In Hard-Liner's Surge, New Worries for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

(New York Times) David D. Kirkpatrick - Egyptian presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail is an old-school Islamist. He wants to move toward abolishing Egypt's peace treaty with Israel and cites Iran as a successful model of independence from Washington. He promises to bring extraordinary prosperity to Egypt, if it turns its back on trade with the West. His success may help explain why the U.S. offered signs of tacit approval when the Muslim Brotherhood broke its pledge not to field its own candidate. With a first round of voting set for late May and a runoff in mid-June, the Egyptian presidential race is shaping up as a battle among Islamists. So, in a remarkable inversion, American policy makers who once feared a Brotherhood takeover now appear to see the group as an indispensable ally against Egypt's ultraconservative Salafis, exemplified by Abu Ismail. The Brotherhood's candidate, Khairat al-Shater, a millionaire businessman considered the most formative influence on the group's policies, has met with almost all the senior State Department officials and American lawmakers visiting Cairo, and is in regular contact with the American ambassador, Anne Patterson.

2012-04-03 00:00:00

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