Tag Archives: Morsi


            You’ve seen the headlines. Riots In Cairo and Alexandria are again the front page story across the world. The Muslim Brotherhood gathered up an army of people and came marching toward The Army. The military shot to kill and scores of the demonstrates died in the streets the weekend of July 26-28. The Brotherhood had an army of screaming people; the army had the guns. Bullets won a decisive victory.

            In an earlier blog, I indicated this scene was a distinct possibility. Muslim fundamentalist have a blind fanaticism that results in not caring if they are killed. After all, martyrdom is a sure-fire ticket to heaven and all the goodies the leaders at the mosques promised. Either way, the local boys figure they can’t lose.

At this moment, the Brotherhood is pitching itself as the unfortunate victim of military abuse and takeover. Never mind the truckload of mistakes they made during the past year.  The only drum they are beating is the one marked “the election was stolen.” Such short-sightedness has been a hallmark of the Brotherhood for decades. They believe their religious perspective is all that counts.

Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, voices of reform were slowly pushed out the back door of the organization. These moderates recognized that the leadership’s confrontational mind-set and suspicion of outsiders were not positive. Disdain for the rights of women and Christians would keep them from obtaining a secure position in the political system. The old guard won this internal scrabble and ultimately Morsi came from of this negative viewpoint. When he was elected, Morsi did nothing to protect the rights of Christians and Shiite Muslims. Blatant gender discrimination continued and left the country’s prejudicial divorce and inheritance laws untouched. It quickly became obvious Morsi was using democratic authority for nondemocractic purposes. The military then said, “we’ve had enough!”

The quashing of demonstrators this past weekend indicated that the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t going to stop. Soldiers were shooting at the head and chest. One pop under were those circumstances and its all over. At the same time, the govrnment is taking the first legal steps against Morsi. He is charged with conspiring with militant Palestinians in a prison break that freed him along with thirty others. He will now be charged with murder and kidnaping. Right, wrong, or indifferent, the government intends to put him out of business.

General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi has now emerged as Egypt’s de facto leader. With millions rallying behind him, Sisi is calling the Brotherhood “terrorist” and claims a popular right to stop them. Now that 200 have been killed in the streets, all hopes are fading for any compromise between Sisi and the fundamentalist. The Brotherhood is being characterized as “those who preach and incite violence.”

The violence and deaths caused by this weekend’s explosive confrontations demonstrate that the Brotherhood has no where to go. They do not have an armed militia and there only options will lead to annhilation if they continue to press the government.

Is there any hope in this situation? Not if you’re a Brotherhood member.

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Filed under Egypt, middle east, Muslims


Bad news from the land of the pharaohs –again. Marsi is in big trouble.

            The streets of Cairo are filled with rioters as the nation is once more plunged into crisis. All signs point to continuing instability and that President Mohamed Morsi may be struggling to remain in office.

Following an explosive confrontation at a soccer match, 28 people were killed and at least 300 were wounded. In turn, a judge sentenced 21 soccer fans to death for their role in the deadly riot. His decision set off rioting. The families and supporters of the 21 defendants poured into the streets screaming and shouting while demanding their release. Police responded with tear gas. The riots exploded with new intensity and the war was on.

Americans find it difficult to understand how confrontations at a sports event could lead to larger numbers of people being killed. However, the trouble makers were hard-core fans called ultras. The ultras are known for having an appetite for violence with opposing teams and the police. In recent days the Cairo ultras had staged a number of disruptive protests. At one point they shut down the subway system and even threatened the Egyptian stock exchange. Apparently, the ultra group smuggled knives and weapons into the stadium. The ultras were primed and ready for a confrontation. They got it.

Initially, the Muslim Brotherhood tried to blame the uprising on Mubarak loyalists and the interior ministry. Some even sought to accuse the military council that had ruled Egypt at one time. However, none of these charge stuck and prosecutors charged the 21 Port Said fans with starting the attack against their Cairo opponents. The violent response sparked a much larger fire.

On the anniversary of Egypt’s revolution, mobs exploded in an angry backlash against President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Against the backdrop of a worsening economy, the Brotherhood and their opponents squared off in a new upheaval that amounted to a call for Morsi’s resignation. Rallies turned into clashes near Tahir Square and the presidential palace. The count of injured persons continues to rise that  has now surpassed 370 with 74 deaths reported. Rioting crosses the entire country.

Once it was obvious that the demonstrations were completely out of control and the police weren’t able to hold back the mobs, President Morsi spoke to the nation and demanded a retreat and curfew. However, his hard statements did not control the crowd. Finally, Morsi had to turn to the military to take control of the streets.

Several conclusions now become obvious. The military is back in the picture and Morsi can not survive without them. The opposition to the Moslem Brotherhood remains strong and active in a country already fatigued by two years of political turmoil. While Morsi appeared to be gaining control, he now has had severe set backs that question his leadership. The six months he has been in office have been marred by some of the worst crises since the overthrow of Mubarak. Deep political divisions are far from over. The continuing riots demonstrate Egypt remains in serious disarray.

The new question is whether Morsi can survive.

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With the roar of rockets quieted, what’s going on in the Middle East? The Gaza crowds celebrating an artificial truce have gone home and the noise of guns has been displaced by the usual market place clatter. But what’s the story behind the story?

Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas’ second in command, said that Hamas would not stop arming itself because only force can bring Israel to the negotiating table. Of course, Israel refuses to recognize Hamas because they are a terrorist group. The complication is that Hamas totally controls Gaza while the Palestinian Authority is left with the West Bank. In other words, a divided front claims Palestine but no one can say with certainty who speaks for this group. However, Abu Marzouk’s statements indicate that Hamas has learned nothing from the three day shoot out that left Gaza City in a serious condition.

Israel insists that any easing of the blockade will depend on Hamas’ willingness to stop smuggling and producing weapons. Because Hamas’ founding charter calls for the destruction of Israel, any threat must be taken seriously. They have also claimed to be manufacturing rockets inside Gaza. Because the Iranian made Fajr-5-rockets came close to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, this problem will be given serious study. Possibly three days of war has changed nothing except to force the Palestinians to stop firing rockets for the moment. No one believes this concession will last.

Where are we now? Back to the status quo?

Matters in Egypt seem to be getting worse by the day. On Saturday, Egyptian judges and prosecutors struck back against President Morsi’s degree to supersede all legal restraints. The stock market went to the bottom and protestors again filled Tahrir Square. Rioting broke out and demonstrators were on the march.

At stake is an expected December 2 ruling by judicial review to disband the constitutional assembly. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are attempting to sidestep that possibility by declaring the president above all constitutional powers. The procedure has backfired. A council overseeing the judiciary called Morsi’s decree “an unprecedented attack” on its authority. If Morsi thought his quick maneuver would succeed, he obviously misread the Egyptian public.

Mohamed Morsi’s election was only by the thinnest margin. At least half of Egyptian did not want the Brotherhood in the driver’s seat. This conflict will only bring his opponents back in force. Unless Morsi makes a serious retreat, Egypt could well explode again.

The end result? The status quo would only be re-enforced.

What happens next? Former  chief of Mossad Efraim Halevy sees only three alternatives in Gaza: destroy Hamas and possibly  invite even more radical groups to take over; occupy Gaza; attempt to reduce the hostile environment by preventing the influx of new weapons while allowing Hamas to increase its civilian political role. The last idea would be a victory for Hamas because Israel doesn’t now recognize them.

With the American elections concluded, Israel has a number of important issues to ponder. Palestinian leader Abbas will go back to the United Nations seeking formal recognition, but how can he seriously do so when he doesn’t control any of Gaza?

The status quo remains. Israel may have to determine which way the future unfolds.

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Please forgive my being dilatory in responding to blogs. Unfortunately, I caught a “bug” coming back from California. Nothing like a little virus to slow the train down. BUT now I’m back in gear and rolling once more. In the interim, we’ve had an interesting shift in power in the Middle East. President Mohamed Morsi has definitely become the new pharaoh of Egypt.

In past blogs, I put my money on the military to prevail. Bullets seemed to be stronger than boys with rocks. It now appears I misjudged. While it is hard to know why this shift occurred because the information is kept behind closed doors, probably the logic went something like this. The election was close, but everyone (with the exception of the Coptic Christians) is a Muslim and nothing is gained by having to fire on them. Morsi has turned out to be a guy who isn’t fooling around. Got to take him seriously. He may be the best choice Egypt gets. The generals decided to take him seriously. Moreover, the recent election seemed to suggest that the people wanted the generals out of politics. If that is correct, then the military had to back out or become a South American military junta. The result was Morsi now prevails. Of course, the current trend in the Middle East is toward the more radical wing of Islam. Probably, the answer was blowing in the wind.

President Morsi made a shrewd move in putting Washington on the defensive. Rather than allow Egyptians to take the blame for the embassy attack, he insisted Washington must show new respect for Muslim values and help build a Palestinian state. We are pouring billions into Egypt every year and he’s telling us to “give a little respect?” Afraid that’s the situation.

How do we decipher these actions? Because America is a pluralistic society, we have a hard time understanding theocratic cultures. As far as Morsi sees the world, there’s one way that is right and the rest of the planet is wrong. Morsi made it clear this week that Egypt intends to follow the principles of Islamic law. The president dismissed the idea that Egypt can be judged by any other standard than the ones Egyptians accept for themselves. He has said that neither a woman nor a Christian would be a suitable president of Egypt. In making these statements, Morse also made it clear that the new government will stand with the Palestinians … regardless.

America is now adjusting to the new reality with caution. President Obama described Egypt not as an ally. Avoiding using the word “enemy,” both Obama and Morsi recognized the world of Mubarak was gone.

Morsi had been a graduate student at the University of Southern California and knows America He had been troubled by the street violence in Los Angeles and dismayed by the looser sexual mores he found in America. Morsi didn’t approve of the “naked restaurants” with waitresses in skimpy costumes. Consequently, he is definitely not enthralled with the West.

Obviously, the current American election has made it clear that the USA stands resolutely with Israel. Israeli rhetoric aside, the Netanyahu government isn’t given any ground to the Palestinians. What does it mean?
Some tough days lay ahead.

Question: What adjustments must America make to have satisfactory relations with Egypt?

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Filed under Christians, middle east, Muslims, Violence, World



Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi enters office.
His first act? Challenge the military.
Sorry. That’s not the way to kick-off the football game!
The new Egyptian President appears to be dead set on a confrontation with the military. Even thought the Supreme Court had ruled to the contrary, Morsi reconvened the parliament that had been dissolved by the generals. His actions were a direct confrontation with the military establishment which in fact rules the country. So, what is going on in Egypt?
The military has the tanks, guns, ammo, and equipment. The truth is that they control the country and aren’t about to relinquish that role. Morsi only won the election by the slightest margin, but knows that he has the complete backing of the more radical Moslem Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has the ability to fill the streets with protestors screaming and carrying signs. They can pack out Tahrir Square in the snap of a finger. Who do you think is going to win that confrontation? Not Morsi.
Possibly, Mohammed Morsi has chosen a confrontational road in hopes of forcing the military to back down and make way for the rise of an Islamic state. At first blush, it would appear Morsi envisons a state something like Iran. Islamic law rules and everyone is on their knees with their faces on the ground. Will that fly with the military? Obviously not.
There are a number of varieties of Islamic faith. What we hear most about these days is the more extreme right-wing variety. Leaders like Anwar Sadat were not of this stripe, and remained wary of such extreme expressions. Since the Iranian revolution, what has emerged in recent years in that country is an aggressive expression of belief like what the West experienced with Osama Ben Laden. Morsi seems to be heading in this direction of such a fundamentalist government. The recent close vote suggests that at least half of the country are not sympathetic with this confrontational expression of their Moslem faith. However, fundamentalist don’t have a history of paying attention to such factions. Because they believe they are absolutely right, they plow ahead regardless of the struggle and assume their ideas will prevail no matter how formidable the enemy. Some of history’s most tragic battles have resulted from this form of reasoning.
Is Mohammed Morsi going down this rocky road? Let’s hope not. Possibly, he is only trying a political ploy to draw the military out and see if adjustments can be made. On the other hand, with the Moslem Brotherhood’s record, he probably isn’t. If he prevails, get ready for another Iran to emerge. If he fails, the headlines will tell another sad story. Not a good scene no matter which way you throw the dice.

Question: Can the West trust Mohammed Morse? Your opinion.

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