Egypt’s newly-elected Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Mursi may cement his victory with a coup against the Egyptian army, according to an analyst at Egypt’s Al-Ahram Institute quoted in today’s Gulf News:
“Mursi will likely face resistance from state institutions mainly inside the army and the police,” said Sobhi Assila, a political analyst. “However, Mursi has a full team inside the Brotherhood who will assist him in running the country’s affairs to overcome this expected resistance. This may turn Egypt into another Gaza,” he said, referring to the Israeli-besieged Palestinian enclave ruled by Hamas.
Hamas, the Palestine chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood, seized power from the Fatah-led Palestine Authority in the Battle of Gaza in June 2007, following its electoral victory in the 2006 Palestine elections. There haven’t been any elections in Gaza since then.
Egypt’s military dissolved the country’s Islamist-controlled parliament and awarded itself new powers at the expense of those of the president. President Mursi’s supporters, at this writing, remained gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, promising to remain there until the military reinstates the dissolved parliament and abandons its attempt to infringe on presidential powers.
Before Mursi’s victory was announced earlier today, Egypt’s secular parties denounced the United States for intervening in the elections in support of the Muslim Brotherhood. As Al-Ahram reported in its English edition today:
The US Embassy in Cairo refuted on its official Twitter account Sunday circulating claims that the US administration was backing the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Egypt’s ruling military council to fulfill its promise and hand over power to the “legitimate election winner.”
US Embassy denied all claims that the US administration asked the military council to hand power to the Muslim Brotherhood.
“We do not support any individual candidate or group; we support the democratic process,” said the US Embassy Twitter admin, underlining that Clinton’s was nothing but an expression of support for democracy.
Liberal and secular parties condemned what they saw as “US intervention” in a press conference Saturday, asking the Muslim Brotherhood to break its silence and refuse any attempt at US intrusion in domestic affairs.
In fact, Clinton, on June 21m denounced the military’s attempt to curtail the powers of the Muslim Brotherhood as “clearly troubling,” adding, “The military has to assume an appropriate role which is not to interfere with, dominate or try to subvert the constitutional authority.” In the Egyptian frame of reference, that’s a vote for the Muslim Brotherhood.
In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood has been preparing for “dual power” — as Lenin described the balance between the Bolsheviks and the democratically elected Kerensky government in the months leading to the November 1917 revolution — for most of the past year. Last month I reported (“The horror and the pita,” Asia Times, May 1):
The first Islamist equivalent of workers’ soviets, or “revolutionary committees,” were formed to discipline bakeries and propane sellers who “charge more than the price prescribed by law,” the Federation of Egyptian Radio and Television reported on May 3, 2011. These committees formed under the aegis of the Ministry of Solidarity and Social Justice. What has already emerged in Egypt, to use Leninist terminology, is a situation of dual power. The military government remains in command, but critical economic functions already are in the hands of Islamist parties. The Ministry of Solidarity and Social Justice began forming “revolutionary committees” to mete out street justice to bakeries, propane dealers and street vendors who “charge more than the price prescribed by law”, the Federation of Egyptian Radio and Television reported on May 3, 2011. The Solidarity ministry declared that “Gangsters are in control of bread and butane prices” and “people’s committees” would be formed to combat them.
Egypt has a real army, unlike the Fatah bully-boys whom Hamas gunmen kneecapped and pitched from rooftops during the 2007 Gaza coup. And unlike Hamas, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has no military wing or any hope of standing up to the Egyptian army in a real fight. But with half the Egyptian population barely (and not always) able to maintain minimum caloric consumption, the Muslim Brotherhood’s hold on the street will be hard to dislodge, and a long and bitter, and perhaps bloody, struggle for power is the probable outcome. And the result of yet another experiment in Arab democracy will be yet another monster. Baron von Frankenstein, call your office.