Egyptian Aak: Week 17


Main Headlines

 Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

A Few Thoughts

 Revolving Doors

            Since the resignation of Justice Minister Mekki last Sunday, and the wave of resignation has continued: The president’s advisor, Fouad Gadallah; the Deputy Finance Minister, Demian; and here is another one that has not been documented much in English media—Essam Sharaf, the first Prime Minister of Egypt post-revolution. Sharaf has also resigned from his recent job as Chairman of the Suez Canal Developing Project and the entire consultative group, citing concerns about the project, and how it can serve interests of “other countries.” Also Moheib Abdel Satar has resigned from ministry of supply, again citing Ikhwanization of the ministry

            Ironically, as Khalil Al-Anani has written, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) doesn’t seem to be much concerned with the growing resentment against its rule, as it enhances the MB’s unity and solidifies its leadership’s grip on the organization. The question still remains: Can unity be enough to save the Brotherhood as a ruling party? The answer would depend on the Brotherhood’s opposition and their capability to stir the anti-Ikhwanism into real steps on the ground to defeat the MB. Thus far, the opposition seems to rely on divine intervention, military intervention or economic collapse in their fight against MB, rather than formulating a coherent plan. This is precisely why the Brotherhood is not duly concerned. The MB is aware that their unity is enough for the survival of the group, but the unity of their opponents is the detrimental factor that can tip the balance against them.

 The Brotherhood and Iran:

            The senior Egyptian officials’ visit to Iran on Saturday and the proposed Islamic quartet to resolve the Syrian conflict may be baffling to some. Specifically, why would the Brotherhood’s Egypt risk upsetting the Saudis by its new rapprochement with Iran. It is unlikely that the Brotherhood is embarking on this mission without the approval of Qatar; particularly, the visit came following the Emir of Qatar’s visit to Washington.

            Morsi’s Egypt is content to play the rule of the sub-contractor that conveys messages and mediates between parties, while creating an illusion of regional rule that in reality doesn’t exist. I doubt the Saudis will be duly concerned; I also doubt that Essam el-Haddad’s mediation in Tehran will be successful. He may become Egypt’s next Foreign Minister but he is hardly a Kissinger or James Baker.   

 El-Shatergate

            According to the Egyptian newspaper, Al-Masry al-Youm (AMAY), Egypt now has a scandal that is similar to Irangate. The newspaper has published details of alleged transcripts of conversations between Hamas and the Brotherhood that not only incriminate Hamas in the opening of Egyptian prisons during the January 2011 revolution, but also claim that the State Security has decided not to reveal these incriminating transcripts and opted to hand it to the Brotherhood’s khairat el-Shater. AMAY has cited “sources,” yet it didn’t release the evidence or reveal the names of its sources. This is a pretty grave accusation but without backing it up with strong evidence, it will be part of the current web of delusions that include leaks and rumors without solid facts. Leaks are not enough to incriminate the Brotherhood or the State Security; they will only feed into the Brotherhood’s narrative that the media is against it and will reaffirm the sense of victimhood from the Brotherhood’s members. Unless AMAY releases the audio of this alleged scandal, it will lose any respect it has gained among the Egyptian public.

            AMAY’s lack of professionalism makes many miss Egypt Independent even more. This professional English paper was a shining example of reliable, objective journalism in comparison to its Arabic counter-part. As Egypt Independent goes out of print, many question the future of independent media in Egypt and the country’s freedom of expression. Local English media has struggled under Mubarak and this struggle has intensified under the Muslim Brotherhood’s administration, which seems to use economic hardship as a tool for censorship and intimidation.  I always argued that a bad economy does not necessarily mean bad news for the Brotherhood; on the contrary, it can be used to “purge” progressive minds and silence many opponents. The organization that is shamelessly tin-cupping abroad, trying to fill rapidly draining coffers so it can keep power stations running and bakeries churning out cheap bread for the country’s millions of poor, has no problem in using the struggling economy as a tool for domination. Ruling a poor, regressive society is, by far, easier than ruling a fluent, progressive one.

 Kefaya

            Kefaya, or enough in Arabic was a grassroots coalition movement that was launched n 2004 (23 years after Mubarak took over power) to protest against Mubarak’s presidency and the possibility he might seek to transfer power directly to his son Gamal. Now, it took only 9 months after Morsi’s election, for kefaya to be reactivated again, the movement will  launch a petition campaign called “Tamarod, or rebellion” to withdraw confidence from President Mohamed Morsi. They aim to collect 13 Million signatures. Can they do it? I think they can.

Good Read

Here are Jayson Casper‘s prayers for Egypt

Happy Palm Sunday.

About nervana111

Blogger and Commentator on Middle East issues
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