Most of the Western media seems to be writing and reporting on an Egypt that does not exist. Suddenly Western liberals who decry the most minor of affronts to the homosexual lifestyle or any hint of inhibitions to the rights of women, seem unhappy that a “democratically” elected government, which preaches supremacist racial and religious views, is anti- woman, and proclaims homosexuality to be a capital offense, has been overturned by a military whose leadership realized that to wait would be suicide. To get a more unfiltered view I solicited different viewpoints.
With some help from people who monitor Egyptian social networks and media here are some of my conclusions in response to some questions I was asked
Why did a majority of the Egyptian people elect Mohammed Morsi, who was Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party?
The MB was – and still is one of the most organized political movements in Egypt, especially during Mubarak time. They have large base across the country while the rest of the liberal or nationalist parties were suppressed during the era of Mubarak. Some of them emerged only after Mubarak was toppled, with such considerably short time they failed to attract large number of voters.
The liberal opposition is not united except in their rejection of MB. This is obviously be the case now, after they removed Morsi, they don’t seem to agree on the new PM!
Why do a majority of the Egyptian people now seem to reject Mohammed Morsi, who barely six months ago signed into law Egypt’s current constitution?
I think there are three main reasons. The first one is domestically, his party’s agenda to turn Egypt into Islamic State, excluded those who think differently and disagreed with him even if they’re from the same sect and religion.
If you noticed many of the protesters were women wearing the Hijab, another affirmation, that Islam is something different from radical Islam.
Morsi’s party wanted to Islamize radically the Egyptian society. Also, he wanted to change the constitution and restrict liberties and made bad choices of ministers, example: MB minister for tourism !
He also continued to act as party member not as a national leader.
The second reason has to do with his regional decisions. He failed to take right decision on Sudan, Ethiopia, Syria and to some extent Iran. Taking in consideration that Egypt has been a regional superpower, his decision was seen by the Egyptians as huge disappointment to their ambition to restore their country’s clout.
The third reason has to do with his personality. The guy is a “Falah” (farmer, his accent shows it actually) – he seems weak, has zero charisma and many considered him stupid ..he was a frequent butt of jokes – people laughed at his English and Arabic.. Personal appearance, always so important in the Arab world, was unappealing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jgVtQTOO74 (watch this)
If you watch his speeches, you realize they’re meaningless. They were not well written too long and has no substance
And when he improvised – which happened a lot – he simply sucked.
It was Morsi’s misfortune that the Egyptians have an exceptionally sarcastic sense of humor; therefore he had very tough critics. They couldn’t really put up with all the mistakes, especially when they compared his image to Nasir, Sadat or even Mubarak, (being resurrected!! )
Additionally, he was so weak. Egyptians on talk shows keep repeating that he was just a puppet and the MB senior figures were the ones who are running the show.
I would keep an eye on what the famous Egyptian writer Mohammad Hassainian Hakal says these days – he seems to be the one who is advising the army on what to do next.
What role(s) would best satisfy U.S. national interests during the ongoing crisis?
Based on what I am hearing..Stay in close touch with the army, show support to the army at least now – highly tactful and alert – make changes in the US embassy (ambassador needs to be changed) lots of assurances about the continuance of military aid. What John McCain is suggesting is not helpful and not well received.
I think that the Egyptian – US relation is on the brink. It’s very vital to show support for the people will reflected by the army. By abandoning the army now, the US is risking losing the Egyptian liberals completely.
What additional questions seem equally or more important?
How KSA, Qatar and to certain extent Syria are reacting to the changes in Egypt – Qatar’s new Emir is said to have kicked out Qaradhawi ( important religious authority and strong supporter of Morsi) and withdrew the Qatari nationality from him. Qatar money was vital to the Muslim brotherhood.
The question has also been asked. Why did the army intervene now?
My response is: The army had no choice but to intervene. Morsi had lost control. The choice of the military leadership was which side to intervene on. It was obvious to the military leadership that Morsi was following the path of Erdogan ( the a increasingly authoritarian and islamist leader of turkey), but in his uniquely incompetent manner. To support Morsi meant the military would simply become a tool of the Muslim Brotherhood of a “one man, one vote, one time,” government. The Muslim brotherhood was in the process of trying to recreate a military in their image. One notices how Erdogan has seen this coup/revolution as a personal affront to his massive ego.
General Sisi, a very politically savvy general saw the massive outpouring of anti-Brotherhood sentiment (planned or not it was, and is, real) as the opportunity to strike first. It is a general view in the the social media that the meeting that Morsi had called Sisi to attend ( he didn’t) would have involved an ultimatum get the army behind Morsi or resign. In the Middle East those who wait and see are dead on arrival.
From my time with the Egyptian military, the officer corps saw themselves as the embodiment of the Egyptian “exceptionalism.” They would not bow to any domestic institution, or political organization, and certainly not the Muslim Brotherhood which most officers viewed as a movement financed and manipulated by non-Egyptian Islamists.