The Emerging Conservative Coalition in Egypt

Michael Slackman reports on the shifting political sands in Egypt:

In post-revolutionary Egypt, where hope and confusion collide in the daily struggle to build a new nation, religion has emerged as a powerful political force, following an uprising that was based on secular ideals. The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group once banned by the state, is at the forefront, transformed into a tacit partner with the military government that many fear will thwart fundamental changes. It is also clear that the young, educated secular activists who initially propelled the nonideological revolution are no longer the driving political force — at least not at the moment. As the best organized and most extensive opposition movement in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was expected to have an edge in the contest for influence. But what surprises many is its link to a military that vilified it.

What’s interesting about this, on some level, is how banal it is. A political coalition between religious conservatives, the military, and economic elites is the bedrock of center-right politics in most democracies. And, again, in most democracies the main conservative party usually wins the elections. There’s a powerful logic to this sort of alliance, so while its emergence in Egypt is surprising there’s also something non-surprising about it.