Muslim Brotherhood was victorious in presidential elections yet it is desperate to bring stability to the most important muslim country in the region. Israel and its tribal supporters in the Gulf would want nothing more than to see the government of Mursi fail. A failed democratically elected Islamist party would go a long way to prove that muslims deserve to be ruled by iron fists. This theory would provide legitimacy to the corrupt governments occupying islamic lands. Muslim Brotherhood on the other hand wants to be like the AKP of Turkey. It wants to be accepted internationally as the islamic party of choice capable of governing a state. The Brotherhood wishes to prove that it is indeed the collective representation of its people. Why are they failing to do that?
More news from Cairo….
What was billed as peaceful protests to celebrate the second anniversary of the uprising against Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship, degenerated into violence leaving at least 40 people dead in several Egyptian cities. The Egyptian paper, Al-Ahram also confirmed the number of dead (January 26). In Cairo and Alexandria, the rallies were supposed to be about the January 25 uprising but thugs hired by remnants of the old regime and rejected politicians went on a rampage and set fire to several buildings including the Ministry of Services, the old American University and a military storage facility.
There were two separate aspects of violence that were capitalized on by the discredited politicians. The first was the opposition rallies in an attempt to prevent the government of President Mohamed Mursi from carrying out its duties. The demands made by the National Salvation Front (NSF) that comprises almost all the rejected secular politicians gave the game away when among other things, they called for a “National Salvation” Government.
The other protests erupted on January 26 in Port Said after a court handed down death sentences to 21 people charged with killing 76 people during a soccer match in the city last year. The soccer riots were a black mark in the history of the game where fans usually get excited but not to the point of killing supporters of an opponent’s team. Fans of the local team Masry had attacked Ahly fans from Cairo when they prevented the latter from leaving the stadium after the match.
In the charged atmosphere, thugs were easily able to incite violence by playing on people’s emotions. Police stations were attacked in Suez City and Port Said as were offices of the Muslim Brotherhood. Violence erupted in Cairo, Alexandria, Beheira, Luxor, Kafr El-Sheikh, Gharbia, Sharqia, Ismailia and Suez. In the 48-hour period, 40 people were killed including several policemen and hundreds of people were injured. The opposition also escalated their attacks on President Mursi and demanded that the constitution that was approved by 64 percent of the people in December be scrapped.
Opposition politicians exploited the situation by blaming President Mursi and his government for failing to fulfill “the demands of the revolution” after assuming power. While the opposition and their foreign sponsors have been harping on “democracy” and “elections”, a survey by Pew Research showed that 82 percent of Egyptians wanted justice to be provided to all (Washington Post, January 25, 2013). This was the top demand, far ahead of any other consideration because the thuggish Mubarak regime had brutalized people through kangaroo courts for decades.
Despite the Muslim Brotherhood capturing the presidency, almost all institutions are still controlled by appointees of the Mubarak regime. This includes the discredited judiciary where most judges continue to block justice from being delivered to the people. The interior ministry as well as the security forces are dominated by the old guard. Under such circumstances, the government’s hands are tied, made worse by the economic plight and the rapidly deteriorating situation because of continued turmoil.
Given the violence and uncertainty caused as a result of riots and arson attacks, President Mursi cancelled plans to travel to Ethiopia to attend the African economic summit. On late Saturday evening, Egypt’s National Defence Council (NDC), headed by President Mursi, said it might consider declaring a state of emergency in areas of violence. The Council also called for dialogue with opposition forces over ongoing clashes in several governorates but the opposition as usual rejected the call.
Instead of agreeing to the dialogue, the National Salvation Front put forward five demands including its inclusion in the government and scrapping of the constitution. In the absence of a constitution, however flawed, the country would be put in political limbo. This is what the opposition wants: endless chaos so that it would force the military to intervene and overthrow an elected government.
The NSF also warned that if their “legitimate” demands were not met in the coming days, it would hold protest next Friday to topple the “invalid” constitution and to readopt temporarily the 1971 Constitution. The front also demanded an early date for new presidential elections even while declaring that it will not participate in parliamentary elections as stipulated in the constitution.
January 26, 2013,