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Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: I Told You So, Part 4 (Democracy Muslim Brotherhood Style, Part 4)

[1] [2]COMMENT: Catch­ing up  with that shin­ing cham­pi­on of human free­dom and dig­ni­ty Mohamed Mor­si, we note a num­ber of devel­op­ments con­sis­tent with what we pre­dict­ed dur­ing “The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Spring,” [3] as we termed it.

With the reign of the U.S.-backed auto­crats in the Mid­dle East hav­ing run its course, the ele­va­tion of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood to a posi­tion of dom­i­nance [4] in the Arab and Mus­lim world appears to have been the goal [5] of the so-called “Arab Spring”–a mas­sive gam­bit under­tak­en dur­ing the sec­ond admin­is­tra­tion of George W. Bush. [6]

Incre­men­tal­ly real­iz­ing the agen­da of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood [7], Mor­si is behav­ing true to form. Recent devel­op­ments include:

“Egypt’s Leader Declares State of Emer­gency in Three Cities” by David Kirk­patrick; The New York Times; 1/27/2013. [8]

EXCERPT: Pres­i­dent Mohamed Mor­si declared a state of emer­gency and a cur­few in three major cities on Sun­day, as esca­lat­ing vio­lence in the streets threat­ened his gov­ern­ment and Egypt’s democ­ra­cy.

By impos­ing a one-month state of emer­gency in Suez, Ismail­ia and here in Port Said, where the police have lost all con­trol, Mr. Morsi’s dec­la­ra­tion chose to use one of the most despised weapons of for­mer Pres­i­dent Hos­ni Mubarak’s autoc­ra­cy. Under Mubarak-era laws left in effect by the country’s new Con­sti­tu­tion, a state of emer­gency sus­pends the ordi­nary judi­cial process and most civ­il rights. It gives the pres­i­dent and the police extra­or­di­nary pow­ers.

Mr. Mor­si, Egypt’s first freely elect­ed pres­i­dent and a leader of the polit­i­cal arm of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, took the step after four days of clash­es in Cairo and in cities around the coun­try between the police and pro­test­ers denounc­ing his gov­ern­ment. . . .

“Come­di­an Accused of Insult­ing Egypt­ian Pres­i­dent to Be Inves­ti­gat­ed” by Mayy El Sheikh; The New York Times; 1/2/2013. [9]

EXCERPT: Pros­e­cu­tors in Cairo opened a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion on Tues­day into alle­ga­tions that a pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion come­di­an, Bassem Youssef, who has tak­en spe­cial aim at ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive Islamists on his pro­gram, had insult­ed Egyp­t’s pres­i­dent, Mohamed Mor­si, dur­ing his satir­i­cal mono­logues.

The accu­sa­tions against Mr. Youssef come amid grow­ing fears among Egyp­t’s media pro­fes­sion­als that the coun­try’s new­ly rat­i­fied Con­sti­tu­tion offers scant pro­tec­tions for free­dom of expres­sion.

Since Mr. Mor­si was elect­ed in June, the author­i­ties have opened inves­ti­ga­tions into sev­er­al media fig­ures accused of insult­ing him or the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the Islamist group he once led.

An Islamist lawyer who filed the com­plaint against Mr. Youssef, Ramadan al-Aqsuri, said a skit in which the come­di­an print­ed a pic­ture of Mr. Mor­si’s face on a red pil­low amount­ed to a “sharp attack on the per­son of the pres­i­dent.” Sep­a­rate­ly, a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood lawyer filed a law­suit ask­ing the state to pull Mr. Yousse­f’s show off the air and to close down the chan­nel that car­ries it, cit­ing “sar­casm against the pres­i­dent.”

“Egypt: Rights Group Accus­es Police of Using Tor­ture and Vio­lence” [AP]; The New York Times; 1/23/2013. [10]

EXCERPT: An Egypt­ian rights group on Tues­day accused the country’s police of “act­ing like a gang,” tor­tur­ing detainees and using vio­lence to impose con­trol. The report by the Egypt­ian Ini­tia­tive for Per­son­al Rights doc­u­ment­ed 16 cas­es of police vio­lence in which 11 peo­ple were killed and 10 were tor­tured inside police sta­tions. Three died under tor­ture dur­ing the first four months after Pres­i­dent Mohammed Mor­si took office on June 30, it said. The police were among the most hat­ed state insti­tu­tions under Hos­ni Mubarak, who was deposed in a pop­u­lar revolt in 2011. “Police still use exces­sive force, and tor­ture is still sys­tem­at­ic just as it was under the Mubarak regime,” the report said. It also accused the police of car­ry­ing out ran­dom shoot­ings and col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment. . . .

“Threats Against Sec­u­lar Lead­ers Hang over Egypt Protests” by Matt Bradley; The Wall Street Jour­nal; 2/8/2013. [11]

EXCERPT: Anti-Islamists protest­ed in sev­er­al Egypt­ian cities on Fri­day, lob­bing fire­bombs and block­ing sub­way lines in Cairo, as demon­stra­tions took on an anx­ious cast fol­low­ing recent death threats against Egyp­t’s top sec­u­lar politi­cians.

Egyp­t’s gov­ern­ment added offi­cers to secu­ri­ty details guard­ing sec­u­lar-lean­ing oppo­si­tion lead­ers on Thurs­day, accord­ing to their press offi­cers. The move came after a well-known hard-line reli­gious leader—Mahmoud Shabaan, a schol­ar at Egyp­t’s emi­nent Al Azhar Uni­ver­si­ty and one of sev­er­al fire­brand preach­ers on con­ser­v­a­tive Egypt­ian tele­vi­sion stations—issued a reli­gious rul­ing last week that called for the deaths of Mohamed ElBa­radei and Amr Mous­sa, among oth­ers lead­ers of Egyp­t’s Nation­al Sal­va­tion Front, the main sec­u­lar oppo­si­tion alliance.

Mr. Shabaan’s fat­wa attract­ed lit­tle notice when issued, but it gained atten­tion after the mur­der ear­li­er this week of Chokri Belaid, a sec­u­lar­ist polit­i­cal leader in Tunisia. His slay­ing sparked con­tin­ued protests Fri­day in the cap­i­tal, Tunis. . . .

“US: Mor­si Should Repu­di­ate 2010 Anti-Semi­tism Remarks” by Scott Stearns; Voice of Amer­i­ca; 1/15/2013. [12]

EXCERPT: The Unit­ed States said Egypt­ian Pres­i­dent Mohamed Mor­si should repu­di­ate remarks he made in 2010 call­ing on Egyp­tians to “nurse our chil­dren and our grand­chil­dren on hatred” for Jews and Zion­ists.

State Depart­ment spokes­woman Vic­to­ria Nuland said Wash­ing­ton con­demns the com­ments made by Pres­i­dent Mor­si at a time when he led the polit­i­cal wing of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. In one of the 2010 videos, Mor­si said Egypt­ian chil­dren must feed on that hatred as a form of wor­ship­ping God.

“The lan­guage that we’ve seen is deeply offen­sive. We com­plete­ly reject these state­ments as we do any lan­guage that espous­es reli­gious hatred,” said Nuland.
In a sep­a­rate 2010 inter­view, Mor­si described Zion­ists as “blood­suck­ers who attack the Pales­tini­ans; these war­mon­gers, the descen­dants of apes and pigs.” . . .

“Mor­si: The Jews Dis­tort­ed My Anti-Semit­ic Com­ments” by Simon Plosker; Back­spin; 1/24/2013. [13]

EXCERPT: . . . At first, the Egypt­ian pres­i­dent defend­ed him­self by say­ing he did not har­bor neg­a­tive feel­ings about Judaism or Jew­ish peo­ple.

He then launched a dia­tribe about Israeli poli­cies against the Pales­tini­ans, Sen­a­tor Chris Coons (D‑DE) told For­eign Pol­i­cy. “He was attempt­ing to explain him­self … then he said, ‘Well, I think we all know that the media in the Unit­ed States has made a big deal of this and we know the media of the Unit­ed States is con­trolled by cer­tain forces and they don’t view me favor­ably,’” Coons told the magazine’s The Cable blog.

Asked if Mor­si specif­i­cal­ly named the Jews as the forces that con­trol the Amer­i­can media, Coons replied that all the sen­a­tors believed the impli­ca­tion was obvi­ous. “He did not say [the Jews], but I watched as the oth­er sen­a­tors phys­i­cal­ly recoiled, as did I,” Coons said. “I thought it was impos­si­ble to draw any oth­er con­clu­sion.” . . .

“Some Alge­ria Attack­ers Are Placed at Beng­hazi” by Adam Nos­siter; The New York Times; 1/23/2013. [14]

EXCERPT: Sev­er­al Egypt­ian mem­bers of the squad of mil­i­tants that lay bloody siege to an Alger­ian gas com­plex last week also took part in the dead­ly attack on the Unit­ed States Mis­sion in Libya in Sep­tem­ber, a senior Alger­ian offi­cial said Tues­day.

The Egyp­tians involved in both attacks were killed by Alger­ian forces dur­ing the four-day ordeal that end­ed in the deaths of at least 38 hostages and 29 kid­nap­pers, the offi­cial said. But three of the mil­i­tants were cap­tured alive, and one of them described the Egyp­tians’ role in both assaults under inter­ro­ga­tion by the Alger­ian secu­ri­ty ser­vices, the offi­cial said. . . .