Essential Pittsburgh
3:26 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Overplaying Their Hand in Egypt

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood failed to govern from the middle, says Professor Ross Harrison
Credit Wilson Dias/ Wikimedia Commons

With Egypt’s government in turmoil yet again,Georgetown professor Ross Harrison believes that one thing is for certain: the recent overthrow of Mohammad Morsi’s presidency came as a result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s decision to overplay its hand and alienate many of the upstart, secular groups that helped elect him in the first place.

“There was an expectation in the street that he would govern more broadly than it did,” Harrison says. Instead, Morsi allocated power to himself and appealed only to the extremely religious elements that make up the Muslim Brotherhood. The question now, he says, is “whether [the Muslim Brotherhood] becomes part of the [new] coalition or whether they go back underground.”

Harrison also has reservations about the future of US relations with Iran, noting that while incoming Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is “a more savvy diplomatic figure” than current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the ability of the US and Iran to develop a less hostile relationship rests on the decisions of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Harrison claims the new conflict in Syria is not against Syrian President Bashar Assad, but against the Al-Qaeda elements fighting secular groups for control over the nation’s future.