The Egyptian dilemma: applying interest-based negotiation theory

The goal of this project is to bring two perceived enemies, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Government, to the negotiation table, and to help the people of Egypt realize that there may be a nonviolent way to address the disputes between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian government. This may be achieved by introducing a negotiation model that uses available data and applying interest-based negotiation theory to find common ground and mutual gains between the two parties. The problems surrounding the issues are addressed twice: once through the lens of the Egyptian government, and a second time through the lens of the Muslim Brotherhood. This approach reveals a great disparity in each party’s interpretation of the problems. At the same time, many mutual gains are discovered, and those gains are the foundation for this study (The University of Texas, 2011). For this project, this researcher traveled to Egypt for four months, interviewed hundreds of people, and established a network of contacts to insure that the when the project was complete, decision makers from both sides would consider implementing the findings to begin the road to peace. In addition to interviewing people that claimed membership or support of either the Egyptian government or the Muslim Brotherhood, the researcher also interviewed people with no affiliation with either group. After the interviews were complete, the data were analyzed and patterns sought. The research methodology focused on separating the people from the problems, targeting the various sides’ positions, and inventing options for mutual gain (Kohlrieser, 2006). The researcher hopes that the four principles of interest-based negotiation will be the road map Egypt needs in order to bring the parties together for open and honest negotiations.