BUT HE
BELIEVES THAT IS STILL MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN THE OUTREACH BY
MOST POLITICAL PARTIES.

---------------------------------
"OBJECTIVE OPPOSITION" TURNS SOUR
---------------------------------

15. (C) DESPITE MASSIVE ARRESTS, TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT OF
RESPECTED MB LEADERS IN RECENT YEARS, THE ORGANIZATION
CONTINUES. THE ELECTORAL VICTORY OF 17 MUSLIM BROTHERS IN
THE FALL ELECTIONS REPRESENTS A CHALLENGE TO THE GOVERNMENT.
MB'S ARE AN ILLEGAL BUT DE FACTO BLOC IN THE PARLIAMENT.
INITIALLY, MB PARLIAMENTARIANS SEEMED TO PLAY THE
GOVERNMENT'S GAME. OBSERVERS SPECULATED THAT A TRUCE OF
SORTS HAD BEEN DECLARED BETWEEN THE MB AND STATE SECURITY.
UNDER WHAT MB MP HAMDI HASSAN TERMED A POLICY OF "OBJECTIVE
OPPOSITION" (TO GOVERNMENT POLICIES), HE TOLD AL AHRAM
NEWSPAPER, "THE BROTHERHOOD'S DEPUTIES CALLED INTO QUESTION
THE STATE'S PUBLISHING THREE "PORNOGRAPHIC" BOOKS, WHICH WERE
CONSEQUENTLY WITHDRAWN TO AVOID A POTENTIALLY DAMAGING
DEBATE." HE ADDED THAT THE MB DID NOT OBJECT TO THE PRIME
MINISTER'S JANUARY 22 GOVERNMENT POLICY STATEMENT. "WE
WANTED TO GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT THE (MB) PRESENCE...
SHOULD NOT TRIGGER EXCESSIVE FEARS. (OUR) PRESENCE DOES
REALLY GO IN FAVOR OF DEMOCRACY AND NOT AGAINST IT..."

16. (C) HOWEVER, ON APRIL 21, THE 17 MB MP'S STORMED OUT OF
PARLIAMENT, PROTESTING THE SPEAKER'S REFUSAL TO GIVE THEM THE
FLOOR TO RAISE THE ISSUE OF ARREST OF 2 MB SHURA COUNCIL
CANDIDATES. FOLLOWING THIS CONFRONTATION, THE MB BLOC
SUBMITTED TO THE SPEAKER A LONG LIST OF QUESTIONS
"EMBARRASSING" TO THE GOVERNMENT, ACCORDING TO ONE
PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. THEY CALL UPON THE GOVERNMENT TO
CANCEL THE "MISS EGYPT" PAGEANT; QUESTION THE MORALITY OF AN
ARTICLE IN THE STATE-OWNED FILM MAGAZINE, "THE STARS"; ACCUSE
THE MINISTER OF INTERIOR OF IGNORING VIOLENCE IN THE SCHOOLS;
AND REQUEST PARLIAMENTARY SESSIONS PAUSE REGULARLY FOR
PRAYERS. TARGETED MINISTERS INCLUDE THE POWERFUL MINISTERS
OF AGRICULTURE YOUSSEF WALY, OF INFORMATION SAFWAT SHERIF AND
CULTURE MINISTER FAROUQ HOSNI. THEY HAVE CONTINUED TO GARNER
PUBLIC SUPPORT WITH TIRADES AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT,
CORRUPTION, AND AGAINST EDUCATION MINISTER BAHA EDDIN FOR
REASSIGNING THOUSANDS OF TEACHERS TO ADMINISTRATIVE POSITIONS
BECAUSE THEY WERE MB SUPPORTERS AT A TIME WHEN THE RATE OF
ILLITERACY AND LACK OF EDUCATION ARE PROFOUND SOCIAL
CONCERNS.

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FUTURE PROSPECTS
----------------

17. (C) TO CONTINUE TO GROW BEYOND ITS CURRENT SUPPORTERS,
THE MB DEPENDS ON UNREST IN THE REGION, POPULAR DISCONTENT
OVER GOVERNMENT MISMANAGEMENT OF THE ECONOMY, CORRUPTION AND
UNEMPLOYMENT. THE AVERAGE EGYPTIAN BELIEVES THAT THINGS
CAN'T REALLY GET MUCH WORSE WERE THE MB MORE INFLUENTIAL.
THEY MIGHT EVEN GIVE SOMETHING BACK TO THE PEOPLE. THE
MIDDLE CLASS JUST "WANTS TO GET BY" WITHOUT INTERFERENCE FROM
THE GOVERNMENT OR RELIGIOUS TYPES. INTELLECTUALS TEND TO BE
STRIDENTLY ANTI-MB. AS AN NDP POLITICIAN AND JOURNALIST
COMMENTED, "IF ONLY 6 PERCENT OF EGYPTIANS ARE POLITICIZED, A
LARGE PERCENTAGE OF THEM ARE PRO-MB." HOWEVER, HE AND OUR
OTHER INTERLOCUTORS BELIEVE THAT THE MB ARE NOT SO POPULAR
NOR IS THEIR BASE OF SUPPORT SO SIGNIFICANT THAT THEY COULD
TAKE OVER THE REINS OF POWER TODAY, OR IN THE VERY NEAR
FUTURE.

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COMMENT
-------

18. (C) WHILE THE MB HAS HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO RESUME A
PLACE ON THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM, THEIR POWER AND INFLUENCE
REMAIN LIMITED. STATE SECURITY FORCES MAINTAIN THE MB IN A
TIGHT VISE SINCE THE BAR SYNDICATE ELECTIONS AND HAVE MADE IT
CLEAR THAT THEY WILL WIN NO MORE POWER OFFICIALLY FOR THE
TIME BEING. WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE MB REPRESENTS A
SERIOUS THREAT TO THE GOE. IT IS NOT CAPABLE OF SEIZING
POWER AND MANY OF ITS YOUNGER MEMBERS SEEM TO FAVOR POLITICAL
ADVANCEMENT THROUGH ELECTIONS. IN THE CONTINUED ABSENCE OF
SECULAR OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES THE MB WILL CONTINUE TO
REPRESENT FOR MANY THE ONLY VIABLE POLITICAL OPPOSITION.

HARNISH

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