France and the Islamist Movements: A Long Non-Dialogue

Published: January 19, 2015

by Jean-François Daguzan —

France has a unique relationship with Arab countries and particularly with North African (Maghreb) states. To maintain influence and strong economic links with these countries since their independences France was obligated to develop a policy of compromise with former colonized states or policy/economy linked countries in the Near-East. What the analysts called “politique arabe de la France” (Arab French Policy) aimed essentially to preserve the interests of France on the Southern and Eastern shore of the Mediterranean. This approach forced France to adapt its strategy to the desideratas and good will of Arab leaders, most of which have controlled these countries during the last thirty to forty years. For these reasons, French governments have had huge difficulties to engage officially, and sometimes even informally, with the various political oppositions (except Libya during the war for Chad and the special case of the Lebanese civil war).

On the other hand, France has a unique specificity in having welcomed the largest Arab community in Europe. This situation makes France ultra-sensitive to any political or diplomatic development in the Mediterranean zone and the Arab world in general. The globalization of communication (through internet and satellite TV) increases this situation. As a matter of fact, the rise of Islamist movements was considered in France a serious problem for the stability of its own society as well as a potential threat during the Algeria civil war (1992-1998).

This paper aims to explain such specific situation that makes France/Arab-Muslim relationship exceptional.

The obsession of permanence and exemplarity

Since their independences France established a special relationship with Maghreb countries and a very special one with Algeria. As a matter of fact, France wished not to appear as the former coloniser but as the “godfather”, the close friend of each country which  tacitly refused to interfere in internal affairs (of course including human rights) – it was the post-colonial unwritten pact. The case of Algeria is different and in any case more sensitive. To make the decolonization imposed by the Algerian people a success, France decided to transform the independence of Algeria in a model of co-operation. Billions of money were invested; training and education were given by French professors until 1975 and the energy policy was based on the principle of exemplarity for the rest of the World. To make the “Algerian dream” possible, compromises were necessary and inescapable.

For instance, when the Algerian dissident Ali Mecili was killed in France certainly by the hand of Algerian intelligence service in 1987, no official condemnation came from Paris. Consequently France had to manage this relationship this way: “The question of interference is in the heart of this so special relationship and make any French action or declaration highly risky for bilateral links. This could explain the paranoid behaviour sometimes quoted by Euro-member States during some political discussion and the definition of a common position regarding Maghreb countries and specially Algeria”.

Naturally, the presence in France of a large and long-established Maghreb minority contributes to this unusual situation.  The presence of a Muslim community existed in France from the end of the XIX° century (10 000 in 1895). But this community grew slowly during the first part of the XX° century, notably with the 1st World War (132 000 in 1918 – 200 000 in 1920) and exploded in the second part when a huge support of manpower became necessary to rebuild the country after the Second War World and the incredible economic period of growth following during thirty years. After 1974 the “regroupement familial” (family bringing up together) – that is to say the authorization led by the French government to invite migrant workers’ wives and children to join – increased automatically the number.

Ethnic statistics are forbidden in France. By consequence the unofficial result obtained by various researchers or political organizations changes if the account integrates Arabs only or Muslims with French nationality or not, illegal immigration, or with the user’s political purposes.  Therefore the size of the Arab/Muslim community could change from 4 to 7 millions without any guarantee of reliability! In France, the sole official reference (by nationality of origin) available said that Tunisian community reaches 234 669 persons, Algerians 713 334 and Moroccans 653 826. But every number has to be taken very carefully. In 2009, the researcher Michèle Tribalat estimated the number supposed to be Muslim in 2005 through their “lineage” on three generations to 4,5 millions. On the other hand the Pew Research Center evaluated this number in 2010 to 3,574 millions representing 5,7% of the population – (the second in number is Italy with 1, 583 millions).

Given these large numbers it is easy to understand  why French authorities over the last thirty years have had a strong and growing concern about Islamic affairs. Obviously, the Arab community has always had a strong and anxious concern about the developments on the Eastern and Western side of the Mediterranean, although the situation is different, depending of the size of the community from the various countries.

The question of Islam in France: to invent an Islam of France as a wall against “imported’ Islam and Jihadism

During many years, the question of Islam in France was linked to the permanent relation/dispute with Algeria.  The situation revolved around the control of the Paris Mosque and the appointment of its Rector.  But since the middle of the 1980s, Algerian influence diminished, in spite of the presence of a highly talented man, Rector Daril Boubakeur, hurriedly called in to rescue a weakened institution.  Over the last twenty years the fundamentalist movements financed by Saudi Arabia and other proselytizing organizations, such as the Pakistani Tabligh or the Muslim Brotherhood (with the powerful Union of French Islamic Organizations or UOIF), have found a genuine echo among populations with an identity crisis and bearing the brunt of economic crisis.  Black African populations in particular are participating in this movement and are not interested in the Maghreb “minaret wars”.  For its part, the Moroccan king is doing his best to keep control of a community more closely-knit than others, but here also the limits of this strategy are becoming increasingly evident, as shown by the steady progress of the radical agenda in that country. Both for political and geopolitical reasons, the situation evolved along the lines outlined below.

The Algerian civil war and the consequence on the French perception

During the 60’s and the 70’s Arab militancy in France was essentially linked to the Palestine/Lebanese conundrum. With the Lebanese civil war, after 1975, and the Iran dispute in the reimbursement of the Eurodif loan, France suffered terrorism but it was considered to be caused largely by foreign policy issues.

Obviously France progressively observed political Islam’s growing influence in Arab societies, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Middle-East and emerging political parties and movements in Maghreb countries since the 1980’s. But these movements were globally perceived as a response to the non democratic situation in each country and, in any case, France was quite confident about the ability of each government to control and eventually to dismantle these groups (repression in Egypt after President Sadat assassination, massacres of Homs and Hama in Syria…).

France really took conscience of the power of Islamist movements with the Algerian civil war and the end of the democratic process in this country (1992). From the French perspective the first stage of these events was an anxious question mark. How to deal with the rupture of the democratic process? Are Islamist leaders reliable and acceptable interlocutors? The political period of « cohabitation » – that is to say the conjunction of a President, François Mitterrand, from the Socialist party and a government from the right wing – led the French position on the issue to a long period of uncertainty with a part of the French political class proposing to discuss with Islamists in order to preserve the long term French interest in the case of an Islamist victory in Algeria and others opposing such view. For instance, the conference of Sant’Egidio in Roma (13th of January 1995) organized by an informal arm of Vatican  and attended by various Algerian political forces, including Islamist leaders, was considered very cautiously by French political circles.

But Algerian Islamists ended the suspense by attacking France in 1995, first by killing a respected French-Algerian imam, Abdelbaki Sahraoui in Paris, then by bombing twice the metro and the train system and killing many French citizens living or working in Algeria.

These events forced French authorities to tackle seriously the issue of political Islam, first by implementing a large survey of radical mosques and preachers and then by deporting what they considered the most dangerous foreign preachers living in the country and finally by engaging in a close co-operation with the Maghreb intelligence services.

The difficulties and the embarrass to tackle the question of Islam in France

All along the last thirty years the attempts to manage Islam in France by the various French governments were always complicated and globally unsuccessful. With the first crisis in French Banlieues (boroughs) and the spread of violent acts of racism, the socialist governments very disturbed by religious issues and dreading to enter a controversial religious debate about Islam, tried to develop a concept of coexistence of community in the boroughs by the respect of the differences and religions. The so called “touche pas à mon pote !” movement (“Don’t touch my buddy!”) started by socialists (essentially in the youth) was successful when launched but criticized by other right and left republicans defending the old French concept of “laïcité” (secularism) and combating any form of communitarism. Finally, the concept declined and progressively disappeared.

After years of hesitations between various governments, the then Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy decided to create the French council of Muslim faiths (Conseil français du culte musulman – CFCM), and organized the elections and the structure of the CFCM at the imitation of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France – CRIF).  The election of Daril Boubakeur as President of CCFM was achieved only with great difficulty and marked the sharp decline of traditional forces in favor of new and more radical organizations.  Nicolas Sarkozy chose to support the influence of UOIF, a very conservative Islamic organization close to the Muslim Brotherhood.  This group was seen by Sarkozy’s advisors as something “like an Islamic Communist Party, very structured and fond of order.”  In reality, the situation was not as clear as imagined by Sarkozy. The main lesson is the partial “de-Algerianisation” and progressively “de-maghrebisation” of Islam in France with the growing influence of African and Asian movements.   

Islam in France covers a palette running from a “soft” African Marabout, Islamic Salafism, to the secular Muslims who are beginning to make themselves heard. Samir Amghar notes: “The French Islamic connection covers a wide spectrum of social practice and a plurality of religiosities which runs from a cultural relationship with the Muslim religion to more demanding religious forms”.  This does not necessarily imply that the link with the country of origin is weakening: The need to “return to the village” for holidays, or to be buried there, remains very strong in all generations.  But we are probably moving in time towards an “Italian” or “Spanish” attitude, in which the link with the country of origin is of a sentimental and family historical nature and that alone.”

Anyway, in the government’s eyes, this “French Islam” would find its path between a French way which is struggling to emerge amid a power struggle which has little to do with religion and the various siren calls of active fundamentalism.  The second set of elections for the CFCM in June 2005 confirmed this basic tendency and the decline of the Paris Mosque. It also illustrated the growing Moroccan influence on the French Muslim community with the reinforcement of the national federation of French Muslims (Fédération nationale des Musulmans de France- FNMF).  In fact, after the terrorist attacks in Casablanca (2003) and the related growth of jihadist tendencies  in the country and in the Moroccan diaspora, the Moroccan government took the decision to strongly reinforce its control over Moroccan Islam. In 2006 the Rassemblement des Musulmans de France (RMF, build on the ruins of FNMF) emerged and took rapidly the lead on the CFCM, electing its leader, M. Moussaoui, as president in 2008. Morocco finally took the control of the CFCM over UOIF. Recognizing the fact Paris finally negotiated with Rabat.Finally, the “Islam de France” project, conceived to create and French movement  independent from outside, failed due to the resistance of hard geopolitical trends. Until now Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Muslim Brotherhood continue to influence the Islam in France.

The Sarkozy period was very interesting in that way. As Minister of Interior he struggled against radical Islam – for example confronting the famous Islamist philosopher Tariq Ramadan in a TV debate. But on the other hand he decided to structure Islam in France by creating a “French Islam” or “Islam From France,” that is to say to favor the rising of a national array of Imams and Islamic studies. Moreover he tried to structure the Muslim national landscape by creation an organism of dialogue supposed to assume the link between the State and the Muslim community. From his position as Minister of Interior to the first years of Presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy developed a concept of « positive Secularism ». This concept would like to challenge the old French concept of “Laïcité” (Secularism) built by the end of the 19° century to insure the neutrality of the Republic vis-à-vis  clerical powers (essentially the Catholic Church). The new concept aimed to give a more important role to religion in the defense and propagation of values and virtues in the French society and, most notably, in the areas where Muslims communities are large. Sarkozy also defended the concept of multiculturalism. Inspired by the Anglo-Saxon model, the “multiculturalisme à la française” would like to defend the ethnic or religious specificities of communities living with their own cultural rules.

During the first years of his presidency, Sarkozy continued to have positive attitudes towards religious values and to defend multiculturalist concepts. He aimed to nominate a Muslim Prefect to symbolize the change and its advisor for integration, Abderrahmane Dahmane, sought to create a “Council for diversity”. But over the last two years his position changed dramatically. Sarkozy considered immigration as a threat against the identity and the stability of France and Europe. Then during the 2012 presidency campaign he adopted a hard line affirming the end of the multiculturalism: “It is a failure. The true is that our democracies are too preoccupied by the identity of the person arriving but not enough by the identity of the country welcoming. (…) if somebody enters France he has to fusion with only one national community.”

During the 2012 campaign France’s new President François Hollande took a different position.  He advocated first for the principle of Secularism (Laïcité), expressing his wish to include it into the Constitution. “I shall propose,” he stated, “to write the fundamental principles from the 1905 law on Secularism in the Constitution by including at Article 1st a second point so following: The Republic insures the freedom of conscience, guarantees the free practice of cults and respects the separation between Churches and the State.” (Candidate program point 40) He also defended the principle of a legal immigration:


“I shall give the right to vote in local elections to foreigners legally living in France since five years. I shall lead a merciless struggle against illegal immigration and the clandestine work networks. I shall secure the lawful immigration. ”

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, the Front National (National Front) extreme right political party continues to capitalize on the anti-Muslim trend. When this party strongly emerged in the early 1980’s it immediately settled on the immigration question and tried to manipulate the disappointment and the state of neglect felt by many French towards the political class by designing a scapegoat (“bouc émissaire”): the foreigners Arab, African and Muslim. The party  was also strongly anti-Semitic due to its old roots. More recently, under Marine Le Pen’s leadership (the party’s founder‘s daughter) the Front National slowly lost its anti-Semitic habits to concentrate on the Muslim and immigration issues. From 2010, Mrs. Le Pen adopted a very anti-Muslim position which will find an echo into the classical Right. For example, during the 2012 presidential campaign she exploited a controversy over the question of ritual halal meat in the French slaughterhouses.

How to deal with political Islam outside?

When the Tunisian revolution began the French Tunisian community was extremely taken by the events . Many Tunisian political refugees lived in France, and many French Tunisians feared for their family. But the hate against Ben Ali and his accolytes  was huge. Young business leaders working in France – most of them holding two nationalities – engaged themselves in the media to defend the Tunisian people. Most of  the Tunisian community did not understand the French government’s silence during to the revolution. When the boats full of Tunisian refugees came into Europe through the Italian island of Lampedusa (more or less 20 000) – most of them seeking to reach France but blocked by the French government – the outrage broke out. The French position was considered as insufferable by the Tunisian public opinion and more over by the French Tunisian community, which expressed it through public manifestations and blog bashing.

In the case of Morocco the diaspora community followed anxiously the riots appearing in many cities (Oujda, Tangiers, etc.) But the capacity of the Mahzen (the King’s administration) to control the situation re-oriented the expectations of the public opinion and the diaspora community (MRE, Marocains résidents à l’étranger) toward a rapid constitutional change. Then the diaspora  approved largely the reform process when King Mohammed VI proposed a new constitution. The referendum of the first of July 2011 gave a 98% approval for a semi-constitutional monarchy. .

The “Arab spring”: France face to the “dark scenario”

The events of 11 September 2001 increased the anxiousness of the French government and population toward Islamism.  From this date the struggle against terrorism tended to structure relations between France and the Maghreb as it did those between the United States and the Arab world. Consequently this situation reinforced the positive bias, prejudge, for dictatorship seen as the wall against Jihadism and Al Qaida.

The sudden spread of the Arab Spring left European chancelleries disorientated.  When the revolution occurred in Tunisia by the mid of December 2010, the French government was incapable to respond to the event, letting the United-States support the insurrection and pressure for the fall of the dictator.

Successively, the downfall of Ben Ali and Mubarak completely shocked the French establishment.   French authorities considered the fall of the old dictators impossible. Consequently the government mixed a careful silence (until the ultimate flight of Ben Ali) and personal mistakes from various ministries (for example Foreign Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie going on holidays during the Tunisian riots with a private jet offered by a close relative of the Ben Ali family and buying a luxury flat for the minister’s parents; Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand assuring that Tunisia was not absolutely a dictatorship, …). These mistakes were disastrously interpreted by the Tunisian community in France.

Finally, President Sarkozy decided to revamp his image within  the Arab public opinion. When the Libya upheaval occurred he advocated, on the suggestion of the French activist/philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, for a military support of the Benghazi rebels. The choice was relatively wise. From 1945 Libya never was a stake for France. The 70’s honeymoon engaged by the Pompidou presidency and essentially marked by huge military deals was rapidly followed by the war for Chad. This no-named war ended with the defeat of Libyan forces in the mid 80’s. Then the situation remained frozen until the Libyan renouncement to the proliferation of Weapons of mass destruction in 2003. The tentative to create a special relationship between Sarkozy and Qaddafi failed with the Libyan dictator’s unsuccessful visit to Paris in December 2007. The French government considered engaging militarily Qaddafi’s forces a low political and geostrategic risk. The support of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and from the Arab League made the military intervention possible despite the opposition of countries such as Algeria and Syria.

Once the Libyan war finished, the French doctrine via-a-vis the Arab spring was to officially accept the change it entailed and to recognize the result of the polls whatever they might be .

President Sarkozy’s last declaration, former Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alain Juppé, and the Spokesperson of the Ministry were very clear. The general message was to accept all result coming from fair and reliable elections. The second was to assume to have been surprised by the upheavals but no more than others countries (excuse not really acceptable from a government disposing all means of analysis and intelligence!).

President Sarkozy : “We have been criticized too regarding the Arab spring. Did we take too much time to understand what was happening, notably in Tunisia?  Surely. Did we underestimate the exasperation of peoples against these authoritarian regimes and moreover their deep desire for freedom and democracy?  Yes, I think so. At last, in name of stability, did we become too complacent vis-à-vis these oppressive and corrupt regimes?  Absolutely!

But it would be honest to say this Arab spring surprised everybody and first those who did it. I add that in the Tunisian case, the ancient colonial power which is France was in very special position which exposed it more than others to a trial for interference. But, once more, France was capable to engage this great event for freedom which crossed over the Arab world, by proposing to accompany the development of democracy and economy in the framework of the Deauville Partnership, adopted by the G8 Summit under the French Presidency.

Alain Juppé : “Everybody knows that history could reserve deceptions or surprises. And we are all determined to be vigilant in order to make the new governments capable to stay reliable to values on the basis of which they have been elected and respect the rules of democratic life. But I don’t see on which reasons we could refuse these people so many times gagged the right to express their choices. Regarding what happened in many countries, India, Latin America or Europe I do not see the reasons which will forbid not to be copied in Arab countries.”   

“The Arab spring is an incredible stake for the future. As in every gamble, it produces incertitude and risks.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson: “The Minister of State will recall the essential role of United Nations to support all solutions to respond to people’s hope for freedom, respect of Human Rights and democracy. Moreover, he will recall our engagement without restrictions in these movements, which are both legitimate and  irrepressible, and will strive to convince all our partners to act this way. “

Journalist regarding Egypt : Have you some contacts with official people or activists ?

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spoke Person: “With everybody. Many criticize the French Diplomacy as others because at the beginning of the Arab Springs we only spoke with some people. M. Alain Juppé gave an instruction: we must speak with everybody. Our embassies do it in each country in the Arab world and more especially in Egypt.” 

Action and repentance: the last French Strategy

The Syrian case is an interesting development. When the first protests took place in Derah the French government remained extremely careful. Syria was not Libya and the destabilization of this country would have rough strategic consequences on the neighborhood (Lebanon and Israël first) and the links with Iran would imply an overall tension throughout the Middle East. But rapidly the dramatic and uncontrolled repression of the Syrian government forced the international community to strongly react. France chose the most-anti-Al-Assad position , suggesting the Syrian President to leave and supporting the Transition Syrian Council (organism representing  every stream of the Syrian opposition). At the international level France strongly supported a group of 70 nations named the international conference of Friends of Syria (simplified by “the Friends of Syria”) including countries such as United States, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morroco, etc. The group is very active and pushes for a democratic transition after the departure of the Baath/Alaoui power from Syria. Later France supported the Kofi Annan mission to Syria but without real expectations for success. Moreover, for the first time, France has evoked the use of force under the chapter VII of the UN Charter in case of failure of the Annan’s mission and the continuation of the repression through military means in Syria.  France seems decided to accept the victory of the Sunni community when the country will be free from Al-Assad’s family, but the French government is anxious about the spread of the Syrian crisis to Lebanon as the recent confrontation between communities in Tripoli and now Beyrouth showed recently.

France too is extremely aware of the security of Jordan. More discretely than in other Arab countries, the kingdom is faced with huge economic and political problems. Despite the change of Prime Ministers, King Abdallah did not succeed in stabilizing the country. France, Great Britain and United States are closely following the situation, as they consider that the fall of the Jordanian monarchy would be catastrophic for the strategic balance of the region.

Overall it will be interesting to follow the relation between France and the old Arab monarchies. In the Gulf France has two main allies (Qatar and United Arab Emirates). In the Near-East France supports strongly but discretely the Jordan monarchy and in Maghreb, of course maintains traditional close links with the Moroccan palace (Mahzen). But the Arab monarchies are not exempt from protests. King Mohamed VI made the reforms necessary to calm the situation in Morocco but it is unclear if they will be sufficient in the long term. In other countries, despite a strong and close social control the situation is also potentially problematic. Saudi Arabia now in a dynasty crisis tries to open modestly the democracy process (including women). But we have no capability to forecast these countries capabilities of resistance to change. If the most police-controlled state in the Arab world (Tunisia) succeeded to dismiss its dictator, every regime may be in danger.

Who are the new interlocutors? The official dialogue with lslamist leaders was blocked for many years. Traditionally France spoke more or less discretely with “classical” opponents representing the western model (socialist, liberal, human rightist,, and so on), individuals and groups generally reflecting, as the own experience of the writer can attest, the same values and objectives of France. These persons gave a false vision of the political situation in their own country, as the evolution in Tunisia and Egypt demonstrated.

Nevertheless French diplomacy has the capability to adapt and the Islamists interlocutors are quite well known. Most of the Islamists who are now surfacing in positions of government have been  in the political arena years, whether suffering many years of jail or in exile; or from ostracism by the former governments or official elites,. The leaders of Ennhada, Muslim Brotherhood, PJD and other Islamist groups are still in charge. Even if the French government refused the dialogue – essentially in Tunisia – researchers specialized on Islamist movements and, hopefully, members of intelligence service continued to dialogue with them. Moreover, with due instructions, the French diplomacy has a strong capability to open the channels of discussion. Of course it will take time to build trust-based relations with these interlocutors.

Anyway, it seems that the new French Presidency and the new government will continue on this line. In the very complicated landscape pre and post revolutions (Egypt is a very good example) the difficulty will be to identify the reliable and confident leaders who will emerge and help them. Between Salafism and a risk of Islamist dictatorship, the way will be narrow to research what we call in French language: “l’oiseau rare” – the rare bird! Because on the other side the spectrum of Salafism and Jihadism (on the Al Qaida model) will remain the anti-model of islamist democratic parties. The AKP Turkish model – celebrated in all Arab countries – is challenged by others movements which refuse even the concept of elections and polls and advocate armed struggle. By this way the western world and specially France due to its historical and political position and its huge Muslim (including Arab and Berbers) community have a responsibility to help the Arab spring to confirm and to install the Arab world in the modern wave of democracy and progress.

Inventing a new policy?

Islamist parties are supposed to take power in most of Arab countries in the next years (excepting in Algeria for the moment). This wave implies to define new relations with France and its Mediterranean neighborhood. The next French governments will have to create new links and identify the future Islamist elites. This supposes to accept some behavior different form western way of life.  For the near future the Arab societies will not reflect the style of France nor fashion and perception. This evolution will be sensible on diplomatic issues. It also seems clear that the relationship with Israel should not be the same as well in bilateral relations for Arab States as in multilateral. That is to say that France and Europe will have many difficulties to maintain inclusive cooperative process as such the Union for the Mediterranean or any Euro-Mediterranean process including Israel inside.  One consequence should be to dissociate the various processes.

On the other hand, the growing weight of  French-born Muslims will influence the relation between France and the other shores of the Mediterranean. Regarding the Arab uprising it seems obvious that the Muslim/Arab community in France would play a more important political role in the relation with their countries of origin and, may be, the defense of Muslim values. The largest community, the Algerian, is a huge link between both countries. It could play an important role – at this stage not assumed – for influencing the bilateral relationship. Of course, the weight of the countries of origin still exists, but a new, more independent force is being born, giving rise to two possible scenarios:  the emergence of a coherent French national Muslim identity or fragmentation into ineffective competing groups. But the influence of Muslims in French politics will grow.

The French government has a strong interest to see the new governments being formed in the Middle East and North Africa succeeding. Today the Islamists in charge in many seek to emulate the AKP Party in Turkey. They have very conservative social views but espouse liberal economic positions and seek commercial exchanges and integration in the European system. Their own peoples are expecting dignity, growth and welfare. The last year was economically disastrous for country as Tunisia, Egypt – obviously Libya – and bad for Morocco and Jordan. This year will not be good. The challenge for France, and globally for Western country is now to help the new governments, despite their political colors, to succeed. In case of failure, the situation could escalate into civil war and favor the rise of a more dangerous extremism. It is a dramatic challenge.

This paper first appeared in the E-Book, The West and the Muslim Brotherhood After the Arab Spring, co-published in 2013 by Al-Mesbar Center for Research and Studies and the Foreign Policy Research Institute.