The Muslim Brotherhood isÂ doing well in Libya, and Egyptian members of the Ikhwan find Libya a useful refuge. Can a future war by Egypt on Libya, to wipe out the Muslim Brotherhood, and to bring someÂ semblance of stability, to Libya, be excluded? And whatÂ if the Egptian army, once in Libya, decided that the LibyansÂ were hopeless and the Egyptians would have to stay, and why should they not, while they are there, help the 90 million Egyptians to a share of the fabulous Libyan oil wealth, when there are only six million Libyans to share that largesse? Who couldÂ stop the Egyptians?
And if the Egyptian military promised, and fulfilled that promise, to halt the boats full of Arab and African would-be immigrants travelling from Libyan ports to Lampedusa, would European objections to an Egyptian takeover of Libya, mechanically made because that is what is expected, and the duty will be dutifully discharged, continue for long?
Some may remember the 1950s, when so many deposted dictators found a refuge in Lisbon when Portugal was still run by Salazar. Some may remember how various African and Arab despots, as long as they had embraced Islam, found refuge in the 1980s in Saudi Arabia. But in addition to individuals — Peron and Batista and Admiral Horthy in Lisbon, Amin and Ben Ali in Saudi ArabiaÂ and the Amins, there are whole groups of Muslims who have sought refuge, not in Lisbon orÂ Jiddah, but in sunny, comfortable, modern-because-of-France Tunis. The PLO, on the run from Beirut, was welcomed in Tunisia (though even there the Israelis managed to inflict a little damage). Now it appears that Qatar, under great pressure from Saudi Arabia to do so, has made known to Al Qaradawi that he, and the Muslim Brotherood, are no longer welcome in Doha, and Al-Qaradawi has announced that they are moving to Tunisia. Is he right? Could Moncef Marzouki be so heedless as to approve? What does Beji Caid Essebsi have to say about it? And how would the presence of the Ikhwan’s high command help Tunisia in its desperate attempt to revive its tourism industry? The Egyptian government, too, with its control of Cairo airport, and the port of Alexandria, can makes things very difficult for Tunis-bound ships and planes.
There is one place where the Ikhwan would be welcome — there where Tariiq Ramadan’s more-than-filial piety for his grandfather Hasan Al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, is on display. And he and his brother Hani could certainlyÂ put up a half-dozen, or even a dozen, Ikhwan members. in various houses and apartments that they own, in Oxford, London, Geneva. Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. Even for the Muslim Brotherhood. It would be the right thing to do.