Egypt’s Game – “Good Cop, Bad Cop” ?

Egypt’s Game – “Good Cop, Bad Cop” ?

It seems as if Egypt is practicing a somewhat schizophrenic policy in the domestic and foreign arena.  

On the one hand, senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt officially express a hard line which reflects the movement’s intolerant ideology regarding various social and political issues including: the rights of minorities, women’s rights, liberalism, civil rights, relations with Israel, etc.

On the other hand, Muhammad Morsi, the President of Egypt, who ran for president as the candidate of the “Freedom and Justice Party” – the political party of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt – advocates for a moderate and tolerant policy on the exact same topics.  

So, the Muslim brotherhood plays “Bad Cop” through demagogy and actions that nurture populist sentiment among the masses. By doing that, the movement demonstrates loyalty to its ideology thus ensuring the support of its constituency.

At the same time, Morsi plays the “Good Cop,” hoping to overcome feelings of resentment and suspicion inside Egypt and to gain more legitimacy in the West. Perhaps that tactic explains why Morsi did not renew his membership in the Muslim Brotherhood movement following his presidential victory.

A good example of this “Good Cop, Bad Cop” tactic is the incident of the Rafah terror attack which resulted in the killing of sixteen Egyptian soldiers:  President Morsi rushed to ensure the international community that he is determined to put an end to the terrorist entities that have developed in The Sinai Peninsula under Egypt’s authority – and to that end the Egyptian army has launched a military campaign against Islamic militant strongholds in the Sinai Peninsula.  And at the same time, the Muslim Brotherhood movement formally announced that Israeli Mossad agents were involved in the attack.  This announcement was not born in a vacuum – many people in the Arab world, and of course in Egypt – argue that the Rafah terror attack was an Israeli conspiracy.

Another example is the wave of protests in The Arab world following the broadcasting on YouTube of the movie Innocence of Muslims“. The Muslim Brotherhood announced it would organize mass demonstrations in front of each and every major mosque in Egypt.  However, the next day, the Muslim Brotherhood announced the abolishment of the planned protests. The reason for the change in the movement’s position was the attack on the US Embassy in Cairo which caused a sort of diplomatic crisis between Egypt and the US. It is very likely to assume that Egypt’s President urged the Muslim Brotherhood movement to take a moderate approach in order to calm things down. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood movement know that Egypt needs the support of the US.

Some may argue that the different and sometimes opposing positions, taken by Morsi and the Muslim brotherhood movement regarding the same topics is a reflection of a real split which could lead to an open collision between Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

However, as of now, it seems more likely that this “bilingual” policy tactic reflects a well-calculated and coordinated strategy. 

If you want to have a better understanding of the news and what really drives the unfolding events…
Read the latest book of Avi Melamed,

Follow me on Twitter @AviMelamed; Facebook @InsideTheMiddleEast; for more Videos on YouTube

I can always be reached at Av*@Av********.com

Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed is an expert on current affairs in the Arab & Muslim World and their impact on Israel & the Middle East. A former Israeli Intelligence Official & Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence & Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities & communities - often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. He is the Founder & CEO of Inside the Middle East | Intelligence Perspectives - an apolitical non-partisan curriculum using intelligence methodology to examine the Middle East. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides Intelligence Analysis, Briefings, and Geopolitical Tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policymakers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs.

JOIN THE HUB Newsletter


New book by Avi Melamed, acclaimed intelligence & geopolitical analyst - Inside the middle east | Entering a new era | published in 2022


A Change in the Ground Rules: The Iranian – Saudi Power Struggle Severely Escalates

A Change in the Ground Rules: The Iranian – Saudi Power Struggle Severely Escalates Intelligence Bulletin Information: On Saturday November 4, 2017 Saudi Arabia announced that it...

The Iranian-Arab Power Struggle Reaches The Pitch

For the first time since 1979, Iraq is set to host the Arabian Gulf Cup (AGC) of the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation. But a last-minute announcement, less than 48 hours before the opening ceremonies, might throw a wrench into the pitch, jeopardize the games, and with it, Iraq’s hopes to re-establish Baghdad as part of the Arab world.

Hamas Instagram post indicates fracture in resolve and its unwillingness to compromise | USA TODAY

Hamas Instagram post indicates fracture in resolve and its unwillingness to compromise | An article by Avi Melamed Originally published in USA Today. This...

The Alliance of Fear in Lebanon

The Alliance of Fear in Lebanon As the war in Syria percolates into Lebanon and Iraq, turning into a massive Sunni-Shiite collision, it is worthwhile...

Israel’s Northern Front