After Revolution: Egypt under a (sectyrancy)?

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Joined: 14 March 2011

One of the most frustrating issues for many Egyptians at the moment is a feeling that the Revolution of 25 January, so lauded across the world, has now fallen into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). It was clear from the outset that Morsi was not elected because Egyptians wanted the MB to rule, but out of a fear that Morsi’s main rival, Ahmed Shafiq, represented merely a reproduction of the Mubarak Regime. Since 1954, there have been many media and security campaigns against the MB. However, each regime from Nasser to Mubarak was careful not to burn their bridges with the MB and to leave channels of communication open between them. This strategy was successful in terms of allowing deals to be made, such as releasing MB leaders if they did not participate in protests. Once the Egyptian 25 January Revolution erupted, the MB was well-placed to seize power since many feared that the country may fall in the hands of leftist or Jihadi extremists. There are many interpretations of the situation in Egypt on all fronts during the Presidential elections and many issues have not yet been revealed. But it is certain that the MB had struck a deal to rule Egypt, by way of an agreement with the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and with the US Government. This deal became known in the Egyptian media as the three way tango (http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/8982).

When Morsi became the first elected President in July 2012 and even during his campaign prior to this, his MB allies started to portray him as some kind of saviour and the man to liberate Jerusalem as the capital of the Islamic empire (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwyVuj1Tebc). Morsi seemed to be happy with such a role and has decided to style himself as the Caliph of the Faithful ever since. In his discourse, Morsi still uses the language of Islamic clerics, leads prayers in mosques and even gives the Friday speech for Muslims. Such behaviour created the impression that Morsi is the President for Muslims only, not for all Egyptians. When faced with opposition to his Prime Minister’s decision regarding the early closure of shops, Morsi responded blaming people for being awake too late and not taking part in the Islamic Dawn Prayer. Morsi’s hardliner Islamist supporters backed him up arguing that staying up late is against Islamic Sharia (http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/0/57670/Egypt/0/Close-shops-early,-sleep-early,-pray-early-Salafis.aspx). Such an attitude has been reflected in Morsi’s speeches when addressing the nation, as most of them have been given in mosques. This, once again, confirms fears that he is only the President for Muslims. After the shocking Constitutional Declaration of 20 November, 2012, Morsi only addressed his supporters who made their way to the presidential palace to show support for his decisions. Such behavior makes matters worse, as it further narrows the scope of his leadership to only the Muslim Brotherhood and not even for Muslims in general (http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/58968/Egypt/Politics-/Live-updates-Rival-protests-erupt-across-Egypt.aspx).

It is clear after a few months in power that Morsi and the MB are not aiming to see through any radical change in the Egyptian system. Furthermore, Morsi has started to target the opposition in the name of protecting the Revolution. In particular, he gave himself the right to take measures against individuals without any scope for judicial objection to his decisions. Such powers are perceived by the international media as ruling Egypt not in a democratic, but in a theocratic way (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/23/mohamed-morsi-power-bid-egypt).  With this in mind, the increasingly sectarian and even tyrannical nature of the regime has begun to concern many people in the country.

Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism is funded by an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (Institutions, values, beliefs and behaviour ERC-AG-SH2).

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