Cairo - This book should be added to your 'must reads' list on the Muslim Brotherhood history, rhetoric and record. 'Arab Fall' is a critically acclaimed book on Muslim Brotherhood’s recent debacle in governance. A brilliant chronicle of a collapse foretold. It reveals how the closed, rigid political culture of the Brotherhood, its disciplined cohesiveness and exclusivism; the very reasons for its initial brief success, quickly turned to be the causes for its thunderous collapse.
“Arab Fall” is based on dozens of author interviews with Brotherhood members and leaders that the author, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, conducted before, during and after the 2011 revolution. The book’s wealth of detail may challenge the lay reader, but it is indispensable not just for its account of how the Brothers failed so disastrously at governing Egypt but equally for its analysis of how Washington failed so completely to understand them.
In Arab Fall, Eric Trager examines the Brotherhood’s decision making throughout this critical period, explaining its reasons for joining the 2011 uprising, running for a majority of the seats in the 2011–2012 parliamentary elections, and nominating a presidential candidate despite its initial promise not to do so.Based on extensive research in Egypt and interviews with dozens of Brotherhood leaders and cadres including Morsi, Trager argues that the very organizational characteristics that helped the Brotherhood win power also contributed to its rapid downfall.
Yet the Brotherhood’s hierarchical organizational culture, in which dissenters are banished and critics are viewed as enemies of Islam, bred exclusivism. This alienated many Egyptians, including many within Egypt’s state institutions. The Brotherhood’s narrow-mindedness also prevented its leaders from recognizing how quickly the country was slipping from their grasp, leaving hundreds of thousands of Muslim Brothers entirely unprepared for the brutal crackdown that followed Morsi’s overthrow.
The book engages the readership by raising important questions to be considered following every analysis presented; that answering them is central to understanding the whole Brotherhood’s failed experience in Egypt. Hereunder we highlight two of them as follows:
· How did Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood win power so quickly after the dramatic “Arab Spring” uprising that ended President Hosni Mubarak’s thirty-year reign in February 2011?
· And why did the Brotherhood fall from power even more quickly, culminating with the popular “rebellion” and military intervention that toppled Egypt’s democratically elected president, Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi, in July 2013?
Trager concludes with an assessment of the current state of Egyptian politics and examines the Brotherhood’s prospects for reemerging.
About the Author:
Eric Trager is the Esther K. Wagner Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where his research focuses on Egyptian politics. From 2006-2007, he lived in Egypt as an Islamic Civilizations Fulbright fellow, where he studied at the American University in Cairo and received his M.A. in Arabic studies with a concentration in Islamic studies. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, and elsewhere.