Thursday, December 06, 2012

Islamists in Egypt Call on Morsi To Back Down On His Power Grab

Egypt's new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone for regional stability and peace.
Hillary Clinton, quoted in Haaretz, As Egyptians protest Morsi's new powers, U.S. expresses concern, November 23, 2012

The protests in response to Morsi's attempt to grant himself unlimited authority are growing. The protesters have already gone beyond Tahrir Square and have appeared at Morsi's presidential palace in Cairo -- forcing him to flee, before eventually returning.

The pressure being applied to Morsi goes beyond the protesters:

Meanwhile, Egypt's top Islamic body has called on the president to suspend his decree claiming sweeping powers.

The Al-Azhar institution also demanded an unconditional dialogue between the president and his opponents.

Mr Morsi is expected to address the nation on Thursday evening.

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says this move by one of the most respected bodies in Sunni Islam has put President Morsi - who was largely brought to power by the powerful Islamist Muslim Brotherhood - under more pressure.

But he adds that it is difficult to see what compromise is possible between President Morsi and the opposition.
As it is, 3 of Morsi's advisers resigned last week, 4 more resigned on Wednesday and the official Mena news agency is reporting that another adviser resigned today.

Yet despite the unexpected ferocity of the backlash against Morsi, every indication is that he will survive the storm.

Michael Armanious, a Coptic rights activist blogs at The New Egypt, writes about Morsi Engineering a Train Wreck:
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi fled the presidential palace in Cairo and returned, in the face of huge opposition to his attempt to turn his country into an Islamist state, but he is not out of the picture -- not by a long shot.

Yes, some police officers have sided with the protesters, but Morsi, (who will likely lay low for a while so as to not offend his political and financial patrons in the West), still has a huge base of support in the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to dominate the largest Arab country in the world. The Muslim Brotherhood, which has been on the sidelines of power since its founding in the 1920s, will stop at nothing to maintain its power. Credible reports indicate the organization has sent out teams of thugs to attack their secularist opponents in Tahrir Square and in front of presidential palace.
The US, on the other hand, dserted Mubarak in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and later of Morsi as well. Despite the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Obama administration has made a point of pushing the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood -- and by extension, Morsi -- is in fact a moderate group.

It is that in mind that the US put Morsi in charge of the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. This despite the anti-Israel statements and speeches that have been given by members of the Brotherhood and that weapons made their way through Egypt to Hamas.

Armanious writes:
The Muslim Brotherhood has also deceived the international community, which is all too willing to view him as a pragmatic "peacemaker." Yes, Morsi engineered the ceasefire that brought an end to the recent fighting between Hamas and Israel, but it was he who helped bring the fighting about by allowing missiles built in Sudan's Yarmouk weapons factory to pass through Egypt on the way to the Gaza Strip. And before he brokered the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, he encouraged Hamas to start the aggression against Israel. He never objected to the many calls for jihad against Israel and the West.
While Morsi is not exactly living up to the reviews given him by Obama and Hillary Clinton, he is the man in charge in Egypt. Thus far there are 5 people dead and 644 reported injured and the violence is not expected to escalate.

For now, the question is to what degree Morsi will try to hold on to the power he originally tried to grab back on November 22 and what kind of influence, if any, the protesters can expect to have.

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