After some initial fallout, in an interview in the New York Times senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Essam el-Erian, states that the Brotherhood has reached a deal with the Army on the timetable for a transfer of power after elections. Noticeably absent from the interview was mention of Egypt’s liberals, whose poor election results have seemed to make them a non-factor in the political process. Instead the focus of el-Erian appears to be the Salafis, whose emergence undercuts their Islamic credentials and makes the Brotherhood look more like latte-sipping liberals.
The new Egypt is looking a bit like the old: the army, the Brotherhood and the liberals don’t like each other very much but between them have a common interest in keeping the system running. The Brotherhood has gained ground as a result of the ‘revolution’ and the liberals have lost; Egyptian politics are tilting toward Islamism but the army still has a veto. The biggest problem is that the sagging economy will make any government unpopular; the Salafis and other forces now on the outside looking in, may yet have their say.