COMMENT: With the Egyptian constitution having been narrowly approved on Saturday, 12/15/2012, we are in a position to take stock of the events of the past two years or so in this largest of the Arab countries.
We recall the tsunami of praise, Hosannas and Hallelujahs gushing forth from the world’s media and political punditry. Hailing the “Arab Spring” as the dawning of a new enlightenment in that part of the world, they missed the boat–fundamentally.
We, on the other hand, were warning that this phenomenon was a Nazi operation, having been initiated by powerful corporate forces in the second administration of George W. Bush, it had its trigger with the WikiLeaks milieu–itself a far-right, Nazi-linked entity, as we demonstrated in FTR’s 732 and #745. (In addition to the documentation in the original WikiLeaks/Arab Spring series, see the article excerpted below.)
Before delving into details, an excellent overview of recent events in Egypt was provided in an English-language blog by a citizen of that tortured country. The contradictions and deadly undercurrents of unfolding events were eloquently summed up by Mahmoud Salem in “Imagine.”
A number of points should be considered here (the relevant articles are excerpted below):
- Hasan Amin has characterized Morsi as “a textbook Islamic Fascist.” Of course, the Brotherhood is an Islamic fascist organization, with a heritage dating back to its political and military alliance with the Axis.
- The new constitution may be used to fundamentally disregard human rights, in favor of Islamic law. It’s equivocal language even leaves the door open for the tolerance of slavery, being practiced by Muslim Brotherhood cadres in the Sudan, among other places. An earlier draft of this AP post contained the following passage, omitted from the update: ” . . . Omissions of certain articles, such as bans on slavery or promises to adhere to international rights treaties, were equally worrying to critics of the new draft, who pulled out from the panel before the vote. . . .”
- Morsi was able to ram through his draft constitution by imposing what even The New York Times characterized as “martial law.”
- This de facto martial law was made easier by the fact that Morsi was the Brotherhood’s coordinator with the Egyptian military and security forces.
- In the event that the army cannot keep the political opposition down, the Islamist terrorists of Jama’a al-Islamiya (an Al Qaeda affiliate) will be available to assassinate dissidents. Supposedly opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Jama’a al-Islamiya actually appear to have the same relationship to the supposedly respectable Muslim Brotherhood as the Italian fascist Ordine Nuovo (“New Order”) had to the supposedly respectable coalition government of Silvio Berlusconi (of the P-2 Lodge) and his coalition partner “post-fascist” Gianfranco Fini of the Alleanza Nationale (successor to the fascisti of Mussolini). A veteran of the SS-controlled Salo Republic that governed Northern Italy during the closing days of World War II, Ordine Nuovo chief Pino Rauti complained of the “post-fascists” of the MSI and the AN, “Too many double-breasted suits, not enough cudgels.” Nonetheless, Rauti was part of the Berlusconi/Fini government that was elected in the early part of the last decade. One of the original shareholders of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Bank al-Taqwa, Karim Alessandro Ghe, was also a member of Ordine Nuovo.
EXCERPT: Imagine sitting at a friend’s house, watching the president address the nation after a week long crisis, with his supporters just the night before opening fire on civilian protesters in Heliopolis in horrifying clashes that spanned the whole day. Imagine finding out that he issued the illegal constitutional declaration that enflamed and divided the entire country, because– and I quote– one of the suspects in the Camel incidents, who was declared innocent by the courts, had a meeting with 3 other unnamed people in his office.
The president that has under him state security, general intelligence, military intelligence, the Ministry of Justice, the police and the general prosecutor’s office declaring that he had no choice but to issue this declaration because four people had a meeting. And then, as he swipes the page of his speech on his IPad, he instinctively licks his finger first as if he is turning a paper page. Imagine.
Imagine that this president saw that the situation was so urgent, he called for a national dialogue meeting with the opposition in two days to resolve the crisis, one that all of his allies and none of the opposition attend, and he walks in, talks for 5 minutes, then leaves the dialogue he called for immediately, telling people to talk to his VP and that he is leaving to guarantee the “neutrality of the dialogue”.
Imagine that his group’s uber-intellectual, Fahmy Howeidy, shortly after also leaves because he had another important meeting to attend, and that this group of clowns come with a solution after midnight that isn’t a solution, drafted by ex-presidential candidate Selim Al-Aawa, who wrote the Sudanese constitution that eventually led to Sudan getting divided into two countries. They fronted that guy. Just Imagine.
Imagine that the next day, you are no longer greeted with the president’s face, but with those of the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, and his second man Khairat El-Shater, who both hold press conferences defending the president in hiding, while the army builds walls around the Presidential Palace.
Imagine watching the Supreme Guide claiming that all who died in the clashes are Muslim Brotherhood, despite there being dead Christians in the clashes, and El-Shater talking about how hard it is to get investment into this country and blaming the whole crisis on the Christians and the Church. Imagine knowing that those are the people who run the Order that is running your country at the moment. Imagine.
Imagine knowing that your president, the first civilian democratically elected post-revolution president is a puppet for that group, and his puppeteer is the second man in this order, and not even the first. Imagine that this group has its people, for two weeks, wondering openly on TV talk shows about why the people, after a revolution, cannot tolerate having a temporary dictatorship for a few months, since they endured it under Mubarak for 30 years.
Imagine them being unable to comprehend that because you simply won an election by 1%, you can’t just do anything you damn please in the name of democracy because you are the majority. Imagine them openly stating that this constitution, since it supports Shari’a, will have 90% support in terms of votes and that the opposition are all Christians and agents and no more than 40,000 in the entire country and want to repeat the constitution writing process to allow gay marriage. Imagine.Imagine that this group is still pushing for a referendum over a constitutional draft that is created by an illegal Constituent Assembly that a third of its members withdrew, while an entire country goes in flames over it, with hundreds of thousands of Egyptians in the governorates are protesting and clashing with this group’s supporters.
Imagine that with this referendum being 4 days away, and the presidency has no judges to supervise it, doesn’t have the schools to host it, did not open the door for journalists or observers to go in and observe the process, and gave no way for the voters to find out where they are supposed to vote. Your country’s constitution. Imagine.
Imagine that the secular side is the majority for the first time, with people in the streets all over Egypt viewing this as a referendum on the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsy and want to vote No on both and teach them a lesson.
Imagine them finally rallying behind a unified opposition front, called the National Salvation council, who just yesterday issued that they will boycott the first referendum they actually have a great shot of winning, because they think it’s an illegitimate referendum and we shouldn’t dignify it with our votes, despite it being the country’s constitution and everything. . . .
EXCERPT: Haunted by Islamic Fascist
After the huge peaceful protest yesterday against Morsi, today it turned to a bloody battle between the protesters and Morsi supporters (Islamists and Pro-Islamists mainly) . . . .
. . . . Islamists thugs beat the protesters who said “No” [to the] Morsi dictatorial decree–exactly what happened during the Egyptian revolution, when Mubarak sent his thugs to attack the protesters in Tahrir Sq.
Now, Morsi is a textbook Islamic fascist, who eliminates the opposition or unleashes his thugs to attack them. [Italics added.]
It’s remarkable that no one in the police or the army was involved in this battle, it’s suspicious, the absence of security forces in this critical area (the presidential palace diameter.)
The situation in Egypt is getting uglier with time. . . .
EXCERPT: An Islamist-dominated panel is voting on Egypt’s draft constitution, the country’s first charter after the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. The draft largely reflects the conservative vision of the Islamists, with articles that rights activists, liberals and Christians fear will lead to restrictions on the rights of women and minorities and civil liberties in general.
Omissions of certain articles, such as bans on slavery or promises to adhere to international rights treaties, were equally worrying to critics of the new draft, who pulled out from the panel before the vote. [This passage was omitted from subsequent versions of the post.]
Here are some of the disputed articles:
- As in past constitutions, the new draft says that the “principles of Islamic law” will be the basis of law. Previously, the term “principles” allowed wide leeway in interpreting Shariah. But in the draft, a separate new article is added that seeks to define “principles” by pointing to particular theological doctrines and their rules. That could give Islamists the tool for insisting on stricter implementation of rulings of Shariah.
- A new article states that Egypt’s most respected Islamic institution, Al-Azhar, must be consulted on any matters related to Shariah, a measure critics fear will lead to oversight of legislation by clerics.
- An article underlines that the state will protect “the true nature of the Egyptian family ... and promote its morals and values,” phrasing that is vague and suggests state control over the contents of such arts forms as books and films.
- The draft contains no article specifically establishing equality between men and women because of disputes over the phrasing. However, it maintains that a woman must balance her duties toward family and outside work, suggesting that she can be held accountable if her public role conflicts with her family duties. No such article is mentioned for men.
- An article bans insulting or defaming the prophet and messengers, but is vague about what constitutes an insult, raising concerns of restrictions to freedom of expression.
- An article seeking to ensure people’s dignity bans “insulting humans”, a vague phrasing that rights activists say contradicts freedom of expression.
- An article maintains that the state supports the arts, science and literature and works to implement them in a way that serves society. That has raised concerns that some arts deemed not in the service of society may be restricted or censored.
- An article preserves the right of the military to try civilians before military tribunals in cases for crimes that harm the armed forces without restrictions, despite an outcry from activists who were calling for the abolishing of such tribunals. More than 11,000 civilians were tried before military tribunals during the post-Mubarak transition overseen by the military. . . .
NB: Since this article was first published, the NYT changed the headline to something less noteworthy.
EXCERPT: Struggling to quell street protests and political violence, President Mohamed Morsi is moving to impose a version of martial law by calling on the armed forces to keep order and authorizing soldiers to arrest civilians, Egyptian state media announced Saturday.
If Mr. Morsi goes through with the plan, it would represent a historic role reversal. For decades, Egypt’s military-backed authoritarian presidents had used martial law to hold on to power and to punish Islamists like Mr. Morsi, who spent months in jail under a similar decree.
A turn back to the military would also come just four months after Mr. Morsi managed to pry political power out of the hands of the country’s powerful generals, who led a transitional government after the ouster of the longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak.
The flagship state newspaper Al Ahram reported that Mr. Morsi “will soon issue a decision for the participation of the armed forces in the duties of maintaining security and protection of vital state institutions.” The military would maintain its expanded role until the completion of a referendum on a draft constitution next Saturday and the election of a new Parliament expected two months after that. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . First, for the final four years of Hosni Mubarak’s reign, Morsi was the primary point-of-contact for State Security within the Muslim Brotherhood. State Security was the repressive domestic security apparatus through which the Mubarak regime monitored and infiltrated opposition groups, and Morsi negotiated with State Security to ensure the Brotherhood’s participation in various political endeavors, such as parliamentary elections. “Mohamed Morsi has very good security relations,” former deputy supreme guide Mohamed Habib told me during a March 2011 interview. “State Security likes a connection point who has the confidence of various Brothers, and [top Brotherhood leaders] pushed for him.” Indeed, Brotherhood leaders trusted Morsi because they viewed him as ideologically rigid, and therefore unlikely to concede too much to the regime during negotiations. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . Jama’a al-Islamiya senior leader Nageh Ibrahim has warned that liberal political figures may be targeted for assassination during the next month.
In an interview with London-based Asharq al-Awsat, the senior figure from the once-banned Islamist group said that the assassinations would come as a result of the increasingly tense political atmosphere, speculating that the assassinations would be carried out jointly by the ruling regime and Islamists.
Ibrahim also expressed support for Morsy’s recent decision granting himself sweeping powers, saying, “Morsy had to take those decisions. He will never retreat.” . . .
EXCERPT: The Bush administration is quietly weighing the prospect of reaching out to the party that founded modern political Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Still in its early stages and below the radar, the current American deliberations and diplomacy with the organization, known in Arabic as Ikhwan, take on new significance in light of Hamas’s successful coup in Gaza last week. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is widely reported to have helped create Hamas in 1982.
Today the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research will host a meeting with other representatives of the intelligence community to discuss opening more formal channels to the brothers. Earlier this year, the National Intelligence Council received a paper it had commissioned on the history of the Muslim Brotherhood by a scholar at the Nixon Center, Robert Leiken, who is invited to the State Department meeting today to present the case for engagement. On April 7, congressional leaders such as Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic whip, attended a reception where some representatives of the brothers were present. The reception was hosted at the residence in Cairo of the American ambassador to Egypt, Francis Ricciardone, a decision that indicates a change in policy.
The National Security Council and State Department already meet indirectly with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood through discussions with a new Syrian opposition group created in 2006 known as the National Salvation Front. Meanwhile, Iraq’s vice president, Tariq al-Hashemi, is a leader of Iraq’s chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. His party, known as the Iraqi Islamic Party, has played a role in the Iraqi government since it was invited to join the Iraqi Governing Council in 2003.
These developments, in light of Hamas’s control of Gaza, suggest that President Bush — who has been careful to distinguish the war on terror from a war on Islam — has done more than any of his predecessors to accept the movement fighting for the merger of mosque and state in the Middle East. . . .