Simon Tisdall writes: David Cameron’s decision to order an investigation into the “philosophy and activities” of the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly as they relate to Britain, stems from a broader nervousness in western European capitals about a wave of Islamist extremism and jihadism fed by the chaos in and around Syria.
But Downing Street’s decision also looks suspiciously like a response to specific political developments in Egypt, where the Brotherhood was founded in 1928, and to external pressure from close British allies.
The US and Saudi Arabia were never comfortable with the Brotherhood’s ascent to power in the person of Mohamed Morsi, who became Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2012.
So when Morsi was overthrown by a military coup in July last year, the Obama administration, while bleating about the importance of democracy and the Arab spring, made no great objection.
The US, which for decades backed another dictatorial Egyptian general, former president Hosni Mubarak, with billions of dollars in aid, quietly embraced the new junta’s leader, General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Sisi represented a way of doing things that Washington was used to, even if was heavy-handed. Here, apparently, was a man they could do business with.
In fact, Sisi’s efforts to strengthen his grip on power as he prepares to stand for the presidency next month have outdone Mubarak for sheer bloody-minded repressiveness. [Continue reading…]