Saturday,16 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)
Saturday,16 December, 2017
Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Why did Morsi fall?

Arrogance, incompetence, duplicitousness, recklessness; the list is long why the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi fell so conclusively from grace, writes Ammar Ali Hassan

Al-Ahram Weekly

Several days before 30 June, I took part in a debate, aired on the Azhari TV station, with Khaled Said, official spokesman for the Salafist Front. My role was to argue the case for the Tamarod movement against Morsi; his was to argue the case for the Tagarod movement that had been set into motion to counter Tamarod. That said that squares and streets throughout Egypt would throb with unprecedented numbers of demonstrators, punching their fists into the air and shouting, “The people want the fall of Muslim Brotherhood rule!” I said that there were many reasons that fuelled the widespread seething anger and profound rancour that had driven the people to reject Muslim Brotherhood rule and the presidency of Mohamed Morsi.

 I looked down at my notes, on which I had outlined the primary points I would rally to advocate of my point of view which I have held ever since the months following the fall of Mubarak in 2011. At that time I wrote two articles — “The Muslim Brothers and the Sunday Raid” and “The Muslim Brotherhood and the White Bull” — charging that this organisation was bent on stealing the revolution, betraying the revolutionaries and leapfrogging over them into power for which it was neither mentally or psychologically prepared and for which it was totally unequipped in the skills and know-how needed to manage the affairs of a state. I predicted at the time that the Muslim Brotherhood would ultimately be defeated at the end of the first round in its game.

During the televised debate, I listed 10 causes for the Muslim Brotherhood’s downfall:

- Its gross deviation from the course of the revolution and the revolution’s core demands. Throughout the course of its bid for hegemony, the Muslim Brotherhood consistently rejected any notion of consensual democracy. Not only did it ignore major opposition forces, it ignored the vast corps of youth that leveraged it into power. Most significantly, it moved to kidnap the constitution in a single unforgettable night behind the shield of a “constitutional declaration”, after which it proceeded to lay down its own rules for electoral processes that would effectively preclude the rotation of authority. It made no attempt to address the cause of social and economic justice while it made every attempt to restrict civic freedoms, intensify social divides and jeopardise national unity. Its arrogance and contempt for the Egyptian people were as boundless as its ambition, its depth of reactionary narrow-mindedness and the extent of its despotic behaviour, as it persisted in its majoritarian game that reduced democracy to a ballot box that, in turn, it reduced to a blank cheque entitling it to do and act as it pleased. The Muslim Brotherhood mentality was never one to grasp that the “legitimacy” that it endlessly harps on is more than a tally of votes. It is commitment to promises and pledges, respect of constitution and the law, and at least some record of positive achievement that meets the aspirations of the people.

- The lack of a development project and alarming economic deterioration. Under Muslim Brotherhood rule, inflation and unemployment rates soared, prices skyrocketed as never before, unprecedented numbers of people fell below the poverty line and government services continued to decline. If the Muslim Brotherhood could be departed from its power games long enough to devote some attention to these crises, it would have inevitably fallen back on its old familiar recipe: handouts. The problem is that while the people may have accepted this approach when the Muslim Brotherhood was in the opposition, they could no longer accept it from a governing authority that rose to power by trumpeting false and unrealistic promises.

- The continued absence of security. Morsi never worked towards the fulfilment of a central revolutionary demand which was to institute the necessary reforms that would create security agencies qualitatively different from those that existed under the Mubarak regime, when the central function of these agencies had shifted from protecting society to oppressing society in order to strengthen and perpetuate the ruling clique. Moreover, instead of purging the security agencies of corrupt officials, Morsi sought to press them to the service of his Muslim Brotherhood regime, again at the expense of public welfare. Fortunately, the majority of police refused this.

- The deliberate instigation of the sharpest and most dangerous polarisation in Egypt’s history. In tandem with this painful development and, indeed, as an means to aggravate it, the Muslim Brothers reverted to various forms of physical and verbal violence and aggression, leading to dozens of deaths, hundreds of wounded, and the detention and torture of thousands in the single year of the Morsi presidency.

- No appreciate for the merits of “meritocracy”. If Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood recognised their own deficiencies in skills and know-how, they were not inclined to compensate by appointing qualified and competent individuals to government positions. Instead, their selection “process” applied two chief criteria: loyalty, on which basis they appointed fellow Muslim Brotherhood members, affiliates and sympathisers, and obedience, on which basis they appointed the former and others who were too characterless to do anything but what they were told to do. Egyptians are more than familiar with such rampant nepotism, which ultimately saps the capacities of the country. In the case of Muslim Brotherhood rule, this was worse because the Muslim Brothers had no previous experience in running a country. Yet, in their blind arrogance they refused to acknowledge this and, accordingly, open government doors to professionals. Instead, they acted as the government was another one of their private enterprises and they persisted to drive it to ruin.

- Rule from the office of the Supreme Guide. Morsi handed the reins of government to the Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau, a body with no legal foundation or character and that is fully loyal and obedient to the will of the International Muslim Brotherhood Organisation. When Morsi was well into his term, most Egyptians had already grown convinced that he was merely the Guidance Bureau’s delegate in the presidency, or in Ikhwanese: “Brother Morsi, head of Muslim Brotherhood presidency department.”

- Endless flagrant lies and deceptions. It did not take long for the people to realise that Morsi was not working to fulfil his electoral pledges and that his electoral campaign had been built on hollow promises and emotional manipulation. But Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood persisted in their scornful underestimation of the public’s intelligence and the gap between their word and deed grew so broad that they lost all credibility and moral legitimacy. Nor was did they ever show a sign that they could exercise a bit of introspection that would lead to a change in their behaviour and policies.

- Jeopardising national security. Perhaps the most visible manifestations of this danger were to be found in the Morsi government’s handling of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project and its severing of relations with Syria without first consulting the army. The latter, in particular, could have paved the way to Egypt’s involvement in a foreign war, solely to serve the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood and its various dimensions and alliances. In addition, there was also a likelihood that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood would leak national intelligence to members of the International Muslim Brotherhood Organisation, which would then be in a position to use this intelligence in a manner detrimental to the security of the country and its people. Closer to home, Morsi cleared the way for non-Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members — most notably Hamas — to intervene in Egyptian domestic affairs.

- A willingness to sacrifice Egyptian interests to advance the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood organisation. This tendency revealed itself in the Morsi government’s handling of the “Muslim Brotherhood cell” case in the UAE, the truce agreement between Hamas and Israel and its approach to the Halayeb Triangle question. Morsi gave his final demonstration of his and his group’s disdain for the welfare of the Egyptian people, whether those in the opposition or those who supported him, in his last speech, which was no less than a call to war in the name of “legitimacy” — that hollow straw that he and the Guidance Bureau clung to as their last ploy to retain power.

- Damaging Egypt’s image abroad. In the Morsi term, Egypt stirred increasing alarm abroad where it was beginning to be regarded as a country that “harbours terrorism” because of the Muslim Brotherhood’s shady connections with militant jihadist and takfiri (fundamentalist) groups that had proliferated in Sinai. But the damage to Egypt’s image and influence was also evidenced by the visible lack of esteem for Morsi among heads of state and officials he called on during his many visits abroad, which brought no benefit of note to the country. Meanwhile, no head of state called on Egypt during Morsi’s year in office, apart from former Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, and former emir of Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa, and this was primarily because the emir was in transit to Gaza.

 

The writer is a political analyst

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