Feb 8, 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Model

The Iranian model of 1979 is emerging in Egypt.
Recently several high-ranking Iranian officials have visited Cairo under the pretext of improving relations between Iran and Egypt.
President Morsi’s political-religious acts and that of his party, al Hureyya wel Adala, as well as the Muslism Brotherhood’s organization, reflect similar trends to that of the 1979’s Iranian revolution. This similarity is reflected in the followings:
1.   Liberal-secular and Islamic political groups protesting the corruption of the Shah regime, Mohamed Reda Pahlavi, initiated the Iranian revolution. They succeeded in removing the Shah from power. He was overthrown, and the first head of the new revolutionary regime was a liberal and secular.
2.   The religious leader in exile in France, Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran. He was received as a Mahdi. A year later, 1980-81, the Islamists stole the revolution and eliminated the secular political leaders who originally began the revolution.
3.   The Islamist political leaders under the leadership of Khamenei began the Islamization of all governmental institutions. The opposition was accused of being atheists, enemies of Islam who deserved to be killed!
4.   The Islamist government began to develop a military group known as the Iranian National Revolutionary guards. This step was taken to prevent any attempts from the regular army to interfere in the policy of the emerging Islamic regime.
5.   The opposition consisting of liberal groups began to vociferously oppose the Islamic regime. This opposition has been going on for more than three decades.
6.   The highest spiritual religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameni, is the real power in Iran. His authority is higher than that of president Ahmad Najad. This political authority is shaped in a pyramidal form with the religious authority established at the top of the pyramid.

It is clear the emerging Egyptian political structure has many similarities with that of Iran. Is this intentional? Or, is this a typical model of any religious group interested in gaining political power?
1.   Young liberals sparked the Egyptian revolution of January 25, 2011. They were supported by millions of Egyptians. The Muslim Brothers were later joiners of the Revolution.
2.    The Mubarak regime fell on February 11, 2011. The Egyptian Higher Military Council and the Muslim Brothers united in order to prevent the realization of any further demands from young, liberal revolutionaries. However, the young revolutionaries continued to call for “Freedom, Social and Economic Justice.” They further insisted on the punishment of those behind the killings of many young protesters. Actually, they have not been brought to justice until now.
3.   The Muslim Brothers, as Egyptians maintain, stole the Revolution. Morsi was elected president in June 2012. He was able to abolish the original Higher Military Council and to nominate a new and young Defense Minister, El Sessi. There was more than one Prime Minister who consequently resigned. President Morsi finally nominated Hisham Kandeel as prime minister. The later is a young man who lacks experience and above all lacks presence and political savoir-faire.
4.   The different political groups were excluded from sharing in the new government. The Egyptian press is continually referring to the power behind the throne, which is that of the Murshid, leader of the Muslim Brothers, and his deputy Khayrat el Shater. Neither of the two men was elected!
5.   The Egyptian president, Morsi, issued in November 2012, a constitutional decree giving himself unlimited power. Such decree allowed him to neutralize the power of the Higher Egyptian Constitutional Court. He then dismissed 7 outspoken judges who have asked for dissolving the Egyptian Parliament on the basis that the election of its members was in violation of the Constitution.  Furthermore, those judges began to investigate the election of the new magliss el shoura as well as the Committee appointed by the dissolved Parliament to draft the new constitution. Morsi then removed the General Prosecutor, el guindi, replacing him by a sympathizer to his policy.
6.   The Morsi regime, similar to the Iranian religious regime, created its own militia. According to the Egyptian newspaper, al wafd (1/31,2013) the Minister of Interior, Mohamed Ibrahim, allowed this Militia to join the police in order to suppress any revolt by the demonstrators. They were violent in their tactics, many were killed. This   violates the new Constitution, article 109!!
7.   The unfortunate further strategy of president Morsi was his trial to destroy the freedom of press. He appointed a Minister of Information, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. It should be stressed however the fact that until now the Egyptian media is still quite defiant toward any government pressures.

Anyone familiar with the history of the Iranian revolution (1979) cannot but see the similar steps the new Egyptian regime is undertaken. Is this intentional? It remains to be seen.
The Muslim Brotherhood, for the past 80 years, has been dreaming of assuming power. It will be very hard to remove such regime!
However, I would like to stress here, during the past two years and since the election of president Morsi and his negative policies, the Muslim Brothers have lost credibility among a large number of Egyptians. 
It is an interesting time to be in Egypt and to follow the trend and development of events.

Feb 1, 2013

US Government and the Muslim Brotherhood

On January 28, 2013 the Egyptian newspaper ‘al watan’ reported ‘Khayrat el Shater, deputy director of the Muslim Brotherhood, met with the American ambassador, Ann Paterson.’ El Shater was seeking US support for president Morsi.
Since 2007, according to the Egyptian press, US government officials have been meeting with some members of the Muslim Brotherhood organization. The Muslim Brothers spokesman denied such meetings.
The puzzling question to Egyptians is why did the US ambassador meet with Khayrat el Shater who is not an elected figure?
Having thoroughly studied and followed US government’s policy toward the Arab Word such meeting does not surprise me.
US government officials will meet with anyone they see fit to help achieving their foreign policy in the Middle East in general and in the Arab World in particular.
Two major issues influence the US foreign policy toward the Arab World:
1.   The safety of Israel and its military superiority in the region.
2.   The preservation of the Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel. The Muslim Brother’s leaders have assured the US government of their support for the Peace Treaty.
3.   The control of the flow of oil to the West.  In reality, such concern is not triggered by the American national interest, but rather by American lobbyists.
The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and American oil company’s lobbyists are among the most influential group shaping American foreign policy irrespective of its impact on the American national interest. Hence, when American foreign policy makers publicly request the implementation of democracy in Egypt, it is simply for public consumption.
History reveals the fact that American officials, in general, have supported ruthless dictators, all over the world, as along as they implement their policy. Once those dictators fail to fulfill such policy, American support is withdrawn.
Is history going to repeat itself in the case of Egypt? It remains to be seen!