Monday, July 8, 2013

Revolution in Egypt

Revolution in Egypt - Mike Evans - Jerusalem Prayer Team
In my 2012 book, The Revolution, I revealed the breadth and depth of Muslim Brotherhood involvement in various Middle East countries. Despite protests to the contrary, my assumption that the Brotherhood would gain a foothold in Egyptian politics proved to be correct as Mohamed Morsi rose to the position of president of the Islamic country.
Morsi took office with a definite political agenda—elevating the status of the Brotherhood by concentrating power in the hands of the ruling party. On Wednesday, July 3, Egyptian army leaders suspended the most recently drawn constitution. Morsi, charged with mishandling the economy and his failure to enact social justice, was placed under house arrest. Military orders were then given for the detention of an additional 300 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The move was a result of two turbulent years of demonstrations against Muslim Brotherhood control.
The ensuing chaos in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other Egyptian towns between pro- and anti-Morsi supporters has led to the deaths of at least 81 citizens with more than 1,500 injured in violent clashes. Warring factions battled with knives, Molotov cocktails, stones, clubs and anything else at hand. Tahrir Square, the site of Arab Spring riots in February 2012, and the bridges leading into the area were littered with debris following one rage-filled night.
In The Revolution I outlined the past history of the Brotherhood, its rise to power and its defeat by Gamal Abdul Nasser in the 1950s. The Brotherhood was blamed for Nasser’s attempted assassination, with its followers forced underground. Thousands of its members were imprisoned and tortured, but it did not stop the movement’s growth. This clash with the authorities prompted an important shift in the ideology of the Brotherhood, evident in the writing of one prominent member, Sayyid Qutb. Qutb's work advocated the use of jihad (struggle) against jahili (ignorant) societies.
The Egyptian government again cracked down on the Brotherhood, executing Sayyid Qutb in 1966, thereby making him a martyr. The Brotherhood was officially banned and again subjected to frequent repression. That was one of the main triggers for the mass anti-government protests by thousands of Egyptians in late January 2011, which saw the headquarters of the National Democratic Party in Cairo set afire. With the Arab Spring riots and ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood again rose to the forefront in Egyptian political circles.
On the edge of a full-blown crisis for months, Morsi’s arrest further deepened the possibility of complete anarchy. There have been signs that the Muslim Brotherhood might retreat into two of its worst habits: conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism. Now that the group has been forced from power, this is a very real risk — not just for the group and its chances of regaining power, but for an Egyptian political system that is dangerously divided.
Western allies are concerned with the upsurge of war in the streets of the Egyptian capital. Qatar poured $7 billion in loans and grants into Morsi’s government, while Turkey and Libya offered smaller investments. Mohamed Badie, a Brotherhood official, pledged to restore his fallen comrade to power.
In the U.S., Obama administration spokespersons have been careful not to use the “C” word—coup. Federal law denotes that financing “any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup d’etat or decree,” or a coup “in which the military plays a decisive role” is against the law. Egypt would stand to lose $1.5 billion in annual aid if a “responsible return of full authority to a democratically elected civilian government” is not achieved quickly.
In Egypt there are essentially two groups: seekers of democracy and terrorists—no matter their affiliation—waiting patiently for favorable conditions to seize power. During the Arab Spring both joined in an effort to rid the country of Mubarak and his government. Today they may, however, be divided by a stronger and more deadly line of demarcation: believers in democracy and perpetrators of Sharia law achieved through jihad. Unfortunately, many of the jihadists seem to be winning.  
Two other small, yet fanatical, groups are waiting in the wings in an attempt to take advantage of the upheaval—the religious Salafis, who strongly support the establishment of an Islamic caliphate under Sharia law—and the newly-formed Ansar al-Shariah, a group that is said to be gathering arms and training  members for jihad. Its leaders have condemned the democratic movement and promised to fight for Sharia law.  
If Morsi and his followers know anything, it is how to survive underground and patiently await the right moment to strike. Like the trapdoor spider with its hidden lair and powerful jaws, the Brotherhood can spin a web and then wait patiently for the victim—the Egyptian democracy movement—to again wander into its snare.

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