Radical Islamists see Egypt as proof that violence is only way to power
BEIRUT — Whatever signal the Egyptian military wished to send with its reboot of the 2011 revolution, which led to the nation's first democratically elected president, the decision to remove Mohamed Morsy from power and the subsequent arrest of many of his party officials is resounding throughout the world of political Islam.
The verdict? The proponents of Salafi jihadism and other ideological underpinnings commonly referred to as al-Qaida-style have taken pleasure in the failure of their more moderate co-religionists from the Muslim Brotherhood to hold on to power.
The lesson these Islamist groups appear to be drawing from events in Egypt is that democratic engagement with opponents is pointless.
Sheikh Abu Abdullah Ahmad al Jijali, a noted ideologue in North Africa's al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, issued a reminder to his followers on the pitfalls of humanity ruling itself on several prominent jihadi Internet forums in the wake of Morsy's fall.
“The expected happened,, and the military turned on the choice of the Muslim Egyptian people, with international collusion,” he said, singling out the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates as the nations that wanted Morsy to fall.
Jijali went on to compare what happened in Cairo to what had taken place earlier in Algeria, where an Islamist victory at the polls was overturned by the country's military, ushering in years of brutal civil war that killed thousands.
The comparison will resonate among like-minded Islamists as they note that the Islamist group Hamas also came to power in parliamentary elections in the Gaza Strip in 2006 only to have the region and the world unify to marginalize it.
Those elections had been pushed by the United States, and they were universally declared fair. But when Hamas, a virtual political and military offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood that the United States has labeled a terrorist organization, defeated its Fatah Party rivals in a rout, the United States and Israel imposed an economic blockade.
Jijali prescribed patient but violent action to pull the community of Muslims from the Egyptian military's grasp.