Saturday,18 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1182, (30 January - 5 February 2014)
Saturday,18 August, 2018
Issue 1182, (30 January - 5 February 2014)

Ahram Weekly

25 January clone fails

The Brotherhood’s last stand turned into a damp squib, writes Amany Maged

Al-Ahram Weekly

The Muslim Brotherhood saw the third anniversary of the 25 January 2011 Revolution as a last chance to overturn what it terms the “military coup”. It imagined it could reproduce the revolutionary climate that brought down president Hosni Mubarak in 18 days.

The National Alliance in Support of Legitimacy, the umbrella group made up of the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, called on Egyptians to take to the streets and occupy city squares until 11 February, the day on which Mubarak fell. The slogan for this event was to be: “The revolution is one. The blood is one. The killer is one.” Beneath this banner, the alliance called on Egyptians to “unify free national ranks so as to recover the 25 January Revolution and work to complete it, achieve its aims and enable its gains, and to bring down the Mubarak regime and end military rule”.

In an attempt to appeal to the families of the revolution’s martyrs the proclamation went on to vow “to seek retribution for the blood of all martyrs from 25 January to now, to secure the release of all detainees, to empower the youth of the revolution in the administration of the state, to build Egypt’s future, to purge media, security, military, executive and judicial institutions, to realise real judicial autonomy and to promote the principles of integrity, transparency and rule of law”. Nor did the drafters of this statement forget to add: “... and to establish national independence and end dependency on Zionists and Americans.”

The alliance laid out a “map of revolutionary action”. According to this multi-point plan, “the first revolutionary wave” was to unfold “sequentially” over the course of 24 January to 11 February with “activities beginning on Friday, the day of revolutionary defiance”.

To cover all bases the statement reiterated the chants of the real 25 January revolutionaries three years ago: “bread, freedom, social justice, human dignity”, “down with military rule”, and “the people want the fall of the regime”.

Alliance leaders claimed to have adopted a strategy of “positive pacifism” which entailed “self-defence, using all peaceful means, to safeguard demonstrators from murder and arrest”. They went on to suggest that the police forces were overstretched and would fall within days.

The alliance leaders tried to reproduce the so-called “Friday of Anger”, proceeding from the premise that the Mubarak regime fell when its security apparatus collapsed following the burning of police stations and vehicles. One alliance official stated that the Muslim Brotherhood expected the number of casualties would top the 864 killed during the 25 January Revolution. “The Interior Ministry will not hesitate to terrorise the people and the revolutionaries,” he said, adding, “we are also ready for martyrdom.”

The International Muslim Brotherhood played a major role in formulating the “map of revolutionary action” says former Muslim Brotherhood leader Kamal Al-Helbawi.

“The international organisation held a meeting in a Western capital that was attended by first deputy supreme guide Mahmoud Ezzat, Muslim Brotherhood official Mahmoud Hussein and others in order to put the final touches to the plan to sow anarchy in Egypt over 18 days,” he claimed.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders, he said, had stressed to their followers how the 25 January Revolution anniversary was a last chance to return to power following the passage of the new constitution. The plan, conceived by Ezzat, called for action to inflame tensions in Egypt in order to obstruct the completion of the roadmap. Government buildings and facilities were to be targeted and student unrest stirred in an attempt to incite public panic. The overall purpose was to demonstrate the inability of the post-30 June authorities to contain the political situation.

As the plan played out on the ground as of 24 January pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators did indeed take to the streets in several places. There were clashes between security forces and demonstrators who, in one part of town, attempted to create a barricaded sit-in. But the Muslim Brotherhood failed in its bid to terrorise Egyptians who turned out in the tens of thousands to celebrate their revolution. Many voiced calls for General Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi to run for president.

All the evidence suggests the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan to clone the 25 January Revolution fizzled in a damp squib. Not only is there a new constitution, but interim President Adli Mansour, exercising his powers under this constitution, announced that presidential elections would be held before the parliamentary poll, reversing the order stated in the roadmap and sending a message, domestically and abroad, that Egypt is moving towards stability.

So what will be the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood now its scheme has failed?

Some analysts believe Brotherhood members not involved in the acts of violence should issue a convincing apology, as opposed to the equivocal statements made until now. If Muslim Brotherhood youth in particular renounce violence and undertake a number of ideological revisions, as some of their leaders have already called for, they will be able to re-assimilate into society.

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