Egypt remains in turmoil but Morsi pushes Muslim Brotherhood’s regional power-grab
Since the Sharia style Egyptian Constitution passed the referendum, albeit amid claims of election rigging in December, the government of Egypt now has around six weeks to hold parliamentary elections. On December 27, 2012, the Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament (Shura Council), which was protected from dissolution by Morsi’s decree in November, commenced its next parliamentary session after assuming legislative power for the first time in 32 years.
The Shura Council was set up by late president Anwar El-Sadat in 1980 as a consultative body that also controlled the state-owned press organization. Ninety new members that were appointed by Morsi, taking the member numbers to 270 who have been sworn in, and 11 committees have been formed. While the dates for the parliamentary elections have not yet been announced, deep divisions within the Islamist Coalition are becoming more evident.
Activists supporting the National Salvation Front continue to occupy Tahrir Square amidst spates of violence. On Monday, 20-year-old Mohannad Samir, an activist with the April 6 movement, was fatally shot in the face during a drive by shooting in Tahrir Square. Turmoil continues to plague the Judicial system with prosecutors planning a strike next week in support of their demands for the removal of the Chief Prosecutor. Under the new constitution which does not protect of expression, a comedian is now under criminal investigation by the Prosecuting authority seeking to charge him with insulting Islamists and the President.
Morsi promised stability in return for a supporting vote for his Islamic Constitution, and, with economic calm nowhere in sight, Egyptians have started dumping their pounds for dollars en masse. Egypt’s Central Bank has severely limited the amount of foreign reserves it is willing to sell to stop the currency’s free-fall. By Wednesday, the Egyptian Pound had fallen to 3 percent below its weakest level since November 2004 and the cost of insuring Egyptian sovereign debt against default has soared. Around two fifths of Egyptians live in poverty at less than two dollars a day and are dependent on state-subsidized staples such as bread to survive. Now, Morsi’s tax increases along with near runaway inflation as a result of the latest monetary crisis serve to stoke the hotbed of resentment toward the new Islamist regime.
Within hours of the referendum’s closure, Mahmoud Mekki, the Vice President of Egypt, stepped down saying that the post did not really ‘gel’ with his working aspirations. Communications Minister, Hany Mahmoud has since resigned due to his inability to adapt to the government’s new ‘working culture’ and Mohamed Masoub, member of the Wasat Party resigned on December 27 citing a lack of non-alignment of Morsi’s policies and efforts as representative of the aspirations of the Egyptian People.
On Wednesday, the Al Nur Party*, which won 26 percent of the now-dissolved legislature and is the largest Salafist** political Group of around 200,000 members in Egypt, faced a breakaway by around 40 hardline Islamists. The breakaway was led by its former head and incumbent aide to President Morsi, Emad Abdel Ghafour to form a new party called Al Watan, loosely translated by Arabic journalists to mean “homeland” or “country.” Ghafour also announced an alliance with the political party led by former Presidential candidate, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail who leads a group of unwaveringly obedient followers, the Hazemoon. Hazem Salah Abu Ismail advocates for public gender separation, champions Iran’s Islamist state and has called for an end to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.
Morsi’s ability to constructively influence the Middle East has also come under intense scrutiny when his party made inflammatory statements in direct contradiction to his own. On Tuesday, the Deputy Head of his Freedom and Justice Party, Essam Al Erian publically predicted the demise of Israel within the next decade. He then stated that it is his party’s policy that Arab Jews are not entitled to a Jewish State and should therefore return to their Muslim countries of birth (which millions of Jews were systematically forced to leave since the late 1900s). El Erian stated that Arab Jews should abandon Israel in favor of their fellow Arabs, the Palestinians and again reiterated his stance as the official policy of the party.
Morsi continues to drive the Muslim Brotherhood’s foreign agenda of the creation of a strict Islamic empire or caliphate. In the last two months, Morsi has led meetings with and for Hamas, which was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood. He has reached out to Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah. He has championed resources for the formation of offices and infrastructure for the extremist and barbaric Syrian rebels who continue to perpetrate shocking and inhumane crimes. In December alone and in two separately reported incidents, the Muslim Brotherhood’s rebels decapitated a Christian and then fed his body to dogs and gouged out the eyes of another Christian while torturing him to death.
The Muslim Brotherhood continues its efforts to undermine the remaining monarchies in the Middle East. Morsi dispatched officials to the United Arab Emirates in spite of having an embassy presence in order to secure the release of some 11 Egyptian members of a Muslim Brotherhood Cell detained by authorities in an eight week long crackdown. UAE media reports that the cell was working to overthrow the government. Activities that were tracked over the last year include the training of local Islamists, collecting security information about the UAE and the formation of companies to send large amounts of money to Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Cairo.
Given the latest targeting of America’s ally, the UAE, the continued hardships on the Egyptian populace, and the fact that Morsi has already publically humiliated our President by denying their terms of agreement for the Israel-Gaza Ceasefire, the time has come for the Administration to review its funding of the Muslim Brotherhood’s diabolical human rights atrocities. This is in light of President Obama’s naïve utopian Arab Spring, which he was almost certainly duped into nurturing in the first place.
*Salafists are extreme Saudi-types and not much different to the Wahhabi Islamist group, the Taliban whose approach to Islam is in its most oppressive form.
** In previous elections, the Al Nour Party made it obligatory for its female parliamentary hopefuls to wear the niqab (full face veil) and infuriated pro-women groups by replacing pictures of women contenders on its campaign posters with flowers.
- Egypt-UAE relations worsen with Brotherhood arrests (dailystar.com.lb)
- Muslim Brotherhood Cell Arrested in Plot to Overthrow UAE Gov’t. – Morsi Possibly Involved (patdollard.com)
- In 2010, Morsi Called for War Against Israel (Video) (jewishpress.com)
- Brotherhood official urges Egypt’s Jews to return (sfgate.com)
- Egypt-UAE relations worsen with ‘Brotherhood’ arrests (dawn.com)