Morsi Smiles at Sisi and his Zionist Friends

Egypt’s former president, Mohammed Morsi, along with 105 co-defendants, has been sentenced to death for a prison break during the upheavals of the 2011 revolution. On the ethical level, this trial is a travesty because Morsi did not enjoy due process in a highly politicised trial which Amnesty International described as “grossly unfair” and “a charade based on null and void procedures”.

While I wanted to know if this sentence will be any good for Misr, my blogger friend wrote these words which threw me off guard, `Sisi´s hands are blood stained. Morsis not. We are now the laughing stock of the civilized world´. How true and how deep these words from an average man is ringing loud bells in the ears of other men who are silently watching a nasty as well as a cruel joke unfold before them in the very birthplace of civilization. What could be more ironic I was thinking until I realized that this fanatic race to punish anyone un-secular in the Muslim world is not unique to any particular country, it actually flows through almost all the Muslim countries like a river of contaminated water from a mountain of corruption. I mean no disrespect for any of my Muslim friends, but I do want to call a spade a spade, and the Muslim spade is currently drenching with the blood of injustice, intolerance, corruption, greed and everything else that comes with these lofty value systems managed at the top of the pyramid.

The pyramid structure in the Arab world is lot more complex than in other areas. The injustices committed by those at the top trickle down to the last brick. The image of Misir is now one of dictatorship, brutal military stronghold, authoritarian single eyed regime of a man upon whose orders hundreds of innocent protesters were mercilessly gunned down.

We now see Misir is an example of intolerance. Muslim Brotherhood was pulled down from power because they were leading the country away from the secular block to the Islamic block. Muslim Brotherhood enjoyed 70% popularity, allowing them to amend the constitution based on peoples´demands. Since the vast majority of their voters were rural poor who wanted Islamic shareeah, the Muslim Brotherhood turned out to be the single most significant threat for the secular loyalists whose lifeline depended on generous business concessions from their like-minded commercial partners. I fail to see how a faulty trial can bring any good news for the general people.

Sisi is a typical military dictator, as men like him have surprisingly short memories. The general has forgotten how the Muslim Brotherhood grew to be the single largest political party of the country. Nasserists fail to point out that it was them secular Baathists who elevated the status of the Brotherhood in the country after the killing of Hassan Al Bannah and the unjust and highly controversial hanging of Syed Qutub, former was the founder and the latter was the spiritual-intellectual guide of Muslim Brotherhood. El Sisi is close to adding a third name to the list. The death sentence on Morsi on the one hand will cement the dictator´s grip on power while on the other hand it would create another martyr for the cause especially for the youth who like to rebel against authority.

Will the Egyptian Army really benefit from this sentence? The armed forces were suffering from humiliation from the very day Tahrir Square became a successful revolution. Former president Mubarak and his sons were quickly dispatched to the prisons. This was a blow since Mubarak was considered to be a pride for the forces going back to the 1973 Ramadan War against Israel when Egypt defeated Israel regaining its prestige in the world specially in the Arab and Muslim world. The army was a staunch Mubarak loyalist. With Mubarak in jail the old guard must have been waiting to strike back. This was not limited to the forces only, all other branches of government administration after nearly five decades of Mubarak could not easily accept the whirlwind change of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. It was just too difficult and much too insecure for the Mubarak guard to make friends with the new rulers from the Islamic block.

It could be understood for the defence and administration, but why would this sentence be of any good for the common people who gave support to Tahrir Square revolution? Common people wanted democracy, and they probably still want to live under a democratic government, which does not reconcile with the undemocratic overthrow of the voters´ choice. People lost their right to select the president they deem fit for their republic. The voters were the only authorized persons to decide whether Mursi was good for them or not. It was not a decision that was given to the authorities by the voters. The republic may have taken a wrong turn at the cross roads making the destination confusing for the voters once again. As one Egyptian commented, we are back to square one.

The single greatest beneficiary from the overthrow and the subsequent death sentence of Mursi should be Israel. It has a policy of promoting Arabs and Muslims in general as unfit for democracy and liberalism. May be they are right, or maybe they have lost their minds, but they have been successful in portraying the Arabs, especially Egypt and Syria as countries which need an iron man at the center, no democracy, no liberalism, no social justice is doable for the two. The fact that the rest of the Arab world is´nt much different from this sad portrayal helps the Zionist cause immensely, yet it is basically the closes neighbors of Israel which deserve special praise for dictatorship by its most important military threat.

It copuld be well understood what is bad for Arabs is good for the Zionists, but what is puzzling is why conservative, traditionalist, dynastic monarchy of Arabia is happy at the overthrow of the Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Its also strange that the dynasties of Arabia should have similar desires and targets for the Arab world as like the Israelis. What is the common bond between Israel and the Arab dynasties? It makes heads roll and twist in search for facts on the ground. The recent attack on the Houthi population in Yemen by the GCC led by Saudi Arabia points to a regional geo-political struggle for supremacy in the Arab world strategy. The proxy war between two regional heavy weights may themselves be proxies for two global super heavy weights also running in the race for supremacy over strategic points across the world.

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Erdogan´s Politics Opportunistic or Islamic?

First let me express myself in a simple way. I admire the Turkish people and their glorious Islamic history very much. For over 500 years the brave Turks defended Muslim lands, provided security and raised the banner of Islam in Europe. Alhamdulillah. Islamic architecture, calligraphy, charity, infrastructure, economy and law flourished in the House of Osman. Our Turkish brothers and sisters were the champions of Islam and for that I have great respect, honor and good wishes for them.

Ending the Islamic Caliphate was not one of the best episodes of that great nation. What did they gain and what did the world loose is a question that needs to be fully understood and talked about. I am afraid it is not much of a concern in the mainstream Muslim intellectual circles. The main topics understandably circle around the civil war in Syria, the rise of ISIS, the chaos in Libya, the ruthless dictatorship in Misir, the new war on Yemen, development of nuclear technology in Iran, the fall of Iraq and ofcourse the issue of Palestina.

Above are obviously serious issues and they are happening as of this moment. It would seem bit fundamentalist if one brought up the issue of the Caliphate in these on going discussions. This branding of fundamentalism for going back in time to understand the root of the problem is in fact the very problem itself. let me try to make it simpler. The fall of the Islamic Caliphate in Istanbul triggered the rise of almost all the current political, social and judicial problems in the Middle East and in the greater Muslim world.

With the fall of the Caliphate, Middle east was divided up into a dozen so-called independent nationalistic nation states by the victorious British-French allies. Each neo-colony having its royal family protected by the European powers. The Arab revolt was orchestrated by the British against the Ottomans to achieve this very aim. Sherif Hussein and his sons were the treacherous leaders whose doings helped the Europeans make independent Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and later on Saudi Arabia after the Nejdi Sauds evicted King Hussein´s family from Arabia. Thanks to them, the Saud family was able to launch their Wahabi campaign first in Arabia followed by global outreach with billions of petro dollars. The Wahabi Salafi sect also pumped in funds for militant outfits at the behest of their western masters to fight proxy wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya against communist Soviets. As a result, we now have groups like ISIS and TTP.

We must remember that in the 19th century Ottomans had dispatched Egyptian soldiers under the command of Ali Pasha´s son to quell the uprising of Wahabism in the Nejd. The leader Abdul Wahab was caught, chained and brought to Istanbul where the Islamic Qadhi (judge) handed down capital punishment for his extremist (and murderous) views. This was 2 centuries ago! It is that same Kahrijite (extremist) group which is now in control of oil wealth pocketing billions for their immoral luxuries and for spreading Kharijite wahabism across the entire world.

President Erdogan is a complicated figure in my opinion. On one hand he should be respected for bringing back Islamic sensitivity in Turkish politics. Under his AKP one can see the smiles of millions of muslimeen in the beautiful land of Islam in Turkeye. Economy has improved, infrastructure has developed, education has progressed, people are living in security, all of which jointly makes Turkeye an ideal Islamic country for our modern times. On the world stage, Istanbul has exposed the cruel, barbaric nature of Zionism. Support for Palestine has won many hearts for Mr Erdogan. Muslim world will always remember Mr Erdogan as a patriotic pan Muslim pan Islamic politician who could have been the president of the entire Muslim Ummah, wth overwhelming majority votes.

However, there is another side to Mr Erdogan which puzzles me. Why does he swing back when it comes to Saudi Arabia? In Misir, Erdogan backed the Muslim Brotherhood and its leader Mursi. Saudis bankrolled El-Sisi who overthrew the legitimate government, killed hundreds of innocent people and finally pulled the country back to iron fisted dictatorship. Fast forward into 2015, Saudis attack the blessed land of Yemen starting with air attacks. Unfortunately, Erdogan has backed this move rather strangely since his previous positions showed his position for Muslim unity over Muslim bloodshed. Why did he make an exception for Saudis?

After his Teheran visit things begin to look a bit different. What started out as an anti Iran anti Shii stand after his verbal throws at the Islamic Republic for backing the Houthis, ended as a reconciliation between Turkeye and Iran whereby Mr Erdogan is said to have expressed Ì don’t care about Sunni or Shii, I care about Muslim blood in Iraq. I care about Islam`. This statement, non sectarianism viewpoint, is good and welcoming. I do believe Turkeye has a major role to play in Muslim political map. My take on Erdogan is still positive although he is deemed to be an opportunist by many Muslim writers. What he needs most is a Caliph!

Progress of Political Islam

Trees can be compared to Islamic politics. A good word is like a good seed, its roots are strong and its vertical growth is solid and straight. there is no short cut to it, and there is no crookedness in it.

Political organizations with Islamic ideology are in my opinion tree planters. They sow the seeds of Tawheed, Resalah, Nubuwah, Akhirah and Qadr in their fertile lands which is in the hearts of the listeners. From these seeds big trees will grow one day, inshaAllah.

Materialists, secularists and atheists will obviously try to uproot the plants wherever possible. Urban cities like leaning towards materialistic and mechanized society. Remote areas are not as mechanized and they are more receptive to the ideas of faith. This general concept seems to have played a significant role in elections in Bd and Misr where in local elections large number of voters chose members from Islamic parties.

MB and JI have expanded their Dawah work in rural centers and to be more specific to those people whom the capitalists class as poor people. This is an insult to human dignity because in Islamic thought, class differentiation based on wealth is a disgusting concept. Only classification is by good or bad deeds, as all are equal citizens of the state with equal rights.

Unfortunately, Muslims have fallen for the rich-poor divide trap and by doing so, the large majority of the population have been turned into second class citizens. However, it is in rural centers and amongst so-called poor people where MB and JI have immense support for their dawah and it is here where the seeds have been planted for the future big tree to rise up.

In the future, it may lead to a situation where the majority rural and poor people will want an Islamic political party against the wishes of the minority urban cliques. then what? Will democracy come to the rescue or will the voice of the rural poor be crushed?

Brotherhood Must Not Budge from Non-Violence

In the aftermath of the massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Cairo in the middle of last month, serious questions are being raised about Egypt’s identity, social bonds, ideologies and foreign military aid. The country is divided on multiple fault lines bringing the very nature and the basis of Egypt’s political infrastructure to doubt. The question that now worries the Egypt watchers is whether the country is heading for an atrocious bloodbath.

Egypt’s transitional pains in a post-Arab Spring scenario has brought the state forward to either a major turning point or reverted it back to authoritarianism. The Egyptians want to know just as much as foreign observers whether Egypt should be a liberal secular society or a fundamentalist Islamic state. Is it fair that its majority voters who are supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood should be subjugated by the urban minority elite? Answers to these questions demands that one should look beyond the veils of appeasement and an addiction to exposing the bitter truth, for the political model in Cairo will make a remarkable impact in the entire Middle East and North Africa region. After all, Egypt is the heartbeat of the Arab world and the most important strategic and intellectual piece in the Middle Eastern realpolitik.

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An Egyptian woman tries to stop a military bulldozer during the clashes between the Egyptian security forces and supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo
The Arab Spring opened the prospect for emergence of a political Islam through the rise of Muslim Brotherhood, which had so far remained elusive due to the heavy handed nature of military strongmen whose strength always rested in the barrel of a loaded gun. Operating via social and charitable projects across North Africa and Arab Levant with hundreds of thousands of followers, Muslim Brotherhood evolved in the last seven decades as the icon of political Islam in the Arab world. It should be noted that most of the Arab world still suffers from localized imperialism of hereditary tribal franchises with hardly any presence of political parties, discourses or diversity of political thoughts. The Brotherhood in contrast has built a deep-rooted support base of average, ordinary people with the help of charitable projects spread across the rural areas in Egypt.

The US and its principal ally Israel are, however, not yet ready to accept the Brotherhood as a reliable partner

on the regional strategic chessboard. Democratic credentials have not helped the Islamic party allay the fear of a rising militant regime challenging the supremacy of Israel. The west, particularly the US, would not mind to see an undemocratic yet liberal pro-Western strongman in Cairo rather than a democratic pan-Islamist political party in power. The ultra conservative regimes in the region qualify for the Western support whereas the elected government of the Brotherhood failed to do that despite repeated assurances to build a culture of reforms through the political process. This explains the resentment amongst the Brotherhood members for what they dub as double standards of the West.

Democracy in Egypt did not receive the welcome it deserved from the socalled defenders of democracy in the liberal West, especially from the US. This is not the first time American government had to shoulder the blame for choosing the wrong side. Helping the Shah of Iran to return to power by overthrowing the popular Mossaddegh government and subsequently taking a position in favor of the ruthless monarch against the rising popularity of Ayatollah Khomeini exposed the superpower’s flawed policies in the Persian Gulf. America’s most important and strategic ally in the Middle East is Israel and the US administration will protect it from any harm from the Arab countries. The Israeli factor in American policy should explain why the Muslim Brotherhood is not a favorite in Washington.

Despite its success at the polls Muslim Brotherhood fell short of winning the real war, which was in the barracks rather than the streets. The military was the real authority in Egypt since the end of colonialism and the overthrow of King Farouk. For six decades the armed forces strengthened their position, consolidated their grip on power and organized the state structure under its strategic command and control. It would be more than naïve to assume a political party could reform the work of the best-organized state machinery by relying on the proverbial “street power” within one year. Muslim Brotherhood also should have known better how to handle the economy and the foreign policy as they have written dozens of theories on them. The recent coup leader general Abdel Fattah El-Sisi exploited the Brotherhood’s real weakness, which is its overall lack of strategic and economic vision for the country. Muslim Brotherhood could not have reformed the country by banking on the administrative policies left behind by Mubarak, and yet, that is exactly what they tried to do.

The Crackdown

It actually began on June 30 as the Tamarrods (the rebels) marched towards Tahrir Square to demonstrate against what they claimed was Morsi’s failure to make an inclusive government. There was the fear of the “Brotherhoodization” of the state organs and turning the country into an Islamic state along the lines of Iran. Muslim Brotherhood having the majority in the parliament could change the liberal framework of the past resulting in the rise of the Islamists and the fall of the old guards from the bureaucracy. Due to high level of unemployment, young men and women were easily convinced that their financial woes were caused by Dr Mohamed Morsi’s fundamentalist background, which negatively impacted on the tourism industry where thousands of young men and women are employed through small businesses.

The youth believed Morsi’s removal would change everything in the economy and make their fortunes shine again. The Tamarrods were of the opinion that one year was enough for the first democratically elected government to turn the country around. After hundreds of thousands of people gathered at Tahrir Square the defence minister of Dr Morsi’s cabinet general El-Sisi made a surprise statement to the nation. He gave an ultimatum of 48 hours to the president: Heed to the people’s call, or else.

El-Sisi moved much too soon with the ultimatum; it looked as if he was waiting for this to happen with eagerness. Secondly, he broke his constitutional oath to be loyal to the president. The general claimed he acted on people’s demands and concerns. People’s demands are strictly political issues and should have been dealt with by political institutions and processes not by the gun. On July 3, 2013 El-Sisi overthrew the democratically elected president of Egypt. Morsi was arrested and taken to a secret location where he is still being held for questioning.

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Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi addressing a public gathering before his ouster
Muslim Brotherhood supporters came out in thousands on the streets of Cairo. They gathered at Al-Nasr City, October 6 Bridge, Giza, and Rabaa al- Adawiya to protest against the coup. The supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed El Badei gave a rare public appearance at the Nasr City square. The Brotherhood wanted the generals to restore the elected government of Dr Morsi. Pro- Morsi supporters poured out in thousands vowing to show their strength against the Tamarrods. The large turnout of Brotherhood members, however, failed to impress or frighten the generals.

The sit-ins looked like a replay of 2011 Tahrir Square demonstrations. In 2011 Tahrir square gave the united face of a country determined to oust Hosni Mubarak. By 2013 the situation changed, sharply dividing the country between pro- and anti-Brotherhood camps. It exposed the deep bitterness resting in the heart of the nation, which could in the future grow into a massive problem as the one seen in Syria.

As the month of Ramadan started, more and more Brotherhood members joined the sit-in at Nasr City while fasting. In the meanwhile internationally renowned Nobel peace laureate and former chief of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),

Mohammed El-Baradei, joined the interim government as the vice president “with sweeping powers”. Adly Al-Mansour, a former chief justice, was chosen as the interim president.

The Adly cabinet soon began to take an offence with the peaceful demonstrations by the Brotherhood An ultimatum was issued to the protesters to go home as the “government had run out of patience”. The ultimatum was ignored by the demonstrators. Soon thereafter the interim government ordered a crackdown on them. Security forces fired on the demonstrators, killing many and wounding many times more.

An eye witness posted in a blog, “It is almost impossible to describe the sheer intensity and scale of the August 14 security force crackdown on the Nahda and Rabaa al-Adawiya camps, where supporters of the deposed president had gathered for 41 days following the July 3 military coup. Bulldozers, snipers, assault fire, tear gas, pellets and helicopters overhead were all reported at the scene”. Social media sites exposed the pictures of security personnel shooting at unarmed citizens on the streets. This would be the first evidence of gross human rights violation by the El-Sisibacked government of Adly Mansour.

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Armored police vans stand by while tents and debris from the demolished camps belonging to Mosri supporters burn in Cairo
Egyptian state television showed much of Rabaa, a small city, up in flames. A number of journalists compared the scene to a war zone. What occurred there is far from the “gradual dispersal” of protesters designed to minimize carnage that the interim government had promised in the preceding days. Rather, the “dispersal” was an all-out attack. Human rights groups aptly summarized the situation: “Non-peaceful assembly does not justify collective punishment.”

While talk of breaking up the protests had been building for days, marches by Brotherhood supporters to government ministries the day before the crackdown may have spurred the military to action. Cairo and 13 other cities across the country are now under emergency law and curfew. Police have threatened to arrest anyone out after 7:00 pm, leaving Cairo, a city that normally settles after 3:00 am, a puzzling mystery about itself.

There is no independently verified death toll. For now, Egyptian authorities report 638 dead and more than 4,000 injured, while the Brotherhood tallies their dead at some 2,200. Makeshift hospitals and morgues were filled with dead bodies, as families tried to identify their loved ones.

Churches across the country came under attack by reportedly pro-Morsi supporters. The Interior Ministry said that at least seven churches had been vandalized or torched by suspected Islamists on August 14, while unofficial reports cite more than fifty churches and related institutions were attacked. Two deaths have been reported related to sectarian violence.

Most chilling images of the massacre came from Al-Imam mosque in Rabaa, which turned into a make shift morgue and where hundreds of dead bodies were lined up in the prayer hall. Relatives wailed as more dead bodies arrived. Some of the dead were burned beyond recognition. Some of the relatives reported that authorities refused to hand over dead bodies without accepting “suicide” as the cause of death. This was reported through live reports coming out in social networking sites.

Mohamed El-Baradei, the vicepresident for foreign affairs and the liberal veneer of El-Sisi coup, resigned on the day of the crackdown, declaring that he could “not bear the responsibility of a single drop of blood … especially with my faith that we could have avoided it.” He swiftly boarded a plane out of Egypt, witnessed by Brotherhood members who were allegedly coming to Cairo from Europe to lend their support to Morsi supporters.

Return to Mubarak Era

The ouster of Muslim brotherhood brought back the Mubarak era “police state” concept with more bloodshed than before. The liberal elite although divided since the resignation of El-Baradei are siding with the generals, which is quite typical of ambitious technocrats and ex-bureaucrats. Now that the “educated” civil society has blood on their hands they must recognize the fact that if Muslim Brotherhood comes back to power Adly Mansour’s cabinet will be held responsible for the killings on August 14-16. It is in the best interest of the interim government to make sure Muslim Brotherhood is silenced and kept out of the power structure until a new page can be turned providing some form of immunity for the massacres.

Similarly, the new interim government would also like to rest assured that the Brotherhood does not return to power with the same sort of people power as they did in 2012 elections. This is the Mubarak policy all over again to “keep the Brotherhood out” at any cost. The Israelis could not find a better ally than those who implement such a domestic policy, which only bolsters Israel’s security. For all practical purposes current situation is indeed more favorable to Mubarak and his lackeys. Ironically, Mubarak is free (under house arrest until charges are fixed) while Morsi is held in a secret location. Most likely, Muslim Brotherhood will have to remain underground for months, if not years, to come, its members especially the top leadership either taken to jail or gone into hiding until things change.

Egypt Army Targets Brotherhood Leaders’ Children

Ammar Mohamed Badie, 38-yearold son of Mohamed Badie, a murshid (leader) of the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon, was shot and killed during a protest at Al-Fath Mosque in Cairo. Khalid al-Banna, grandson of the founder (Hassan al-Banna) of the Muslim Brotherhood,

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Bodies of Mosri supporters killed during the army crackdown are arrayed in the prayer hall of a mosque in Rabaa Al-Adawiya
was also shot and killed today. These deaths bring the total to eight children of Ikhwan leaders who have been shot and killed by the Egyptian military.

Asmaa, the 17-year-old daughter of Mohamed El-Beltagy, was also shot in the head and killed. She was with the masses in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square when it was attacked without warning. Snipers posted on rooftops kept shooting at unarmed people on the ground killing them without mercy. Journalists—

Muslim as well as Western—confirmed the sniper shooting.

The death toll from the armypolice rampage has now climbed to almost 3,000 and tens of thousands are injured. Many relatives have not been able to bury their loved ones because the Interior Ministry refused to issue death certificates unless the relatives signed a form saying their loved ones died of “natural causes” or “committed suicide.” While some relatives signed so that they could take the bodies of their loved ones away

and buried them, others have refused to accept such demands. They have asked how can someone commit suicide when he/she is shot in the head and chest? And how can people with bullet-riddled bodies be described as having died of “natural causes”?

Sherif Shawki, the military-backed regime spokesman has announced today that the regime was considering the possibility of banning the Ikhwan as a political group. This is nothing new; illegal regimes have always tried to de-legitimize those that have people’s mandate and support. The regime’s aim is to create a legal cover for itself. All signs tell that Egypt has entered a dark period of its history. The crisis is likely to deepen as the military becomes more brutal in killing innocent people.

US Military Aid

The Arab street is convinced US military aid of USD1.3 billion every year is a “reward” to the Egyptian army for signing and honoring the peace treaty with Israel. A popular senior political commentator wrote in his blog, US military aid was being used by both sides as the ultimate bargaining chip. The donor’s interest is to safeguard Israel from its most dangerous adversary Egypt, which is the only country to have ever defeated Israel in a war. No other Arab country is any match for Israel’s superior army. The peace treaty achieves the single most important objective for Israel’s security strategy that is to neutralize the Egyptian armed forces. Many people in Egypt consider the USD1.3 billion as a pittance compared to what it buys in the form of the loyalty of the Egyptian army.

US Aid for the military has reduced the image of the army on the Arab street. El-Sisi wants to boost respect for the forces by going hard on Muslim Brotherhood- the most important and most popular political party in Egypt. He holds the elected president and the head of Muslim Brotherhood under arrest. His forces have killed nearly 1000 and injured several thousand more.

What Happened to Arab Spring?

The Arab Spring’s birth place is Tunis in Tunisia and its headquarters is in Cairo in Egypt. It is here in Cairo where the sentiments, emotions and strategies of the Arab world converge. It is in the same Cairo that one must now painfully come to terms with the fact that the Arab Spring has failed to achieve its goal. It failed to unite the Arabs, it failed to break the chains of authoritarianism and it failed to bring back justice and liberty to the common people.

Timeline of Muslim Brotherhood’s Rise to Power
1924: The National Assembly of Turkey abolishes the caliphate and crisis ensues in the Islamic world

1928: The primary school teacher, Hassan al-Banna, establishes the Muslim Brotherhood as a youth club, primarily stressing moral and social reform with Islam at its core

1936: Anglo-Egyptian Treaty– The Muslim Brotherhood takes a pro- Arab position and stands by the Palestinians fighting against Zionist settlements in Palestine. This formally initiates the Muslim Brotherhood’s transformation into a political entity

1946: The Muslim Brotherhood claims to have 500,000 active members in 5,000 branches and an additional 500,000 sympathizers

1949: On February 12, Hassan al-Banna is killed near his office in Cairo by Egyptian secret service agents. Sayid Qutub leads the Brotherhood

1953: Gemal Abdal Nasser assumes supreme authority

1956: Israel, Britain and France invaded Egypt and Nasser handles the situation well. His support rises and the Brotherhood’s popularity suffered

1967: The Six-Day Arab-Israel War is a humiliating defeat for the Arabs and a general belief is spread among the people that the defeat was a result of them having turned away from the will of God.

1970: In September Nasser dies. Anwar Sadat accedes to the presidency and promises that Sharia will be implanted as the law of Egypt. Sadat releases all Brotherhood prisoners

1973: October Arab-Israeli War ended as militaristic standoff and Egypt claimed victory

1979: The Brotherhood strongly opposed the peace treaty with Israel

1981: On October 6 president Sadat was assassinated by 4 members of Jama’at Al Jihad

1987: The Brotherhood cooperates with the Socialist Labor Party and the Liberal Socialist Party to form the Islamic Labor Alliance. The alliance won 60 seats, of which 37 were held by Brothers

1990: The Brotherhood boycotts the elections, protesting government controls at the polls

2005: The Muslim Brotherhood is prevented from running for parliamentary elections as a political party. Running as independents, 88 Brotherhood candidates won seats of the total 454, forming the largest opposition group

2011: Muslim Brotherhood was the principal organizer of massive protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. However they remained in the background without taking any leading position

2012: Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing Freedom and Justice Party won majority vote in the presidential elections. Dr Mohammed Morsi became the first democratically elected president of Egypt.

2013: Dr Morsi is ousted in a coup, placed under arrest at a secret location. Security forces opened fire on Brotherhood demonstrators killing close to 1000 people in just over 2 days.

Democracy is not the end in itself. Democracy is only a means to achieve an end. Good governance, accountability, rule of law and equality in justice are only some of the basic concepts, which are essential for a just society. The Arab Spring looked at primarily ousting the dictators, which it did. But it failed in the end because it did not offer a complete system to replace the corrupt system left behind.

Regional states can take a sigh of relief to see the Arab Spring crash and burn. Bahrain’s royals were nearly shown the door had it not been for Saudi army’s involvement. An Arab Spring dead for the Arab people forms the fountain of life for their rulers.

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Mohammed Badei
The Muslim500.com website (owned by the Royal Islamic strategic Studies Centre, Amman, Jordan) ranks Dr Mohammed Badei as the 4th most influential man in the Islamic world today. Only King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Recip Tayip Erdogan PM of Turkey and King Mohammed VI of Morocco rank above him.

Mohammed Badie succeeded Mohammad Mahdi Akef as the 8th Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in January 2010. Badie is a professor of veterinary pathology at Beni-Suef University in southern Egypt, but has been elected to his position due to his work with various administrative offices, Egypt’s Education Associations, and subsequently, the International Guidance Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Dr Badie heads the oldest and the largest Muslim social, religious, and political organization in existence. The Muslim Brotherhood forms the leading opposition party in many Muslim countries and has branches in Arab countries outside Egypt. Members of the organization can be found in Bahrain, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, Sudan, Somalia, Tunisia, and Libya, as well as the United States. In the light of its vast network, Dr Badie is a strong advocate of internal unity within the Muslim Brotherhood as well as between all Muslims. Dr Badei was arrested by Egyptian authorities on August 19, 2013, which has been criticized by all the world powers including the US.

The Muslim Brotherhood has learned a painful lesson from the Arab Spring. Although it is the single largest and the most influential political party in the Arab world it will not be permitted to rule unless it abandons Islamic ambitions in favor of western liberalism. Israel and its allies will not allow another Islamic country to threaten Israel’s security at any cost. The Muslim Brotherhood will need to formulate a new peaceful political strategy to defeat a system controlled by the military drawing its sustenance from foreign aid.

El-Sisi’s “Roadmap”

Whether one supports or opposes ousted president Mohamed Morsi, the military coup early last month has taken the people of Egypt back in time, perhaps by the decades. Like every military strongman, the new Egyptian dictator — and that is what he is even if he put up Adly Mansour from the judiciary as a front man to act as “interim leader” — general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi claimed that he would implement his own “roadmap” to bring about “democracy” in Egypt. Dictators have always spoken fondly of “democracy.” It is possible to maintain such a ludicrous stand because democracy is all things to all people.

The more serious question is, on what authority, apart from the barrel of the gun, does the general claim the right to implement his own roadmap? By abrogating the constitution — he called it “temporary suspension” — the military has once again assumed direct control of political affairs in Egypt. It had never really left the scene even when Morsi was in power but now it has come back to take charge directly. Al-Sisi’s 48-hour ultimatum to Morsi was designed to fail. The opposition refused to talk to Morsi. Instead of going after the opposition, the military threw Morsi out of office.

“In the space of one night we are back 60 years,” said Amr Darrag, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member and a former minister for international co-operation. “All of our leaders are being arrested in the middle of the night. Their houses are being stormed. Their children are being scared. All of our remaining leaders are banned from traveling and this is just the start. Yesterday [July 3] we were part of the government doing what we thought was best for Egypt. Even if you do not agree with us, this has gone too far,” he said a day after the coup.

Did Morsi fail in fulfilling his responsibilities as leader of all Egyptians? The answer is both yes and no. Let us deal with why he did not fail. He was not free to act because he was not really in control of the various organs of the state. These were dominated by remnants of the old regime that were determined to defeat his plans to

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A protester comes to the aid of a wounded man as security forces moved in to disperse demonstrators in Nasr City district of Cairo
stabilize the Egyptian economy and bring some semblance of order in the society. Baltagiyas (thugs) hired by the entrenched remnants were let loose on innocent Egyptians. Entire neighborhoods were turned into war zones with the police and other security forces refusing to provide protection. This was deliberate. The felool (remnants of the old regime), wanted to turn people against Morsi and the Muslim

Brotherhood; they succeeded admirably with the help of the Interior Ministry, the police, the judiciary as well as businessmen that all operated under direct instructions from the military.

Morsi’s opponents blamed him for not improving the economy but as Ben Hubbard and David D Kirkpatrick have pointed out in their New York Times article, fuel and food shortages were deliberately created to cause maximum discomfort to people. The endless rounds of protests kept tourists away from the country further undermining the economy. Tourists are not the bravest of people in the world; they want to have fun, not face howl

ing mobs of angry and hungry men and women. Why should they come to an Egypt in turmoil when they could go some place a lot more peaceful? Besides, the media, still dominated by Mubarak-era cronies, created an environment of uncertainty by playing on people’s fears and by spreading rumors. Morsi and his supportive media could not compete with this onslaught.

Future of Political Islam

Where Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood colleagues failed, and failed badly, lies in their judgment. They showed an incredible degree of naivety by assuming that if they gave a free hand to the military, the latter would allow them to rule unhindered. Morsi also committed a serious strategic blunder by aligning himself and his government with the Salafis hoping this would give him some space visà- vis the felool onslaught. The Salafis betrayed him the moment the military struck; they joined the military rather than standing up with their political allies. The Salafis are competing for the same constituency and it is unrealistic to have assumed that they would come to the Brotherhood’s rescue.

Even Morsi’s joining the sectarian war — a destructive approach that has serious repercussions for the future of the Ummah — did not save his skin. The Saudis did not help him; besides, the Saudis were very upset with the West for allowing the overthrow of Mubarak in February 2011. They felt an important pillar of the regional order had been demolished.

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General Gemal Abdel Fatteh el-Sisi
Army chief general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi right now is the most powerful man in Egypt. Officially he is the defence minister in a government formed after the coup, but the world knows his is the hand that controls Egypt’s politics from behind the scene. He presents himself and the army as “the guardians of the people’s will” and using colloquial speeches, Sisi has earned the admiration of many, despite daily bloodshed carried out by his security forces.

In his first comments to the public since the dispersals, general el-Sisi said that the army’s intervention was an obligation, not a choice, because the people’s demands had gone unheeded by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhoodbacked government. “I swear to God, we were told by an official that they came to rule for 500 years. But how could they?” he said.

Morsi’s appointment of general el-Sisi one year ago to replace field marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi was praised by revolutionaries, who later pitted the young army leader against his president. Known to be religious, the general was accused of being too close to the Muslim Brotherhood. But like many Egyptian army officers, he was also a fervent admirer of Egypt’s nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser. Born in Cairo in November 1954, el-Sisi graduated from an Egyptian military academy in 1977 with a diploma in military sciences. He continued to train in the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College in 1992, and received a master’s degree at the US Army War College in Pennsylvania in 2006.

El-Sisi, who does not have combat experience, served as a military attaché in Saudi Arabia during Mubarak’s regime. He then became chief of staff to the commander of the northern military zone. When the military council took power after the revolution, he was appointed as the head of military intelligence in February 2011.

The army chief is also known for his close relationship with the US military. It is believed that this close relationship is why the US has not cut the USD1.3 billion in annual aid it supplies to the Egyptian military in the wake of the July coup and the violent dispersals of the pro-Morsi sit-ins, though the US has cancelled joint military training exercises scheduled for September.

Morsi was fighting on a number of fronts simultaneously and he thought he could outsmart the military. His reliance on the very institutions that were created to support and maintain the old order displayed an incredible degree of simplicity for which Morsi and the Brotherhood have paid a heavy price.

What Morsi’s plight shows yet again is that elections are not the route to establish an Islamic state, even a mild version of it. The secularists will not allow any such development. The Brotherhood did not learn from the Algerian experience and they certainly did not take any notice of the Islamic movement in Iran in 1979. The only factor that has worked very well for the Brotherhood, and they should not move away from, is their rejection of violence, militancy and radicalism.

The maturity of the Brotherhood is in its ability to organize a political movement through a “political” process without resorting to any armed struggle. For this reason, it is widely believed, the Muslim Brotherhood is the world leader as a political party with Islamic motivation and objective. Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gemal al-Haddad expressed the organization’s commitment to peaceful movements for restoring freedom and democracy reassuring Brotherhood’s determination not to be led into the path of violence and militancy. Meanwhile, it looks like the people of Egypt are in a long haul for their quest for an Islamic state or democracy or both.■

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Why Saudis financed ouster of Brotherhood

It’s not often that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates openly defy the United States on an issue that truly matters to the White House. But that’s exactly what happened when the two pledged $12 billion to Egypt in July. Not only was it the size of the package—it’s four times the combined aid provided by the United States and Europe to Egypt—but also the apparent intent. The timing and the size of the package certainly makes it look as if it was meant to help the Egyptian generals exterminate the Muslim Brotherhood—and, in effect, destroy the first and only democratically-elected government in Egypt’s history. Why would the Saudis and Emiratis do it now, and especially when the Middle East is already spinning out of control? Don’t they need the goodwill of the West?

Let me stick with Saudi Arabia for an explanation. Although Saudi Arabia spends 9.1 percent of its GDP on its military and has an active duty armed force of 200,000, the fact is it’s always depended more on alliances for its national security than it has military force. From the moment Franklin Roosevelt sat down with King Ibn Sa’ud on the deck of the USS Quincy in 1945, the United States has been a constant and vital ally for the Kingdom. Even when the United States took up positions against it, Saudi Arabia never let the relationship go.

 

While Egypt doesn’t carry the international weight of the United States, its generals have been an equally vital ally for the Kingdom. The list of favors they’ve accorded the Saudis is too long to include here, but suffice it to say that when in the eighties Saudi Arabia needed weapons for Afghanistan, the Egyptian generals didn’t think twice before starting to load up the planes. But most recently there was one service in particular that King Abdullah won’t forget. In 2003, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (the former commander of the air force) helped break up a hare-brained Qaddafi scheme to assassinate Abdullah when he was crown prince and de facto king. An Egyptian with close ties to the Saudis told me that to this day Abdullah believes that the Egyptian generals helped save his life. Abdullah’s connection with Egypt’s then is very personal.

There’s also the question of Egypt’s fate and influence in the region. A contact close to Abdullah’s inner circle told me that “Abdullah had early on realized that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was incapable of ruling Egypt, and the chances of its slipping into chaos and anarchy à la Libya were all but certain. The military, being the only enduring institution in Egypt, alone was capable of heading it off.”

Egypt aside, Saudi Arabia has never looked benignly on the Muslim Brotherhood, and, in particular, its position on the political role of Islam. When King Abdullah’s father Ibn Sa’ud founded Saudi Arabia in 1932, he came to a non-negotiable agreement with the Wahhabi religious establishment that, in return for allowing it control of the mosques, culture, and education, they would never go near core political issues, such as royal succession, foreign policy, and the armed forces. It’s a deal that’s been more or less respected for the last 80 years.

On the other hand, a core tenet of the Muslim Brotherhood is that there can be no separation between church and state. The Brotherhood’s nonnegotiable demand is that they get both the pulpit and the crown. The implication then is that the Al Sa’ud are illegitimate rulers of Saudi Arabia. No wonder the Saudis were more than happy to pay the Egyptian generals to do their dirty work.

The Saudis watched in mute horror as Egypt’s Arab Spring led to the legitimization of the Muslim Brotherhood in voting booths. They could only ask whether their turn was next. A source close to the Saudis told me, “The royal family looks at the Muslim Brotherhood as hands down the most serious threat to its existence. Its Shia minority doesn’t come even close.”

In fact, there’s been anecdotal evidence of popular support for the Brotherhood, at least in social media. But of more immediate concern to the Saudis are the two million Egyptian guest workers residing in the Kingdom. They’re poor and susceptible to the Muslim Brotherhood’s message. Adding to Saudi anxiety, the bulk of them live in the Hijaz, the home to Mecca and Medina, Islam’s two holy sites. There’s been no evidence the Saudis are on the verge of losing them. But in the long run who could tell what problems a triumphant Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt would have caused for the Saudi royal family.

Robert Baer, a former CIA case officer in the Middle East, has also written for TIME, Vanity Fair, and the Wall Street Journal.