Earlier in time when Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood first reached power political observers warned that the Islamist group will be burdened by their more radical brethren, the Salafis.
The Muslim Brotherhood has done politics since it was formed, while the Salafis long turned their backs to political affairs and focused on preaching, which they believed would eventually bring to them the country they dreamed about.
The Brotherhood formed a coalition with the Salafis, who consist of various sects; the toughest among them is the Jihadist Salafism. They both allied during Egypt’s constitution referendum (in March 2011), the dissolved parliament’s elections and during the second phase of the country’s presidential elections. Many Salafis did not vote for the Brotherhood’s candidate Mohamed Mursi during the election’s first stage and voted for the brotherhood’s rival Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh. A sizeable number of Salafis did not vote for Mursi in the final stage too, and held meetings with Mursi’s rival Ahmed Shafiq, assuming he would win.
The recent events show that Salafis make up a heavy burden on the Brotherhood, although they – Brotherhood and Salafis – belong to the same Islamic political stream. This can affect the Brotherhoods, and conditions might escalate to a severe clash between both where the Jihadist Salafism will take over the fighting mission.
All what I have mentioned is very simple, if compared to a ‘Salafis’ becoming the president of the United States. This is very likely to happen during the upcoming presidential elections where Mitt Romney runs against President Barak Obama. Romney, the Republican candidate, strongly criticized Obama during presidential campaigns for allowing Muslim Brotherhood parties to clinch power in Arab Spring countries, considering it a great disappointment to the achievement of presidents Bush, the father and the son, that cost the United States a lot of money.
The Al-Qaeda defeated in Afghanistan is now returning in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, and is waving its black flags in Syria, which has been fighting a regime that refuses to quit until it leaves the Levantine lands deserted for al-Qaeda, which only flourishes in deserts and shambles because it rejects any forms of a modern state.
If the Salafist Mormon Romney wins the elections, his days will not be delightful to the ruling Brotherhoods in Egypt and Tunisia, or Syria, where al-Qaeda’s Jihadist Salafism is trying to abort the country’s revolution by centralizing itself and hiding in countries, and is also seeping into Sinai.
Romney is unlike the political or scholastic Salafism in the Islamic world. The latter two, are more confined to Islamic assets. Romney represents the ultra-conservative Salafism in the way it views others. If he wins, we do not expect him to maintain Obama’s dialogue policy with the political Islamic stream. The brotherhood movements should prepare themselves for ‘tough’ days if this happens.