No democracy, no rule in Egypt

No democracy, no rule in Egypt

The actions of the Muslim Brotherhood have led to across-the-board repression in the country.

The second anniversary of the Egyptian military’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and other fundamentalist factions was not marked by mass protests mounted by the movement. Its call for demonstrations went largely unheeded, indicating that regime repression has worked.

On August 14, 2013, hundreds of armed Egyptian commandos and security agents dispersed two Brotherhood enca-mpments protesting the ouster 40 days earlier of President Muhamad Morsi, a Brotherhood stalwart.

The smaller of the sit-ins, outside Cairo University was quickly cleared, but hardliners at the vast gathering near Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in eastern Cairo resisted and Brotherhood backers flocked to the site. Between 632 to 800 people, mostly civilians, and 10 policemen were killed. The daily toll was the highest ever in recent Egyptian history and nearly reached the 845 killed during the 18-day 2011 uprising that toppled 30-year President Hosni Mubarak.

The Brotherhood and more militant fundamentalist factions responded with daily, often violent demonstrations and attacks on police stations. These events continued for many months, destabilising the country while Brotherhood ally and Islamic State (IS) affiliate Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, based in northern Sinai,  waged an escalating war with the Egyptian army, police and security forces. Last week the group proclaimed the beheading of Croatian topographer Tomislav Salopek, kidnapped near Cairo in July.

The Brotherhood’s objective was Morsi’s reinstatement as the legitimate president of Egypt, elected by a slim majority in 2012 but ousted a year after his inauguration by the military in resp-onse to massive popular demonstrations against his rule. He was condemned for failing to deliver jobs, improved public services, freedom, and democracy – demands put forward by Egyptians during the 2011 uprising.

Instead, the Brotherhood sought to partner the counter-revolutionary army in governance, packed the civil service with supporters, rammed through a constitution drafted by sympathisers, and refused to share power with secular parties involved in the “revolution.” Repeatedly urged to cooperate with these parties, Morsi refused, even when advised to do so by the army.

During the five weeks between Morsi’s removal and the dispersal of the encampments, Brotherhood preachers and politicians incited supporters gathered at Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares, prompting clashes that slew scores of people – many innocents caught up in marches and rallies.

Having emerged from the 2011 uprising as the most powerful political party in Egypt with control on parliament and the presidency, the Brotherhood is now outlawed; its entire leadership has been arrested and top figures, including Morsi, have been sentenced to death.

Thousands of members have been detained or driven into exile, many to Istanbul where they are welcomed by the fundamentalist Turkish regime. Its economic assets have been seized by the state, and its member-ship decimated by detention, desertion, or defection to IS or other extremist factions which have been strengthened by the action against the Brotherhood.

Widespread repercussions
The Brotherhood’s actions have led to across-the-board repression, banning of peaceful assembly, police shootings, mass arrests and prosecutions. Secular activists, journalists, lawyers, human rights bodies, television personalities, and lately pop stars have been detained or charged with various offenses, including engaging in illegal rallies or insulting the judiciary.

The Brotherhood continues to regard Morsi’s ouster as a “coup” and considers his successor, former army chief, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, elected by a landslide in 2014, to be “illegitimate” but the movement does not dispute the “legitimacy” of the state. By contrast, the Egyptian branch of IS seeks to dissolve the Egyptian republic into the 21st century “Caliphate” occupying large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.

Although IS has claimed the previous attacks on officials and public facilities in Egypt “proper”, minus the Sinai appendage, the murder of a European in the vicinity of Cairo amounts to a fresh challenge and could be the start of an all-out campaign against the state.

Foreign residents already feel an increased threat while investors will stay away and tourists who once flocked to Egypt will hesitate to visit that country, depriving its people and government of funds.

Since Morsi’s removal, Human Rights Watch’s deputy director Joe Stark said Egypt has suffered “a human rights crisis that is the worst in memory.” His agency called upon the UN Human Rights Council to launch an inquiry into the “massacre” and assess if it amounted to a “crime against humanity.

“Washington and Europe have gone back to business (as usual) with a government that celebrates rather than investigates the worst single-day killing of protesters in modern history,” he stated. That may well be true, but, tragically, the Brotherhood brought this disaster to Egypt by refusing to share power and compromise and refrain from violence.

By doing so, the Brotherhood destroyed post-uprising revolutionaries’ efforts to transform Egypt into a democracy where the rule of law is paramount. Today, there is no democracy and no rule of law in an Egypt battling radical jihadis spawned by the Brotherhood.

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