Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Drevon: No Salafi Insurgency

Jerome Drevon doubts that Egypt will see an Islamist insurgency in the coming years.  After arguing that the militant groups from the 1990's won't head that direction he looks at a younger generation:
However, despite the hardline positions of some of its leaders, the Salafi jihadi current becoming the next insurgency in Egypt remains at best a remote prospect for several reasons. Most importantly, internal theological and personal divisions have plagued this movement since its emergence. The shared creed of its members, for instance on the rejection of democracy and the political process, has not sufficed to overcome ongoing rifts for the past two years. For example, the multiple cases of mutual excommunication cases among the group’s sympathizers epitomizes the nature of this current and illustrates its internal failure to unite its members or create inclusive networks and structures that would allow for the group’s further development.
In the absence of a structured organization or developed networks, the Salafi jihadi trend in Egypt is consequently likely to stay under the radar and await further developments. Many of its members already have made their presence discreet. During the ongoing crisis, they are likely to use the military coup to propagate their message among sympathizing Salafis and denounce what they see as illusory hopes of implementing Islamic law through engagement with the democratic process. 
Under the current circumstances, an insurrection led by a well-organized armed group is therefore highly unlikely. However, the absence of structured militant organizations does not exclude the sporadic use of armed violence, which could set off a new violent confrontation. The clashes that have been witnessed since the military coup could unleash an uncontrolled spiral of violence. In similar circumstances in the past, the use of force by various actors led to cycles of violence that progressively legitimized the use of armed violence against political opponents. This further led to the emergence of ‘entrepreneurs’ of violence who fueled and proliferated the conflict. 
As he starts mentioning toward the end of the excerpt above, however, there is the danger of an escalating cycle of violence that could counter the trends that make him otherwise optimistic.  As far as I can tell, whether such a cycle will continue rests mainly with the military and its response to the ongoing Muslim Brotherhood protests.



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