Egypt looks at dissolving Muslim Brotherhood

If they move ahead with this plan, it could wind up being big news. And not necessarily for the better.

Egyptian premier proposes dissolution of Muslim Brotherhood

Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi has proposed the legal dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood and the government is studying the idea, a government spokesman said.

According to the health ministry, 173 people died on Friday in violence that erupted when security forces cracked down on Islamists protesting against the army’s removal of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi last month.

Beblawi had made the proposal to the minister of social affairs – the ministry responsible for licensing non-governmental organizations, spokesman Sherif Shawky said. “It is being studied currently,” he said.

The MB can’t be too terribly surprised at this turn of events, given how their legions of followers have been running around burning Christian churches and other assorted hijinks during their Day(s) of Rage. The provisional government / military rule has to be getting pretty uncomfortable behind closed doors, particularly when the US is talking about shutting down the cash faucet.

But everyone – both inside and outside of Egypt – will have to make sure they’re ready for what’s likely to come if this is the direction we’re going to go in. (Keeping in mind that it may well have been the only viable option all along.) The standard pitch for a very long time was that the path to bringing Islamist forces out of their terrorist training camps in the wild and into the mainstream of the modern era was to get them to buy into the political process. Unfortunately, while there may be a handful of self-identified leaders who are sticking to both Mursi and the idea of conquering at the ballot box, they haven’t managed to keep their followers from taking to the streets and fomenting violence.

But if they are summarily dissolved as an acknowledged political and/or governmental entity, that’s probably the Ah-ha moment serving as an excuse to go back to the good old, blunt force trauma way of doing business. Of course, as I implied above, I’m hard pressed to think of an example anywhere thus far that an approach of getting them to the table has paid off substantially. There simply may not be a path to peaceful victory here, and the MB isn’t Egypt’s only problem at this point by a long shot. It may wind up being best for all concerned if Egypt shuts them down in exchange for US considerations regarding continued financial – and potentially military – support.