Muslim Brotherhood Rule Is Crumbling In Egypt
02 July, 2013
The Egyptian armed forces' 48-hour ultimatum issued on July 1 has made the political situation in the country more complex while the ruling Islamists are witnessing a quick crumbling down of their widely organized political-organizational machine and millions of Egyptians are rallying nationwide demanding the Islamist president Morsi to step down.
Given the inability of politicians from all sides to agree until now, the 48-hour ultimatum makes it unlikely Morsi can survive in power.
A total of five ministers including the foreign minister Kamel Amr and president Morsi's consultant, former armed forces chief-of-staff Sami Anan have tendered resignation till early hours of July 2. Moreover, eight independent non-Islamist members of the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament, have also resigned.
All the resigned ministers and Shura Council members cited reasons for their resignation as Morsi's failure to respond to nationwide demonstrations against his rule, the simmering political stand-off, mounting political polarization, and solidarity with the opposition's demands. They reiterated calls for snap elections.
Earlier, the ministers of parliamentary affairs, tourism, environment and communication tendered their resignations.
Millions of Egyptians are joining streets marches, sit-ins and occupations across the country since June 30, 2013 . Their numbers are greater than those seen during the 2011 uprising that toppled former president Mubarak. The call for civil disobedience has already been given by the anti-Morsi political camp.
In a dramatic move, the Egyptian armed forces issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the rival political camps on July 1, 2013 .
A statement by the armed forces gave political forces 48 hours to "meet the people's demands" or be presented with a military-imposed "roadmap for Egypt 's political future."
The army warned it will intervene if the government and its opponents fail to heed "the will of the people".
However, it denied that the ultimatum amounts to a coup.
In an announcement on Egyptian TV, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, defense minister and head of the armed forces, described the protests as an "unprecedented" expression of the popular will.
The statement by Gen. al-Sisi was worded carefully. It did not say the president must go.
"The Egyptian Armed Forces have set a deadline, which ended yesterday [Sunday], for all political powers to reconcile and end the current crisis, but no progress has been made. Consequently, the Egyptian people have taken to the streets," the statement read.
"Wasting more time will mean more division and conflict, which is what the armed forces warned of and of which it continues to warn," the statement added.
According to the statement, the absence of national consensus is what led the people to take to the streets in full determination, "which has been praised on the internal, regional and global level."
The army later issued a second statement on its Facebook page emphasizing that it "does not aspire to rule and will not overstep its prescribed role".
Armed Forces spokesman Ahmed Ali issued a statement on Facebook on July 1 stating that Egyptian military doctrine did not allow for "military coups." "Egyptian Armed Forces' doctrines do not include military coups as a policy. The armed forces already deployed on Egypt's streets in 1977, 1987 and 2011 and this did not lead to a coup, but rather [led the army] to stand with the will of the great Egyptian people and their desire for reform and change."
Police supports the ultimatum
Interior ministry in a statement declared its "full support" to the armed forces' July 1 statement.
"The police forces announce their full solidarity with the armed forces' statement …" read the statement.
"The police force stands at equal distance from all political powers; it is not biased towards one faction of society at the expense of another," the statement read.
There is fear that the Muslim Brotherhood would seek to employ violence as a pressure tactic during the 48-hour period set by the military.
The army statement was opposed by supporters of embattled Islamist president Morsi. He rejected the army's ultimatum, saying it will only sow confusion. According to a presidential statement issued on early-July 2, Morsi insisted he would continue with his own plans.
According to the presidential statement, president Morsi was not consulted ahead of the ultimatum announcement. It said that such action would "cause confusion in the complex national environment".
The newly-formed Islamist National Coalition for Legitimacy, led by the Muslim Brotherhood group (from whose ranks Morsi hails), denounced the military's statement, stressing its "rejection of any attempt to turn the army against [democratic] legitimacy."
Senior Brotherhood figure Muhammad al-Biltaji urged pro-Morsi supporters to "call their families in all Egyptian governorates and villages to be prepared to take to the streets and fill squares" to support their president.
The ultra-conservative Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya group, a staunch supporter of the president, has urged Morsi supporters nationwide to hit the streets.
Hours after the armed forces' statement, tens of thousands of Morsi supporters staged marches in several governorates in support of the president and against a perceived military coup.
Revolutionary powers' stand
Egypt 's revolutionary political powers and parties opposed to military rule reacted with worry to the Armed Forces' July 1 statement.
Revolutionary political groups, such as the 6 April Youth Movement, the Revolutionary Socialists, the Egyptian Popular Current and the Strong Egypt Party issued a statement in which they declared their refusal of both Muslim Brotherhood rule and military rule.
"The 6 April Youth Group [Ahmed Maher Front] has made it clear that there is no turning back to pre-25 January 2011 and Mubarak rule, or to post-11 February 2011 military rule," told Ingy Hamdy, a leading 6 April member.
"We made this clear when we joined other political groups and parties opposed to military rule, Mubarak regime rule and Muslim Brotherhood rule," she added.
"The statement by the armed forces was clear regarding what it said about giving 48 hours to political powers to reconcile or else it would introduce a political roadmap," Hamdy said.
"We are totally against this; we support the role of the army as protector of our borders, our people and our national security, but we do not want to return to military rule or a political roadmap," Hamdy said, pointing out that the Supreme Military Council's "roadmap" in 2011 was "what brought Egypt to its current political crisis."
"The roadmap is already there; it has been provided by revolutionary youth in the form of the roadmap of the 30 June Front and the youth of the 'Rebel' campaign and 6 April," said the political activist. She added that the people should listen to revolutionary youth and follow their roadmap this time around.
"We don't want anyone to adopt this roadmap, whether the military or remnants of the Mubarak regime or Morsi. We want the people to adopt it," said Hamdy.
The roadmap proposed by the 30 June Front stated that Morsi should be replaced by the head of Egypt 's High Constitutional Court ; that Egypt should have an independent prime minister; and that a technocratic cabinet be appointed for six months until a new constitution is drafted, to be followed by presidential and parliamentary elections.
"The statement suggests direct intervention by the armed forces in politics, and this is the result of the political elite's failure, which resulted in dictatorship by one group and a president," said Ahmed Emam, leading member of the Strong Egypt Party.
"As a political party against military intervention in politics, we are being put in a very critical situation as political powers in Egypt are trying to drag the Egyptian armed forces back to the political scene," Emam told.
The Revolutionary Socialists movement, which stands against military rule, refused the armed forces statement altogether.
"The Revolutionary Socialists demand Morsi step down and at the same time refuse the armed forces statement," said Ahmed Ezzat, a member of the leftist movement.
Ezzat believes that the statement by the armed forces was issued for two reasons: "The armed forces had to issue this statement and take this step because it does not want civil disobedience. The people were leading the movement and wanted to launch a civil disobedience campaign; at the same time, after the arrogance the Muslim Brotherhood showed, the army had to move."
"We are not a political group and will not comment because we do not know what is going to happen, but we would like to remind the people that there were more than 15,000 civilians dragged before military trials during the military council's rule," said Sarah El-Sherif, a member of the 'No to Military Trials' campaign.
She added that Morsi's new constitution allowed civilians to be tried in military courts.
Ahmed Fawzy, secretary-general of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, told that the opposition would not accept any concessions.
"Any cabinet reshuffle, change of prosecutor-general, or any decision by president Morsi other than his resignation is unacceptable," Fawzy claimed.
Fawzy refuted the possibility of the army's return to domestic politics, saying it had learnt its lesson during Egypt 's post-revolution transitional phase.
However, the ongoing anti-Morsi demonstrations generally welcomed the army's announcement, which many protesters saw as another step towards the realization of their demands for the president's ouster.
Upon hearing the army's statement, anti-Morsi protesters arrayed in Tahrir Square and outside the presidential palace, along with those in the governorates, cheered in celebration. Army helicopters hovered over Tahrir Square , throwing flags on the crowds below as they did the day before.
In the city of Gharbiya , protesters cheered and raised Egyptian flags chanting, "We are with you, El-Sisi," "The people and army are one hand" and "Down with Morsi".
On the streets of Gharbiya, people went out in motorbikes and cars, honking in celebration.
Many activists, who frequent the squares, expressed dismay over the military's possible re-entry into Egyptian domestic politics.
Founding member of the opposition National Salvation Front umbrella group and ex-presidential candidate Amr Moussa called the army statement "a historical opportunity that shouldn't be wasted."
Fracture in Islamist camp
Salafist Nour Party, which had earlier taken a neutral stance vis-à-vis the rival demonstrations, broke from the Islamist camp late July 1 night by announcing its support for opposition demands for snap presidential polls.
Salafist Call and its political arm, the Nour Party, in a statement released late on July 1, have called on Morsi to set a date for early presidential elections to avoid “civil war.”
Deciding to remain neutral, the Salafist Call and Nour Party refrained from joining the June 30 protests demanding the president's dismissal, and also the counter rallies supporting Morsi's “legitimacy.”
But after two days of massive protests against Morsi, they endorsed the opposition's main demand, and also called for a government of technocrats and a committee for constitutional amendments.
End of Muslim Brotherhood rule
The reign of Muslim Brotherhood will end within a week, said former Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafiq on July 1.
Shafiq, whom Morsi narrowly beat in a presidential run-off vote last year, was speaking before Egypt 's armed forces' virtual ultimatum to Morsi.
Shafiq told Reuters from Abu Dhabi : "I think that this regime will completely end its relation with Egypt within a week and will end its relationship forever within the region ... Yesterday the regime's (reign) almost ended."
Shafiq was the last prime minister under Mubarak.
The Muslim Brotherhood's critics have accused the Islamist movement of using a series of electoral victories to monopolize power.
MB leader's body guards arrested
Security forces arrested 15 armed bodyguards of the number two in the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat El-Shater, on July 1.
The arrests were made for unlawful possession of firearms by the guards and they are suspected of having used to shoot at protesters attacking the Brotherhood's headquarters.
Shater's own whereabouts were not immediately known. He is widely regarded as the strongest personality in the Islamist movement. Shater, a wealthy businessman and influential Brotherhood leader, was seen by many Egyptians as the shadow power behind Mursi's t
Factional street fighting between supporters and opponents of Morsi since Sunday has left at least 17 dead and 781 injured across the country.
In Suez , violent clashes erupted between Morsi's supporters and opponents on July 1-night.
The headquarters of the moderate Egyptian Islamist party Wasat was set on fire on July 1. Unidentified assailants threw petrol bombs at the building.
The party has allied itself with the Brotherhood since Mursi took office. It proposed a draft law for judicial reform in the Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament, sparking a revolt among thousands of judges earlier this year.
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