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Constitutional Confusion and Contusions in Egypt

The constitution, as important as it may be, is not a cure for the genetic illnesses of the states of the Middle East.
Egypt’s constitution committee meeting back in November.

Egypt’s constitution committee meeting back in November.

Another article relating to the president states that only a majority of two thirds of the members of the parliament can remove a president from office. With the present state of affairs, in which the Muslim Brotherhood has about one half of the seats of parliament, a statement such as this means that there is no possibility of the parliament removing the president from office, even if it has the legal right to do so.

Thus, by weaving this fine fabric, President Morsi is about to present the Egyptian people with a constitution that is custom made for him, for the shoulders of a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who set for himself the objective of imposing Islam on all of the circles of the country. Therefore it is no miracle that the youth of the revolution of the 25th of January 2011, who removed the secular dictator Mubarak and his corrupt cronies with their own bodies, stream once more in great numbers into al-Tahrir Square, to protest against the takeover by another sort of dictator, this time a religious one. They hated Mubarak, and they fear Morsi.

The Muslim Brotherhood, who are in accord with the ways of president Morsi, claim that the majority of the population supports them and their way, and therefore they have the right to impose their agenda on the whole country. Otherwise, why did the Almighty bring them to power, in the parliament as well as the presidency? Is there greater proof than this for their right, and even their duty, to impose Shari’a on Egypt?

The Salafis see the constitution as something totally unacceptable, and there are those among them who work – even if very cautiously – against accepting the constitution, but since they are still a minority, they are careful not to anger the president and the Muslim Brotherhood gangs who feel that they are in charge, and go around in the streets of the cities searching for people who disagree with their opinion. No one would want to meet up with them when they are angry.

Since there is a lack of societal mechanisms for conflict management, a situation is created in which people turn to the use of force as a first choice, and from here it is a short distance to total chaos that might sink Egypt in a swamp of fire, blood and tears. The citizens of Egypt, who were miserable under the rule of Mubarak, at least could eat the little that they could acquire, while today, almost two years after the revolution, they live in much more acute misery, with the plague of hunger threatening the country that in the past was “the bread basket of the Middle East.”

The peoples and the rulers of the Middle East are absorbed by the obsession to live according to a constitution: they expect the constitution to defend them from dictatorship, and the rulers expect that the constitution will justify their undesired, unaccepted and illegitimate rule. The obsession stems from a concept called the state, which has become an invalid entity because most states in the Middle East are artificial states that were created by colonialism and for the good of colonialism only, and therefore include ethnic, tribal, religious, and sectarian groups that differ from one another and hate each other. Therefore, the elite class that controls them needs the document called a constitution, to act in accordance with it, to have it be accepted in the hearts of the various groups and to use it to justify their illegitimate regime.

The public – which is aware of the strange role that the constitution plays – objects to it, as we see these days in the streets of Egypt and its public squares.

In contrast, Israel has no constitution, but it is a stable and strong state because of its legitimacy in the eyes of most of the citizens as a political framework and governmental system. Arab states have a constitution, but they are not stable because these states lack legitimacy as a framework for ruling . The constitution, as important as it may be, is not a cure for the genetic illnesses of the states of the Middle East. Stability and serenity will come to the area only when the borders that colonialism demarcated are erased and on the ruins of the present failed states, smaller states will arise but with homogeneous populations in each. These states will be legitimate in the eyes of their citizens and therefore also politically stable and economically successful, and redemption will come to the Middle East.

About the Author: Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.


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