The Muslim Brotherhood has taken over Egypt and it’s the official rebel Syrian government, as determined by Qatar, France and Obama. Muslim Brotherhood protests are mounting in Jordan and the Muslim Brotherhood is a definite player in Libya’s future.
From 2010 until now, the Iraqi scene has grappled with a paradox that does not align with the Arab Spring protest movements. The Muslim Brotherhood, which rose to power in countries swept by the Arab Spring, found itself left out of the political game in Iraq since then. They lost the 2010 elections as their popular bases swept the al-Iraqiya list, which is led by a secular Shiite. Some of the leaders of this coalition are former members who withdrew from the Islamic Party, which represents the Brotherhood in Iraq.
Not only does this scene reveal the state of frustration plaguing the Brotherhood in Iraq after they dimmed while their counterparts rose in the Middle East, but it also largely explains why the party is clinging to the demonstrations that recently broke out in the Sunni cities. These protests started to demand specific rights, but they soon started to include slogans and ideas that took on a sectarian dimension. Tribesmen and politicians stopped addressing the protesters, and cleared the way for clerics who, for the most part, belong to the Iraqi Brotherhood.
The same year also saw the losses for the party in local elections and ended with the split of a group of senior leaders. Chief among these was the former leader of the party and Vice President of the Republic, Tariq al-Hashemi, who is currently sentenced to death, as well as another group from the Accordance Front, which cleared the way for the Iraqiya List led by Iyad Allawi.
But the Brotherhood is not a big believer in giving up. Not when their influence is growing on the regional scene.
Second, a demand adopted by the Brotherhood leaders of the demonstrations focuses on starting an Iraqi version of the Arab Spring revolutions with the aim of monopolizing Iraq’s Sunni constituency, if not changing the entire political system.
And the Brotherhood, as in Egypt, is quite good at hijacking generalized protests to push its own agenda. That’s what it did in Egypt. That is what it is trying to do in Jordan and now in Iraq.
Iraq is not likely to fall to the Brotherhood, but with enough effort it can become a much bigger player, especially with backing form Qatar and Egypt. The Egyptian takeover and the Morsi government’s subsequent attempts at ending the UAE crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood there shows that Egyptian intends to have the same relationship toward Brotherhood cells that the USSR had toward Communist cells in the West. Good relations with Egypt now mean good relations with the local Brotherhood.