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Muslim Brotherhood's new TV channel unlikely to influence viewers

Unless the broadcasters behind Rabaa TV can offer more than sarcasm and spin, viewers in Egypt are likely to lose interest.

The Rabaa TV channel is in its early days, but already stirring widespread debate — even sarcasm — among some Egyptians. An overtly anti-regime channel broadcasting from Istanbul in support of the Muslim Brotherhood seems an intriguing concept for young Egyptians, but to the surprise of many, it is not new. Egypt has witnessed similar projects in the past, and the outcome of this one will probably be the same: loud noise that will fade with time.

Following former President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977, political agitation spread among many Arab leaders who vehemently rejected any deal with the “Zionist state,” as they called it. Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi took it a step further, opting to adopt Cold War tactics and create an anti-Sadat radio channel that broadcast from Libya. Gadhafi’s thinking was not irrational — in fact, his logic was sound. He judged that a combination of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s legacy, bad economic conditions, decadeslong antipathy to Israel and the rise of Islamism was a powerful enough mix to undermine Sadat’s regime and even stir a popular uprising to force a regime change in Egypt.

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