Tag Archives: President Mohamed Morsi

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN 2013?

In a word … a mess!

            With Egypt, Syria, and Iran fighting or getting ready to fight, the signs aren’t good. While Iran hasn’t made headlines lately, you can bet they haven’t slowed their pursuit of a weapon grade supply of enriched uranium.  Only time will tell whether the Palestinian efforts to establish statehood at the United Nations will be of any value or only destroy further attempts at an agreement with Israel. At the least, turmoil will continue.

The situation in Egypt is not clear. Many who voted for the new constitution only did so in an attempt to establish stability. The turnout was meager. Even though the majority voted for the document, the opponents vow to continue opposing it. From the standpoint of constitutional government, the military has remained neutral while maintaining a stabilizing factor. However, concern for the future is clearly on the horizon. Egyptians remain deeply divided.

Secular-oriented representatives in the parliament have resigned in protest. They charge that the constitution will enshrine Shar’a law. Women’s rights as well as those of the Coptic Christians will be in trouble. The parliament which has a 75% radical Islamists majority will not back away from the imposition of Islamic law. While the United States provides an enormous funding for the Egyptian economy, it also supported  the Mubarak regime. Good news; bad news.

We already have learned that radical Islamists do not pay attention to the difference the dollar can make. The truth is that the Muslim Brotherhood will interpret matters considerably differently from the former Western-oriented, anti-Islamists state. the United States had best prepare for a rocky road ahead.

An ominous sign was the order for arrest of opposition leaders to President Morsi’s government this past week. Internationally known Mohammed El-Baradei, a Nobel Peace laureate and former head of the U.N. nuclear agency, along with former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa are charged with undermining the legitimacy of Morsi. Such police state tactics reflect the Hosni Mubarak era. Moussa said, “if we accept the legitimacy of working within the system, they have to agree that the opposition is legitimate.” Egypt is far from out of the fire.

Hezbollah lost status because of the Syrian uprising. While the terrorist organization has been a dominating force in Lebanon, they are losing ground fast. When the Assad regime craters, there will be unsettling consequences for the entire region. Such conflict in Beirut has pushed Hezbollah to the side. After the fall of Assad, they will be diminished even further. The bottom line is that Hezbollah’s days of dominating Lebanon are numbered and the terrorist group can see the writing on the wall. Expect an explosive response.

Israel is caught in the middle of these clashes with anti-Israeli sentiments boiling in Egypt and Syrian. Every indicator says that an even more radical Islamic group is likely to gain power in Damascus. Meanwhile the Sunni’s and Shi’ites continue killing each other. This situation is somewhat like the Methodist and Baptist shooting rockets at each other’s churches because they don’t like the other’s missions program.

While the Obama administration has kept Israel from bombing the Iranian nuclear operation, that issue is from settled. More conflict will come soon. The next blog will address these issues.

Like I said … expect a mess.  Stay tuned.

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Filed under Egypt, Iran, Syria, Women's Rights

EGYPT OUT OF CONTROL

            Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s power grab obviously went 2 million miles too far. In an attempt to solidify the political clout of the Muslim Brotherhood and position himself as the absolute ruler of the country, Morsi’s actions have once again paralyzed the nation.

            Behind these actions was an attempt to ram through a new constitution that would turn Egypt into a Muslim state, not unlike Iran. Fearing such a posture, for decades Egyptian leaders suppressed the Brotherhood. Now the lid has popped off the can. Old concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood’s intention have returned for a large segment of the population. These fundamentalist right-wing Muslims are on the march and appear unwilling to make compromises.

Because of broken promises from the Muslim Brotherhood there exists a fundamental distrust in Egyptian society. This religious group promised it would not dominate the parliamentary election or seek the presidency, but turned around and did.  Their efforts in the last two weeks have virtually destroyed any trust between  rival Islamist and secular factions. The country has turned back into a crisis.

With tens of thousands marching in the streets, Morsi appears to be finally waking up to the disaster surging toward his doorstep. Aids to the president have hinted that a vote on the contentious draft constitution won’t happen soon with the possibility of canceling the whole referendum. During these protests, a multitude not only marched passed barbed wire, but called for Morsi to resign. Offices of the Brotherhood have been attacked and burned. Once again the citizens are in the streets demanding change.

The latest turn of events has been Morsi’s calling on the military to restore order with the possibility of invoking martial law. From this new development has emerged a clearer picture of how the military was deposed from their power earlier in the fall. The generals had demanded a continuing role in politics. However, after taking office, Morsi courted the generals and used top officers to push out a handful of generals insisting on a political role. However, this arrangement remains fragile and it is not clear what the military would do if the riots and protests continue. Whether the deposed “retired” generals stay on the sidelines remains a question.

Of course, Morsi’s calling on the military seriously undermines his authority. There was even a fear that the Interior Ministry might not protect the presidential palace from the violence of demonstrations just beyond the doors.

On Friday night officials suggested a delay on a constitutional vote if their secular opponents would agree on some undefined terms. However, both sides believe the other negotiates only in bad faith so there is little ground for much compromise. The opposition simply cannot trust the Muslim extremists.

Where is all of this going? As of today, the direction is not clear and could depend on the military. Who the generals side with will determine who prevails. All sides are playing hard nosed politics and the stakes are high.

Can President Morsi survive his grab for power? Stay tuned.

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Filed under Egypt, Muslims, Violence

MORSI SHOWS HIS STUFF

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