Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 27, 2012

Media Whitewash Morsi's Dictatorial Powergrab

When the Egyptian president Morsi gave himself dictatorial powers I suggested that:
We will not hear a word of protest over this from the White House. Just imagine an Egypt where the government would have to implement what the Egyptian people want. The horrors. Much nicer than to have a new dictator, even a religious one, to implement Washington's policies.
With his negotiation of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas Morsi had just proven that his foreign policy is very much in line with western wishes and unchanged from Mubarak times.

We therefore have heard nothing from the White House or other western governments that puts pressure on Morsi to retract his edicts. What we get instead is an attempt by some leading western media to whitewash the dictatorial powergrab by suggesting that Morsi has somewhat backtracked on it.

None of that is true. Morsi spokesperson made it clear that nothing, that is zero, changed in his declaration:

Egypt's President is sticking by a controversial decree granting him sweeping powers, on the eve of planned nationwide rallies to protest the move.

There is 'no change to the constitutional declaration', presidential spokesman Yasser Ali told reporters, after a meeting on Monday between Morsi and the country's top judges aimed at defusing the dispute.

Unlike what some media suggest there was no change in Morsi's position. That he would continue in his dictatorial stage was also obvious when yesterday Mursi changed the professional union code to allow himself to stack union leader positions with Muslim Brotherhood people:
According to the new law, the manpower minister, who is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, may appoint workers who are members of the group in leadership positions that would become vacant in the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), which has always been affiliated with the government.
...
It also grants the minister the right to appoint board members of unions if the minimum required number of members is not attained for any reason, to fill the vacant seats on the board.

Labour activists fear the law paves the way for Brotherhood control of the federation.

The unions and the striking workers, especially in the northern port cities, were very much part of the movement that brought Mubarak down. Stacking the union boards is an attempt by the bourgeois Muslim Brotherhood to get the workers under their control.

But none of pieces with the misleading headlines about the alleged "compromise" mentions the union coup. As long as Morsi is keeping in line with western foreign policy and even supports the general anti-worker globalization agenda he will be lauded to the hilt. It will not matter that he is dictatorial, that his police continues to torture or that the Brotherhood elite will defraud the country.

All the western talk about democracy and human rights is again proven to be just hot air and the western media is again very much in line with that scam.

There are again huge protests in Cairo's Tahrir square and people are again calling for the downfall of the regime. Only this time they will get no support from the Brotherhood friendly Al Jazeerah and from those western media that are whitewashing the new dictatorship.

Posted by b on November 27, 2012 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

Comments

For me the interesting question is why the plutocratic media is pushing this story at all. There are lots of protests in lots of countries. Why is Egypt the story? Have they been told to put some pressure on Mursi, say, to make sure Gazans continue to starve?

On Sunday there was a large demonstration in Rabat, Morocco: 45,000. That's a pretty big number. Last night I checked the New York Times, Google mews and Bing news. NOT A SINGLE MENTION 36 hours after the event.

On Google news the leading "Morocco" story was the 70th anniversary of the film Casablanca, which has as much to do with Morocco as Tartar sauce has to do with the Caucasus. Meanwhile the 49th anniversary of JFK's assassination almost disappeared from the coverage.

So why did the Morocco protests get deemed "news not fit to print?" Most likely because they were in support of Palestinian claims against Israeli war crimes.

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 27, 2012 11:17:55 AM | 1

NPR's early morning top of the hour news summary mentioned there was "trouble in Egupt," meaning demo in Tahrir Square. None of the nearly brealthless adulation for people demonstrating back in the spring....

Posted by: jawbone | Nov 27, 2012 11:35:39 AM | 2

What about some seemingly plausible opinions to the effect that Israel lost the eight day war? ...like this and this?

Posted by: Maracatu | Nov 27, 2012 11:37:08 AM | 3

John H -- A few years back, at some numerically significant anniversary of the JFK assassination, the MCM seemed almost as single entity to agree that the annual coverage of JFK's death would no longer take up air time. The 50th will be covered, but in a more "appropriate" and subdued way.

I've been wondering how long it took for the nation to no longer mention the date of Lincoln's assassination. And with the smushing of Washington's and Lincolns's birthdays being celebrated on a designated Monday of February (to create a three day weekend for those getting one or other as a holiday -- or was it for retailers?), it's getting hard to recall either of their birth dates.

Except, for me, since I was born on the same day as one of them. It was a big deal to me when I young.

Posted by: jawbone | Nov 27, 2012 11:41:35 AM | 4

The Dragon is dead, long live The Dragon!

I agree with b, nothing will really change in Egypt, Morsi with MB is just another puppet. With US blessings, they are now pushing to install MB in Syria as well. While some here are high about Morsi and Qatar in Gaza, but they simply tilted Palestinians from Iran-Syria axis, to West-Wahhabi-MB axis.

Posted by: Harry | Nov 27, 2012 11:47:58 AM | 5

...Or it could a Morsi 'version' of Lenin's NEP...
Perry: I have a tentative and unsatisfactory answer. The Sinai is a security mess for Egypt’s new government, their economy is in crisis, the salafist current remains remarkably resilient, the Gaza leadership remains unpredictable and the last thing that President Morsi needs is a fight with Israel. Morsi is not Mubarak, he supports the Palestinian cause. But just now, he prefers quiet. He gets that by controlling the border, not throwing it open. And without stability, Egypt’s economy will be finished — and so will he.

Posted by: Maracatu | Nov 27, 2012 12:15:27 PM | 6

"None of that is true."

Of course it isn't true. Look who wrote the propaganda. The western media always lie, now.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 12:19:19 PM | 7

Egypt protests continue as ‘Pharaoh’ Morsi digs heels in over power grab (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

http://rt.com/news/egypt-unrest-morsi-power-670/

"Police in Cairo used teargas against protesters after clashes erupted on Tahrir Square, leaving one dead. The violence comes in the run up to a planned rally demanding the country’s Islamist president withdraw decrees vastly expanding his power."

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 12:33:55 PM | 8

Also a lot of useful background info in this piece.

Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood Challenged in Egypt

http://www.globalresearch.ca/morsi-and-the-muslim-brotherhood-challenged-in-egypt/5313143

"And while sectarian extremists taking power in Egypt and attempting to take power in Syria may seem like an imminent threat to Western (including Israeli) interests – it in reality is a tremendous boon.

Morsi himself is by no means an “extremists” or an “Islamist.” He is a US-educated technocrat who merely poses as “hardline” in order to cultivate the fanatical support of the Brotherhood’s rank and file. Several of Morsi’s children are even US citizens. Morsi will gladly play the part of a sneering “anti-American,” “anti-Israeli” “Islamist,” but in the end, no matter how far the act goes, he will fulfill the West’s agenda.

Already, despite a long campaign of feigned anti-American, anti-Israeli propaganda during the Egyptian presidential run-up, the Muslim Brotherhood has joined US, European, and Israeli calls for “international” intervention in Syria. Egypt has continued to collude with the West, even as it feigned support for Gaza during its recent conflict with Israel. Alongside the CIA, Mossad, and the Persian Gulf State despots of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Syrian affiliates have been funneling weapons, cash, and foreign fighters into Syria to fight Wall Street, London, Riyadh, Doha, and Tel Aviv’s proxy war.

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.”

The Muslim Brotherhood was nearing extinction in Syria before the latest unrest, and while Reuters categorically fails in its report to explain the “how” behind the Brotherhood’s resurrection, it was revealed in a 2007 New Yorker article titled, “The Redirection” by Seymour Hersh.

The Brotherhood was 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."

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 1:05:22 PM | 9

While the views that Morsi is a US puppet are appealing, it is also true that these things tend to take on a life of their own, often not in congruence with the western blueprint.

Posted by: Maracatu | Nov 27, 2012 1:14:24 PM | 10

Morsi won with 51.7 percent of the vote versus 48.3 for Shafiq. Turnout was 51 percent. Do these numbers resemble resounding victory! Resounding victory is what Hugo Chavez achieved.

Posted by: hans | Nov 27, 2012 1:35:19 PM | 11

@ Maracatu

It most certainly happens, but as much as I wish Egypt turning against their previous masters as Iran did decades ago, its hardly relevant what concerns current Egypt and Morsi - they'll follow West policy (they already do). Morsi actually cant, even if he wanted to (which I seriously doubt), Egypt economy is in a bad shape and without West/Wahabbis funding they are screwed.

If Morsi turns against US - he will be removed from the power one way or another, there are plenty of angry demonstrators already, ripe to be used by US/Arabs. I doubt they'll even need to resort to Syria/Libya scenario. Therefore I'm not holding my breath of Morsi/MB as not puppets of the West - they already are, and will be for foreseeable future.

Posted by: Harry | Nov 27, 2012 1:46:05 PM | 12

#10

When the puppets outlive their usefulness, they are simply removed. the part of Hamas that Israel-America does not control was just attacked and assassinated in Gaza. The part of Hamas that does Israeli-American bidding (the ones recruiting sectarian fools to fight Israel's-America's "civil wars", such as in Libya and Syria) is comfortably set-up now in the Israeli-American Qatar puppet.

It's really very simple to understand, once one stops believing the excuses.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 1:48:50 PM | 13

Maybe the Syrian govt should arm and fund the opposition to the MB regime in Cairo?
Then Iran should do the same with the opposition in Bahrain and in Saudi. They should start of with supplying MANPAD's to the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Pkk in Turkey.

Whats good for the goose is good for the gander!

Posted by: Irshad | Nov 27, 2012 2:23:00 PM | 14

News coverage is not nearly uniformly pro Morsi. Just caught a bit of Fox news where they interviewed the annoying Ralph Peters. They were quite pro-Demonstrator and anti Morsi. John McCain was very critical of Morsi and of Obama for not being more vigorous.

Does this mean the US is really anti-Morsi? Doubtful. Harry @ 12 is quite correct. An overtly anti-Zionist posture is not possible because Egypt is too vulnerable to economic retaliation. That said, there are degrees of submissiveness and a truly representative president could do a lot to drag his feet when carrying out western orders.

Also, it is important to keep in mind that there is no Pro-Israel faction in the Egyptian electorate. Neither amongst the protesters nor the rank and file Brothers or their sympathizers.

Key also to remember that Morsi has a whole lot more popular support than Mubarak did, which means there is less national unity in this revolution.

Posted by: Lysander | Nov 27, 2012 3:13:58 PM | 15

'We will not hear a word of protest over this from the White House. Just imagine an Egypt where the government would have to implement what the Egyptian people want. The horrors. Much nicer than to have a new dictator, even a religious one, to implement Washington's policies.'

yes but in nearly every state on earth, those in power implement what they or their owners want! so nothing new....in 2006 the US midterm elections put the democrats into a slim majority in House and Senate to end the war on iraq...that was the will of the people...the democrat ignored this and kept the war going

Posted by: brian | Nov 27, 2012 3:32:13 PM | 16

Sorry b I just do not read this the same way as you do. Frankly I'm surprised, the usual amerikan exceptionalists who imagine themselves to be anti-imperialists, but who see the empire as both ubiquitous and omnipotent, always see every foreign leader as a puppet of the amerikans, but you're usually smarter than that.

Here is today's guardian lead story on the opposition to Morsi's 'attack' on the judiciary. It calls the protests just that and says

"More than 100,000 people took to the streets of Cairo to protest against a decree by Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi that grants him sweeping constitutional powers.
.

That is not the work of a mob of neo-liberals trying to play down a trusted colleague's power grab; that is the thundering of neo-liberals desperate to put a halt to an untrusted foreign pol's consolidation of power.

The NYT article is more of the same:

CAIRO — Thousands of people flowed into the streets of Cairo, the Egyptian capital, Tuesday afternoon for a day of protest against President Mohamed Morsi’s attempt to assert broad new powers for the duration of the country’s political transition, dismissing his efforts just the night before to reaffirm his deference to Egyptian law and courts.

Yes the amerikan media was slower off the mark - I would put that down to white house 'sources' having claimed they had more control over Morsi vis-a-vis the Gaza climb-down than they actually did. The fuck up netanyahoo made of Gaza had to be made to look like it wasn't, therefore claiming Morsi was sticking totally to script like a good little raghead was essential.
Morsi is doing what he can for the benefit of Morsi. When his aims are congruent with empire he will use that but as we have just seen he will also turn the situation around to consolidate power.
At the moment Morsi has to move gently cause the egyptian military, many of whom are paid agents of empire, still have a great deal of power themselves and amerika wants to keep it that way - divide and rule -divide and rule.
The amerikans and their zionist stooges are very concerned at Morsi's 'consolidation' and will do everything they can to prevent it, but they won't risk the disruption of yet another change of leadership unless really pushed and Morsi knows that.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 27, 2012 3:34:05 PM | 17

'There are again huge protests in Cairo's Tahrir square and people are again calling for the downfall of the regime. '

well heres an opportunity for any jihadis seeking paradise: they can do to egypt wha they are doing to Syria and have done to libya...will we see a surge of 'freedom fighter' activity aganist the new pharaoh of egypt?

Posted by: brian | Nov 27, 2012 3:34:14 PM | 18

Destroy the civil society, gov't & military. Iraq & Libya have been imploded. Syria's destruction is almost complete. Jordan, Lebanon & Egypt seem to be next in line. Who knows where it will end. My guess is that Egypt will implode soon. Let's see how they decide to take apart Egypt's military.

Posted by: Hilmi Hakim | Nov 27, 2012 3:36:30 PM | 19

So far, since Mursi's declaration of absolute power last week, what is going on in the streets should be seen as good news. The spirit of last year's people's uprising is still alive. Resistance to the MB is broad even if some of those in the streets for pragmatic reasons voted for Mursi in the recent elections. Mubarak leftovers will obviously try to exploit the recent turmoil.

It is really premature to predict what the outcome from this struggle might be. One thing that is clear to me is that whatever is going on right now is not being controlled from Washington or Tel Aviv. That is just paranoid raving. Of course, outside forces are struggling to influence events but they are not leading them. The outcome may very well be that the progressive forces including the workers unions will suffer another defeat but simply sitting back cynically claiming that is inevitable is just defeatism.

Posted by: ToivoS | Nov 27, 2012 3:37:56 PM | 20

It seems to me that Mursi made a deal with the devil, regarding the Palestine situation, and now hopes to capitalize on it. I'm not sure if the people of Egypt can bring him down, but I hope they do. Nobody really bet on them against Mubarak, and they manage to do it, so the potential exists.

Posted by: Tod | Nov 27, 2012 3:56:48 PM | 21

By the way, talking about the media, where does this idea come from that Haniyeh is on the side of Syria and Iran, but not Meshaal?

The media does not seem able to make their mind up.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 27, 2012 4:00:20 PM | 22

Stop the press!!!

The Israelis have found a new graph that proves Iran has nukes..(http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4312546,00.html)

Even I can come up with better graph than that..You gotta hand it to the Hasbarites..They're really scraping the bottom lately..

Posted by: Zico | Nov 27, 2012 4:20:21 PM | 23

# 13 It's really very simple to understand, once one stops believing the excuses.

Nothings is simple.

Posted by: Maracatu | Nov 27, 2012 4:32:03 PM | 24

#22 - Maybe so, but that doesn't disprove the existence of disagreements between the two:

Western media, or experts cited in Western media, are often so ignorant of the realities in the Middle East. They have been railing about Iranian role in the war on Gaza in the last few weeks. Most analysts cited did not even know that there has been conflict between Iran and Hamas over the last several months. Khaild Mish`al relations with Iran has deteriorated as he has been receiving more cash support from GCC countries--not only Qatar.

Posted by: Maracatu | Nov 27, 2012 4:44:51 PM | 25

As I see it --
* Morsi is an Islamist, supported by tht Muslim Brotherhood. The MB is an enemy of the US and Israel.
* Islamists dominate the constitutional assembly.
*Some Christian and secularist members of the assembly have refused to participate in the drafting of the constitution because of the dominance of the body's Islamists.
* Egypt's Supreme Judicial Council, a Mubarak holdover, has previously interfered before in the transition.

But now --
* Morsi has stressed that his decree is temporary, only until a new constitution is drafted.
* The Judicial Counsel also gave some ground by tacitly agreeing that the judiciary wouldn't be dissolved by the courts before it completes its work. and it wouldn't otherwise thwart the drafting of a new constitution.

So, one big remaining problem is that disaffected members of the Assembly need to rejoin the deliberations to ensure that the constitution that results protects the rights of women, Christians and secularists. However there is broad anger over the Brotherhood’s monopolizing of power after its election victories the past year for parliament and the presidency.

Raafat Magdi, an engineer, one of the many anti-Morsi demonstrators, said, "We want to change this whole setting. The Brotherhood hijacked the revolution."

Cui bono? Who benefits from attacking the MB? Let me think on it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 27, 2012 4:49:10 PM | 26

@26 Don Bacon

At leat one element can be asserted based on facts: Morsi's political actions toward Iran has been murky and far from being qualified as brotherly, not to say friendly.

He has the power to open further ajar the political door, unlocked at Mubarak's time, of diplomatic relationship (at ambassador level) and not only he has refused to do it so far but he has also instructed his Foreign Ministry to put every hurddle in the way of normalizing cultural ties with Iran.

My assumption, at least regarding his Iran policy, is that he has caved in to the pressure from the military and the Americans.

Posted by: ATH | Nov 27, 2012 5:20:02 PM | 27

As with everything else, follow the money.

Can Egypt stand on its own 2 feet? Nope. It's bankrupt. The IMF/WB/US its best friends.

Can Palestine do anything independently? Nope. Everything that goes in and out is [for the most part] controlled by others [Israel controls/holds on to taxes, etc. LINK]

Why hasn't Syria fallen [it costs billions p/m to fight one or more wars, be it in- or external]? Thanks to Russia.

So, the west, and its proxies, still rule/s the waves in more than one way.

I was way too young to know anything coherent about JFK, the only thing I remember was my mom crying whilst watching TV. Although I didn't know what it meant she uttered back then, today it might ring true. 'Hope has been shot and killed today.'

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 27, 2012 6:14:26 PM | 28

Let's see which of these statements we can all agree on:

1) Between Morsi and the SCAS, Morsi is the more democratic
2) Between Morsi and the SCAS, Morsi the the less pro-US
3) Between Morsi and the SCAS, the US prefers the SCAS to make Egypt's policy
4) Between Morsi and the SCAS, the voters of Egypt prefer Morsi to make Egypt's policy

Looking at the New York Times' account in July of how the SCAS, through the constitutional court wrote a ruling that it could dissolve the parliament at any time and use that to overrule the expressed will of the Egyptian electorate:

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/04/world/middleeast/judge-helped-egypts-military-to-cement-power.html?pagewanted=all

Judge Gebali said her own direct contacts with the generals began in May last year, after a demonstration by mostly liberal and secular activists demanding a Constitution or at least a bill of rights before elections. “This changed the vision of the military council,” she said. “It had thought that the only popular power in the street was the Muslim Brotherhood.”

It was also around that time, Judge Gebali said, that she began helping the military-led government draft a set of binding constitutional ground rules. The rules protected civil liberties, she said, but also explicitly granted the military autonomy from any oversight, as well as a permanent power to intervene in politics. “The military council accepted it, and agreed to issue a ‘constitutional declaration’ with it,” she said.

But as the military-led government unveiled the rules, known here as the Selmi document, the provisions about the military’s power aroused fierce opposition, culminating in a weeklong street battle with security forces near Tahrir Square that left about 45 people dead.

The planned decree “was thwarted every time by all the noise, the popular mobilization, the ‘million-man marches,’ ” Judge Gebali said, blaming the Islamists even though they were only one part of the protests.

It seems to me that had Morsi not intervened, the judges on December 2 would have annulled the constitutional assembly and chosen parties that had not won elections to write Egypt's constitution. Those parties would have carved out explicit space in the constitution for unelected bodies, tied with the US to _continue_ to set Egyptian foreign policy. That's what they have been saying openly. That's what American commentators have been justifying since before the first election.

Morsi is not the one who dissolved the legislature, and in fact his attempt to restore it was overturned.

To dissolve the parliament was an outrageous affront to democracy. A lot of Egyptian people voted, and all of those votes were literally thrown into the garbage. The way it was done, two days before the presidential election, was designed and intended to demoralize the Muslim Brothers and their supporters suppressing their turnout by demonstrating that votes for them don't count. Maybe it worked, maybe it reduced Morsi's victory margin by some amount, but it didn't work well enough Morsi still came out with the most votes, despite the SCAS doing the vote-counting.

The critical question for Egypt right now is will there be a constitution that carves out a role for unelected foreign policy-makers who are accountable to the US. Morsi is on the right side of that. ElBaradei is on the wrong side.

Once there is a parliament and constitution again, and Morsi never advocated or was involved in dissolving the parliament in the first place, the people of Egypt will determine what labor laws they want, how they will structure the military, who will be judges, what other countries they will ally with. All of these questions should be decided by the people of Egypt, not even me, but definitely not by the SCAS on behalf of the US Embassy.

But Egypt has real opponents of even producing a constitution and having an elected parliament. That's who Morsi is fighting right now.

I hope he wins. I'd also appreciate comments at my blog if anyone would care to also stop by. MideastReality.Blogspot.com

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 27, 2012 6:20:17 PM | 29

Is Israel planning on attacking Lebanon now that they have killed the Hamas members they set out to murder? Another Israeli invasion of Lebanon to do to Hezbollah what they did to Hamas (they wish) in the works?

Eight Israeli military aircraft violate Lebanese airspace

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/11/27/274907/8-israeli-aircraft-violate-lebanese-airspace/

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 6:36:41 PM | 30

Off topic:

Dear Daniel,

My name is Eman.

I am 18, a first year student at university where I study
physical therapy. I have lived my whole life in Gaza. My
dream is to one day study in the United States. My dream, also, is simply to survive.

I want to share with you something I wrote during the last few weeks when we were being bombarded from above by bombs, drones and fighter jets that were largely paid for by the United States. And, because you already signed the Open Letter to President Obama -- the goal of 25,000 was reached and now we need 36,000 -- I want to ask to forward this email to others.

In Gaza, there is no place to flee. Every one of us is waiting for his/her destiny. In other words, every single minute you have the feeling that you could be the next victim in Gaza. Israel is using an insane amount of
force and power against us. They are using the entire might of their Air Force, including F16s and drones, against us. Very close to our house, there were at
least 8 air strikes.

Every airstrike shakes our doors, windows causing a great panic for us and particularly for our children. Over the past three nights, our best wish is to have a proper few hours of sleep. My father went to the market to buy us food, we were very scared to let him go since Israeli drones could have targeted him. We are cooped up in one room, with limited access to communication due to intentional, regular electricity blackouts.

The nighttime is very scary for us, because that is when Israel intensifies its airstrikes all cross the Gaza strip. No matter where you are in the Gaza Strip, one can easily hear the massive loud explosions and can only imagine the horror that is happening to family and
friends caught in the cross-fire. We listen to local
radio stations broadcasting from Gaza.

Every single minute, there are reports of deaths, injuries, and immense destruction to our homes, schools, and infrastructure.

In Gaza, empty fields have been regularly bombarded. Gaza is a very densely populated civilian area. These bombardments are designed to terrorize us.

Our children carry the physical and mental scars of trauma of a defenseless war. I always say we are children. We have done nothing to deserve this brutality. While at the same time, our children have faced the daily threat of violence and death from above, and have been subjected to a starvation diet imposed by Israel's control of our borders. The effects on their brain development and their health will last a lifetime.

Today, I am grateful the ceasefire seems to be holding. Please sign this letter to Obama so my family and friends don't have to endure this yet again.

With love and hope for freedom and a just peace,

Eman Qwaider

P.S. Thank you for forwarding my letter.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 27, 2012 6:39:19 PM | 31

tweet today from US Embassy Cairo

The Egyptian people made clear in the January 25th revolution that they have had enough of dictatorship #tahrir

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 27, 2012 6:49:32 PM | 32

I meant to add, but forgot, that a thoroughly submissive Mursi would be a delightful asset to have for a new Israeli war against Lebanon (and possibly also Syria). All he'd have to do is what he did to help facilitate Israel's latest war crimes against Gaza.

Mubarak had become a puppet who could no longer be fully trusted to play the role Israel-America had decided he needed to play. Mursi, on the hand, is fresh, and new, and completely under the Israeli-American thumb.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 6:51:16 PM | 33

@Arnold Evans

The problem is not if a person (or an institution) has democratic believes or values. Once the principle of one man one vote is legally established and the rule of law is the guiding principle, you can have a certain confidence that the political leadership is acting responsibily, i.e. in the interest of the nation. Egypt hasn't attained this stage yet, although the removal of Mubarak was a big step in the right direction.

It is clearly in the interests of Egypt to have a friendly economic and political relationship with Iran but on this, Morsi so far has caved in to the wills of the outsiders to the Egyptian national polity and to the privileged unelected interests (military) associated with them against Egypt's national interests.

Posted by: ATH | Nov 27, 2012 7:05:32 PM | 34

@ATH
You don't think Egypt has a friendly economic and political relationship with Iran (except on Syria)? One of the most striking indicators of the new direction in Egyptian foreign policy has been the strongly positive shift in Cairo’s posture toward the Islamic Republic. Iran now has an embassy in Cairo, first since 1979. An Egyptian official said in August that Cairo will raise the level of its diplomatic representation in Tehran soon. Morsi reportedly said in September: “There exists no problem between Iran and Egypt.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 27, 2012 7:23:27 PM | 35

Net-an-yahoo - Copyright Daniel Rich - 19 April, 2012. 1/2 down page :o)

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 27, 2012 7:24:09 PM | 36

I agree that Egypt has to get a constitution first. And one that reflects the will of the electorate of the Egyptian people.

What has Morsi done against that? Morsi has declared that, contrary to what were pretty openly its plans, the SCAS-court will not be able to interfere with or stop the process of making a constitution.

I think what we're seeing is that the SCAS hopes the Egyptian people will be disillusioned with the people they voted for and welcome the dictatorship back.

I think the US embassy and SCAS are both hoping that works. But the US embassy has a habit of being mislead by the most westernized minorities Arab and muslim populations.

If over the next six months Egypt actually gets a constitution written that it can present to the Egyptian people, and the people vote for it, then vote for representatives in Parliament, then Morsi will have achieved the first critical victory over the US and SCAS. Only after that can Egypt re-orient its military and economic systems and alliance structures.

All of these Egyptians tweeting about how Morsi is worse than Mubarak. OK. Let's see who they vote for, and let's count how many people vote against them. They think their country is unanimous, but it pretty much never is.

If you want democracy in Egypt, you can't have a court throwing out votes and entire elections, according to previously laid plans, in order to leave power in the hands of the SCAS.

Once Egypt does get democracy, which has not happened yet, more than anything because of the US embassy, the SCAS and the courts, then I'm quite comfortable that the Egyptian people will impress all of us with their independence and their creativity at solving their problems in ways consistent with their values.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 27, 2012 7:41:44 PM | 37

@ ATH,

I concur. Egypt should first and foremost develop friendly relationships with its neighbors. Unfortunately that doesn't coincide with the west's 'best' interests for that region [aka Israel's self-perpetuating 'right to defend itself'], fossil fuel deposits and other regional despots. I've had this queasy feeling from day one [about Egypt's future fortunes] and it won't die down. I guess that's my gut feeling trying to explain something to me. If only I had access to the code... Bodily fluids, anyone?

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 27, 2012 7:44:03 PM | 38

@ Arnold Evans

Thats not how it works. MB was in bed with US for a long time, their leadership are against USrael only for public consumption, much like Saudis or Qatar. Or some think MB leadership was also hand-picked by US for Syria by accident too?

To create an illusion of democracy power-groups bet on most prominent candidates, it wasnt good vs evil as some may think - it was a front-man No. 1 vs front-man No. 2, same happens in US itself, what to speak of some Egypt.

"To dissolve the parliament was an outrageous affront to democracy."

and to makes himself a new dictator is what, a democracy? Its even more outrageous.

"the people of Egypt will determine what labor laws they want, how they will structure the military, who will be judges, what other countries they will ally with. All of these questions should be decided by the people of Egypt"

Sounds good, problem is - there are very few countries in the World who can do that. I'm from "free and democratic" EU (Lithuania), and our government exclusively serve US interests on foreign policies. What to speak of us - US itself is forced to run foreign policies against its own countries best interests on behalf of a certain tiny state. Thats the reality, and no, Egypt isnt as independent under Morsi as some suggest - he with MB already serve US interests.

Posted by: Harry | Nov 27, 2012 7:50:29 PM | 39

@ Arnold Evans,

I also have to agree with your take on the rapidly evolving Egyptian events. It's sure time for a population somewhere on the planet, to finally succeed where so many [including myself] have failed.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 27, 2012 7:52:16 PM | 40

deb @17: I'm willing to cut Mursi some slack, because he's in a tough spot. All the institutions surrounding him are Mubarak's or Washington's. If the will of the people is that Mubarak should be tried for his crimes, exactly how does Mursi accomplish that when the Mubarak appointed judiciary is stonewalling him? BTW it's the same judiciary that abolished the freely elected parliament. What's to prevent it from declaring the past election nul and void and bringing back SCAF or Mubarak cronies?

Though Mursi's power grab sounds draconian, he really has few tools to enforce his decisions. The military will continue to do what it damn well pleases. And Washington will blackmail him with IMF funds and "foreign aid.".

Now it may well turn out that Mursi turns out like the tyrants preceding him. But I doubt it. There are too many institutional barriers. So Mursi's best bet is to get the new constitution written, hold elections, and fight the establishment with legitimacy derived from the people.

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 27, 2012 8:18:24 PM | 41

Didn't Morsi try to restore the parliament?

I feel like some are blaming Morsi for the actions of the SCAS, US Embassy and Courts that are openly trying to maintain the relationship the US had with Mubarak.

If Morsi was in bed with the US, all he has to do is watch the SCAS-court cancel the constitutional convention and let Egypt remain a puppet dictatorship with him nominally at the head indefinitely by default. Do you think the court dissolved parliament to prevent the continuation of the pro-US dictatorship? Why do you think the court dissolved parliament? Why do you think the court was preparing to rule on Dec 2 on dissolving the constituent assembly?

I don't see how anyone can read the NY Times article. This isn't even hidden, it was published weeks after they abolished the parliament. They said they did it to prevent democratic control over the armed forces - so the US embassy rather than Egypt's voters could continue to direct Egypt's foreign policy.

I don't see how anyone can read that article and not understand that the court was a problem. I can't imagine what Morsi would have to do to be as bad as the court.

Either way, the good news is that the Egyptian people are going to decide. And they are going to decide based on one person one vote, rather than who crowds the square or writes the most tweets.

It wasn't going to be easy, but if it was up to Morsi, there would be a legitimate elected legislature right now and a constitution already.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 27, 2012 8:21:58 PM | 42

If I can add one more thing, I feel like I always lose these debates before the election, because the twitter population spends a lot of energy convincing English speaking audiences in the West, while the Islamists are spending their energy convincing the people who actually vote.

Then after the election, Westerners can't believe the great and passionate arguments they've been steadily hearing weren't compelling.

As long as Morsi and the Muslim Brothers are explaining themselves to the people of Egypt, and not only in Cairo, but in the small towns and whereever the voters are, as long as they stay true to Egyptian values, they'll produce a constitution that most Egyptians consider reasonable, despite what Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Juan Cole and ElBaradei might whine about, and they'll win the referendum and they'll take power.

You may not want to give Morsi six months. You may want to bring back the court so the court can abolish the constitutional convention and then something, I'm not sure what you want to happen when the court does what it openly says it wants to do, which is carve political power away from any democratic system. But if Morsi is talking to the Egyptian people, and the ones who aren't on twitter are listening in their own language in terms they consider important, then Morsi will get the six months and he and Egypt will come out fine.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 27, 2012 8:32:35 PM | 43

#39

"Sounds good, problem is - there are very few countries in the World who can do that. I'm from "free and democratic" EU (Lithuania), and our government exclusively serve US interests on foreign policies."

Lithuanian President examines knowledge of English of candidates for new ministers

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_27/Lithuanian-President-examines-knowledge-of-English-of-candidates-for-new-ministers/

Sorry to be off topic, but that story more than emphasises what Harry posted about the Lithuanian government.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 8:33:41 PM | 44

There is an important point to in showing what happened to Eastern Europe after the Israeli-American takeover of these countries. All of them are doing poorly now, and things are getting worse. The promises about being "just like western Europe" never materialised, and were never intended to be fullfilled.

This is what is happening now with the so-called "Arab Spring". These liberations originate from the same sources. They are just as false. They serve the same basic colonial purposes.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 8:42:36 PM | 45

@Don Bacon

Egypt has interest section in Tehran right now (and this since 1979) and no full diplomatic relation has been established yet, even after Iran's openings, initiated at Moubarak's time and tremendously increased with the regime change. Meanwhile Israeli ambassador returned to Egypt today, just few days after Israeli raid. Two iranian movies have been selected by Cairo film festival to represent Iranian culture but, according to the Egyptian organizers who invited the iranian filmmakers, 2 days before the opening of the festival, Egyptian foreign ministry refused the entry visa to the whole Iranian delegation.

True, as some people in this forum have correctly observed, the Egyptian political context is pretty fluid right now and things can change but regarding the Egyptian president political actions so far I would say that the signs are mainly indicating that he has caved to the outside pressure.

Posted by: ATH | Nov 27, 2012 9:16:50 PM | 46

This counterpunch article has a link to another article by Eric Walberg which may put things in perspective
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/27/when-justices-are-unjust/

Posted by: bevin | Nov 27, 2012 9:27:07 PM | 47

10

"it is also true that these things tend to take on a life of their own, often not in congruence with the western blueprint."

I just remembered there is an example of your thesis in fairly recent times. But only one example. Israel. The scrappy little blackmailers running the state have probably expanded their influence beyond what the original European and American founders of it envisioned, and are now sitting quite comfortably beside them at all the "reserved for oligarchs only" tables, rather than in kitchen, with the other "help".

To find another example, of similar diabolical proportion, one has to go back quite a ways to when America broke away from Britain.

The rest of the backtrackers, they were either expected and planned for beforehand, or so minor a disturbance as to easily corrected for afterwards, with minimal, if any, disruption of the colony, so of inconsequence.

Mursi lives a very fragile existence. If he proves himself incapable of filling Israeli-American interests, he'll be out with little effort. Since he has family in the USA, and is probably as American as Rahm Emanuel, his loyalty can be counted on right up to the time he becomes a liability and is disposed off. Should that occur. And should that occur, it will likely be because, loyal a puppet as he is, he simply was unable to complete the tasks Israel-America assigned him, for other reasons, and somebody better qualified was needed in his place.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 9:30:05 PM | 48

@ATH
. . . regarding the Egyptian president political actions so far I would say that the signs are mainly indicating that he has caved to the outside pressure [toward Iran}

What signs? Tell me what they are. Iran is allied with Egypt on Hamas, and Egypt is helping Iran to circumvent sanctions as detailed here. Both have gone from secular to Islamist, which is why the US is doing its best to convert them both back to the compliant dictators it loves. Oh, for the days of the Shah and Mubarak.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 27, 2012 9:49:03 PM | 49

Daniel Rich @ 28: "As with everything else, follow the money."


Far as I know, Egypt is the right behind Israel taking $ from the US. Morsi will, I suspect, do as he must to keep the money flowing and playing the game of appearing to be independent from the desires of the West/NATO.

Posted by: ben | Nov 27, 2012 10:34:37 PM | 50

49

"Iran is allied with Egypt on Hamas, and Egypt is helping Iran to circumvent sanctions as detailed here."

Apparently that was a "story" published in the Atlantic, part of the western disinformation and propaganda media conglomerant known as "the free press".

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/11/how-egypt-is-helping-iran-to-circumvent-sanctions/66557/

The author was "Jonathan Schanzer, a former intelligence analyst at the U.S. Treasury, is vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies."

The article is about a bank jointly owned by Iran and Egypt interests - it doesn't even say whether these are government or private. It claims this is something major, spectacular, something Granny should be really worried about. Then it mentions some figures:

"Egypt controls 59.86 percent of MIDB, split evenly between the state-owned National Investment Bank and Misr Insurance Company, which is partially owned by the state. Iran's 40.14 percent share in MIDB, worth about $80 million, is held by the Iran Foreign Investment Company."

80 mil is 40% of 200 mil. This is peanuts. One probably couldn't buy an acre of land in downtown Manhatten for that amount. The sanctions cost Iran many billions. The tiny amount that bank could help offset wouldn't be enough to prevent a guppy from drowning. The rest is pure rubbish like the rest of western anti-Iran propaganda, of which that article is very much a part of.

"Iran is allied with Egypt on Hamas" "Both have gone from secular to Islamist"

Iran supports the part of Hamas that is not sectarian, the MB supports the part of Hamas that is sectarian. Iran is Shiite, MB is Sunni. While both are claiming to be very religious, they are doing so in very different ways, as this example Iraq shows:

Blasts kill 19 in Bagdad

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_27/Blasts-kill-19-in-Bagdad/

"The bombs planted in three cars went off almost simultaneously in the north of the city when dozens of believers were taking part in the Ashura ceremony commemorating imam Husein ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, who is worshipped by Shiites."

Lumping Iran and Egypt together as Islamist, in the meaning they are alike with similar allied interests, as you did, is like lumping 16th century Spain and England as devout Christian with similar allied interests.

The MB has been opposed to both Syria and Iran from a long time ago, and Mursi is MB. The major players fanning this fire of Sunni vs Shiite are Israel-America. The major Muslim puppet state governments controlled by Israel-America are Sunni in the ME. Al Qaida is sectarian Sunni. In Syria and Libya, Al Qaida and MB operated side by side, under Israeli-American handlers (and the now ubiquitous EU/NATO puppet fronts). This Sunni/Shiite divide serves Israeli-American interests by dividing Muslim countries that are, or could be, an obsticle to Israeli-American dominance of the region.

This is why there was no "Arab Spring" in countries like Saudi Arabia or Bahrain, countries absolutely loyal to the Israeli-American establishment.

The moves made by Mursi towards Iran were very superficial and intended solely to fool the people of Egypt about his, and the MB's, real loyalties. It's classic "tell the plebes what they want to hear - to keep them quiet - but do what the boss says" politics.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 10:48:33 PM | 51

@ вот так
The principal reason for Egypt-Iran concordance is their mustual enmity with Israel. In March the lower house of the Egyptian parliament has unanimously approved a text declaring that Israel is the number one enemy of Egypt and calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and a halt to gas exports to Israel. Never underestimate the Persian/Arab hatred of Israel.

The Egyptians allowed an Iranian frigate to go through the Suez Canal (the first since 1978). Iran welcomed the Arab Spring in North Africa as an “Islamic Awakening,” and hoped for a rapprochement with the new Muslim Brotherhood politicians of the region.

"The military appendix in the Camp David Accords is inconsistent with the Egyptian constitution, which stipulates that Egypt's armed forces have the full right to defend the state's sovereignty," Morsi's political adviser, Mohamed Essmat Seif al-Dawla, was quoted by Egyptian media as telling a Turkish news agency.

The new government in Egypt allowed Iran to use the SuMed oilpipeline. Iran petroleum, off-loaded at the Red Sea terminus, mixes with Saudi oil to go to Europe matkets, thus defeating the EU sanctions.

Of course the religious and political situations are complicated, and Iran differs from Iran. No question. But Iran and Egypt have common enemies. The Iranian revolutionaries and the Muslim Brotherhood share a common world view: both stand opposed to “Western individualism and materialism” and are in favour of “the collective welfare of the community” espoused by moderate Islam.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 27, 2012 11:16:13 PM | 52

make that: Egypt differs from Iran.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 27, 2012 11:16:47 PM | 53

52

"The new government in Egypt allowed Iran to use the SuMed oilpipeline. Iran petroleum, off-loaded at the Red Sea terminus, mixes with Saudi oil to go to Europe matkets, thus defeating the EU sanctions."

Other than the above, you're talking milking a public relations image, as those other things effect image, rather than substance.

On the pipeline, do you have a source or two substantiating that? What I've seen is that Iranian oil exports have been hurt quite a bit. Incidentally, the reason for allowing Iran access may not be political, but opportunistic economic. The Egyptians might be making a lot of profit by taking advantage of Iran due to the sanctions.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 11:32:27 PM | 54

@Don Bacon

I don't yet have a completely formed stance on a still fluid situation as I said before. I've already cited 2 signs that can be harbinger of the real political direction Morsi is tending toward. One of them was contradicting your statement that Morsi has re-established Egypt relationship with Iran, he hasn't. The second is even more troubling in my opinion: as you surely know cultural exchanges are the first steps defined as confidence building measures opening the way for full diplomatic relation. Morsi's government denying visa to cineasts from Iran to participate in Cairo film festival can only be construed as a negative signal to Iran and a political wink to Americans and the military establishment, both still major, although unelected and undemocratic, players in the Egyptian political scene. Apart from those signs, I would add 2 main issues, without going into details, directly opposing Iranian policy in the region: Syria (though less inimical than Turkey) and Camp David.

You sound like implying that the Islamic attribute of a government or a state will protect it from being a US compliant dictator. If this is the case then this assertion can simply be denied by examples like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Taliban pre 9/11 etc...US is surely shuffling its playing cards in the region to gain ascendency again but this can't bring us to assume that she doesn't consider Morsi or even MB as part of her winning hands. The same happened almost exactly 4 years ago, during the previous Gaza strike with AKP and Erdogan, when he loudly assumed the role of the leader of the oppressed contesting Ahmadinejad popularity among the mass, we see the results today. Obama, Clinton, Rice, Panetta, all savvy in the William Jefferson C. school of politics, are surely aware of the technics of political triangulation.

As for your link showing Egypt helping Iran circumvent sanctions, the article is clearly dating from the time of Moubarak (see the original link for the article below), therefore it's moot as a proof of the expansion in Iran-Egypt economic relation since Morsi's election.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/11/how-egypt-is-helping-iran-to-circumvent-sanctions/66557/

Posted by: ATH | Nov 27, 2012 11:39:00 PM | 55

55

"the article is clearly dating from the time of Moubarak (see the original link for the article below)"

I didn't even notice the date, though I read the article at the site and posted the same link. Thanks for pointing that out. If anything, that article bolsters the argument that Israel-America "color revolutioned" Mubarak because he was not totally loyal and replaced him with Mursi, who hasn't done squat. For all we know, Mursi may have already complied with Israeli-American interests and taken measures to neutralise the operations of the joint Iranian-Egyptian in question.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 11:51:55 PM | 56

"joint Iranian-Egyptian in question."

joint Iranian-Egyptian bank in question.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 27, 2012 11:53:23 PM | 57

Some random points.

1) Given Egypt's economic troubles, any leader will be under enormous pressure to comply with western policy goals, no matter how badly he wanted to do otherwise. The ***ONLY*** counterbalance to this is the activist democracy of street protests. That way at least any leader can argue with western governments that he has to bend their rules a bit to avoid being overthrown by his own public. The minute any leader assumes total power, he will have much less cover to resist western demands even if he is inclined to do so.

2) It is really a mistake to think of the protests as between pro and anti-Zionist Egyptians. The demonstrators today can match anti-Zionist credentials with the brothers any day of the week. The trade unions opposed any kind of trade with Israel from the beginning. The Nasserists make opposition to Israel their centerpiece.

3) The US backing one group is not as meaningful as one might think. Sometimes the US just wants chaos. Recall how the US accused Putin of cheating during the last Russian election. If he had, it meant he took votes from the old Communist party. I don't recall the US being concerned for the welfare of communist parties in the past. Simultaneously, it is doubtful that Russian communist party voters are sympathetic to American Geo-strategic objectives. The US simply wanted to attack the legitimacy of the Russian system. It really didn't want the communists to retake Russia.

4) The Muslim Brotherhood is hard to trust. It is possible that Morsi trying to buy time by telling the Americans what they want to hear until he can secure his position. But that's the thing. They tell a different story to everyone and you just don't know which story is true. If any. Also, recall how the brothers so vigorously opposed Nasser in the 50s and 60s. Note how today the Brothers are actively trying to bring down Assad, and yet seem to be allied with Abdullah in Jordan. Coincidence?

5) In fairness to Morsi, he did handle the Gaza massacre much better than Mubarak did in 2009. But that's because open collaboration would have put his political career at risk. Keep in mind that even Mubarak was much better than Mubarak when he first started. If you had told the Mubarak of 1985 that the Mubarak of 2006 would help starve Gaza, I'm sure he would have been shocked.

6) The anti-Morsi demos are much more about many Egyptians not wanting to live under Sharia law. It may be that that number is a minority, but again that is part of democracy too, not just voting. Minority opinions are entitled to protest and raise some hell (burning offices is beyond the pale, I agree) I really don't expect women to simply say "Oh well. Most men voted to put a scarf on my head so I'm going to do it without complaint." Sharia law can't be implemented in Egypt easily, no matter the ratio of proponents.

7) "Secular" is a very relative term in Egypt. The anti Morsi crowd would be considered deeply religious in Europe. The vast majority of them pray 5 times a day, fast during Ramadan, etc. Many of the Anti-Morsi women demonstrators wear the Hijab by choice anyway. They just don't want the state to force everyone to do it.

Hope this helps.
P.S. Arnold, your input is ALWAYS very much appreciated, thanks.

Posted by: Lysander | Nov 28, 2012 1:59:54 AM | 58

I suggest, a politician would have found a way to to get the majority of the forces demonstrating behind him against military dictatiorship and against the judiciary if he wanted to and if he could afford to.

Mursi did not. He split the revolution with the military remaining "neutral" for now. He also seems to have attacked the trade unions which is odd as a priority.

He has dug in now. To me it suggests that at some stage the military will move against the demonstrators.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 3:05:12 AM | 59

Islamists and Trade Unions

Five interpretations of Islamists' aversion to workers and workers' trade unions and their affinity towards professionals and professional associations are presented. The anti-communism of Islamists and the drive of Communists to dominate and lead workers and their trade unions made Islamists oppose trade unions and drift away from them. The social background of the leading Islamists, being a segment of the lower-middle class, alienated them to the problems and sufferings of workers. This social background reinforces the conceptual interpretation, namely, a literalist interpretation, in the sense that there are no references to trade unions in Islamic jurisprudence. Therefore Islamists draw the conclusion that trade unions are not compatible with Islamic principles.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 3:23:06 AM | 60

And this describes why it is a miscalculation when "the West" bets on/supports Islamists

"Back to the future
The Arab nationalist tradition and the political imagination of today"

The attempt to set the Arab world against Iran is the latest instance of this futile strategy. A generalized Sunni-Shiite conflict would destroy pan-Islamism as surely as national selfishness destroyed pan-Arabism. Regimes and populations have resisted this strategy. Arabs states have insisted that concerns about Iran be addressed in the context of the region as a whole. During the latest Gaza crisis, populations throughout the Arab world kept in check the opportunistic tendencies of certain regimes, and expressed trans-confessional solidarity with the Palestinian resistance. At moments like these, we see that the spirit of pan-Arab nationalism and pan-Islamic solidarity lives.

A revival of this spirit will not come from governments, but from the region-wide popular movements that form in the abyss between regimes and people. There, we see the yearning for a new form of "nationalism without a nation" that can provide justice, unity and true independence throughout the Arab world. Islamic movements are not the true fulfillment of the nationalist promise, but they have infused it with a renewed spirit of resistance and collective energy. If the self-perpetuating authoritarian regimes, built by nationalist parties, helped to bury Arab nationalism, the new resistance movements, often led by Islamists, are helping to revive it.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 3:51:31 AM | 61

more on this Egypt trade unions thing


go unions go!

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 3:57:36 AM | 62

Names of the Syrian Martyrs that died in the terrorist attack in #Jaramana today

شهداء التفجيرات الارهابية التي ضربت جرمانا
ـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ

Martyr - Khadoon Rizk الشهيد خلدون رزق
Martyr - Anan Salem Rizk الشهيد عنان سليم
Martyr - Amir Diab الشهيد امير دياب
Martyr - Kareem Jaboor الشهيد كريم جبور
Martyr - Housam Kazaan الشهيد حسام قظان
Martyr - Osama Al-Halabi الشهيد أسامة الحلبي
Martyr - Ahmad Amani الشهيد أحمد أماني
Martyr - Samer Talaee الشهيد سامر طلايع
Martyr - Ghassan Abu Shash الشهيد غسان أبو شاش
Martyr - Fadi Bolou الشهيد فادي بولو
Martyr - Maamer Al-Maalam الشهيد معمر الملحم
Martyr - Waleed Saker الشهيد وليد صقر
Martyr - Hamzeh Abed Dabos الشهيد حمزة عبيد دبوس
Martyr - Wasim Al-Hajle الشهيد وسيم الحجلي
Martyr - Houssam Abu Rislan الشهيد حسام ابورسلان
Martyr - Maarouf Wahbi الشهيد معروف وهبة
Martyr - Assem Nasser الشهيد عاصم نصر
Martyr - Mohammed Ali الشهيد محمد علي
Martyr - Omar Foukhery الشهيد عمر فواخيري
Martyr - Aaref Farouj الشهيد عارف فروج
Martyr - Mohamad Abd Alsalam الشهيد محمد عبد السلام
Martyr - Mohamad Al-Kebeh الشهيد محمد الكبة
Martyr - Groub Makhlouf الشهيد غروب مخلوف
Martyr - Samera Makhlouf الشهيد سميرة مخلوف
Martyr - Aymen Jesh الشهيد ايمن خيش
Martyr - Mahran Najeeb الشهيد مهران نجيب
Martyr - Basel Khalel Al-Halabi الشهيد باسل خليل الحلبي
Martyr - Tarek Riyad Al-Eid الشهيد طارق رياض العيد
Martyr - Nael Al-Sahnawe الشهيد نائل الصحناوي

Names of the Injured اسماء الجرحى
ـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ
Ghassan Al Hanawe - غسان الحناوي
Rafaa Al Hanawe - رفاه الحناوي
Samer Al Hanawe - سامر الحناوي
Ashraf Hamsho - أشرف حمشو
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=449326148464683&set=a.449326121798019.104368.178144418916192&type=1&theater

Posted by: brian | Nov 28, 2012 5:15:34 AM | 63

@63

Nevermind.

BBC News: "Jaramana is a predominantly Druze and Christian district, where supporters of the government set up armed groups"


You know, so they deserved it...


It's the same imbecilic 'good guys v bad guys' narrative that the BBC has spouted from day one.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Nov 28, 2012 5:38:35 AM | 64

вот так:Al Qaida is sectarian Sunni. In Syria and Libya, Al Qaida and MB operated side by side, under Israeli-American handlers (and the now ubiquitous EU/NATO puppet fronts). This Sunni/Shiite divide serves Israeli-American interests by dividing Muslim countries that are, or could be, an obsticle to Israeli-American dominance of the region.

Let me see if I can piece this together. Your logic seems to point in the direction that 9-11 was actually just collateral damage in a wider imperialist war in the Middle East; not an example, as I sustained in # 10 of: ...these things tend(ing) to take on a life of their own, often not in congruence with the western blueprint.

Posted by: Maracatu | Nov 28, 2012 6:40:42 AM | 65

Mind you, вот так, I'm not criticizing your point of view, which is pretty well substantiated by the usual suspects.

Posted by: Maracatu | Nov 28, 2012 7:30:01 AM | 66

Agree with Lysander's points @58. Would also add that Revolutions often need a period of almost dictatorial rule to become realised. The chaotic nature of revolutions and the fact that it involves a wide section of the public, with varying interests, means in many cases leaders have to form positions of power to shepard all the interests.

After the French Revolution, it was the Committee for Public Safety, who assumed dictatorial power for a short period. The idea of 12 men who had played central roles in the Revolution being given sweeping powers to rule during the crisis stage. In the Iranian revolution it was Ayatollah Khomeini who assumed this mantle for himself as a sort of Spiritual Guide (of course in his case he never gave it up after the crisis stsge had passed) but he did form a government and a democratically elected Majlis.

Off topic. On another note the news that Saudi King Abdullah, has been in a coma after spinal surgery last week, is picking up steam and is getting pretty widely reported. Few weeks ago I linked to a good summary on the major contenders to replace him.

Sure I speak for everyone here by wishing this US puppet a long and deep sleep. Farewell sweet Jabba the Hut.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Nov 28, 2012 9:04:13 AM | 67

I don't really trust Morsi or the Muslim Brothers, but so far his side is not the one that dissolved the parliament, or that openly wants a constitution that denies voter accountability for foreign policy.

Also so far his side is the one that won eight stages of three elections.

If there were no protests, I like to think Morsi would by now be considering a new decree restoring the parliament. He tried before this decree and was turned back by the court. Once things settle he can and should try again.

To the degree that some of the protesters don't want that because they lost the Parliamentary elections, I don't respect that. Now they are acting like Iran's Greens.

It is better to trust a competitive electoral process than to trust a single person. But right now trusting that process means supporting the Islamists at least until the next election.

About women, has anyone in Egypt, especially a politician, proposed requiring head scarves? Don't let the US embassy control Egypt's foreign policy thinking you are protecting Egyptian women from head scarves.

If an Army guy in Egypt wants political power, he should take off his uniform if that's required by Egyptian law and run for election. Other than that, only the US embassy, the military on the US payroll and their allies want the army to have a veto over Egyptian polioy.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 28, 2012 9:41:18 AM | 68

Arnold, no one was saying that Morsi didn't win the election fair and square or that he shouldn't serve out his term and try to run for reelection. The demand is that he withdraw his decree. The concern is that now, without a constitution and with undefined powers of presidency, is Morsi going to try to accumulate as much power as possible?

The answer, I'm afraid, is yes. Morsi could have proceeded with writing the constitution and submitting it to popular referendum. If the courts had somehow challenged a popularly confirmed constitution*, he would then be in an excellent position to sac them, while being able to assure the public he will govern according to the laws of the new constitution.

But now, there is no telling exactly where Morsi's powers end. There is no check or balance in government against him. The Army is subdued, the courts are unable to review his decisions, and there is no parliament (which, ironically, gives him more power than he would have had if the elections had stood, but be that as it may)

And so the only check on his power is the public itself.

There is more I want to write but I have to go to work, so until later...

*Ideally, opposition parties should be able to write a competing constitution and the people can vote for one or the other.

Posted by: Lysander | Nov 28, 2012 10:06:55 AM | 69

68, are you so sure there will be another election where everybody can participate, and not excluded by a body "safeguarding the revolution"?
are you so sure with a de facto dictatorship future elections will have an equal playing field?
if egyptions want anything resembling democracy they have to act now.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 10:11:11 AM | 70

the French revolution ended with war and an emperor, remember?

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 10:12:21 AM | 71

Morsi is not a stupid man. He would know that such a sweeping power grab can only be made if you are certain that what you did will hold. Backing down even an inch is not a possibility. Or rather, then you must quit, or be forced out, and let cards fall where they may.

In any case he would expect the W to accept it and quietly applaud it (soften it for the media as b points out, and praise his role in the latest cease-fire..), as the deal he is offering is one of non-interference: We (new Arab rulers) want power at home but will not challenge the W or Israel. Meet the new boss, different from the old boss but in the same society, the same situation. Still, it will be a tight-rope walking exercise at home. Which he will most likely manage. The Egyptian ppl cannot, I think, muster the energy to topple another leader, they surely understand it is a dead end and some other path has to be sought out, charted.

Egypt has no more oil/gas to export (or not for long and the numbers are fudged, or simply not tallied against imports.) It has no minerals to speak of. It has a vertiginous trade deficit. It imports much of its food, corn and wheat, dairy products, equipment, telecoms, etc. etc. from all over but the US figures very large. -- coal and military equipment and more..the 80 million live in minuscule areas, a tinder box...

Morsi earned his PhD. in materials science at U. S California, was assistant prof there from 82 to 85, then a U prof in Egypt till 2010 (see wiki), while in later years being an MP.

A technocrat, not a professional pol, not versed in public admin or other topics that concern governance. He is not really an ideologue in the sense of adhering strongly to some X doctrine. (??) He understands, I suppose, Egypt’s economic plight and knows he has to keep the money coming in. He is a 9/11 denier (as a scientist) which is why I know a little about him.

In this interview, Sept. 2012 - Charlie Rose - questions are translated into Arabic and Morsi’s answers are in Arabic. (He speaks perfect English.)

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/125

It pretty much covers the field..

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 28, 2012 10:56:58 AM | 72

Morsi is not a stupid man. He would know that such a sweeping power grab can only be made if you are certain that what you did will hold. Backing down even an inch is not a possibility. Or rather, then you must quit, or be forced out, and let cards fall where they may.

In any case he would expect the W to accept it and quietly applaud it (soften it for the media as b points out, and praise his role in the latest cease-fire..), as the deal he is offering is one of non-interference: We (new Arab rulers) want power at home but will not challenge the W or Israel. Meet the new boss, different from the old boss but in the same society, the same situation. Still, it will be a tight-rope walking exercise at home. Which he will most likely manage. The Egyptian ppl cannot, I think, muster the energy to topple another leader, they surely understand it is a dead end and some other path has to be sought out, charted.

Egypt has no more oil/gas to export (or not for long and the numbers are fudged, or simply not tallied against imports.) It has no minerals to speak of. It has a vertiginous trade deficit. It imports much of its food, corn and wheat, dairy products, equipment, telecoms, etc. etc. from all over but the US figures very large. -- coal and military equipment and more..the 80 million live in minuscule areas, a tinder box...

Morsi earned his PhD. in materials science at U. S California, was assistant prof there from 82 to 85, then a U prof in Egypt till 2010 (see wiki), while in later years being an MP.

A technocrat, not a professional pol, not versed in public admin or other topics that concern governance. He is not really an ideologue in the sense of adhering strongly to some X doctrine. (??) He understands, I suppose, Egypt’s economic plight and knows he has to keep the money coming in. He is a 9/11 denier (as a scientist) which is why I know a little about him.

In this interview, Sept. 2012 - Charlie Rose - questions are translated into Arabic and Morsi’s answers are in Arabic. (He speaks perfect English.)

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/125

It pretty much covers the field..

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 28, 2012 10:56:59 AM | 73

Saudi diplomat killed in Yemeni capital

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/11/2012112812947744425.html

Posted by: nikon | Nov 28, 2012 12:11:11 PM | 74

62

Hopefully the majority of those new unions are independent of NED style "help".

65

"Your logic seems to point in the direction that 9-11 was actually just collateral damage in a wider imperialist war in the Middle East"

Not at all. That terrorist attack was the "new Pearl Harbor" that Israel-America wanted to get the ball rolling.

"not an example, as I sustained in # 10 of: ...these things tend(ing) to take on a life of their own, often not in congruence with the western blueprint."

Israel-America wanted a spectacular attack to occur so they could use open warfare in the ME. If the WTC attack had not happened, Israel-America would have probably staged it. I now think they did stage it. With the discovery of nano thermite traces in the dust from the WTC rubble, I'm certain the airliners were meant to be a cover for a controlled demolition.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 28, 2012 12:37:34 PM | 75

Lysander, the courts were intending to abolish the constituent assembly before a constitution was written, and long before anything was submitted to a referendum. Also if the opposition writes a constitution and the MB write a constitution:

1) Do you have any doubt at all after the elections Egypt has had so far that the MB constitution would win in Egypt?
2) If the MB constitution won, would you accept it? Because Barack Obama would definitely not accept it.
3) While Obama, Juan Cole and the US talking foreign policy community would claim they don't accept it because they want to protect women or minorities - what they really don't accept is that voters could hold the people executing Egypt's foreign policy accountable - which is why they accept the governments of outright US colonies such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE and others despite these colonies having no regard at all for women or minorities.

If the courts can't disband the constituent assembly, and the courts can't come up with a pretext to remove Morsi and then disband the constituent assembly which they are more than willing to do, and which they did, and admitted it to the NY Times when they disbanded the Parliament - then you need a decree pretty much like what Morsi issued.

If protests are to bring legitimate limits to Morsi's power, they should be protests to restore the Parliament, especially now that Morsi can. The Court is not a legitimate limit to Morsi's power. The court was appointed by Mubarak - the US embassy if it had wanted could have vetoed any single judge Mubarak put into place. The ideas of the judiciary reflect that, not the values of Egypt. Morsi won an election. The members of parliaments won elections.

The most important thing is to get a constitution that puts policy under the control of voters written and ratified by the people of Egypt as soon as possible. Morsi is on the right side of that. The court is on the wrong side of that.

Somebody @69: What are you sure about? I'm sure the court dissolved the Parliament in a blatantly counter-democratic move. I know the court does not believe voters should decide on Egypt's policies, and says so openly. I'm sure between Morsi and the Court, Morsi is the more democratic. I'm also sure Morsi tried to restore the Parliament, was prevented from doing so by the court and has issued a decree that would allow him to do so now.

The Court has put Morsi in a bad position, but Morsi has taken a very good step in preventing the Court from doing even more damage to the cause of democracy in Egypt. And the Court, unlike Morsi, is openly hostile to the cause of democracy in Egypt.

Again, read it yourself in the New York Times from this July, a month after dissolving the Parliament:
https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/04/world/middleeast/judge-helped-egypts-military-to-cement-power.html?pagewanted=all

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 28, 2012 1:01:27 PM | 76

Compare Morsi's background (in post #73) with that of the puppet Israel-America chose to represent their terrorists operating in Syria.

The many faces of Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib

http://www.voltairenet.org/article176707.html

"The choice of Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib responds to a clear necessity – in order for the President to be recognised by the combatants, he has to be religious figure, but in order to be accepted by Westerners, he has to appear moderate. And especially, in this period of intense negotiations, the new President has to have a solid understanding of the subject in order to discuss the future of Syrian gas - but this is not a subject to be introduced in public.

In reality, there is absolutely no evidence that Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib ever studied international relations and diplomacy, but he does have training as an engineer in geophysics. He worked for six years for the al-Furat Petroleum Company (1985-91), a joint-venture between the national company and other foreign enterprises, including the Anglo-Dutch Shell, with whom he has maintained contact.

Following that, the Sheikh continued his activity as a religious teacher, notably at the Dutch Institute in Damascus. He made numerous trips abroad, mainly to Holland, the United Kingdom and the United State. Finally, he settled in Qatar.
In 2003-04, during the attribution of oil and gas concessions, he returned to Syria as a lobbyist for the Shell group."

These MB leaders have an amazing affinity for working with western multinational corporations.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 28, 2012 1:30:00 PM | 77

#76 "I'm sure between Morsi and the Court, Morsi is the more democratic."

So given a choice between pest and cholera you choose pest instead of saying there must be another choice?

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 1:39:57 PM | 78

Arnold Evans #76 said:

The most important thing is to get a constitution that puts policy under the control of voters written and ratified by the people of Egypt as soon as possible.

I agree. Arnold Evans adds:

Morsi is on the right side of that. The court is on the wrong side of that.

The committee rewriting the Constitution has a delivery deadline in February, three months away. If the committee meets the deadline, and the Constitution is ratified soon after it, then all'll be well and we'll have closure of the last 22 months of legal limbo in Egypt. So let's be patient and see what the situation is in May.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 28, 2012 1:42:07 PM | 79

or to make it more clear: given a choice between pest and cholera the answer surely should be no thank you I want health?

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 1:42:33 PM | 80

OK Somebody@80. Who should write Egypt's constitution? Pick anyone you want. Somebody has to write it, and only one group has won elections. And that group is not the Courts or the SCAS.

Who do you think should write Egypt's constitution?

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 28, 2012 1:48:33 PM | 81

I'm assuming everyone has seen that the Court was really preparing, very soon, to dissolve the Constituent Assembly on the grounds that it was put in place by the Parliament that it dissolved earlier:

http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/court-sets-2-december-issue-ruling-constituent-assembly-dissolution

The Supreme Constitutional Court set 2 December to issue a ruling on the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution.

Two lawsuits filed against the assembly demanded annulling the law issued on 12 July by the dissolved People's Assembly laying out criteria for the selection of the current Constituent Assembly members.

Deputy head of the Supreme Constitutional Court Maher Samy told MENA that two lawsuits filed against the assembly demand its dissolution for being based on a law issued by the dissolved People's Assembly.

Both lawsuits, according to Samy, contend that the Constituent Assembly constitutes an obstacle to the implementation of the ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court issued in June annulling the parliamentary elections law and dissolving the People's Assembly.

If they had done that, who do you think should have written Egypt's constitution, and who do you think would have written Egypt's constitution?

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 28, 2012 1:53:10 PM | 82

I hope my unclosed blockquotes above don't cause any problems.

The following was not in the quote, This is a question I'm asking:

If they had done that, who do you think should have written Egypt's constitution, and who do you think would have written Egypt's constitution?

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 28, 2012 2:09:39 PM | 83

81, there will have to be a referendum on the constitution anyway. Now, if Morsi has absolute power during the time of the referendeum how do you think that referendum will be run? Are people allowed to decide on the critical points of the constitution or can they just vote yes or no? Yes being the constitution as proposed by the Muslim Brothers. How would the critical points be asked if the constitutional assembly now contains Islamists exclusively as everybody else has resigned in protest. Who decides the questions are formulated in a fair way? Who would decide on the correctness of the referendum with Mursi having absolute power? Who decides if the voting has been correct and fair?
As is with his decree Mursi can decide electoral law. Do you think the Muslim Brotherhood can refrain from gerrymandering?
You find a list of the intricacies here.
If Egyptians fall asleep now they will end up with another dictatorship.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 2:15:36 PM | 84

Arnold Evans #82 asks:

If the Egyptian Supreme Court had dissolved the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution, who do you think should have and would have written Egypt's constitution?

Firstly, all of us have no clue about the answers to those questions: dissolution would undoubtedly have thrown the country into a worse legal limbo for an indefinite timeframe. Secondly, any Constitution in Egypt would be pretty much the same no matter who had written it: you can't find any major points of difference among Egyptian political parties on what the Constitution should look like. It's highly desirable to get this basic Constitutional framework, that everybody agrees on, in effect as soon as possible -- and of course any particular item can be amended in a later year if the people want it amended. Thirdly, the legal and logical reasoning by which Egypt's Supreme Court dissolved the Egyptian parliament was meritless pedantry, and the dissolution of Constitutional Assembly would've been more of the same if it happened, for no good and sensible reason.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 28, 2012 2:15:40 PM | 85

Not everyone agrees on how the constitution should look. There are some people who believe the military should not be under the control of elected officials and that its policy should be set with no electoral oversight.

That's what a judge who helped dissolve parliament says she believes to the NY Times article above. To a large degree, that's why the parliament was dissolved, to prevent it from presenting a constitution that did not have those exemptions from democratic control for the military and for Egyptian foreign policy.

Westerners are very happy to support that point of view, but like a lot of views Westerners like, it couldn't get majority support from Egyptians if an alternative is presented.

This is really what this is a fight over. And again I think Morsi is on the right side. Not that he's perfect but he doesn't want the SCAS to set Egypt's policy unelected, and he didn't even want to enter an indefinite lawless period with him as President which he easily could have accomplished by just not issuing a decree like this one.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Nov 28, 2012 2:29:43 PM | 86

85, Parviziyi, you write

"Secondly, any Constitution in Egypt would be pretty much the same no matter who had written it: you can't find any major points of difference among Egyptian political parties on what the Constitution should look like."

That is disinformation.

Fact is: One third of the constituent assembly has withdrawn in protest.

Months-old internal divisions and ideological disagreements among the 100-member Constituent Assembly – the body tasked with writing Egypt’s new constitution – have reached a crescendo on Sunday as more than 30 non-Islamist members have decided to withdraw from the Assembly’s ranks, accusing representatives of Islamist forces of doing their best to draft a constitution aimed at turning Egypt into a radical Islamist state.

Those who quit the assembly, including former presidential candidate Amr Moussa, also accused chairman of the assembly Hossam El-Ghiryani of “speeding up the process of finalising the draft constitution without enough or serious debate.”

The first batch of withdrawals began last week when around 25 members – mostly liberals and leftists – announced that they would suspend their activities in the Assembly followed by a decision on 18 November to officially withdraw from its ranks declaring “they lost any hope that the draft constitution gains consensus of all political forces or reflects Egypt’s aspirations for building a functioning civilian democracy.”

The biggest blow to the Assembly came on 17 November when representatives of Egypt’sOrthodox, Catholic and Anglican churches decided to join withdrawals.

The Church’s move was bolstered by two more secular Coptic members of the Assembly, political analyst Samir Morcos and deputy chairman of the Freedoms Committee Edward Ghalib, who quit arguing “the body is moving on the road to writing a constitution for an Islamist state rather than for a national-unity state.”

The Church’s withdrew because the draft constitution clearly puts Egypt on the road of becoming a religious state,” Ghalib toldAhram Online.

“This is quite obvious in the fact that under thepressure exerted by the Salafists [ultraconservative Islamists], article 220 was added [to the draft constitution] to offer a radical interpretation of the principles of Islamic Sharia (law),” explained Ghalib.

“Article 2, which affirms that the general principles of Sharia are the major source of legislation, had gained the consensus of all members, so it was strange to see that Salafists fired a volley of amendments, insisting that an explanatory article [220] be added to the final draft which states that these principles must be governed by the Quran, the Hadith [the Prophet Mohamed’s sayings and traditions], and the four schools of Islamicjurisprudence.”

Ghalib argued that article 220 violates the previous consensus under 1971’s constitution that theHigh Constitutional Court (HCC) is the one body exclusively entrusted with interpreting the principles of IslamicSharia.

“Islamists reject the moderate interpretations of HCC, aiming to exploit article 220 to introduce radical and medieval interpretations of Islam that can open the way for a religious state and strip Christian Egyptians of their national rights,” added Ghalib.

Wahid Abdel-Meguid, a former spokesperson for the Constituent Assembly who joined withdrawing forces, told Ahram online that article 220 could very easily open the door to the formation of a ‘Wahhabi-style’ police adopted in Saudi Arabia which is known as the task for “the Imposition of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.”

“This is a big dangerous threat against personal freedoms in Egypt and puts the foundation of a Wahhabi-style religious state in Egypt in place,” argued Wahid.

Abdel-Meguid also argued that Islamists – both members of Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist political parties – drafted an article 4 which “threatens to turn the moderate Sunni Islamic institution of Al-Azhar into a forum for extremist Islam.”

“While article 4 states that the selection of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar will be decided by the law, nobody really knows how this law will be passed, and there are no guarantees that this moderate Islamic institution will not fall under the hegemony of Islamist radicals,” said Abdel-Meguid.

Abdel-Meguid said he “urges the two representatives of Al-Azhar – Hassan Al-Shafie and Nasr Wassel – to join hands with churches, by withdrawing from the Assembly.

Ghalib, meanwhile, said the Coptic Church is consulting with Al-Azhar hoping to convince it to withdraw its own representatives from the Assembly.

Abdel-Meguid, moreover, argued that the draft constitution strips workers and farmers of their rights including the right of their representatives to occupy 50 per cent of seats in parliament.

Abdel-Meguid, who has been the Assembly’s spokesman since its inception last June, was replaced on Sunday by Mohamed El-Sawy, an independent politician with close links to Muslim Brotherhood. El-Sawy said that he would hold a press conference on Monday to respond to attacks leveled against the Assembly.

The flurry of withdrawals gained added momentum on Saturday after the liberal Wafd party officially announced that it is withdrawing its five representatives from the assembly. However, two of the Wafd delegates, lawyer Mohamed Kamel and journalist Mohamed Abdel-Alim Dawoud decided to stay, with Kamel arguing “I am not in favor of withdrawing and for me it is better to fight for your case until the end rather than withdraw and leave the battle for a rival force.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of the liberal Reform and Development Party Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat decided to withdraw from the Assembly on Sunday. “I decided to withdraw for the sake of Godand Egypt, and it is deplorable that the constitution of Egypt is being drafted under threats, pressure and extortionby those who trade in religious and revolutionary slogans.”

However, another liberal, Ayman Nour, the chairman of the Ghad al-Thawra [The Revolution’s Tomorrow] Party, announced Sunday that the three members of his party in the assembly would suspend their activities and that they would make a final decision on withdrawal Saturday. A statement issued by Nour’s party held El-Ghiryani largely responsible for the” bad performance of the Assembly and for the fact that several articles of the constitution were drafted to give a president of the republic sweeping powers and open the door for a religious state in Egypt.”

Nour’s statement added that during meetings with Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last week, they urged him to use his powers to give the assembly an additional period of three months until it reaches consensus on the draft constitution.

"The president can simply amendarticle 60 of the current constitutional declaration to give the Assembly a grace period of three months until it finishes its job.”

The withdrawals also included ten members of the Assembly’s consultative committee including constitutional law expert Ahmed Kamal Abul-Magd; political analyst Hassan Nafaa; and Nasserist activist Hamdi Qandil. In a letter to El-Ghiryani, this group said “We offered various suggestions but it is regrettable that they fell on deaf ears.”

All in all, the number of withdrawals from the assembly by Sunday, which constitute around one third of the total members, strips the assembly of attaining the 67-member quorum required to send the draft to a popular referendum. Under the Assembly’s internal rules, articles of the draft constitution must gain 67 votes during a first round of voting, or 57 votes in a second round if needed, in order to pass. The number of withdrawals

The Assembly’s Islamist-oriented chairman Hossam El-Ghiryani told members during Sunday’s session that “they should not be bothered by the flurry of withdrawals.’”

A defiant El-Ghiryani, who is under fire from liberals but is nonetheless supported by a majority of the assembly members who hail from the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafist parties, added “I have not been officially notified of any withdrawals and it is rather better to go forward completing our job until the end without listening to all the fuss about withdrawals.”

As is, the Muslim Brotherhood has lost a large part of Egyptian society.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 2:31:29 PM | 87

Arnold Evans said:

Not everyone agrees on how the constitution should look. There are some people who believe the military should not be under the control of elected officials and that its policy should be set with no electoral oversight.... To a large degree, that's why the parliament was dissolved, to prevent it from presenting a constitution that did not have those exemptions from democratic control for the military and for Egyptian foreign policy.

With my present knowledge about Egypt, I can't believe that the Egyptian military is seriously trying to achieve that objective, nor seriously thinks it could achieve it. Moreover I can't believe the majority of the Supreme Court wish to see it achieved either.

Arnold Evans and I don't agree about this. I must bow my head and say he is more knoweldgeable about Egypt. But right now I do not see the evidence to support what he is saying. I totally agree with him when he adds that "it couldn't get majority support from Egyptians if an alternative is presented."

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 28, 2012 3:23:09 PM | 88

As linked to by somebody #87:

The proposed new Constitution's Article 2, which affirms that the general principles of Sharia are the major source of legislation, had gained the consensus of all members of the Committee writing the Constitution.

That article was also in Mubarrak's constitution. The meaning of it is highly dependent on the interpretation and expression of it in practice. Which in turn is highly dependent on what's poltically popular. The same is true for the other and more contentious proposed religiously-oriented language in the new Constitution. As point of reference I have about this, in the country I'm living in at the moment (not Egypt), the language of the Constitution gives the State very broad and in fact draconian powers of censorship, under the rubric of protecting and upholding community values. In olden days that country had a lot of censorship. Nowadays there's very little censorship in that country. Likewise, in Egypt, the Islamic language of the Egyptian constitution, no matter what it is, is going to be thoroughly subject to actual community values in practice. The presence of the language isn't a big deal; the big deal is the community values.

Hence the current disagreements about that language as reported by somebody above are not very important, imho.

Also linked to by 'somebody' #87:

The Constitutional Assembly in Egypt has so far approved the final texts of 85 articles – 27 of which belong to the chapter of “The State and Society” and 52 of which belong to the chapter on “Freedoms and Rights.” [52: that's a lot.] The Assembly approved five articles under the chapter on “The System of Governance”.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 28, 2012 3:30:29 PM | 89

Re Egypt.....

If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator," Bush joked.

is Bush right?!

Posted by: brian | Nov 28, 2012 3:43:03 PM | 90

Parviziyi, look if we agree on 99 percent of a constitution, just disagree on the 1 percent article stating the equality of men and women, do you think we agree a lot?

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 3:46:31 PM | 91

@ somebody: If we agree on 99 percent, let's enact it now, and leave the 1 percent for debate over the upcoming years. We should enact it now because we need the country function now and that means having the Constitutional framework that we agree on 99 percent of. If you're going to hold up to whole thing for the sake of the argument over the 1 percent, you're being unconstructive.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 28, 2012 3:57:51 PM | 92

Parviziyi, so the solution would be to enact what everybody agrees on. Reading that Al Ahram article I linked to, do you think that is what the Muslim Brotherhood is doing?

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 4:03:24 PM | 93

@ somebody: Sorry, you misunderstood me and it's my fault. I said: "we agree on 99 percent, let's enact it now, and leave the 1 percent for debate over the upcoming years." What I meant to say was: we agree on 99 percent, let's enact 100 percent now, and the 1 percent will be the subject of continuing political contest over the upcoming years. My party has the power to push through the 1 percent in the way we like it now, and we're going to do that. If you're going to try to hold up whole thing now for the sake of the argument over the 1 percent, you're being unconstructive.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 28, 2012 4:13:28 PM | 94

ah I see Parviziyi, but if I find the 1 percent is existential for me, do you think I would have a right to resist?

Posted by: somebody | Nov 28, 2012 4:32:37 PM | 95

@ somebody: Yes. But that's a big "if".

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 28, 2012 4:37:07 PM | 96

rather than apply sanctions, wimpy UN begs the Pharaoh to please please please r34consider:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20564038
remember how UN EU US etc react to independent secular states with ferocity?

Posted by: brian | Dec 1, 2012 12:52:37 AM | 97

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