Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 28, 2012

Egypt: Still Time For Compromises?

Thanks for the good discussion in the previous Egypt thread. Arnold Evans, with whom I usually agree, has a different take on the situation there than I have.

When one looks at the history of this revolution it was the Brotherhood that came late to it. It was the Brotherhood that promised not to go for the Presidency and not to go for a majority of the parliament. They broke both of those and several other of their promises. They can not be trusted to do what they say.

Morsi was elected with some 51% of the 50% of the Egyptian electorate that voted. That is not what I would call a clear mandate. It is at maximum a caretaker position. But that wasn't enough for him. With the power in the parliament the MB stuffed the constitutional assembly with its own people and ignored the opposition. Some of  yesterday's protesters had voted for Morsi but are now dissatisfied with them. I doubt that the MB and Morsi still have a majority of Egyptians behind them.

A constitution must reflect the whole of the electorate, not just the majority party. The purpose of a democratic constitution is to protect the minority from the dictatorship of the majority. But everyone but the MB and the Salafists has by now left the constitutional assembly because all their attempts for compromises and to make it inclusive were voted down.

When Morsi declared himself an incontestable pharaoh he also moved the deadline for the writing of the new constitution two month into the future. Today the MB declared that the constitution draft would be ready tonight and would be immediately put up for a vote. That is not a reasonable political process.

There were and still are much better ways to do this. After the downfall of Suharto in Indonesia the constitution was changed bit by bit in a long process. The attempt in Egypt to create a completely new one while riding on a roller coaster of political and economic upheaval is unlikely to go well.

The Egyptian president is supposed to be non-partisan. But while Morsi has officially left the Brotherhood his policies are exclusively the Brotherhood policies. Are we really to believe that this is what his voters wanted? Or did they want some figure they could trust to lead the political process to bring Egypt forward towards a stable state?

The alternative to Morsi is not the return of a dictatorial SCAF. Neither the U.S. nor the military believe that that could be done without igniting a civil war. (Thanks to Libya the Brotherhood cells are by now well armed.) The alternative to a partisan Morsi is an inclusive Morsi.

As Nathan Brown writes:

[W]hile the crisis is not fully a product of the actors’ intentions, Egyptians will not find a path forward unless their leaders find within themselves an intention to resolve their differences through compromise. The constitutional process is badly broken, but it can still be repaired.

The opposition can find a set of demands that is not predicated on denying Islamists the fruits of electoral victory or bringing the president down. The president can back down on parts of last week’s dictatorial moves.

The basic elements of compromise have not been destroyed — yet.

The Brotherhood announced a demonstration of its followers on Saturday. It plans to have this at Tahrir square where yesterday a hundred thousand protested against Morsi and where some of those protesters are still camping out. Should the two groups meet the situation could become bloody very fast. The "elements of compromise" would than likely be destroyed.

The Brotherhood should step back, avoid the danger of a blood conflict and go for a real democracy. If it is so convinced of having a majority behind it why does it want to rush a process that will define and guide Egypt through the next decades?

Morsi's priority now should be to get a new parliament elected. The constitution should be left alone until that parliament is well seated and has defined its working procedures. It could then task an inclusive group of notable people as constitutional assembly to write a new constitution in which each article is compromised on until it receives at least a two-third majority of the constitutional assembly. The constitutional draft should then be voted on by all until one is found that a super-majority of the people can agree on.

Only an inclusive solution can guarantee Egypt's stability.

Posted by b on November 28, 2012 at 02:15 PM | Permalink

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'They broke both of those and several other of their promises. They can not be trusted to do what they say'


most politicians break promises...its what makes the successful politician!

Posted by: brian | Nov 28, 2012 3:35:51 PM | 1

'The purpose of a democratic constitution is to protect the minority from the dictatorship of the majority.'

a bizarre idea always promoted by those in the minority...


inclusive governments tent not to work...they are foisted on independent states by the real dictatoships to weaken their reforming power..eg Zimbabwe has been forced into an inclusive govt by the western dictatorships (where you never see it!)

Posted by: brian | Nov 28, 2012 3:39:29 PM | 2

1) Can a new parliament be elected without a new constitution? If a parliament sits now, why would it not be the parliament that Egyptians already voted for? What would be the rules for it be elected under, since the only reason no parliament is in place today is because the SCAS-court ruled the election rules unconstitutional?

2) How big a super-majority do you suggest? Which means how much of the population is enough to have a veto?

Right now Egypt is run by the remnants of the Mubarak regime with an elected President who was essentially powerless until he assumed power by decree around when Tantawi resigned (and I wonder what the story is about that).

The SCAS (and the US Embassy) would like to see Morsi return to being powerless and then keep vetoing constitutions for 30 more years of dictatorship.

If allowed, the SCAS-courts will issue rulings to make that happen.

I think the military has to lose on the question of will the military have a role outside of the oversight of the elected government. The sooner it loses the better. It will lose the first time the question is directly put to voters in the form of a constitution that explicitly spells out the relationship between the elected government and the military.

It actually lost when the MB won 2 Parliamentary elections and after one of those elections was annulled, two days later Morsi beat Shafik for President. Then it lost again when whatever prompted Tantawi to resign happened.

But the military/courts didn't accept defeat. They didn't allow Morsi to reinstate Parliament, planned to abolish the Constituent Assembly and now are calling people to the streets, but they still cannot call numbers to the streets to equal the MB. Just as they can't win an election.

This seems to me to be gasping by the Mubarak regime and its US sponsors. I think Morsi is right to put them out of their misery, so they can return to the barracks and give up.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 28, 2012 4:17:08 PM | 3

Actually, Arnold Evans, if the two sides involved in the present struggle continue on the course they are now, the military will be the "laughing third". the Brotherhood already had to ask them to protect their centers, I wonder if they are doing it and I wonder what it costs.

On the part of Morsi I think the whole drama could be just incompetence and/or bad advisers.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 4:36:07 PM | 4

Bad news for my side of the argument if this is true:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/59403/Egypt/Politics-/Army-articles-approved-by-Constituent-Assembly-.aspx

The Constituent Assembly approved in its session Wednesday articles 195,196,197 and 198 related to the Egyptian armed forces in the draft constitution.

Article 195 from the draft constitution states: "The Egyptian Armed Forces are owned by the people, its mission is to protect the country and to keep it and its territories safe. The State only has the right to found armed forces and it is banned for any person or party or authority to establish organised military or para-military troops. The Armed Forces will have a supreme council organised by the law."

Article 196 states: "The Minister of Defence is the General Commander of the Armed Forces and he is appointed from its officers."

Article 197 states: "The law organises the general mobilisation, the conditions of service, promotion and retiring in the Armed Forces. The military officers and personnel are being referred to the military judiciary only in administrative conflicts related to decisions issued in their cases."

Article 198 states: "The National Defence Council is founded and headed by the president of the state and includes in its membership the speakers of the parliament's chambers, the prime minister, the ministers of defence, foreign affairs, finance and interior, the head of general intelligence, head of military intelligence, the chief of staff and the commanders of armed forces branches."

If this is true, the elected President is not the US-style commander in chief and civilians can be outvoted on the National Defence Council, and it looks like the military will not be brought before civilian courts.

If this is true and is a sell out by the Constituent Assembly to the military, I don't see how it would fit with Morsi's asserting either his supremacy over the courts or the courts' inability to dissolve the Constituent Assembly. But if it's true, I would have hoped to see the Islamists oppose it.

We'll see.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 28, 2012 5:04:17 PM | 5

Arnold Evans, it is worse than that

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 5:23:55 PM | 6

Somebody, that article is from June, before the elections and before Morsi sacking the military chiefs.

Posted by: Lysander | Nov 28, 2012 5:43:55 PM | 7

It promises to be an interesting year as the military and the plutocrats, both allied with Washington, jockey for power with the Muslim Brotherhood, provisionally supported by Washington. Mursi started out with the weakest of hands vs. the entrenched powers, but he seems to have made the most of it.

If his constitution gets approved, which I think it will, the battle will escalate.

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 28, 2012 5:45:00 PM | 8

On the whole I tend to agree with Arnold Evan's interpretation of events as stated in his post #29 on the previous thread.

b's proposal above certainly would provide for a much sounder resolution of the imbroglio, but I do not see it happening. In the current situation it's implementation (or anything similar) is out of the question.

I do not know what to make of the item on the military's powers in the draft constitution (as mentioned ion Arnold's #5 above). Does this have anything to do with some bargain struck with the military when Tantawi etc were forced out? If so, we should expect the military to back Mursi and the MB in the current crisis.

Posted by: FB Ali | Nov 28, 2012 6:11:50 PM | 9

Lysander, I know, but presumably it was Mursi's justice minister who restored the army's arrest power i.e. strengthened the power of that institution, whilst Mursi retired the head of the military and appointed the director of military intelligence i.e. the most powerful military person to that post plus made the same person minister of defence.

How this can be construed as Mursi putting the military under civilian control I do not understand.

It gets even more sinister if it is true that the most powerful military person has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood as claimed by egyptindependent.com.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 6:24:08 PM | 10

B,

How do you interpret that the arabist (Issandre el-Amrani) is defending Morsi?

http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/morsis-law/

http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/to-break-the-deadlock-morsi-wields-a-clumsy-hammer

Posted by: Sophia | Nov 28, 2012 6:34:47 PM | 11

I don't believe politicians [anywhere] nor do I believe in [any of] them. I take care of my own shit and whatever goes on/happens in my immediate surrounding/s and that's it. Obomber 'The Droner,' yeah, that's what I call a stellar, 'democratic' example of human exuberance and heartfelt honesty and dedication. Too many pawns on an overcrowded board game to be able to see what the board's made of.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 28, 2012 6:35:15 PM | 12

I'll definitely want to read the analysis of Egyptians on the terms of the constitution if and when they are fully released. And see what terms the constitution has about the military's budget.

It also is not clear what it means that the President is the "Head" of the National Defense Council, and other things the constitution says about the office of President in relation to the military.

Overall though, I have some faith that Egypt led by elected officials will surprise me and other observers in finding ways to enact policies that are consistent with Egyptian consensus values.

Again, we'll see.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 28, 2012 6:35:40 PM | 13

Off topic: Example of Obambi's thirst for true justice

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 28, 2012 6:38:00 PM | 14

"If it is so convinced of having a majority behind it why does it want to rush a process that will define and guide Egypt through the next decades?" No the MB is not convinced and this why they are rushing things.

Posted by: Sophia | Nov 28, 2012 6:41:13 PM | 15

The actual al-Salmi document, in article 9, goes a lot further than the constitution Al-Ahram presents:

http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com/2011/11/road-to-civil-state-supra.html

The state has the right only to found armed forces which are owned by the people , the armed forces’ mission is to protect the country , its territories and security and to keep the unity of its territories and its constitutional legitimacy and no other authority or group to party has the right to form military militias or semi military.

The Supreme council of armed has the exclusive right to revise and supervise all what is related to the armed forces’ issues and the discussion of the armed forces’ budget which will be represented by one digit in the state’s budget. SCAF has the sole and exclusive right to approve any legislation related to the armed forces before its issuance.

The president of the state is the commander in chief of the armed forces , the minister of defense is the general commander of the armed forces. The president declares war except after the approval of the SCAF and people’s assembly.

So I assume the statement that the President is the commander in chief stays, but must be somewhere else in articles where they talk about the office itself.

The part about no civilian oversight of the budget isn't there and hopefully doesn't appear, which would mark a defeat for the military and for the US that I'm pretty sure was hoping to be able to hide bribery from the Egyptian people there. That's pretty important.

The part about the army defending the constitution is gone, all the army defends in the four al-ahram articles is the country and its territories. Salmi's part about the SCAS having any role at all, including declaring war are not in the articles above.

I'll be happy to see a constitution that 1) can be amended reasonably 2) does not have any area of budget or policy off limits to the Parliament 3) makes some effort to include minorities and women 4) has some form of term limits for the most powerful elected positions such as the President and Prime Minister

I hope to see a decent constitution. I don't feel like it has to be spectacular as long as its representative. Especially if it can be amended.

I would love to see this constitution be limited itself, for Egyptians to make a new document 1, 3 or 5 years from now based on widespread national debate, but not under today's circumstances where there is a previous dictatorship that hopes to hold onto power, with the United States financing or offering to finance its hopes. But I guess I should be at least a little realistic.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 28, 2012 7:03:09 PM | 16

In the previous thread a comparison was made (by Arnold) between Iranian greens and and Morsy opponents (or at least some of them). I would like to make the following points:
1) Participation in the Iranian presidential elections of 2009 was around 85%, in Egypt this number was: 52%. Ahmadinejad got ~63% of the vote which would make his vote: ~51% of the whole eligible voters, this number for Mosry was: ~27% of the total number of voters. The closest rival to Ahmadinejad (ie. Mousavi) got ~33% of the votes which means that he had ~28% of the total eligible voters' support.
This means that Ahmadinejad had the support of the absolute majority of the eligible voters whereas Mr. Morsy had a the support of 27%, which in turn means that he had the support of a plurality of the Egyptians at best while his opponent -the last prime minister of Mubarak!- had a vote very close to Morsy, he had the support of ~25% (=48% * 52%) of the total eligible voters.

2) Ahmadinejad did not ask for sweeping powers...far from it, he barely has the power to appoint his own ministers! Morsy did try to get sweeping powers.

3) Greens in Iran asked for the annulment of the election results, Morsy opponents are not demanding his resignation or the renewal of the presidential elections.

4) The foreign policy was a real difference between the two sides in Iran (in fact one may argue that it was the ONLY real difference between the two sides in Iran). Ahmadinejad was in favour of non-compromising foreign policy while Green movement was in favour of submitting and getting back into USA's orbit.
I don't see the Qatari sponsored MB -led by a multi-millioner tycoon who is strongly pro-privatization and anti-labour- as having a substantially different foreign policy compared to Mubarak's prime minister.

In the end I want to ask: does it really matter that whether the comprador bourgeoisie wear a neck tie and drink wine, or that they pray 5 times a day and have a long beard?? Does it matter whether the country is ruled by Mubarak's gang in the name of USA, or by the gangs of Qatari supported MB in the name of USA??

One last point: Arnold makes reference to Turkey and that its foreign policy was not under the civilian control up until recently (I am assuming he means until Erdogan took over?). Presumably this has to do with the "special" above the law position that the Turkish armed forces had?
This claim is not actually that accurate. Both the military coups of 1972, and 1980 were right wing coups which in REALITY were against the leftist opposition and in both cases there were elections after the coups and the right always had the over all majority in those elections.
On the other hand in today's Turkey (run by Mr. Erdogan's Islamists), public polls show that A majority of Turkish people oppose any kind of intervention in war-torn Syria [despite rising tension between Ankara and Damascus governments.]

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Nov 28, 2012 8:06:51 PM | 17

It is quite possible to interpret the surprising announcement of the constitution's finalisation in the next couple of days as an attempt by the MB to move things along out of the current morass.

At present Egypt has no established system. All the centres of power and position are hangovers from the old regime -- except for Mursi. All those people agitating against him don't seem to appreciate that if they checkmate him they are allowing the remnants of the old regime to consolidate their hold on the state. It is very short-sighted.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a great improvement over the corrupt old regime!

Posted by: FB Ali | Nov 28, 2012 8:09:36 PM | 18

If anyone is interested, the entire El-Salmi document is here and more formally translated:
http://www.constitutionnet.org/files/2011.11_-_constitutional_principles_document_english.pdf

I think the Constituent Assembly proposed would have been reasonable, but the rules treating the armed forces were outrageous. All of the worst elements seem to be left out of the draft that Al-Ahram says is being considered now.

I think Egypt was facing a real danger from the Courts and Morsi dealt with that danger more or less appropriately. Until there is a constitution, Egypt is going to have an ultimate authority, and by dissolving the Parliament, the courts proved beyond any doubt to me that they were not suitable or trustworthy to be Egypt's ultimate authority. The SCAF also was not suitable to be Egypt's ultimate authority until the constitution is ratified.

So by default it is Morsi. I don't see this as a situation Morsi wants or one that he is extracting or trying to extract any long term benefit from. I'm much more worried about a bad constitution than about Morsi consolidating power before the new constitution is written.

Turkey is often described as having a dual governance system, where the military is separate from and above the civilian government, not only during coups, but making foreign policy and military policy without being accountable to elected officials. A lot of Americans see that as a good thing, since pesky Muslim voters could interfere with Turkey's alliances with the US and Israel. But that is anti-democratic.

Egypt clearly, even in the El-Salmi documents and in dozens of other pronouncements, statements and decrees have actively and openly expressed interest in Egypt's military policies not being under the control of the elected government. That is the US agenda for a post-Mubarak Egypt, that despite any trappings of democracy, the policies the US cares about would not be subject to pesky Muslim or Arab voters.

To me the biggest threat to Egyptian democracy is and was not random tyranny but the US agenda to accomplish partial democracy in Egypt. Democracy on the policies the US does not care about, direction from the US Embassy on the issues the US does care about.

The Court was working openly with the SCAF to ensure that the Parliament and Constituent Assembly would not be able to prevent the partial democracy the US has been aiming for. Many times Egyptian military and court officials have publicly we don't think voters should have control over policy areas related to the military.

So there was a real threat of partial democracy. That has real advocates whose statements I can link to.

Where is the threat of Muslim tyranny? Where is one MB saying we should make sure we remain in power even if Egyptians don't want to vote for us? Or we should limit the vote? Or we should apply this set of policies regardless of whether or not it is popular?

I've never seen in Egypt since 2011 a real threat of Muslim tyranny. I still see the US say or at least imply that it wants to reserve power for the military regardless of election results as recently as yesterday.

Morsi acted against a real threat and was accused of tyranny but I just don't see how that could work even if it took three months for a constitution to be written. I saw no preparations for a reign of terror over those three months. Other than removing the threat of the Court removing Morsi or the remaining elected bodies of government, I don't see how the power structure in Egypt was effectively changed at all by Morsi's decree.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 28, 2012 8:35:12 PM | 19

Regarding mandates gained from votes cast in an election, let's look at the last two US presidential elections.

year/candidate/votes/voter population/pct
vote and voter figures in millions
2008 Obama 69 212 32
2012 Obama 65 212 30

These figures came from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2008
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2012

and assuming equal voter population 2008/2012 since no figure is available for the latter (so it is underestimated for 2012, no doubt)

So Obomber has a mandate, with 30% of voters going for him? Or is he a caretaker?
IOW this is not a reason to dis Morsi, is it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 28, 2012 8:44:42 PM | 20

correction on Obomber -- "30% of voters" should be "30% of voter population"

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 28, 2012 8:47:05 PM | 21

20, Don Bacon, no, but Obama can be impeached. Mursi after his decree cannot.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 8:48:42 PM | 22

@Don Bacon 21:
Interesting point you are making. The problem is:

1)Many people on this site probably would not quite describe USA as a "democracy". I would call it a liberal democracy. Incidentally I was just thinking about other western countries, in Canada for example Mr. Harper has a majority government with only ~24% of the votes of those who are eligible to vote. But then again, I would not consider any of the western countries as a democracy.
So if you think that if tomorrow one of the western leaders looks for sweeping powers, that my attitude would be different towards him than it is right now to Morsy, you are mistaken.

2)Obama bent backwards to make his policies as "bi-partisan" as possible. Poor man even picked the defence minister of G. W. Bush and made the 60 YO playboy of pentagon his chief spy!! What else do you want him to do in the name of bi-partisanship? His choice of foreign secretary was praised to be better than condi rice by Dick Cheney!! What else should he do??

3) Do we really care? Is there any real difference between the Obama administered US and the Bush administered US? Why do you think there would be any difference between Qatari funded MB and US funded SCAF?
Is there any difference between Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and Khaled Mashal in Qatar?? Except the beard and veil of course!!

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Nov 28, 2012 9:04:00 PM | 23

"Mideastreality"?

Posted by: вот так | Nov 28, 2012 9:08:19 PM | 24

How many foreigners is Morsi assassinating? How many Egyptians is Morsi assassinating? Obomber, with his 30% "mandate," is doing both. Let's keep some perspective here. I don't claim that Morsi is the Second Coming, but what he's accomplished has been good. Look at his record.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 28, 2012 9:12:58 PM | 25

"I don't claim that Morsi is the Second Coming, but what he's accomplished has been good. Look at his record."

What has Morsi accomplished? Concrete things, not PR talking points.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 28, 2012 9:20:42 PM | 26

TIME interview with President Morsi, Nov 28

On whether, in hindsight, he would have handled his decree differently:

Oh, no, I don’t see the situation this way. What I can see now is, the Egyptians are free. They are raising their voices when they are opposing the President and when they are opposing what’s going on. And this is very important. It’s their right to express and to raise their voices and express their feelings and attitudes. But it’s my responsibility. I see things more than they do. I think you have seen the most recent opinion surveys—I think more than 80%, around 90%, of the people in Egypt are, according to these opinion measures, they are with what I have done. It’s not against the people, it’s with the people, coincides with the benefits. There is some difference between what’s happening now in expressing the opinions of the people and what happened in January 2011 [during the uprising against then President Hosni Mubarak]. There is now some violence that we haven’t seen before, which constitutes something bad going on.

On accusations that he is a new pharaoh and tyrant:
New pharaoh? [Laughs] … I went to prison. [He touches his tie.] And I was the chair of the materials department at university when I went to prison. The reason why I went to prison is that I was defending the judiciary and Egyptian judges. I know perfectly what it means to have separation between the three powers — executive power, legislative power and the judiciary. This is the main concept about a state based on institutions. The people are the original source of power. The President represents the executive power, and the President is elected by the people. And I’m keen that the people would have complete freedom of elections, and I’m keen on [transfer] of power through free elections. I went all over the word, whether in the U.S., in Europe or the East, and I know how things are run. I know about technology, about research, scientific applications, culture, civilization, differences between nations of the world, the nature of history.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 28, 2012 9:32:38 PM | 27

Huge Billboards Thanking Iran Have Popped Up All Over Gaza

http://www.businessinsider.com/billboards-in-gaza-thank-iran-for-help-2012-11

Posted by: nikon | Nov 28, 2012 9:55:25 PM | 28

The Egyptian judiciary announced today that it is going on strike. Well, shiver me timbers! I thought they were already on strike against anything that Mursi might do. I guess now they get to sit at home and chill, instead of showing up at the office to obstruct him.

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 28, 2012 10:28:33 PM | 29

no 27 Don Bacon, this here is the link to the full interview

Has anyone compared the interview to the new Egyptian constitution yet?

Is the Muslim Brotherhood in fact a democratic organization?


By definition , yes. It’s a big yes, sure. This stems from belief, Islamic belief, freedom for everyone, freedom of belief, freedom of expressing their opinions, equality, stability, human rights. ERA. It’s not only in America. Equal rights amendment. Everyone. This is a belief, this is coming from our belief: democracy, equal chance. But also responsibility. Law, constitution,
Egypt is an ancient country, It’s an ancient state also. The constitution in Egypt is quite old. 1923. [The] first one. And we move toward more stable positions. We cannot get stable unless we have freedom, democracy, rights for everyone, equal rights, equal rights for men and women, for Muslim, Christians, for whoever is carrying any opinion The common thing, the base line, the reference is, the nationality, the citizenship –Egyptian, that’s all. And the law is for everyone.

this here is the draft of the constitution according to the Washington Post

The draft left Article 2, which stipulates that Islam is the religion of the state and that Islamic law is the principal source of legislation, intact. But it included a new article that limits gender equality to the extent that it interferes with “the rulings of the Islamic Sharia” — a provision that has sparked a backlash and threats of a mass walk-out by liberals and rights groups.

Another controversial article that had been previously leaked but did not appear in Wednesday’s draft would give Al-Azhar, the country’s highest Islamic authority, unprecedented powers to review forthcoming laws.

How Islam as state religion can be called religious freedom is beyond my grasp of reality.

This here is Wikipedia on Sharia law

Sharia (Arabic: شريعة‎ šarīʿah, IPA: [ʃaˈriːʕa], "legislation"; sp. shariah, sharīʿah;[1] also قانون إسلامي qānūn ʾIslāmī) is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting. Though interpretations of sharia vary between cultures, in its strictest definition it is considered the infallible law of God—as opposed to the human interpretation of the laws (fiqh).

And this here is Quatari Muslim Brotherhood preacher Yusuf Quaradawi on equal rights for women

Distinctions justified

Some people harbour certain doubts and raise questions about Islam's stance on the woman's status as a human being. Here we tackle the more important points of uncertainty or even scepticism.

One of these questions is: why, if Islam really regards the woman's humanity on an equal basis with that of the man, does it give the man privilege over the female in some dealings such as legal testimony, inheritance, blood money, charge of the family, heading the state and other supporting ministrations?

The distinction (if it can ever be called one) between the man and the woman is not due to any preference by Allah, The Almighty, of the man or the woman on any account of being nobler or closer to the Lord. As a rule, it is piety and only piety that is the measure of ascendancy, nobility and closeness to Allah: " Verily, the most honour able of you in the Sight of Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaq 'n: i.e. pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much](abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden), and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)". [Surah 49:13] The distinctions, however, are merely conditioned by the different tasks assigned to each of the two sexes by virtue of their natural disposition.


Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 2:46:02 AM | 30

By the way the train crash Egypt is heading to is unnecessary. Islam does not have to be interpreted the Quaradawi way.

If Egypts constitution could be written in this spirit nobody would have a problem

Now let's turn to the much-debated Article 2 of the constitution, which says that Islam is the religion of the state. Now a state cannot have a religion, nor can state institutions have a religion. People do. People can be Muslims or Christians or followers of other religions. As for the state, it must be based on complete equality among all citizens regardless of religion, race, language, or culture.

True, a majority of Egyptians is Muslim and a minority is Copt. But we shouldn't spend time looking at the ratio of Muslims to Christians. What we should worry about is the ratio of rich to poor, of educated to uneducated, of the poorly housed to the properly housed, etc.

Religion is between God and man, whereas citizenry is between people and their government. In front of the law, people should answer to what they've done, not what they are.

Writing in the 12th century, the eminent Muslim scholar Imam Al-Shatbi said that Sharia has five objectives.

The first objective of Sharia is to defend life against disease, illness, exposure, and other causes of death. For him, attacks on Copts, their property, and their places of worship, is a grave breach of Sharia.

When Caliph Omar visited Jerusalem, he stepped out of the church to pray, for fear that if he prayed inside Muslims would be tempted to do the same in the future, which may endanger the sanctity of this Christian house of worship.

The second objective of Sharia, according to Al-Shatbi, is to defend reason against ignorance and lies. In Sharia, the right to knowledge is universal, like the right to water and air.

The third objective is to defend religious principles that are common to all creeds: freedom, justice, honesty, truth, brotherhood, loyalty, amity, humility and sacrifice. This view applies both to Muslims studying their faith as well as to Christians studying their own.

The fourth objective of Sharia is to preserve the honour and dignity of the community, which goes for Muslims and non-Muslims, regardless of their wealth and power.

The fifth objective is to protect the community's resources, or national wealth. This too applies to the assets owned by both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Islam doesn't believe in authority by the mosque. The church may have had political ambitions in Europe, but in Al-Azhar, the grand imam is just a learned scholar, running his own institution and not society at large.

Religious opinion, which is the basis of Sharia, is offered by any learned scholar. But above all, it is about what the heart believes is true. The Prophet Mohamed once said, "Listen to their edicts, but follow what your heart tells you."

The controversy over whether to have a secular or religious state has become burdensome, divisive and futile. Often it inspires fanaticism rather than good sense. The Copts are here to stay. They are part of the fabric of this country, and they will remain so in the future, equal and proud. They are citizens and their identity is connected to the country, not to their religion. So could the media please quit encouraging this useless debate?

Now who has an interest in preaching Islam in a way that is divisive?

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 3:34:30 AM | 31

no 7, Lysander it is in the constitution now

The Constituent Assembly on Wednesday approved the articles in the draft constitution that pertain to the Armed Forces, including articles allowing military trials of civilians and stipulating that the military budget is not subject to parliamentary oversight.

State-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported that the assembly approved an article allowing the Military Prosecution to try civilians for crimes that “harm the Armed Forces.”

The text was proposed by Freedom and Justice Party leader Mohamed al-Beltagy, the paper said, and stipulates that military trials of civilians would only occur in exceptional cases, while civilians could not normally be prosecuted in a military court.

The article also establishes a National Defense Council, headed by the president, with the membership of the speakers of both chambers of Parliament, the prime minister, the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, finance and interior, the chief of intelligence, the chief of staff of the Armed Forces, the commanders of the Navy, the Air Force and the Air Defense Force, the commander of operations of the Armed Forces, and the chief of military intelligence.

Also, the president may invite specialists and experts to attend the council’s meetings.

The council shall consider means of securing the country and its integrity, discuss the military budget, and be consulted on draft laws relating to the military. Further powers shall be granted to the council in accordance with the law.

The assembly also approved Article 196, which requires that the defense minister should be an army officer, and that he is the commander in chief of the Armed Forces.

In December, wide controversy arose between the former ruling military council and politicians over parliament oversight of the military budget. The suspended Constitution of 1971 did not allow Parliament to discuss it, also stipulating that it would be listed as one figure in the state budget without details.

Reform advocate Mohamed ElBaradei said last December that the budget of Egypt's Armed Forces should be monitored by the people through a representative Parliament, referring to most countries in the world, where the military publicly discloses its budget and a representative legislature oversees its economic activities. He noted that transparency exceptions could be made if national security were concerned.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 8:07:06 AM | 32

Excellent analysis by M K Bhadrakumar:

Egypt: "Egypt’s president Mohamed Morsi has walked into the eye of a storm that has been brewing for some time, which pits the Muslim Brotherhood against the rest on the domestic political arena." I agree. This is not about democracy or the constitution. It's a power struggle, pure and simple.

US policy in Egypt: "running with the hare and hunting with the hound?"

Saudi Arabia: When Abdullah is finally laid to rest, "this is not going to be an orderly succession since the ground rules are unclear and it is virgin territory, and if so, it is anybody’s guess what may happen if and when some three or four thousand
princes plunge into palace intrigues."
http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2012/11/28/us-lurching-toward-middle-east-quagmire/

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 29, 2012 9:59:08 AM | 33

It's about time to critically reflect the credo of democracy.

Very often, and here too, democracy is dogmatically (mis?)taken as some kind of holy grail and a conditio sine qua non.

There are (at least) two problems with that paradigm, however:

- democracy per se actually guarantees quite nothing. People are, as seen during the occupy movement, beaten up or even killed by the (law?) enforcement agencies (and others) in democracies, too. Or, another and longterm factor, just look at the widening gaps between pooer and rich in many democracies.

Actually, there are strong hints indicating that democracy, particularly in large entities/regions, is favouring negative evolutions (while it seems to work fine on a smaller scale such as counties or towns). Furthermore and worse, reality strongly indicates that democracy can - and is - easily abused to avoid responsability and to hide dirt such as lobbyism.

- Egypt has been (and saudi arabia and others still are) merely puppets of nato-criminals with a thin layer of betrayers at the helm and an overwhelming part of the people ignored or, worse, tortured into obedience.

Therefore countries like Egypt have other priorities than a western style democracy. They first and foremost must find back to a national entity, they must work over the traumatic experience of so many years, they must adapt to the fact that *they* actually are what their country is or should be about, and they must find and elaborate a lot of positions in a lot of areas.

Most importantly, however, the events in Egypt are - and quite probably should be - guided by "never again". Never again an abused cheap whore of the usa and israel, never again any considerable influence by nato countries, never again a mere figure in a chequers game of other (and btw. "democratic") countries.

We, the western "democracies, have long enough ignored and abused the Egyptian people. It's about time that we just shut the fu** up and let them find *their own* way.

If we are really worried about democracy we have no lack whatsoever of spots that urgently need a cleanup in our own countries and societies ...

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Nov 29, 2012 10:39:52 AM | 34

Look, Mr. Pragma, I would respect what you are saying if it was not so contradictory. Like starting off with what events in Egypt are and should be and then telling everybody else to shut up as it is none of their business :-))

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 11:03:38 AM | 35

The articles I've seen so far do not say Parliament does not see the military budget. So if the powers and responsibilities of the National Defense Council are going to be decided by law, then the only way the military can keep it secret is if most members of parliament vote for a law that keeps it secret, which I don't expect to happen and if it does happen, I don't expect it to survive even one election cycle.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 11:23:30 AM | 36

If anyone finds an entire draft, preferably in English, please link to it here.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 11:45:50 AM | 37

Still voting so latest version Arabic only, but should update.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 12:01:34 PM | 38

@ somebody - your lengthy "grasp of reality" (or, better, grasping for reality) notwithstanding:

1. Many states have Islam in their constitutions. Three who have recently evolved thanks to Uncle Sam:
*Iraq: "First: Islam is the official religion of the State and is the primary basis for legislation"
*Afghanistan: "The religion of the state of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam."
*Libya: "Islam is the Religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia)."

2. Regarding the role of women regarded by religions, don't forget to consider the Christian Bible, which has contributed to anti-female US legislation:
*Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
*Eph.5:22-24 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."
*1 Pet.3:1 "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands."
*Ecclesiastes 25:22 "Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die."
*Ecclesiasticus 22:3 "....and the birth of ANY daughter is a loss"

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 29, 2012 12:29:42 PM | 39

39 :-))
1) Do you suggest Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are good examples for Egypt to follow?

2) Christianity is not part of modern constitutions since 1787. Since then there is a human right called "freedom of religion"

3) What do you think, could it be considered colonialist to assume "freedom of religion" is good for us and "Sharia Law" is good for other people?

4) Could you live under Sharia Law? (I would have to leave the country.)

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 12:57:40 PM | 40

Somebody, if Egypt's voters disagree with you about how a constitution should be written, why should your views, rather than those of Egypt's voters, decide how Egypt's constitution should be written?

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 1:29:06 PM | 41

Just to point out there there are people in Egypt, who have significant support from Egyptian voters, who think Egypt's constitution is not religious enough.

(Same link as Somebody's pointing to the translation of the first articles of the constitution)
http://www.acus.org/egyptsource/egypts-draft-constitution-part-1-state-and-society-0

Salafi forces are already campaigning against the draft constitution, primarily due to their inability to sway the Constituent Assembly to re-word Article 2. Salafi politicians pushed for the article to read, "the rules of Shari'a are the main source of legislation," as opposed to "the principles of Shari'a." Salafi members of the Assembly were also unsuccessful in attempts to change Article 5’s “Sovereignty is for the people alone” to “Sovereignty is for God alone.” Shifting gears, they are now calling for their followers to vote against the draft constitution in the upcoming referendum.

Salafi efforts seeing to it that Al Azhar would have the final say on what constitutes Shar'ia were also unsuccessful, but instead led to the inclusion of Article 4 which states that the religious body will play an advisory role in matters relating to Islamic law.

Which again raises the question: who are you to tell Egypt's voters that your preference for a more secular constitution should supercede their preference for a religious constitution?

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 1:35:32 PM | 42

somebody

It seems to me that Don Bacon is about as far away from suggesting to establish the Shariah Law as you are from understanding what others here say.

Thanks but thanks No.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Nov 29, 2012 1:37:17 PM | 43

Voting works very well to serve democracy in the USA, and all those other countries Israel-America dominate. I see no reason similar results can not be obtained in Egypt. They should apply the Israeli-American democratic model of:

"Don't fear the voters, just psychologically manipulate them to love you - or at least quietly and obediently put up with you."

Posted by: вот так | Nov 29, 2012 1:46:45 PM | 44

41) problem is a substantial part of Egypt's society is protesting, so if 51 percent of Egyptians are against religious freedom and 49 percent in favor, do you think the 49 percent should give in or state "Here I stand. I can do no other"

After that 30 years of very cruel warfare devastated large parts of Central Europe.

It is a basic human right to chose religion. Nobody should feel righteous about forcing it down other people's throats.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 1:53:43 PM | 45

@Arnold and others

Why do you believe that the U.S. is with the military and against the MB?

I see no evidence for that. To it seems that it is with the MB much more than with anyone else. There was not a peep in Washington about Morsi's powergrab.

The constitution as voted on keeps the military in full power. For women and copts it is worse than the old one. Pure majoritanism at work.

Posted by: b | Nov 29, 2012 1:54:23 PM | 46

"It is a basic human right to chose religion. Nobody should feel righteous about forcing it down other people's throats."

Funny. I was thinking the same thing about democracy. That said, I agree religious minorities have a right to resistance against a majority. And democracy can sometimes be two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner.

I just think foreign countries need to stay out of it.

Posted by: Lysander | Nov 29, 2012 2:24:37 PM | 47

The US always favors the military, domestically and internationally. It's built-in to US foreign policy, with "combatant commands" responsible for everyone everywhere.

The US doesn't favor the MB because the MB is pro-Hamas and anti-Israel. The Congress hates MB therefore. Every US stand in the ME must be consonant with Israeli Zionist policy. Being against Iran and Islam in general derives from this (Israel) along with other considerations.

Washington routinely says the opposite, of course, being for democracy and human rights etc. Being openly against a transition in Egypt was tried at first, with support of faithful Mubarak, but got overtaken by events which Washington can't control. So Washington leads from behind -- a new and welcome process.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 29, 2012 2:26:58 PM | 48

Somebody: Which exact article are you claiming forces religion down someone's throat?

B: I don't agree with calling the decree a powergrab. The decree specifically said the SCAF-court cannot remove Morsi, remove the Shura Council, remove the Constituent Assembly or revoke Morsi's decrees until a new constitution has been ratified.

If the court were to do any of those, that would be a powergrab, and the court has an outrageous recent history of grabbing power by annulling an entire election and transferring all legislative power to it's allies in the the SCAF. That was a powergrab.

The court has publicly known plans to annul the constituent assembly ten days later than Morsi's decree. That powergrab was pre-empted by Morsi's decree. Representatives of Egypt's voters are writing Egypt's constitution rather than the SCAF and Morsi's decree protects that.

In June after the SCAF under a ludicrous pretext annulled the election and took the power of the legislature the US said it hopes Egypt moves toward democracy. Not one word of concern about annulling an entire election, except that it hoped that annulment was a step forward for democracy.

The US did express serious concerns when Morsi decreed that the SCAF cannot do the same thing to other elected bodies in November.

The US embassy never did operate in public, but I don't think I need to convince anyone after the last 30 years that the US exercises leverage over those elements of the Egyptian military that were part of the Mubarak regime.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 2:29:22 PM | 49

It's obvious the MB is Israel-America's toy. It's the new "color revolution" fad. The leaders are groomed in the USA, same as the earlier "color revolution" frontmen used in Eastern Europe. It's the same regime change scheme, adjusted to work in the Mideast region. They are using variations of this strategy everywhere where there is resistance to Israeli-American hegemony.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 29, 2012 2:35:20 PM | 50

The constitution also does not give the military any role over domestic affairs, nor does it protect the secrecy of the military's budget from Parliament. It is also as far as I can tell subordinate to the President who is an elected civilian.

In other words, the things the SCAF told the New York Times it would do in June and July, the SCAF has failed to accomplish in the constitution as we see it now. (Which is exactly what the SCAF wants to annul the constituent assembly and the constitution it has produced.)

Morsi and the MB accomplished that.

Morsi and the MB are the ones who prevented the SCAF from being able to continue its relationship setting Egypt's policy in selected areas in subordination to the US with a veneer of some democratic process over domestic issues the United States is not concerned about.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 2:38:23 PM | 51

If we are interested with "one man one vote" and the rule of law, the issue of separation of religion from state is a false debate. In UK there has never been such a separation and no political red flag was raised since the time of Cromwell.

For countries like Egypt having the main State institutions (i.e. the military, the security agencies etc...) under the "control" of a popularly elecetd body and having both the rulers and the ruled ones abide by the laws and be responsible citizen is the main goal. If, for the majority of the population, the Sharia is the best way not to feel alienated from the law of the lands, so be it. As Arnold suggested, this can be changed by future generations.

In Egypt, now and here, the litmus tests for the democracy are the fate of the un-elected and non-responsible current military/security forces and the massive Western influence over the Egyptian national political scene.

Posted by: ATH | Nov 29, 2012 2:44:11 PM | 52

Remember the promise Egypt's military made to the New York Times in December 2011?
https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/01/world/middleeast/voting-in-egypt-shows-mandate-for-islamists.html?_r=1&ref=world&pagewanted=all

The new majority is likely to increase the difficulty of sustaining the United States’ close military and political partnership with post-Mubarak Egypt, though the military has said it plans to maintain a monopoly over many aspects of foreign affairs.

The SCAF annulled the election, and was planning to annul the constituent assembly if it produced a constitution that did not, in its own words, "maintain a monopoly over many aspects of foreign affairs".

Morsi stopped that. The constitution does not give the military a monopoly over many aspects of foreign affairs.

If the court succeeds in annulling the constitution so the SCAF can write a new one, the constitution the SCAF writes, like the draft the SCAF already produced which explicitly denies military oversight to the civilian government will maintain that monopoly.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 2:47:14 PM | 53

48

"The US doesn't favor the MB because the MB is pro-Hamas and anti-Israel. The Congress hates MB therefore. Every US stand in the ME must be consonant with Israeli Zionist policy. Being against Iran and Islam in general derives from this (Israel) along with other considerations."

Rubbish. That is propaganda put out by pro Israeli-American entities and pundits to disguise the MB's role as "populist" front for Israeli-American imperialism. Proxy imperialism with a friendly local smile instead of the jackbooted frown of old.

US Struggles to Install Proxy "Brotherhood" in Egypt
From Egypt to Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood does the West's bidding - now joined by overt State Department fronts.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/06/us-struggles-to-install-proxy.html

"June 23, 2012 - Were anyone to still believe the rhetoric of the so-called "Arab Spring," one would be admittedly confused over the emerging political landscape in Egypt where the military establishment and the Muslim Brotherhood have emerged from what was supposedly a "pro-democracy" "popular uprising."

However, if anyone understood that the "pro-democracy" protesters were in fact US State Department-funded, trained, and equipped mobs providing cover for the attempted installation of the Muslim Brotherhood amongst many other potential Western proxies, the current political battle would make perfect sense.

The Egyptian military, like in many developing nations, may accept money from the West, may train with Western forces, and may even participate in Western machinations of global domination, but are ultimately nationalists with the means and motivation to draw lines and check the West's ambitions within Egypt and throughout Egypt's sphere of influence. The necessity for the West of removing not only Hosni Mubarak who had refused to participate in a wider role against Iraq and Iran, but the grip of the military itself over Egyptian politics and replacing it with the Muslim Brotherhood who is already hard at work in Syria attempting to overthrow one of Iran's primary regional allies, is paramount.

"Pro-democracy" movements, particularly the April 6 youth movement, trained, funded, and equipped by the US State Department, serve the sole purpose of giving the Muslim Brotherhood's installation into power a spin of "legitimacy" where otherwise none exists. Those within these "pro-democracy" movements with legitimate intentions will be inevitably disappointed if not entirely thrown under the wheels of Western machinations as regional war aimed at destroying Iran, Syria, and Lebanon's Hezbollah arch of influence slowly unfolds.

Muslim Brotherhood were, are, and will be Western Proxies

Despite the Brotherhood's lofty rhetoric, it has from its inception been a key proliferator of Western foreign policy. Currently, the Syrian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood has been involved heavily, leading in fact, the US, Israeli, Saudi, and Qatari-backed sectarian violence that has been ravaging Syria for over a year. In a May 6, 2012 Reuters article it stated:

"Working quietly, the Brotherhood has been financing Free Syrian Army defectors based in Turkey and channeling money and supplies to Syria, reviving their base among small Sunni farmers and middle class Syrians, opposition sources say."

While Reuters categorically fails to explain the "how" behind the Brotherhood's resurrection, it was revealed in a 2007 New Yorker article titled, "The Redirection" by Seymour Hersh, as being directly backed by the US and Israel who were funneling support through the Saudis so as to not compromise the "credibility" of the so-called "Islamic" movement. Hersh revealed that members of the Lebanese Saad Hariri clique, then led by Fouad Siniora, had been the go-between for US planners and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Hersh reports the Lebanese Hariri faction had met Dick Cheney in Washington and relayed personally the importance of using the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria in any move against the ruling government:

"[Walid] Jumblatt then told me that he had met with Vice-President Cheney in Washington last fall to discuss, among other issues, the possibility of undermining Assad. He and his colleagues advised Cheney that, if the United States does try to move against Syria, members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood would be “the ones to talk to,” Jumblatt said." -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh

The article would continue by explaining how already in 2007, US and Saudi backing had begun benefiting the Brotherhood:

"There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents." -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh

It was warned that such backing would benefit the Brotherhood as a whole, not just in Syria, and could effect public opinion even as far as in Egypt where a long battle against the hardliners was fought in order to keep Egyptian governance secular. Clearly the Brotherhood did not spontaneously rise back to power in Syria, it was resurrected by US, Israeli, and Saudi cash, weapons and directives.

And most recently, as the West frequently does before elections it wishes to manipulate, premature claims by the Muslim Brotherhood of a victory during a presidential runoff were made headlines by the Western media in an effort to portray the Brotherhood as the victors and lay the groundwork for contesting any results other than a decisive win for the West's proxy of choice.

US State Department-run Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty's (RFE/RL) "Muslim Brotherhood Declares Victory In Egypt Election," amongst many other articles attempted to give readers the impression that the Muslim Brotherhood had indeed already won the election. In reality the official tallies had yet to be given and it was merely the Brotherhood's own rhetoric upon which the report was based. As election results were finalized, and the Brotherhood's candidate, the US-educated Muhammad Morsi, appeared not to have the decisive victory claimed by his party and the Western media, immediately accusations of voter fraud were leveled against the Egyptian government.

The West is already combining its various proxy fronts for what it sees as a pivotal showdown and perhaps another opportunity to overthrow any remaining nationalist tendencies within the Egyptian military. Despite the Muslim Brotherhood, allegedly being a theocratic sectarian party, the antithesis of what the secular April 6 Movement allegedly stood for, Ahmed Maher, the movement's founder threw his full support behind the Brotherhood.

Maher it should be remembered, had been in the US, Serbia, and back again to the US for a series of training and networking opportunities arranged by the US State Department before during and after the so-called "Arab Spring." What seemed like politically ideological opposites, between April 6 and the Muslim Brotherhood, in fact share a common denominator - they are instruments executing Western foreign policy.

Libya, Egypt, Syria and Beyond to Form United Front Against Iran

Weakening Egypt before NATO's assault on Libya was a crucial step in ensuring the latter's absolute destruction and the creation of what is now a Libyan terror-emirate shipping cash, weapons, and fighters east and west to destabilize and overthrow various governments on the Anglo-American's long "to-do" list. The West's ability to install a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, with it's substantial regional standing and influence would be a serious blow not only to Syria, but to Iran as well. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is already echoing calls by the US and Israel for "intervention" in Syria.

Along with Libya, Egypt and of course the Gulf States of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and with the possibility of the Brotherhood coming to power in Syria as well, a united front against Iran would be formed and prepared to fight a proxy war on the West's behalf against the Islamic Republic.

Such a reordering has not only been mapped out in US foreign policy documents like Brookings Institution's "Which Path to Persia?" report, but mirror designs against China where all of Southeast Asia is slated for destabilization, regime change, and realignment to carry out the West's ambitions to contain and even collapse a rising China."

The piece is sourced throughout with links in the text.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 29, 2012 2:56:08 PM | 54

49)

Article 2
Islam is the religion of the State, Arabic is its official language and the principles of the Islamic Sharia are the main source of legislation.

Article 3
The principles of Christian and Jewish doctrines are the main source of legislations to the followers of Christianity and Judaism in their personal status, the practice of their religious affairs and the choice of their spiritual leaders.

52)
Britain has no constitution - see - English Common Law

they basically fought their system out through history.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 3:05:35 PM | 55

48

"The US doesn't favor the MB because the MB is pro-Hamas and anti-Israel. The Congress hates MB therefore. Every US stand in the ME must be consonant with Israeli Zionist policy. Being against Iran and Islam in general derives from this (Israel) along with other considerations."

Not true. An article on the MB's role as an Israeli-American proxy:

US Struggles to Install Proxy "Brotherhood" in Egypt
From Egypt to Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood does the West's bidding - now joined by overt State Department fronts.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/06/us-struggles-to-install-proxy.html

(Posted this earlier in long form, but it didn't show up. Perhaps cause it was too long. If the first was delayed and this turns out to be a duplicate, sorry.)

Posted by: вот так | Nov 29, 2012 3:08:38 PM | 56

And of course the SCAF was in the US pocket when it was doing that, and Morsi knows it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 29, 2012 3:13:26 PM | 57

UN General Assembly Palestine statehood vote process has just started, live blogging here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 29, 2012 3:33:13 PM | 58

If you're mad about Articles 2 and 3, all I can say is:

1) There are probably as many Egyptians who want the constitution to be more explicitly religious as there are who want it to be more secular
2) Those articles do not authorize forcing or pressuring anyone to convert or change religion
3) As offended as you are by a country that has religious articles in its constitutions, a religious person can be offended by your country that does not have such articles.
4) The most important thing about Egypt's constitution is that it was debated by Egyptians to reach a document consistent with the values of Egyptians if those values change, it can be amended
5) If you were to impose your values from outside, you would associate non-Muslims in Egypt with your foreign impositions and could harm them that way.

The worst thing you can do is ally yourself with the SCAF, the US Embassy and the Mubarak-era courts thinking you're working for religious freedom when you're really working to give the military a monopoly over foreign policy so that it can maintain US control over the areas of Egyptian policy that it cares about. That is what the SCAF has openly claimed on record many times.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 4:05:24 PM | 59

@somebody

I believe UK does have a constitution but not a "codified" one. Anyhow, my point was that in UK, since the onset of the Anglican Church, the monarch is both the head of the State and the supreme governor of the church of England, thus the "formal" non-separation of the church and the state.

On the other hand, I totaly agree with you that the englishmen "fought their system out through history" (I would add pragmatically.) And, this is exactly the reason I suggest Sharia laws are not the main issue in today's Egypt, they are the "formal" that can be set aside in the future based on the historical circumstances.

Posted by: ATH | Nov 29, 2012 4:07:18 PM | 60

@Arnold Evans

I do agree with you that the religious aspect is not the most important political factor in the current situation. But having meticulously followed the Egypt/Iran relationship since last year, as one important criteria to measure the political orientations of Morsi, I can tell you that it doesn't bode well for what you are hopping for in Egypt.

Posted by: ATH | Nov 29, 2012 4:15:16 PM | 61

US may prefer MB in order to contain shia expansion, just like US prefered Khomeini in order to contain soviet expansion.

Posted by: nikon | Nov 29, 2012 4:34:49 PM | 62

live video feed at UNGA here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 29, 2012 4:36:19 PM | 63

support Syrian insurgency is the same strategy as supporting afghan insurgency against soviet union

Posted by: nikon | Nov 29, 2012 4:37:34 PM | 64

The critical wording in Articles 2 and 3 is the use of "principles of. This is standard wording in many Muslim countries in which the constitution-framers wanted to appear to be adhering to Muslim law but in practice left a big loophole for subsequent legislatures to make any laws that they felt appropriate.

There is huge room for debate and interpretation on what exactly are the principles of Sharia.

Posted by: FB Ali | Nov 29, 2012 4:39:45 PM | 65

ATH, I don't think we can make much of what we've seen over the last year. The SCAF has not effectively been fully removed from power yet. There will still be inertia the day after a constitution is ratified that puts Egypt's foreign policy formally under the control of elected officials.

I am sure that if Iran could manage when Egypt was run by the US through Mubarak, it can manage even better when Egypt is run by Egypt's voters.

But I also think unless the foreign policy process is isolated from the electoral process - and I don't think the SCAF has given up hope on that and will not until not only the constitution is ratified, but the courts fail to reverse the already ratified constitution - unless the foreign policy process is isolated there will be consistent pressure on Egypt's foreign policy community to act more in line with other anti-Zionist forces in the region.

It may well be years before Tel Aviv considers Egypt as much or more of a problem than it considers Iran today, but if this constitution as we see it becomes the law of the land, I think that is the direction we are heading in.

Right now, Egypt's fight is not directly with Israel, it is against the US Embassy and forces in Egypt allied with the embassy. I am very pleasantly surprised at the progress Morsi and the MB are making in that fight. Any alliance with Iran against Israel can come later, if that's what the people of Egypt want.

On the other hand, in my fantasy speculation of what caused Tantawi to resign so fully and abruptly in August. I wonder if Tantawi was recorded transacting with US intelligence or military officials in a way that would be embarrassing. If so, I wonder who helped Morsi get those recordings. Iran, China, Russia, there is a moderately short list of parties that could deal such a blow to one of the most important US intelligence projects.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 4:46:13 PM | 66

Before anyone tells the muslims (or, for that matter, anyone) how much religion is good for a state, we should take care of the "democratic" "jewish state" to honour basic human rights ...

For that other matter:

Both israel and the usa are getting weaker and weaker. So, why would Morsi and the MB bet on them?
They have enough to do with cleaning their country from usa rats and keeping it *their* country.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Nov 29, 2012 4:51:46 PM | 67

59) With that reasoning Egyptians could have dealt pragmatically with Gamal Mubarak (as the English did during Restoration with their monarchs) :-))

I mean would you like to exchange a political dictatorship that does not infringe on your lifestyle as long as you toe the line with a religious dictatorship that changes your lifestyle whilst you still have to toe the line?

But of course the lifestyle debate is used to deflect from the real, the main issue which is business competition and privatization.

Actually in a very similar way the lifestyle debate is used in US politics.

There is huge money to be made from formerly state owned businesses, happened in Russia, happened in Mexico.

High-ranking army officers were once trustees of “import substitution industrialization” and other statist policies pursued by President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Conventional wisdom is that the Egyptian military seeks to uphold such Nasser-era legacies as a sizable public sector and a protectionist trade policy. The 2011 uprising strengthened this belief, particularly after the defenestration of Gamal Mubarak and his circle, masterminds of the aggressive neoliberal reform carried out under Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif from 2004-2010. That program, had it continued, might have dismantled the last public-sector enterprises in Egypt, many of which the army runs. The army is thought to have pushed out Gamal partly in order to preserve these operations. US officials had telegraphed this analysis years before: In a September 2008 State Department cable published by WikiLeaks, then-Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey called the military’s conglomerates “quasi-commercial,” concluding that the government’s privatization schemes were viewed “as a threat to [the military’s] economic position” and that the military “generally opposes economic reforms.” Scobey’s predecessor Frank Ricciardone had made a similar argument in a March 2008 cable: “[Field Marshal Hussein] Tantawi believes that Egypt’s economic reform plan fosters social instability by lessening [government] controls over prices and production.”

And this here is the Muslim Brotherhood industrial complex

The article adds that Khairat al-Shater, arguably the most powerful man in the Muslim Brotherhood, is a multimillionaire tycoon whose financial interests extend into several fields of business. “A strong advocate of privatization, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Muslim Brotherhood businessmen who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s impressive electoral victory this winter and is now crafting the FJP's economic agenda,” the article reads.

After Egypt got rid of the National Democratic Party’s cabinet of businessmen, it seems we are currently witnessing another illegitimate marriage between capital and power. Paradoxically, Mubarak’s son Gamal — who is currently facing trial over several charges, including corruption — and Shater were both bankers in the past.

In fact, the military trial of Brotherhood members in 2006 to 2007 was only the result of underlying competition between two groups that controlled capital in Egypt, namely between Gamal’s group and the Brotherhood. All of those who stood trial were leading businessmen in the Brotherhood, the most important of whom was Khairat al-Shater.

Consequently, more than 70 companies owned by the Brotherhood were shut down. The trial was in fact a settlement of accounts between two capitalist rivals, one of whom was forced to leave power only to be replaced by the other.

If we examine the economy chapter in FJP’s platform, we will conclude that the Salon article mentioned above is not making vexatious accusations against the group. Indeed, the platform borrows considerably from the principles of American neo-liberalism and free market capitalism preferred by America’s Republicans.

The party’s platform calls for the withdrawal of the state from providing subsidized services to the people and expands the role of businessmen in managing state affairs. Safeguarding the rights of the poor is considered an act of social solidarity rather than a duty to be fulfilled by the state. This package of essentially American principles is then dubbed “Islamic” by the Brotherhood.

In its fourth chapter, the platform reads, “Economic activity is to be conducted in conformance with Islamic market mechanisms, which depend on fair competition and restricted free economy [without manipulation or monopoly]. Economic activity will also rely on Islamic investment and funding methods. Ownership will be multiple, with regards to public property and private property, on the condition that property be used to carry out their social function to achieve fair expenditure and establish social solidarity. The state will have a decentralized role.”

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 4:52:24 PM | 68

Palestine has statehood -- 138 yes, 9 against, 41 abstain.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 29, 2012 5:01:46 PM | 69

To be clear again, I don't think of myself as necessarily a fan of Morsi - even though I am impressed that he is doing a good job preventing the SCAF from delivering the monopoly over foreign affairs that it was until this summer very confident it could give the US.

I'm a fan of the people of Egypt selecting a leader, and selecting representatives in Parliament and that ruler and those representatives serving until the next election, held when the rules say they will be held, then Egypt's voters can choose again. I'm also a fan of the people the Egyptians select being the actual people who make policy in their country, as opposed to unelected groups carving out monopolies to serve foreign interests.

If we saw that in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and the other US colonies in the region then Zionism would not be viable, Iran would be maybe the fourth or fifth biggest threat to Israel's security, Israel would probably sue for peace the way the White South Africans did and a tremendous amount of misery in that region would be averted.

I'm much less concerned with the names of the leaders or their parties. I don't root for any party, I just root for voters to decide and for the elected officials to have true policy making authority while being accountable to their own people.

The United States and the West because of Zionism opposes that and thereby causes almost immeasurable amounts of pain and destruction throughout the region of the Middle East.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 5:05:04 PM | 70

"On the other hand, in my fantasy speculation of what caused Tantawi to resign so fully and abruptly in August. I wonder if Tantawi was recorded transacting with US intelligence or military officials in a way that would be embarrassing. If so, I wonder who helped Morsi get those recordings. Iran, China, Russia, there is a moderately short list of parties that could deal such a blow to one of the most important US intelligence projects."

I'm pretty sure it was because Tantawi and MB reached a deal that he will retire in exchange for immunity from persecution.

Posted by: nikon | Nov 29, 2012 5:07:35 PM | 71

sorry if this gets posted twice, first post seems to have been swallowed by the system

59) with that reasoning Egyptians could have accepted to pragmatically fight it out with Gamal Mubarak

Would you prefer a dictator that forces you to toe the line but does not infringe on your lifestyle to a dictator that changes your lifestyle and forces you to toe the line?

But I agree the lifestyle issue is used to deflect from the main issue - actually very much in the way lifestyle issues are used in US politics.

There is a lot of money in the privatization of Egypt's state businesses - as was in Mexico, as was in Russia.


This here is Egypt's military industrial complex

High-ranking army officers were once trustees of “import substitution industrialization” and other statist policies pursued by President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Conventional wisdom is that the Egyptian military seeks to uphold such Nasser-era legacies as a sizable public sector and a protectionist trade policy. The 2011 uprising strengthened this belief, particularly after the defenestration of Gamal Mubarak and his circle, masterminds of the aggressive neoliberal reform carried out under Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif from 2004-2010. That program, had it continued, might have dismantled the last public-sector enterprises in Egypt, many of which the army runs. The army is thought to have pushed out Gamal partly in order to preserve these operations. US officials had telegraphed this analysis years before: In a September 2008 State Department cable published by WikiLeaks, then-Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey called the military’s conglomerates “quasi-commercial,” concluding that the government’s privatization schemes were viewed “as a threat to [the military’s] economic position” and that the military “generally opposes economic reforms.” Scobey’s predecessor Frank Ricciardone had made a similar argument in a March 2008 cable: “[Field Marshal Hussein] Tantawi believes that Egypt’s economic reform plan fosters social instability by lessening [government] controls over prices and production.”

Since the Mubarak family’s ouster in February 2011, the United States has tried to nudge the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Egypt’s de facto rulers, onto something like Gamal’s path. In his May 19, 2011 speech on the Middle East, President Barack Obama claimed the US had already asked the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to devise a plan to stabilize and modernize the Egyptian economy. Obama said the US had written off $1 billion of Egyptian debt and would “work with our Egyptian partners to invest these resources to foster growth and entrepreneurship.” Under social pressure, however, the SCAF spurned the initial IMF loan package, making many observers anxious that Egypt would return to a more statist model of economic management.

And this here is the industrial complex of the Muslim Brotherhood:

The article adds that Khairat al-Shater, arguably the most powerful man in the Muslim Brotherhood, is a multimillionaire tycoon whose financial interests extend into several fields of business. “A strong advocate of privatization, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Muslim Brotherhood businessmen who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s impressive electoral victory this winter and is now crafting the FJP's economic agenda,” the article reads.

After Egypt got rid of the National Democratic Party’s cabinet of businessmen, it seems we are currently witnessing another illegitimate marriage between capital and power. Paradoxically, Mubarak’s son Gamal — who is currently facing trial over several charges, including corruption — and Shater were both bankers in the past.

In fact, the military trial of Brotherhood members in 2006 to 2007 was only the result of underlying competition between two groups that controlled capital in Egypt, namely between Gamal’s group and the Brotherhood. All of those who stood trial were leading businessmen in the Brotherhood, the most important of whom was Khairat al-Shater.

Consequently, more than 70 companies owned by the Brotherhood were shut down. The trial was in fact a settlement of accounts between two capitalist rivals, one of whom was forced to leave power only to be replaced by the other.

If we examine the economy chapter in FJP’s platform, we will conclude that the Salon article mentioned above is not making vexatious accusations against the group. Indeed, the platform borrows considerably from the principles of American neo-liberalism and free market capitalism preferred by America’s Republicans.

The party’s platform calls for the withdrawal of the state from providing subsidized services to the people and expands the role of businessmen in managing state affairs. Safeguarding the rights of the poor is considered an act of social solidarity rather than a duty to be fulfilled by the state. This package of essentially American principles is then dubbed “Islamic” by the Brotherhood.

In its fourth chapter, the platform reads, “Economic activity is to be conducted in conformance with Islamic market mechanisms, which depend on fair competition and restricted free economy [without manipulation or monopoly]. Economic activity will also rely on Islamic investment and funding methods. Ownership will be multiple, with regards to public property and private property, on the condition that property be used to carry out their social function to achieve fair expenditure and establish social solidarity. The state will have a decentralized role.”

The Brotherhood’s projects and the extent to which it has penetrated Egypt’s economic structure remains a secret, like much of the Brotherhood’s affairs. It is impossible to determine the number of companies it owns or how much the group makes every year. We have, however, a list of its companies that were confiscated during the 2007 military trial. A quick look at the trial gives us much insight into the Brotherhood’s business.

Seventy-two Brotherhood-owned companies were confiscated as a result of the trials. They were rentier-based and primarily produced consumer products that targeted upper and middle classes.

This is the least beneficial form of economic activity as opposed to building factories or inventing computer software.

Like the NDP’s businessmen, the Brotherhood’s businessmen registered their projects under the names of their wives or sons-in-law so they would be hard to track down. Shater is one example. The branches of the Shater’s shops are located in the most luxurious shopping malls in Cairo. One of the most famous stores is a furniture shop named Istiqbal, which sells couches for around LE6000, when many young men need a similar amount to finance their marriage. This probably explains the Brotherhood’s uneasiness when dealing with the revolution’s socio-economic demands.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 5:08:43 PM | 72

@58 "3) As offended as you are by a country that has religious articles in its constitutions, a religious person can be offended by your country that does not have such articles."

Then, the religious person needs to explain how his God, by definition, omnipotent, omniscient, existing throughout time and space, requires props in a frail document written by feeble, ignorant men. What kind of wussy God are we talking about here?

Posted by: ruralito | Nov 29, 2012 5:13:54 PM | 73

Tantawi surely carried out persecution of MB during Mubarak era, once he obtains guarantee that MB will not seek revenge against him, he is happy to take his money and run.

Posted by: nikon | Nov 29, 2012 5:17:43 PM | 74

@69 I'm pretty sure it was because Tantawi and MB reached a deal that he will retire in exchange for immunity from persecution.

One day the SCAF had all legislative and executive powers, Morsi was a figurehead.

Three days later, Tantawi had resigned, Morsi decreed that the SCAF no longer had legislative powers, and in fact he had _ALL_ of the executive powers the SCAF decreed itself in the days before the election results were released.

What happened in August was a tremendous turnaround in favor of Morsi, completely unpredictable until it happened.

If the SCAF had retained the powers it decreed itself in June, then there was never a chance Tantawi would stand charges for anything and no reason to make a deal like that with the MB.

Something else has to have happened. But we just don't know what.

@70

That's a powerful argument you've just made. If you can convince Egyptians of it, then they'll agree with you about what constitution to make. But if for any reason they don't find it as convincing as I find it, Egyptians are still the ones who should write the Egyptian constitution.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 5:29:25 PM | 75

sorry if this gets posted twice, first post seems to have been swallowed by the system

59) with that reasoning Egyptians could have accepted to pragmatically fight it out with Gamal Mubarak

Would you prefer a dictator that forces you to toe the line but does not infringe on your lifestyle to a dictator that changes your lifestyle and forces you to toe the line?

But I agree the lifestyle issue is used to deflect from the main issue - actually very much in the way lifestyle issues are used in US politics.

There is a lot of money in the privatization of Egypt's state businesses - as was in Mexico, as was in Russia.


This here is Egypt's military industrial complex

High-ranking army officers were once trustees of “import substitution industrialization” and other statist policies pursued by President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Conventional wisdom is that the Egyptian military seeks to uphold such Nasser-era legacies as a sizable public sector and a protectionist trade policy. The 2011 uprising strengthened this belief, particularly after the defenestration of Gamal Mubarak and his circle, masterminds of the aggressive neoliberal reform carried out under Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif from 2004-2010. That program, had it continued, might have dismantled the last public-sector enterprises in Egypt, many of which the army runs. The army is thought to have pushed out Gamal partly in order to preserve these operations. US officials had telegraphed this analysis years before: In a September 2008 State Department cable published by WikiLeaks, then-Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey called the military’s conglomerates “quasi-commercial,” concluding that the government’s privatization schemes were viewed “as a threat to [the military’s] economic position” and that the military “generally opposes economic reforms.” Scobey’s predecessor Frank Ricciardone had made a similar argument in a March 2008 cable: “[Field Marshal Hussein] Tantawi believes that Egypt’s economic reform plan fosters social instability by lessening [government] controls over prices and production.”

Since the Mubarak family’s ouster in February 2011, the United States has tried to nudge the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Egypt’s de facto rulers, onto something like Gamal’s path. In his May 19, 2011 speech on the Middle East, President Barack Obama claimed the US had already asked the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to devise a plan to stabilize and modernize the Egyptian economy. Obama said the US had written off $1 billion of Egyptian debt and would “work with our Egyptian partners to invest these resources to foster growth and entrepreneurship.” Under social pressure, however, the SCAF spurned the initial IMF loan package, making many observers anxious that Egypt would return to a more statist model of economic management.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 5:34:54 PM | 76

"If the SCAF had retained the powers it decreed itself in June, then there was never a chance Tantawi would stand charges for anything and no reason to make a deal like that with the MB."

Tantawi is old, he was going to retire anyway. He has no desire to fight against MB.

Posted by: nikon | Nov 29, 2012 5:35:28 PM | 77

And this here is the industrial complex of the Muslim Brotherhood:

The article adds that Khairat al-Shater, arguably the most powerful man in the Muslim Brotherhood, is a multimillionaire tycoon whose financial interests extend into several fields of business. “A strong advocate of privatization, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Muslim Brotherhood businessmen who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s impressive electoral victory this winter and is now crafting the FJP's economic agenda,” the article reads.

After Egypt got rid of the National Democratic Party’s cabinet of businessmen, it seems we are currently witnessing another illegitimate marriage between capital and power. Paradoxically, Mubarak’s son Gamal — who is currently facing trial over several charges, including corruption — and Shater were both bankers in the past.

In fact, the military trial of Brotherhood members in 2006 to 2007 was only the result of underlying competition between two groups that controlled capital in Egypt, namely between Gamal’s group and the Brotherhood. All of those who stood trial were leading businessmen in the Brotherhood, the most important of whom was Khairat al-Shater.

Consequently, more than 70 companies owned by the Brotherhood were shut down. The trial was in fact a settlement of accounts between two capitalist rivals, one of whom was forced to leave power only to be replaced by the other.

If we examine the economy chapter in FJP’s platform, we will conclude that the Salon article mentioned above is not making vexatious accusations against the group. Indeed, the platform borrows considerably from the principles of American neo-liberalism and free market capitalism preferred by America’s Republicans.

The party’s platform calls for the withdrawal of the state from providing subsidized services to the people and expands the role of businessmen in managing state affairs. Safeguarding the rights of the poor is considered an act of social solidarity rather than a duty to be fulfilled by the state. This package of essentially American principles is then dubbed “Islamic” by the Brotherhood.

In its fourth chapter, the platform reads, “Economic activity is to be conducted in conformance with Islamic market mechanisms, which depend on fair competition and restricted free economy [without manipulation or monopoly]. Economic activity will also rely on Islamic investment and funding methods. Ownership will be multiple, with regards to public property and private property, on the condition that property be used to carry out their social function to achieve fair expenditure and establish social solidarity. The state will have a decentralized role.”

The Brotherhood’s projects and the extent to which it has penetrated Egypt’s economic structure remains a secret, like much of the Brotherhood’s affairs. It is impossible to determine the number of companies it owns or how much the group makes every year. We have, however, a list of its companies that were confiscated during the 2007 military trial. A quick look at the trial gives us much insight into the Brotherhood’s business.

Seventy-two Brotherhood-owned companies were confiscated as a result of the trials. They were rentier-based and primarily produced consumer products that targeted upper and middle classes.

This is the least beneficial form of economic activity as opposed to building factories or inventing computer software.

Like the NDP’s businessmen, the Brotherhood’s businessmen registered their projects under the names of their wives or sons-in-law so they would be hard to track down. Shater is one example. The branches of the Shater’s shops are located in the most luxurious shopping malls in Cairo. One of the most famous stores is a furniture shop named Istiqbal, which sells couches for around LE6000, when many young men need a similar amount to finance their marriage. This probably explains the Brotherhood’s uneasiness when dealing with the revolution’s socio-economic demands.


Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 5:35:35 PM | 78

And this here is the industrial complex of the Muslim Brotherhood:

The article adds that Khairat al-Shater, arguably the most powerful man in the Muslim Brotherhood, is a multimillionaire tycoon whose financial interests extend into several fields of business. “A strong advocate of privatization, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Muslim Brotherhood businessmen who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s impressive electoral victory this winter and is now crafting the FJP's economic agenda,” the article reads.

After Egypt got rid of the National Democratic Party’s cabinet of businessmen, it seems we are currently witnessing another illegitimate marriage between capital and power. Paradoxically, Mubarak’s son Gamal — who is currently facing trial over several charges, including corruption — and Shater were both bankers in the past.

In fact, the military trial of Brotherhood members in 2006 to 2007 was only the result of underlying competition between two groups that controlled capital in Egypt, namely between Gamal’s group and the Brotherhood. All of those who stood trial were leading businessmen in the Brotherhood, the most important of whom was Khairat al-Shater.

Consequently, more than 70 companies owned by the Brotherhood were shut down. The trial was in fact a settlement of accounts between two capitalist rivals, one of whom was forced to leave power only to be replaced by the other.


Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 5:37:43 PM | 79

b there seems to be a limitation on the length of posts, anything too long gets deleted. It is ok. just would be nice if you warn posters about it.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 5:39:43 PM | 80

I forgot to add that at the same time Tantawi resigned, he was replaced as the head of the armed forces with an MB sympathizer. The SCAF did not publicly complain in any way about any of this.

Tantawi was not so old that he wanted to suddenly resign in August and pass all of the SCAF's power to Morsi rather than to a hand-selected successor in the Military and the SCAF. Then pass leadership of the military itself to somebody the MBs chose.

Something was true in August that was not true in June when Tantawi seized those powers in the first place. It just has not become public what had changed.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 5:43:10 PM | 81

77) Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Soliman (Arabic: محمد حسين طنطاوى سليمان ‎, Egyptian Arabic: [mæˈħæmmæd ħeˈseːn tˤɑnˈtˤɑːwi seleˈmæːn]; born October 31, 1935)

that makes him the same age as the number of your post. Clearly he was a placeholder.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 5:55:36 PM | 82

About the same age as Mubarak, maybe younger. Did Mubarak plan to abruptly resign and pass all of his powers to the Muslim Brotherhood all along also?

Why did they take the powers in June and pass it back to Morsi in August, they could have passed them directly to Morsi in June.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 29, 2012 6:07:07 PM | 83

Tantawi can see the tide is against him, even if he can hold against the tide for a while longer, it will eventually swallow him, so he simply went with the flow.

Posted by: nikon | Nov 29, 2012 6:17:13 PM | 84

79 :-)) Mubarak intended to pass all the power to his son, remember?

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 6:26:08 PM | 85

a few random thoughts

1) the Us must be psyched by Egyptian events; they already bet once on the wrong horse, Mubarak, and now must be quite worried about the riski of repeating the same mistake

2) a nation-building project should be inclusive, but from day one of the revolution the western-oriented part of Egyptian society unashamedly supported every attempt by the old regime to thwart democracy; you can't play word games on this point, the MB is the democratic winner, and attempts to subdue it by unelected powers are anti-democratic

3) support of free unions aren't on anybody's agenda, it seems; I would qualify this as a real discriminant on the type of society that is being envisaged; everything else may wait;

4) the very fact that Egypt has begun a national dialogue on its identity, role and future, is enough to open up completely new perspectives on the ME; insofar as the people will have a say, Israel is toast, regardless of how and when even if Morsi is willing to play an active role on this front

Posted by: claudio | Nov 29, 2012 6:50:16 PM | 86

read: "regardless of how and when AND even if" - sorry

Posted by: claudio | Nov 29, 2012 6:51:24 PM | 87

more on the history of article 2 of the Egyptian constitution

Article 2 reads as follows: Islam is the Religion of the State, Arabic is its official language, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).

This article did not always read this way. It did not appear at all in pre-modern constitutions before 1923, and even then only stated that "the religion of the state is Islam and its language is Arabic". In 1971 Anwar Sadat added the clause, "Islam is a source of legislation," and President Mubarak in 1981 changed it to its present form as the principle source.

The reason President Sadat added the additional clause to Article 2 is a fascinating story. The present Article 77 states, "The term of the presidency shall be six Gregorian years starting from the date of the announcement of result of the plebiscite. The President of the Republic may be re-elected for other successive terms."

Article 77 did not always read that way, but originally limited a President to two terms. Anwar Sadat wanted more, and struck a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood to amend Article 77 in exchange for the additional Sharia clause in Article 2.

Soon afterwards Sadat began giving public speeches wearing the traditional gelebiya, calling himself Ar Rayyis Al Mumin (the Believing President), and reminding Egyptians that An Nabi wal Khulafa Ar Rashidun (Muhammad and his four immediate successor) had all been Rulers for Life. Although the Brotherhood recognized this as a farce and did not for a second believe Sadat was one of the Awliya As Saliheen, or faithful Muslims, they accepted his political stunt because they got Article 2.

When Sadat was assassinated and Mubarak realized the Brotherhood posed a threat to him as well, he further placated them by again amending Article 2 to read that Sharia would be the main source of Egyptian law.

Much of the above information was given by Coptic writer and political observer Naji Youssef during this Arabic interview with host Rashid. Naji advocates removing Article 2 in its entirely.

"The problem with Article 2," he said, "Is that when it states that Sharia is the main source for legislation, there is no room for Ijtihad (independent thought), Tafsir (critical analysis) or Muarada (opposition). To oppose it is to oppose Allah and his Sharia, which is not allowed in Islam."

"The basic definition of a Dawlah Medaniyah (civil state)," continued Naji, "Is a state ruled by law not based on religion. Law must be firm and clear, reflecting the needs of the people and applied to everyone irrespective of their religion or beliefs. This is not a political clash between Muslims and Christians with Muslims wanting Article 2 and Christians demanding its removal, but is important to everyone because we are all citizens of one country."

"Some people," added Naji, "Believe that if we oppose Article 2 we are doing something against Islam. This is not the case, and I am convinced that Muslim intellectuals who were not thinking merely from the religious perspective understood the danger of this Article from the very first day."

When asked if Article 2 guaranteed the rights of all of Egypt's citizens, Naji replied, "It does not guarantee human rights for any Egyptian citizen, not just the Copts. If you claim that Sharia is the main source for Egyptian law, what Sharia are you talking about? Are you talking about the Sharia of the Sunnis, or the Shia, or the Christians, or others?"

Posted by: somebody | Nov 29, 2012 7:37:23 PM | 88

National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, today, talking about US/Egypt relations:

It is a challenge. You couldn't have contemplated two-and-a-half years ago that the United States would [have] as its principal interlocutor in Egypt, running the government, a Muslim Brotherhood president. It's a fundamental change. And it is a challenge to our diplomacy to broaden out our relationship in the society and to forge a relationship with this new government. And it's a challenge for them too. New to government. How do they keep their economy together? Keep their polity together? And to date I think it's gone pretty well. President Obama and President Morsy have a pretty good relationship.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 29, 2012 7:41:28 PM | 89

new constitution finished soon, then vote

Reuters, Nov 29

An Islamist-led assembly was expected to finalize a new constitution on Friday aimed at transforming Egypt and paving the way for an end to a crisis which erupted when President Mohamed Mursi gave himself sweeping new powers last week.

Mursi said his decree halting court challenges to his decisions, which provoked protests and violence from Egyptians fearing a new dictator was emerging less than two years after they ousted Hosni Mubarak, was "for an exceptional stage".

"It will end as soon as the people vote on a constitution," he told state television on Thursday night. "There is no place for dictatorship."

Mursi is expected to approve the adopted draft at the weekend. He must then call the referendum within 15 days. If Egyptians approve the constitution, legislative powers will pass straight from Mursi to the upper house of parliament, in line with an article in the new constitution, assembly members said.

The draft injects new Islamic references into Egypt's system of government but keeps in place an article defining "the principles of sharia" as the main source of legislation - the same phrase found in the previous constitution.

The plebiscite is a gamble based on the Islamists' belief that they can mobilize voters again after winning all elections held since Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 29, 2012 11:43:21 PM | 90

the remnants of Mubarak regime are now just trying save their own skin, and Morsi insists retrial of former Mubarak officials because MB want payback for decades of persecution. In libya, former Gaddafi officials who have persecuted MB are being tortured and killed.

Posted by: nikon | Nov 30, 2012 1:13:30 AM | 91

91, that is one of the many levels of the conflict.

On another level it is workers and students against the Muslim Brotherhood.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Asaad, a worker from the nearby Misr for Spinning and Textile factory, stresses that he and some two hundred fellow workers – along with other anti-Brotherhood protesters – had opted not to march on the party's headquarters.

The ransacking of FJP offices in Alexandria and in other governorates last weekend further escalated tensions.

Yet it remains unclear who instigated the Mahalla violence, which left more than a hundred injured (although reports vary on the exact number of wounded), with both sides pointing the finger at one another.

Tanta University student Mohamed Mostafa recounts a series of peaceful ant-Morsi marches that began at 2pm on Tuesday, eventually converging on Mahalla’s flashpoint square:

"We returned to Al-Shoan Square, which is our Tahrir, chanting 'Down with Morsi', 'Down with the Supreme Guide [of the Muslim Brotherhood]' and against last week's illegitimate constitutional decree, but we were surprised to find that, without incitement, the Brotherhood began attacking us with stones, knives and birdshot, firing fireworks at head level."

Mostafa describes highly disciplined Brotherhood and pro-Islamist cadres, organised into helmeted militias bearing sacks and fruit carts brimming with stones.

The other camp, however, strenuously denies this account of Tuesday's melee.

"Revolutionary youth, along with thugs, marched on the FJP's headquarters with the intention of storming it," El-Qatan recounts. "A struggle began and the revolutionaries returned to the square. Stones were thrown back and forth."

"What surprised us, however, was that the infiltrators among the revolutionaries began firing homemade birdshot at us," he added. "With birdshot and Molotov cocktails, the clashes escalated."

Both sides allege the presence of known thugs-for-hire among their opponent's ranks. Both sides say the authorities responded slowly to their calls for help. And both sides claim popular and revolutionary legitimacy.

"I wasn’t there, but when people gather in front of the headquarters, and threats have already been made against it, and when thugs attack with clubs and birdshot, and when the police don't respond to the situation until after three or four hours later, these are all clear indicators," says Alaa Azab, a former MP for the FJP from the Gharbiya governorate.

"Look at who was injured," El-Qatan stressed when asked about the conflicting narratives. "The majority were Brotherhood members."

Yet according to Mahalla worker Asaad, "The ambulances were standing on their side, not ours. The government is standing with [the Brotherhood and Islamists]. When security forces intervened, they shot at us, not them."

Mostafa asserts that young men on motorcycles were called in to transport the large number of injured, since ambulances were parked near the FJP's headquarters.

As of press time, doctors at the local hospital were unavailable for comment.

In the absence of nonpartisan accounts of the incident, the truths interspersed in Mahalla's contradictory narratives point to a deepening divide between the Brotherhood and their Islamist allies on one side and the rest of Egypt's political forces on the other. With both sides digging in ahead of rival mass rallies planned for this weekend, Egypt can expect stormy times ahead.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 30, 2012 1:29:14 AM | 92

somebody, your "title" of the article you link to is quite misleading; free unions aren't on anyone's agenda, it's all "identity politics", plus a big reciprocal mistrust; but siding with the remnants of the old regime isn't the best way to ask for inclusion in the democracy that is being build by the majority

the workers the article refers seem quite more mature than the western-oriented youth (the same base of all colored revolutions around the world, it's a real social base, can't be dismissed as a conspiracy); the workers, I understand, protest for their inclusion without seeking chaos

Posted by: claudio | Nov 30, 2012 6:36:04 AM | 93

Claudio, I see the Muslim Brotherhood representing small and big businessmen. That is an important part of any community, however, as a rule they tend to be more conservative than progressive.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 30, 2012 7:37:22 AM | 94

on independent trade unions and the draft constitution - the rights of property owners versus workers' rights

Posted by: somebody | Nov 30, 2012 8:38:46 AM | 95

I'm still interested in seeing the full text of the constitution, if anyone comes across it.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 30, 2012 9:21:04 AM | 96

unofficial translation

Posted by: somebody | Nov 30, 2012 9:59:36 AM | 97

forget above link it is useless, they worked till late this morning and hardly anything is translated yet, this tweeter here talks of near to 200 article numbers

The translation so far reads strange also, I think it is possible that the Egyptian constitution in English will be different from Arabic :-))

Posted by: somebody | Nov 30, 2012 10:08:56 AM | 98

much better: BBC comparison between old constitution and new draft constitution

Posted by: somebody | Nov 30, 2012 10:49:18 AM | 99

Just curious -- why so much interest in the Egypt constitution as compared to, say, the Iraq, Libya or Afghanistan constitutions? It isn't like constitutions matter much -- the US one hardly restricts the actions of the maximum leader much, if at all. It it because Egypt will have a plebiscite on it and citizens in other countries (the US included) never had such an opportunity?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 30, 2012 1:22:06 PM | 100

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