The Brotherhood's Long Game


by Chris Bodenner

Eric Trager sees it:

For the moment, the Muslim Brotherhood's lax, backseat role has added to Egyptian liberal leaders' confidence. "I don't think they can be a leader of the opposition," says Ghad party leader Shadi Taha. "Looking at the political playground, there might be some support for the Muslim Brotherhood, but it can't be more than 15 percent." Yet in a country where few people have any experience voting, a tightly organized political movement stands to mobilize voters more effectively than the looser, liberal organizations now leading the demonstrations. And therein lies the true genius of the Muslim Brotherhood's strategy: It knows that it can win in the long run, if it can emerge relatively unscathed over the short run.

(Photo: Muslim Brotherhood spokespersons Essam el-Arian (C) and Mohammed Mursi (R) hold a press conference with local and international journalists in Cairo on February 9, 2011 where they said that the Brotherhood remains open to dialogue with the Egyptian regime, but repeated their demand for President Hosni Mubarak to leave office immediately. By Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)