Sunday,19 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1204, (3-9 July 2014)
Sunday,19 August, 2018
Issue 1204, (3-9 July 2014)

Ahram Weekly

‘Nothing but illusion’

Amany Maged reviews the Muslim Brotherhood’s mobilisation plans for what it has called its ‘3 July Uprising’

Al-Ahram Weekly

On Monday 30 June, the countdown began to what the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) is calling the “3 July Uprising”.

The date marks the first anniversary of the dismissal of Mohamed Morsi as president and the declaration of the new roadmap. The Muslim Brothers and NASL supporters have begun to gear up for the occasion by organising demonstrations in various locations, among them in front of the police and armed forces clubs and judges’ houses. In addition, terrorist bombings have resumed after nearly a month-long hiatus since the presidential elections.

Will the Muslim Brothers succeed in diverting Egyptians from completing the roadmap to their future and in rousing a general spirit of anger and frustration? In short, what will come of the so-called “3 July Uprising”?

Last week brought a succession of interrelated developments. Perhaps connecting these will lead to an answer to the foregoing questions.

The first of these developments was the reconstitution of the NASL. Created in June last year, the NASL is made up of a collection of pro-Muslim Brotherhood Islamist parties, prime among which are the Freedom and Justice Party (the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing), the Asala and the Fadila parties.

To mark its restructuring, the alliance has launched a new phase of press releases that convey a new tone. The first, issued about a week ago, proclaimed a “revolutionary week” in preparation for the 3 July Uprising beneath the banner “we will celebrate dignity.” The statement declared that the month of Ramadan would be “a turning point in the history of the revolution.”

There have also been signs that the Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya will split away from the NASL. Of chief importance in this regard are press statements by the group’s leader, Aboud Al-Zomor, criticising ousted former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

When Morsi was president, Al-Zomor was his and the Muslim Brotherhood’s guest of honour during the 6 October celebrations. Now he has turned against them, blaming them for their failure, abandoning the call for the reinstatement of Morsi, and supporting the election of a new president.

A third development has been the renewed terrorist bombings. After nearly a full month of relative calm, Egyptians suddenly awoke to a series of bombings in 6 October City and metro stations and then, on Monday, in the vicinity of Al-Ittihadiya Palace just as president Al-Sisi, inside the palace at the time, was preparing to record a speech in commemoration of the first anniversary of the 30 June Revolution.

A fourth development has been the targeting of civilians. The recent bombings have claimed civilian casualties, whereas before this army and police officers were targeted (an exception being the killing of four conscripts in Rafah several days ago).

To the foregoing can be added statements made by some Muslim Brotherhood youth members who had broken away from the terrorist organisation but have recently renewed their support for it following the so-called “January 2015 Pledge.” This refers to a commitment by the leadership that the Brotherhood will be back in power by 25 January 2015 and that Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi will be prosecuted.

The leadership offered no further details as to how all this is to come about. It did, however, indicate that the 3 July demonstrations would not be the last. The Brotherhood youth were told that, like the other Brotherhood/NASL activities, their purpose was to sap the energies of the security agencies and the interior ministry.

The foregoing points begin to shed light on the questions above. It appears that frustration has begun to infect the Muslim Brotherhood ranks. Throughout the past year, the NASL has failed to make an inch of progress toward the restoration of “legitimacy” (as it defines it). Now, moreover, the Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya seems about to break away.

Meanwhile, the waves of terrorist attacks carried out by the jihadist groups that are in an undeclared alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood have begun to wane in tandem with their diminishing weapons supplies. It is also noteworthy that the nature of the terrorist operations have changed somewhat and that a new group, “Ajnad Misr” (Soldiers of Egypt), has claimed responsibility for some of them.

As for the “3 July Uprising,” this is supposed to begin with processions that will set off from a number of mosques and head to Tahrir Square, Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Nahda Square in Cairo. There will be rallying points in various parts of the capital and other governorates.

Brotherhood and NASL organisers have also been contacting other political movements and groups in order to persuade them to take part in the demonstrations. Members of the International Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey, most notably Youssef Al-Qaradawi, Gamal Hishmat and Brotherhood secretary-general Mahmoud Hussein, have engaged in activities intended to drum up support and mobilise turnout for the demonstrations.

The NASL (in its revamped form) has drawn up plans for the “we will celebrate dignity” marches on 3 July. It had called on participants and supporters to “benefit from the accumulated revolutionary expertise to create surprises” and “to coordinate closely on the ground and respond to all positive revolutionary initiatives and creative ideas so as to reach every place that should hear the word of truth and the 25 January Revolution.”

The Brotherhood/NASL organisers have also been quick to seize on leaks regarding the lifting of subsidies and rising prices. This, they said, will be a strong platform for “breaking the back of and ending the coup by means of special activities, special chants and special preparations.” 

While their plans call for “dissemination in every place in Egypt,” they have also identified specific targets. This is the first time, for example, that they have called for demonstrations in front of the homes of the “judges of repression” (as they refer to members of the judiciary), “criminals of the coup” and “torture dens”.

Also included in the list are a number of police and officer clubs, including the Al-Zanad, Mohamed Ibrahim and Sidki Sobhi clubs.

According to their plans, the demonstrators will set off on 3 July from 35 mosques which, they say, are the same mosques from which Brotherhood marchers set off for Tahrir Square on 28 January 2011. NASL officials have left it to “field commanders” to decide whether or not conditions will be suitable. They have also asked women supporters not to participate in the initial wave.

For Brotherhood/NASL supporters who cannot make it to Cairo, marches will be held simultaneously in other governorates.

As part of their campaign to inspire enthusiasm among Brotherhood supporters, the NASL has proclaimed, “take from God sustenance, wisdom and experience and declare your wrath to God with force. Let the first martyr set off the volcano of incessant anger, without squandering the mighty fortress of your creative peacefulness and the legitimate right to self-defence.”

“Do not allow thugs and hooligans to roam amongst you. As for those citizens of Egypt who serve in the police and army, may they refrain from harming the revolutionaries during these holy days of God and may they fear God to whom they shall return.”

The NASL rhetoric may reverberate, but the realities on the ground suggest that the “3 July Uprising” will be “nothing but an illusion” as Ahmed Ban, a breakaway Muslim Brotherhood member, put it.

The numbers of pro-Brotherhood demonstrators have dwindled for fear of police clampdowns, and the Muslim Brothers no longer have a hope of reinstating Morsi as president, he said. Nor will the Brotherhood demonstrators be able to set foot in Tahrir or other squares as these will be surrounded by heavy security cordons, resulting in an uprising that is nothing but an illusion.

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