Eric Trager was the Esther K. Wagner Fellow at The Washington Institute.
In Arab Fall, Eric Trager examines the Muslim Brotherhood's decisionmaking throughout the eventful period that commenced with the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and ended with Mohamed Morsi's overthrow. He explains the Brotherhood's reason for joining the anti-Mubarak uprising, running for a majority of the seats in the 2011-12 parliamentary elections, and nominating a presidential candidate in the May/June 2012 election despite its initial promise not to do so. Based on extensive research in Egypt and interviews with dozens of Brotherhood leaders and cadres including Morsi, Trager argues that the very characteristics that helped the Brotherhood win power also contributed to its rapid demise. The Brotherhood's intensive process for recruiting members and its rigid nationwide command-chain meant that it possessed unparalleled mobilizing capabilities for winning the first post-Mubarak parliamentary and presidential elections.
Yet the Brotherhood's hierarchical organizational culture, in which dissenters are banished and critics are viewed as enemies of Islam, bred exclusivism. This alienated many Egyptians, including many within Egypt's state institutions. The Brotherhood's insularity also prevented its leaders from recognizing how quickly the country was slipping from their grasp, leaving hundreds of thousands of Muslim Brothers entirely unprepared for the brutal crackdown that followed Morsi's overthrow. Trager concludes with an assessment of the current state of Egyptian politics and examines the Brotherhood's prospects for reemerging.