President Mursi failed to unite his country under a broad based new political structure. The president pulled up the reforms card when he needed a radical shift from the legacies of his predecessors. President Mursi’s “play it safe” strategy has backfired. Opposition (known as the Tamarod) expects massive turnout on Sunday will appeal to the generals to action. Army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has urged the rival camps to talk and reach a resolution to prevent violence.
There are three political blocks, Islamists, nationalists and socialists. Islamists having won the elections had the ideal opportunity to prove their pluralistic credential for the first time since the end of colonialism. Sadly the country witnessed a nose dive in tolerance in the heart of the modern Arab world. Egypt’s economy likewise fell after the end of Mubarak and the people blame the president for their condition. Nationalists and socialists have found the perfect opportunity to take on the popular Muslim Brotherhood. In Egypt’s three way struggle the most vulnerable is the Islamist block as the economic and social downturns can be blamed on their performance.
Recent violence against sectarian groups aggravated the already delicate social balance. Attacks on shiites last week was the darkest hour for the president and the Muslim Brotherhood. Dr Mursi failed to demonstrate the universal and clement face of his faith when he sat next to salafists as they hurled abuses at shiites and minorities.
The Generals are watching every move of the government. If things get out of control it may be the ideal scenario for Mubarak loyalists to take a shot at grabbing power. This will be good news for Israel and her allies who dread to see a democratically elected Islamist group in Cairo strengthen itself domestically and internationally. It has always been in Israel’s best interest to see a blood thirsty strongman remain in charge of Egypt and Syria, countries which fought Israel three times since its occupation of Palestine. When Arabs look bad, zionists look good, and this gives Israel the credibility to drop bombs on residential neighborhoods, schools and refugee camps.
To face the challenge Muslim Brotherhood has mobilized supporters on the streets. Both groups look determined to win the street battle for the heart of the common Egyptian. For the Brotherhood, they can no longer blame an army dictator for the country’s problems, as they could do during Mubarak era. The problems piled up in the last one year belong to the Brotherhood. Fighting street battles with socialists and nationalists will hardly improve the economic situation. It will make matters worse for a country for a country which has seen a 300% rise in crimes last year alone.
Supporters of the president gathered in Cairo’s Nasr City district, vowing an “open rally” to protect his “legitimacy.” Egypt’s leading religious authority warned of “civil war” and appealed for calm amid scattered violence on Friday, days before mass demonstrations that the opposition hopes can force the president to quit.“Vigilance is required to ensure we do not slide into civil war,” said clerics of Cairo’s thousand-year-old al-Azhar institute, one of the most influential centers of scholarship in the Muslim world.
The Brotherhood’s political wing warned of “dire consequences that will pull the country into a violent spiral of anarchy”. It held liberal leaders, including former U.N. diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei, personally responsible for inciting violence by hired “thugs” once employed by the ousted dictator.
The army, which heeded mass protests in early 2011 to push aside Mubarak, has warned it will intervene again if there is violence and to defend the “will of the people”. Both sides believe that means the military may support their positions.
An American teacher was killed in Alexandria clashes. In response, the United States warned Americans on travel to Egypt, and moved to reduce official presence at its embassy in Cairo.
The United States, which funds Egypt’s army as it did under Mubarak, has urged compromise and respect for election results. Egypt’s 84 million people, control of the Suez Canal and treaty with Israel all contribute to its global strategic importance.
The Tamarod has surprised political analysts by throwing an anti-American conspiracy theory to the crowd after blaming the US establishment for partnering with the Brotherhood to “bring down Egypt”. Tamarod’s legitimacy as a serious and respectable political foe has diminished with such comments especially after an American death.
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon urged Egyptians to respect “universal principles of peaceful dialogue” and to strengthen their democracy by promoting an “inclusive environment.”
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged all sides to keep protests peaceful, build trust and show a “spirit of dialogue and tolerance”.
Morsi himself refused to consider standing down during his two-and-a-half-hour speech on Wednesday. He apologized for some of his mistakes, and offered to let opponents help amend parts of Egypt’s divisive new constitution. But in the main he focused on shoring up his own support and blamed attempts to unseat him on “enemies of Egypt” bent on undermining democracy.
Analysts emphasise that the army has little desire to involve itself after its mixed attempt at interim government following the fall of Mubarak. “The military will only intervene as a last measure – to prevent the collapse of the state itself. They know that they will be trying to catch a falling knife if they try to take over”, writes an analyst from Cairo.
A director of research at the Brookings Doha Center, argued that Morsi and his political opponents might yet agree to a compromise before such an intervention was necessary. “I think you’ll see very large protests, clashes here and there, and a certain amount of deaths around the country. But the fundamental balance of power will remain. Morsi will stay, and we’ll have an effective stalemate. Perhaps the reality of that stalemate, when it dawns on people that Morsi hasn’t left power, will force both sides to finally get serious about sitting down and making concessions” explains the research analyst.
But despite his bad administration, the toppling of Mursi – who still has three more years of his term left – will be a loss to the democratic government in Egypt and will generate a new period of chaos. Muslim Brotherhood is the largest political party not only of Egypt but of the entire Arab world. It is a party respected by the Arab street for its contributions through charitable trusts, schools, hospitals and religious learning centers. It is also the only party which enjoys popular votes in free and fair elections. Muslim Brotherhood is currently the only political weapon in the Arab world to resist the expansionist regime in Tel Aviv.