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Imagine, “Morsi Is a Textbook Islamic Fascist”: I Told You So, Part 3 (Democracy, Muslim Brotherhood Style, Part 3)

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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 [1], it had its trig­ger with the Wik­iLeaks milieu–itself a far-right, Nazi-linked enti­ty, as we demon­strat­ed  in FTR’s 732 [2] and #745 [3]. (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.” [4]

A num­ber of points should be con­sid­ered here (the rel­e­vant arti­cles are excerpt­ed below):

“Imag­ine” by Mah­moud Salem; Dai­ly News Egypt; 12/10/2012. [4]

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. . . .

“Bloody Clash­es around Egypt­ian Pres­i­den­tial Palace” by Hasan Amin; CNN; 12/5/12. [5]

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. . . .

“High­lights from Egyp­t’s Draft Con­sti­tu­tion”; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 12/01/2012. [7]

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. . . .

“Mor­si Is Seen on a Path to Impos­ing Mar­tial Law in Egypt” by David D. Kirk­patrick; New York Times; 12/08/2012. [8]

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. . . .

“Meet the Islamist Polit­i­cal Fix­er Who Could Be Egypt’s Next Pres­i­dent” by Eric Trager; The New Repub­lic; 4/27/2012. [9]

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. . . .

“Jama’a al-Islamiya leader: Islamists, Regime May try to Assas­si­nate Lib­er­als” by Almas­ry Aly­oum; Copts Unit­ed; 11/26/2012. [10]

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.” . . .

“Bush Weighs Reach­ing Out To ‘Broth­ers’” by Eli Lake; The New York Sun;  6/20/2007. [1]

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. . . .