Sunday,22 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1158, (25 - 31 July 2013)
Sunday,22 October, 2017
Issue 1158, (25 - 31 July 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Social media

Stability rests on safe streets

 

On Facebook, Egyptians debated the dangerous situation caused by the mass rallies held by the supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Most of the protests turned into clashes between the pro- and anti-Morsi camps. At least 15 people died last week from the two sides.

Mohamed Khafouri believes that toppling Morsi was a military coup and that his supporters must remain on the street to protect the legitimacy of the democratic elections which brought Morsi to power. Ahmed Mahmoud responded by saying that Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood are traitors and that more than 33 million people took to the streets to kick them out of the country.

Yara Said said it was hard to exclude the Brotherhood from power, so including them was the only option the army has now. However, Amira Masoud tried to remind Said that the military tried to keep the MB out of the picture after the 25 January Revolution but the Muslim Brotherhood “stole the revolution” and led us to the current situation which Masoud said was “chaos”.

Anything but a Brotherhood

Nervana Mahmoud wrote in her blog about the political situation of the Muslim Brotherhood after the 30 June Revolution:

“A week before 30 June, I wrote ‘for the Islamist, 30 June will be a chance to deliver a final blow to the opposition. A defeat for the opposition would be the political equivalent of the 1967 military defeat that will take years for any sort of non-Islamist recovery.’ What followed was the exact opposite; the army’s coup has delivered a heavy blow to the Muslim Brotherhood, a kind of a political Naksa, or catastrophe, which they are still struggling to come to terms with.

The obstacles that are facing the Brotherhood are many. First, the sit-in is unsustainable. Local media are full of rumours of scabies and other infections at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in; that residents are tired and fed up. Second: Internal divisions, although not public are inevitable. If Bahiya is already listing Morsi’s unfortunate mistakes, then I am sure many others are already doing it, particularly inside the group’s senior ranks, or those of them who are still free; undoubtedly, they are pondering what to do next.

The Brotherhood needs to formulate immediate, intermediate, and long-term plans. It is a colossal task to say the least, for now, I doubt they think more than the next few weeks ahead. They need some sort of victory that they can sell to their tired, exhausted faithful followers. Their move to commemorate the 1973 victory is, in a way, a desire to achieve an equivalent political achievement even if it is symbolic or partial, but what would be that victory? Last week, there was a chance for a bargain; this chance is diminishing by the day. The army and the interim government are cementing facts on the ground that are getting harder to reverse. By cancelling a series of grants and loans to Egypt, the EU has already lost most of its leverage, and the Brothers’ EU mediators may not have many tools to twist the junta’s hands. The idea floated by Omar Ashour for Obama to be a mediator or guarantors is highly unlikely to happen. At best, the Brotherhood may get a conditional release of their senior members, with a promise to release Morsi later, and a promise of fair elections.

If mediations fail, which is a high probability, then a confrontation would be the other alternative. The Brothers will continue to protest, and march in the street of Cairo until the army decides to end the sit-in forcibly. This scenario may sound disastrous, but can be ideal for the Brothers; as they already made the transition from “rulers to protesters”, it makes sense to finish it off with another transition to an oppressed, underground movement. This will cement the image of Bad Cops versus Good Democrats, and give a chance to the tired group to lick their wounds within their comfort zone, and away from scrutiny and blame.

On the other hand, the junta is not necessarily wiser. I was taken aback with the many angry statements that many retired generals gave to local TV. They are as self-righteous as their Islamist enemies. The daily tension in Sinai has clearly had an impact onheir psyche. The risk is they may grow impatient and try to end Rabaa’s sit-in by force. The writing is already on the wall; local residents have already had enough, rumours of health issues are already spreading in local media. Pardon my cynicism, but I fear a mini-Tiananmen in Rabaa. I hope and pray I will be proven wrong.

It is unfortunate that the Brothers do not have a crafty leader like [Anwar Al-] Sadat, however, I think even if they have one, they will dismiss him, just as they dismissed Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh. I also doubt that even over the long term, the group will not be capable of reform. I humbly agree with analysts’ forecast of the future of the Muslim Brotherhood. There is no doubt that Islamism will survive in Egypt, but regarding the Muslim tBrotherhood; at best, they will conduct some tactical reforms to keep them afloat, but a successful second coming needs such major structural and ideological reforms that even if it happens, it will make them anything but a Brotherhood.”

Tweets

“By attacking the Tahrir opposition sit-in the Muslim Brotherhood could be rushing the end of this stand-off, and probably not in their favour.”

@Mohamed Dahshan

 

“I doubt the protesters in Rabaa would have a sit-in during Ramadan, and relentless protests around Cairo if the army ousted a non-Islamist like Al-Baradei.”

@Nervana

 

“Morsi’s gone, whether he will face trial or not, his MuslimBrotherhood are finished. Let’s focus on the Egypt roadmap towards democracy.”

@Ahmad Sarhan

 

“This Egyptian revolution is not a coup as the Muslim Brotherhood claims. 33 million protesters were in the streets against them.”

@MichaelOkka

“The Muslim Brotherhood tried to divide the people into believers and heretics, but it failed. Egypt always wins.”

@Nawal Saadawi

 

“Pro-Morsi tweets always claim MB was peaceful and was attacked. Anti-Morsi tweets always claim MB was armed and started attacks.”

@Bassem Sabry

 

“In a situation as polarised as Egypt, not sure I understand why journalists are amplifying partisan activists.”

@Jim Early

 

“In Egypt Coptic Pope can’t hold his weekly sermons. Churches in Egypt cancelling children activities. Coptic Church in New York guarded by NYDP.”

@Om El Banat

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