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The Egyptian Situation: The fall of President Mursi and the Brotherhood PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 06 July 2013 18:35

During the last week of June 2013, Egypt was boiling with an intense rebellion against president Mursi, the opposition was trying to force him to resign, but he did not oblige.  Mursi was hoping that the Muslim brotherhood which has got him the presidency will come to his rescue.  His refusal to step-down created a very dangerous polarization of the Egyptian society and threatened a civil war, which impelled the army to intervene and gave the conflicting groups 48 hours to resolve the deadly political crisis, but if the president and his opponents failed to heed the will of the people the army would interfere with its own road map for resolving the crisis.  The army’s ultimatum was rejected by Mursi, so the army chief said he was imposing a plan which included the suspension of the constitution, the president of the constitutional court is to assume the role of an interim leader until a new president is elected and the formation of a government by technocrats.  Since the plan was rejected by the president the army went ahead and executed their plan on Wednesday July 3, 2013 which resulted in the dismissal of the president when army commandos came to take him to an undisclosed defense ministry facility.  Thus also the decades old dream of the Muslim Brotherhood of establishing an Islamist rule in Egypt was left in ruins.

The Muslim Brotherhood was launched in Ismailia/Egypt on March 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, as a social, religious political organization.  Hassan al-Banna was a school teacher and Imam, he was born October 14, 1906 in Mahmudiyya a rural town northwest of Cairo in the Nile delta, he died [assassinated] on February 12, 1949, the organization he founded was one of the most influential Muslim revivalist organizations in the world.  In Egypt it has been the largest best organized and most disciplined opposition political force, despite a succession of governments crackdowns in 1984, 1954 and in 1965, but after the 2011 revolution which ended the rule of Hosni Mubarak it was legalized and in April 2011.  The brotherhood launched a civic political party which was called the freedom and justice party to contest elections, and during the May-June  2012 presidential elections they stood behind Muhammad Mursi who was the chairman of the freedom party as their candidate won the election and became president of Egypt on June 30, 2012.

Muhammad Mursi was born August 8,1951, in al Sharqia Governorate in northern Egypt, in the village of el-Adwah north of Cairo, he was educated in Egypt’s public schools and universities, he was later granted a scholarship from the Egyptian government to prepare for a PhD degree in the United States, he was a leading member in the Muslim brotherhood and for them the presidency during the election which followed the toppling of Mubarak.  In an election which was seen as reasonable free and fair, albeit with a very narrow majority, Mursi was the fifth president of Egypt and the first Islamist onto hold that office, he ruled for one year but his year was full of mistakes and blunders .  It was marred by constant political unrest and sinking economy, he was accused of trying to put the interest of his group before the people, to consolidate power in his hands and Islamize the country, he dismissed parliament, he oversaw the writing of a constitution which was finished in a big hurry by his group, the Muslim Brotherhood which was resented by many Egyptians.  Many of Egyptian democracy protesters who backed him came to regret their choice, and so anger and dissent were growing at the lack of change and the hoped for improvements in the lives of millions of Egyptians was never seen, they accused the president and his supporters of trying to protect their own interests before those of the people, and then all hell broke.

On Sunday June 30, 3013 massive peaceful demonstrations were held across Egypt demanding his resignation, the head of the armed forces described the protests as an unprecedented will of the people.  Larger protests continued next day, Monday, when much larger numbers of people gathered in Cairo, but it was no more peaceful, eight people died as activists stormed and ransacked the Cairo headquarters of the Muslim brotherhood to which the president belonged.  On that day July 1, the armed forces were more active; they issued a 48-hour ultimatum which gave the country's political parties until Wednesday July 3rd to meet the demands of the Egyptian people. The Egyptian military also threatened to intervene if the deadly political crisis was not resolved by then, it would offer a road map for peace if president Mursi and his supporters failed to heed the will of the people. The army, with troops in strategic positions across Cairo, was saying the government and opposition have 48 hours to agree a way forward or it will intervene with its own plan.

The opposition movement itself has given Mr. Mursi until Tuesday afternoon to step down and call fresh presidential elections, or else face a campaign of civil disobedience.  The day before the group said it had collected more than 22 million signatures - more than a quarter of Egypt's population - in support. But Mr. Mursi was defiant, and rejected all calls for his resignation or for early presidential elections.

President Mursi said he was not consulted by the army before it set the 48 hour ultimatum to resolve the country’s deadly crisis, and he remained defiant, and in a late night TV address he insisted he remains the country’s legitimate president and rejected the army’s ultimatum that the crisis be solved by Wednesday.  Mursi urged the protesters to remain peaceful, and urged the establishment of a committee of reconciliation and said that he was prepared to meet with any group or individual as part of a national dialogue, but time was running short for him.

During Wednesday, Egypt was awaiting a statement by the army as the ultimatum was coming to an end, armored vehicles were seen moving through the streets of Cairo, but Mursi was still refusing to step down and his aides took to the social media saying what was happening was a military coup, at last few minutes after 8pm local time, the armed forces chief, general Abdul Fattah al-Sissi appeared on national television and said, the army sees that the Egyptian people are calling it to support them, not to take power or to reign, but to serve the public interest and to protect the revolution.  This is the message that the armed forces have received from all corners of Egypt.  He went on to say that the speech of the president last night came against the aspirations and demands of the people.  This necessitated the armed forces to consult some national figures, politicians and religious leaders and youth, who agreed on a roadmap that will build a strong and unified Egyptian society.  The army says that the new roadmap includes the temporary suspension of the constitution; the head of the constitutional court is to manage the affairs of the country until a new president is elected, and a government of technocrats will be formed.  Few minutes later it was announced that 68 year old Adly Mansour the chief justice of the supreme constitutional court would be the interim leader and that he will be sworn into office next day. Muhammad Mursi was informed a short while ago that he was not in charge and was kept under house arrest at a presidential guard facility where he had been residing.

Egyptians woke Thursday to a new political reality after the military overthrew the country’s first democratically elected president after one year in office.  Millions of opposition protesters around the country erupted in celebrations after the televised announcement by the army chief on Wednesday night, but this is not the end of the story.  The Muslim brotherhood is a very strong and a well-organized movement, its adherents are disciplined and highly motivated by their religious ideology.  The brotherhood made a lot of mistakes during the year they were in power and they have received a very severe knockdown, but they are very resilient, they are going to recover and are going to retaliate.  The future of Egypt is extremely worrying and very hard to predict.

Najeeb Hanoudi

Friday, July 5, 2013


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