The recent political developments in Egypt since the fall of its president, Hosni Mubarak, on February 11, 2011 have been stressful and troublesome. Mubarak’s fall was unavoidable, mainly because of his determination to have his son, Gamal Mubarak, succeed him. Gamal Mubarak’s succession was refused my most the Egyptians not only because of its humiliating nature — a son of the President of the Republic inheriting Egypt as if it was a private property — but equally because of Gamal Mubarak’s oligarchic power and wealth that dominated political life in Egypt. In November, 2010, the Gamal Mubarak faction made its fatal mistake when they monopolized 98% of the seats of the Egyptian Parliament.
Since the fall of Mubarak, Egypt’s military rulers – the SCAF – have made a number of fatal mistakes that strengthened the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] and weakened liberals. The first grave mistake was to delegate an Islamist, Tarek al Bishry, to draft the constitutional amendments that were endorsed by a popular referendum on March 19, 2011. Instead of starting democratic reform by drafting a new democratic constitution, the committee decided to start the process not only by electing a new parliament that was overwhelmingly Islamist, but by giving this new parliament the right to draft the constitution. The plea by Egyptian intellectuals to have the constitution drafted by a committee of educated, intellectual figures was ignored by the ruling SCAF, which incorrectly calculated that members of the Ikhwan, who had far more outreach and popularity, would accept playing whatever role the SCAF designed for them.
The victory of the Islamic groups in the parliamentary election of November 2011 was a natural result of the following factors: A) the 19/3/2011 constitutional amendments, B) reliance on a number of Islamist advisers, including Essam Sharaf, who was Prime Minister for a number of months, and C) the unjustified rush, driven by the Islamist advisers, that was characterized by early parliamentary elections, and also by totally disregarding the article in the constitution that bans political parties that have a religious agenda.
Since the Islamists’ triumph in November, 2011, the battle stood mainly between the Ikhwan, who became excessively confident that Egypt would ultimately fall into their hands, and the members of the military SCAF, who were focused mainly on protecting the military establishment’s various assets, benefits, merits and immunity. For instance, the Ikhwan announced their intention to give the leadership of the army, intelligence service, security services, and the Ministry of Interior to MB figures – certainly not on SCAF’s recommendation, but mainly to figures known for their sympathy with the MB.
The Ikhwan benefited enormously when SCAF pressed Ahmed Shafeeq to run for Egypt”s Presidency. It was not difficult for the Ikhwan to launch a campaign of character-assassination against Shafeeq, who was a member of Mubarak’s narrow circle as well as Mubarak’s last Prime Minister.
The Obama administration’s support for the Ikhwan was of immense value to its candidate. In parallel to the strong support of the Obama administrating, huge Qatari funds were also instrumental.
Although there were rumors that Ahmed Shafeeq won more votes, the SCAF chose to announce Morsy’s victory, probably to avoid consequences similar to what happened in Algeria slightly more than 20 years ago, when a civil war broke out after the Algerian president cancelled the results of the parliamentary elections when they seemed to be overwhelmingly in favour of the Islamists. It is rumored that in case Ahmed Shafeeq were to be announced as victorious, a violence would have exploded all over Egypt.
The Obama administration’s support for the Ikhwan emanates from an extremely flawed understanding of the Ikhwan‘s agenda, which has been unchanged since its inception in 1928. The two pillars of this project have been: First, abolishing the entire judicial and juridical system that had been introduced in Egypt in 1883 and was based on the French legal system, the Napoleonic Code. Instead, the Ikhwan would introduced a legal system based on Islamic Sharia law, including amputating hands, stoning and whip-lashing. Second, reviving the political vision of a Caliphate, which aims at uniting all Muslim societies under a single ruler, similar to the Ottoman Empire abolished by Kemal Ataturk ninety years ago.
Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org
About the Author: Tarek Heggy is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, and is both a leading liberal political thinker in the Arab world and International Petroleum Strategist.
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