The Orient Express from Mecca to the Vatican Christians in the Cross Hairs

Unprecedented: Islamists Agree to Cede Power in Tunisia

Tunisia

The decisive factor in defeating the Islamists in Tunisia was that all their opponents worked together.

BY RYAN MAURO:

The Islamists thought that their ascent to power in Tunisia and Egypt as a result of the “Arab Spring” heralded their glory days. Less than three years later, those gains have been lost. The Islamist Ennahda Party that ruled Tunisia has agreed to step down, as demanded by hordes of anti-Islamist demonstrators.

The Clarion Project has been closely following the anti-Islamist wavethat is sweeping across the region, presently in Egypt, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Turkey. Now, it has swept Ennahda from power, essentially the Muslim Brotherhood’s branch in Tunisia, the country where the Arab Spring first began.

Protests against the Ennahda in Tunisia escalated after the second assassination of a prominent secular opposition figure. While there was no proof that Ennahda carried it out, the evidence pointed to an Al-Qaeda-type Salafist hand.

But Tunisians recognize what many leaders in the West do not: That Islamists are all part of the same pattern, only shaded with different colors.

The approval rating of Ennahda had collapsed. A Pew poll published earlier this month found that Tunisia’s most disliked leader was Rashid Ghannouchi, one of the founders of the Ennahda Party. Ghannouchi garnered a disapproval rating of close to 56% (with only 34% viewing him favorably). Ennahda itself lost a quarter of its popularity.

Read more at The Clarion Project

Arab Spring End: Tunisia’s Ruling Islamists Fall

reu-tunisia-crisis_protests-450x265FPM, By Daniel Greenfield:

Despite being the wellspring of the Arab Spring, Tunisia hasn’t gotten much attention. But the counterrevolution that took down the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt really began in Tunisia.

Back in October of last year, I predicted that Egypt and Tunisia were both headed for Counterrevolutions against Islamist rule. The revolution in Egypt happened and the protests and unrest in Tunisia has been growing.

Now events are approaching the endgame.

Tunisia’s ruling Islamists rejected on Monday a plan for them to step down pending elections, deepening a confrontation with secular opponents that threatens the most promising democratic transition to have emerged from the Arab Spring.

The Islamist government that replaced Tunisia’s longtime ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali had on Thursday cautiously agreed to talks on stepping down, after reading opposition protests as a sign it is time to compromise instead of digging in.

On Monday it appeared to take a step back.

“We cannot accept the threat of pressure from the streets,” said Ennahda vice president Adb el Hamid Jelassi. “There should be more guarantees.”

Stubbornness was the undoing of its affiliate in Egypt – the Muslim Brotherhood which won office through the ballot box after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak but alienated the masses and the army by refusing to share power.

“We have said that this government would not step down concretely before the completion of the constitution,” Rafik Abd Essalem, a senior Ennahda official, told reporters.

Of course they intend to lock in the constitution first. That’s their endgame. But the Morsi constitution is already being rewritten. No reason that the Ennahda one can’t be.

UPDATE: Ennahda down.

Tunisia’s governing Islamist party has agreed to step down following negotiations with opposition parties that begin next week.

A spokesman for the main labor union said months of talks with the Islamist-led government had finally reached an agreement Saturday. Bouali Mbarki of the UGTT union said the deal calls for three weeks of negotiations to appoint an interim, non-partisan government.

The Egyptian Pyramid Scheme

ObamaP-266x350By :

Deserts are funny things. A big wide open space in which nothing moves can play tricks on the mind. Spend enough time looking at a desert and you will see things moving in it because your mind needs to believe that there is life in it. Look hard enough and you will see democracy, progress and change.

But when you close your eyes and open them again, you will see that there is only a desert. And that there only ever was a desert.

Everything else was a mirage.

Egypt has gone back to what it was before the Arab Spring. It is now once again a country ruled by the military and bureaucratic institutions that are the legacy of British colonialism. Mubarak will not return to power again, but there are plenty of other military men to squat on top of a bankrupt oligarchy that lives on foreign aid and pride.

The mirage of Tahrir Square, the fireworks, fires and social media protesters brandishing smartphones and throwing down with riot police, is fading away. There will be more riots and fires and rapes. But that false sense of history being made will never return.

The truth about the Arab Spring is that it never existed. The term was coined by Marc Lynch, a George Washington University professor, who had spent years urging engagement with Hamas and championing the role of the Muslim Brotherhood as a “firewall” against Al-Qaeda “radicalism.”

This Arab Spring had nothing to do with democracy or freedom. It was a scheme to split the Islamist ranks by turning over the Middle East to political Islamists. It was Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Green Belt strategy practiced on a grander scale than Iran. Instead of Jimmy Carter hoping that the Ayatollah Khomeini would checkmate the USSR, there was Barack Obama counting on Muslim Brotherhood election victories to make the practice of international terrorism passé.

The Arab Spring was a cheerful brand, a shiny media package, covering up an ugly truth. The optimistic implications of its name kept many from looking at the list of ingredients and finding out that the only things inside were Islamists and more Islamists.

The pyramid scheme would keep investing in new Islamist governments and they would pay us back by discrediting Al Qaeda’s campaign of terror and that, the liberal foreign policy mavens insisted, would allow us to bring an end to the War on Terror.

Read more at Front Page

 

Watching the Middle East Implode

jp-egypt1-articleLarge-450x330By :

The revolutions against dictators in the Middle East dubbed the Arab Spring have degenerated into a complex, bloody mélange of coups and counter-coups, as have happened in Egypt; vicious civil wars, like the current conflict in Syria; a resurgence of jihadists gaining footholds in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Sinai; and a shifting and fracturing of alliances and enmities of the sort throwing Lebanon and Jordan into turmoil. Meanwhile, American foreign policy has been confused, incompetent, and feckless in insuring that the security and interests of the United States and its allies are protected.

A major reason for our foreign policy failures in the region is our inability to take into account the intricate diversity of ideological, political, and especially theological motives driving events. Just within the Islamist outfits, Sunni and Shia groups are at odds—and this isn’t to mention the many bitter divisions within Sunni and Shia groups. Add the other players in the Middle East––military dictators, secular democrats, leftover communists, and nationalists of various stripes––and the whole region seems embroiled in endlessly complex divisions and issues.

Yet a greater impediment to understanding accurately this bloody and complex region is our preconceived biases. Too often we rely on explanations that gratify our own ideological preferences and prejudices, but that function like mental stencils: they are a priori patterns we superimpose on events to create the picture we want to see, but only by concealing other events that do not fit the pattern. We indulge the most serious error of foreign policy: assuming that other peoples think like us and desire the same goods as we do, like political freedom and prosperity, at the expense of others, like religious obedience and honor.

One persistent narrative attributes the region’s disorder to Western colonialism and imperialism. The intrusion of European colonial powers into the region, the story goes, disrupted the native social and political institutions, imposing in their place racist norms and alien values that demeaned Muslims as the “other” and denigrated their culture to justify the exploitation of resources and markets. This process culminated after World War I in the dismantling of the caliphate, and the creation of Western-style nation-states that ignored the traditional ethnic and sectarian identities of the region. As a result, resentment and anger at colonial occupation and exploitation erupted in Islamist jihadism against the oppressor.

The Islamists themselves have found this narrative a convenient pretext for their violence, thus reinforcing this explanation for some Westerners. The most important jihadist theorist, the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, wrote, “It is necessary to revive the Muslim community which is buried under the debris of the man-made traditions of several generations, and which is crushed under the weight of those false laws and customs which are not even remotely related to the Islamic teachings.”

Qutb was clearly alluding to the European colonial presence in the Middle East, and specifically to the nearly half-century of British control of Egypt. Al Qaeda, Hamas, and other jihadist groups similarly lace their communiqués with references to colonial “oppression” and neo-imperialist interference, as when Osama bin Laden scolded the U.S. in 2002 for waging war in the region “so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and industries.” The Arabs likewise routinely describe the creation of Israel as a particularly offensive act of colonial aggression against the lands of Islam.

Such pretexts, however, are clearly for Western consumption, exploiting the Marxist demonization of imperialism and colonialism that informs the ideology of many leftist intellectuals in Europe and America. When speaking to fellow Muslims, however, most Islamist groups ground their motives in the traditional doctrines of Islam, which call for war against the infidel and the enemies of Islam.

Read more at Front Page

Five Lessons from Egypt and the Arab Spring

koran-egypt-444x350

The Muslim world cannot use processes from more advanced societies until it accepts the social and moral premises behind them.

By :

1. Don’t Believe Anything You Hear

Egyptian liberals allied with the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow Mubarak and challenge the military. In those heady Tahrir Square days, they ridiculed the idea that Mubarak’s overthrow would benefit the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now those same liberals have teamed up with the military to take down a Muslim Brotherhood government that they told us would never come to power. But don’t be surprised if a year from now, after the military develops too crushing a grip on power, they don’t run back to the Muslim Brotherhood and Tahrir Square repeats itself a third time with the banners and fireworks and chants about the will of the people.

And when it does happen, neither the liberals nor the Muslim Brotherhood will ever remember the time when they were deadly enemies. Instead they will pretend it never happened, the way that Egyptian liberals once pretended that the Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t part of the protests.

Middle Eastern politics is reality-selective. It’s conspiratorial and it’s based around shaky alliances between mortal enemies to achieve short term victories. That’s why the Muslim Brotherhood has done so well; it’s one of the few factions to practice long-term thinking.

Everyone else just thinks as far as winning the next battle, getting to power and then letting the unambiguous genius of their vision and the adoration of the people carry them to their destiny.

And then it all falls apart. Again.

 

2.  It’s Not Democracy, It’s Permanent Chaos

Democracy in the Middle East is just another means of political change. It’s not any different than mob action, a coup or an invasion. It’s just a way that one government replaces another.

The voting booth depends on a sense of law and order. It carries very little weight in lawless societies.

In Egypt, mass protests really are as legitimate a means of political change as the ballot box. Probably better. It’s harder to rig rallies of millions of people than it is to fake millions of votes.

The Arab Spring represented political chaos in a lawless society, not social change or cultural enlightenment.

Whoever runs Egypt will still leave it a corrupt place where family connections matter more than merit, where the poor struggle to get by, where everyone resents everyone else, where political alliances fall apart in the blink of an eye and everyone waits around for a tyrant to take matters into his hands and usher in some stability.

Read more at Front Page

 

Egyptian Blood on Obama’s Hands

172838878.jpg.CROP_.rectangle3-largeBy Daniel Greenfield:

When Obama went down to Cairo in the spring of ’09, his speech, titled “A New Beginning,” was little more than a thinly disguised call for regime change. It wasn’t so much the words that mattered as the message behind them that the Mubarak government no longer enjoyed backing from Washington, D.C.

The alliance between Egyptian liberals and Islamists that overthrew Mubarak, in a coup mediated by the military, was cheered as an expression of popular will. What it actually was, was the whistling sound of air escaping into a post-American power vacuum.

Obama’s call for regional regime change led to the fall of multiple governments allied with the United States. And democracy inevitably ratified Islamist political power as everyone knew it was bound to after Hamas’s political victories led the Bush administration to back away from further experimentation with democracy expansionism.

Like most leftist foreign policy thinkers, Obama missed the larger implications of his actions. He cut off friendly regional governments the way that Carter had abandoned the Shah, and like Carter, he quickly lost control of the outcome.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the dreamboat moderate Islamists of the leftist foreign policy set, moved far more quickly than Turkish Islamist tyrant Erdogan had because they were facing too much instability to pace themselves. The alliance between the Egyptian left and the Islamists broke down. The left joined with the very military leadership that they had been denouncing not too long ago to bring down Morsi.

Now it’s a game of chicken between the new Egyptian government and Obama.

The Muslim Brotherhood, reverting to its roots as a terrorist organization, is touching off violent rallies, shooting its own people in the back and blaming the military.

The Egyptian military is playing the long game by betting that Egyptians are tired of the endless protests that have been congealing the economy and are ready to back a crackdown by the last working institution in the country. And it’s charging Morsi with collaborating with Hamas to embarrass Obama into backing away from his support for the restoration of the Muslim Brotherhood regime.

The consistent message from the Egyptian government and its supporters is that by backing Morsi and the Brotherhood, Obama is supporting terrorism. The message is true enough, but the assumption that anyone in Washington, D.C. cares is overly optimistic.

Congress refused to stop Obama from arming Muslim Brotherhood terrorists in Syria and has done nothing to stop him from intimidating Israel into rewarding Turkish Islamist aggression with an apology for the Mavi Marmara raid. Or more recently, releasing murderous terrorists with blood on their hands.

There still hasn’t been a serious congressional investigation tying together Obama’s lies about Benghazi that led to the attack on Libya, the takeover of Benghazi by Islamist militias and the attack by the militias on the Benghazi mission that cost the lives of four Americans.

There have hardly been any hard questions asked about Obama’s Arab Spring effort to overthrow friendly governments and replace them with Islamist terrorist groups.

Any revelations about an Obama-Morsi-Hamas triangle will stop at the media wall of silence which will go on chanting in unison that democracy must be restored to Egypt as soon as possible. And that is because we have no more of an independent media than Egypt does. CNN, NBC and the New York Times may not be owned by the state the way many Egyptian media outlets are, but they act like they are.

Read more at Front Page

 

 

Tunisia assassination spells trouble for Islamist-led government, say analysts

Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement demonstrate as they chants slogans and hold a picture of assassinated politician Mohammed Brahmi during a demonstration in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, July 26, 2013. (AP / Amine Landoulsi) Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/tunisia-assassination-spells-trouble-for-islamist-led-government-say-analysts-1.1384422#ixzz2aHUhNJwu

Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement demonstrate as they chants slogans and hold a picture of assassinated politician Mohammed Brahmi during a demonstration in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, July 26, 2013. (AP / Amine Landoulsi)

(AP)TUNIS, Tunisia — The assassination of a second opposition politician in six months has piled the pressure on Tunisia’s troubled Islamist-led coalition government, which came to power in the wake of the Arab Spring but is struggling to right the economy and rein in extremists.

With the country brought to a virtual standstill by a general strike and the revelation that the same gun was apparently used by an al-Qaida-linked Islamist extremist cell in the two assassinations, calls grew Friday for the 18-month-old transitional government to stand down.

On Friday six opposition parties holding 42 seats announced their withdrawal from the 217-seat national assembly and called for the government, elected in the aftermath of the overthrow of the country’s long-time dictator, to be replaced by a national unity government tasked with finishing off the constitution and paving the way for fresh elections.

“We are withdrawing from the constituent assembly, which has lost its credibility, and are calling for the dissolution of a government that has failed, and tomorrow we will engage in an open sit-in in front of the assembly until it is dissolved,” the parties announced in a statement issued during a late-night press conference.

Tunisia is considered the birthplace of the Arab Spring. Its revolution inspired pro-democracy uprisings across the Middle East and set an example for political co-operation when a coalition was formed between the Islamist Ennahda Party and two secular parties.

However, a troubled economy, rising Islamist extremists and the two political slayings have tarnished the government and fueled opposition calls for its dissolution.

“The assassination of Mohammed Brahmi is a failure of the government and a failure of its security policy,” said political analyst Alaya Allani. “I think most of the political elite feel it is urgent after the assassination to dissolve the current government and replace it with a non-partisan, competent one.”

The government’s failure was driven home, said Allani, when the Interior Minister revealed in a press conference that not only was the same radical Islamist group behind the two assassinations, but that the same gun was used.

Lotfi Ben Jeddou said the gun used to shoot leftist politician Brahmi 14 times in front of his home was the same 9mm semi-automatic pistol that killed opposition politician Chokri Belaid back in February.

Brahmi’s assailant was Boubakr Hakim, a 30-year-old weapons smuggler with Islamist sympathies who was also part of the al-Qaida-linked cell that assassinated Belaid, according to Ben Jeddou.

Critics of the government have wondered why after five months Belaid’s killers had still not been brought to justice and worse that the assassinations were continuing.

The opposition has accused Ennahda of being overly tolerant of a rising radical Islamist trend in the country that has shown violent tendencies in its efforts to instil greater piety in what has long been known as one of the most secular countries in the Arab world.

The killing of Brahmi of the leftist Popular Current comes at a particularly sensitive time as Tunisia’s drawn out transition is finally reaching its end with the debate on the constitution and amid rising hopes that fresh elections will be held by the end of the year.

To pass the constitution, which is still being hotly debated in the assembly, a two-thirds majority is required.

“It’s high time to take into account what the population and different opposition groups are saying about how this government has failed to protect Tunisians,” said Kamel Labidi, an analyst and free speech activist who expressed worry that the Islamists might not compromise. “I am afraid the hardliners in the Islamist movement are not inclined generally to work with anyone to lead the country toward democracy.”

After the assassination of Belaid, anti-government protests erupted and Hamadi Jebali, the prime minister at the time suggested the formation of a government of technocrats. His own party rejected his offer and Jebali resigned.

In the wake of the latest assassination, Ennahda has remained firm once again in its insistence on remaining in power until the transition is completed and new elections held.

Read more at CTV News

 

MEMRI: Tunisian MP Rabiaa Najlaoui: Islam Preceded Islamists and Will Continue to Exist When They Are Gone:

 

Rabiaa Najlaoui: “[The draft constitution] lays the foundations for a religious state, which will permit the forbidden under the guise of religion. I ask you to stop exploiting the sentiments of the Tunisians. By God, I am ashamed to see you trying to delude the people into believing that you are speaking on behalf of Islam, that you are the protectors of Islam, and that Islam will cease to exist when you are gone.

“By God, we were Muslims before you came to power, we are Muslims even without you, and we will continue to be Muslims after you are gone. If Islam is the reason that you are clinging to power – let me tell you that you can leave and be confident that Islam is fine. Islam did not collapse when the Prophet Muhammad died, and it will not collapse when you are gone.

[...]

“I’d like to make it clear: This is the constitution of the Ennahda movement, and it was shaped according to their whims and political considerations. Articles 72 and 73 are the best proof of this. To my colleagues I say: This constitution belongs to the generations to come. I ask you not to pass on your hatred and your exclusionary conduct to the generation that we hope will carry the torch and be much better than us.

“The constitution should be drafted in keeping with the international human rights treaties to which Tunisia is a signatory. We must abide by these treaties, which must be upheld by our constitution. This constitution must respect the Code of Personal Status, rather than try to render it meaningless. We, the women of Tunisia, will not allow any infringement upon our achievements, manifest in the Code of Personal Status.

[...]

“You used to denounce and yell about your exclusion during the previous regime, but since you reached power, you have been trying to exclude your political rivals. You used to protest, demanding an independent judiciary…”

Speaker of the House: “Please, your time is up.”

Rabiaa Najlaoui: “…but when you reached power, you laid your hands on the judiciary, and have incarcerated citizens who had been exonerated by the courts. You used to claim that you were defending the Islamic religion, but when you reached power, you began to peddle in Islam, believing that Allah has guided no one but you.”

 

Interview with Erick Stakelbeck on Egypt and the Brotherhood

51pr4zxza5lWith Mohamed Morsi out and Egypt’s future unclear, Erick Stakelbeck, author of the new book The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy, talks to National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about what the “Arab Spring” turned into and where Egypt may go from here, with a warning for the United States.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Is there anything about what’s going on in Egypt right now that surprises you?

ERICK STAKELBECK: I’m a bit surprised that it took the Egyptian military a full year to finally step in and pull the plug on Morsi’s disastrous, aggressively Islamist tenure. Beginning in August 2012, when Morsi suddenly and boldly sacked Egypt’s longtime defense minister and other top generals, and continuing through that November, when Morsi seized dictatorial powers and then rammed through a nakedly sharia-driven constitution, it was obvious that he and the Brotherhood (aided by a freshly minted, Islamist-dominated parliament) were going “all in” on their dream to transform Egypt into a draconian Islamic state. In the process, they dropped their longtime strategy of stealthy gradualism and made their nefarious intentions for Egypt abundantly clear to the world.

All the while, the Egyptian military brass largely stayed silent, even as Morsi attempted to stack its ranks — and those of Egypt’s military academy — with Islamists. Why the military waited so long to turn back the MB tide is unclear. As NRO’s Andrew McCarthy has pointed out, top general Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was handpicked by Morsi, may himself have Islamist tendencies. But Morsi’s ham-handed, polarizing, and tactless methods of going about the Islamist project in Egypt had to be red flags for al-Sisi and other possible sympathizers in the military (as was the looming possibility of famine and starvation among segments of the Egyptian populace). The final tipping point for the military was clearly the demonstrations — the largest in human history — against Morsi and the Brothers during the first week of July.

And that brings us to the greatest surprise of all: that the Muslim Brotherhood, long the world’s most politically astute, patient, and disciplined Islamist movement, overplayed its hand so badly in Egypt and revealed its true intent so early. At the end of the day, instituting sharia was more important to Morsi and his fellow Brothers than feeding the Egyptian people or making even the slightest attempt at jumpstarting the Egyptian economy. That in itself is not surprising. This is who the Brothers are, after all: committed ideological fanatics. What is surprising is that they made it so obvious, so soon.

Read more at National Review

Read excerpts of Erick Stakelbeck’s new book, The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy, here and here.

Complete the Islamists’ Defeat

not-a-coup1“Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak all tried to get rid of the Brotherhood. Only Mursi succeeded.”

–Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, Facebook, July 3, 2013

By Raymond Stock, July 2013:

On July 8, the Obama administration finally did the right thing in Egypt—by not calling what Mohamed Mursi’s historically huge opposition rightly hails as its “corrective revolution” a coup.  Thus it prevented the automatic cutoff of America’s $1.6 billion of mostly military aid, without which our connection to the largest Arab state (and perhaps the Suez Canal) would be lost. But it would be a grave mistake if the U.S. should insist that the aid would continue only if everyone –the deposed Muslim Brotherhood (and other Islamists) among them—is included in the now-rebooted “transition to democracy.” Nor should the Egyptians want to go to this route.  Such would be an historic error that will sabotage whatever good might come from the already diminished influence which that aid buys – as well as from the heroic actions of the Egyptians themselves.

In addition to Egypt’s probable lack of enough secular and civil society to create a genuine democracy, the seemingly imminent civil war would not permit that transition to happen, at least not now—and perhaps not ever.  With Monday’s opening clash in front of the Ministry of Defense that left roughly fifty Islamists dead and one soldier slain, after numerous other killings over the year of MB rule, and culminating in scenes such as the murder of opposition teens by throwing them off of an Alexandria rooftop last week, the much-feared Algeria 1992 redux may already have begun.

Yet as tragic—and even heartless—as this might seem, it would be better to have that civil conflict now then to wait until the Islamists are better armed and prepared, especially having been invited back into power to share the running of the state.  That will give only them both renewed legitimacy and access to material resources that they do not deserve—and which the last year shows they will only abuse.

*******************

Despite the dangers of growing violence, the removal of Mohamed Mursi is a truly promising moment for Egypt—and should be for us all. The Islamists have suffered their first great setback since the launching of the Arab Spring, one that threatens all their gains everywhere, from Cairo to Tunis, Tripoli to Benghazi, from Aleppo to Sanaa, and even perhaps to their Turkish neighbors in  Ankara and Istanbul who have really begun to rebel under Recep Tayyep Erdogan’s slier version of MB rule.  Egypt has a long, long way to go to create a truly open, prosperous, and democratic society, and the path may be even more bloody, but only now does she have even the slightest chance to succeed.  This is what we should be focused on now, rather than expecting a smooth, stable democracy while placating the forces of darkness–who can never be appeased.

Read more at Foreign Policy Research Institute

 

The Problem at the Heart of Egypt’s Revolutions

1531557627_sharia_law_new_egypt_constitution_rules_muslims_xlargeby Nonie Darwish:

This is the central problem in most Muslim countries: the difficult choice between a man-made, civilian, military, “infidel” government, and a totalitarian Islamic theocracy.

This latest revolution in Egypt, the second in the last two years, is a symptom of a deep-rooted problem at the heart of Islam itself: Egypt is on the verge of a civil war to bring a resolution to the never-ending tension between what Islam demands versus what the people really want.

This is the central problem in most Muslim countries: the difficult choice between a civilian, military “infidel” government, and a totalitarian Islamic theocracy. The problem is compounded when most Egyptians consider themselves both Muslim and lovers of democracy, but refuse to see that Islam and freedom cannot co-exist. How can Islam anywhere produce a democracy when freedom of speech and religion are outlawed, where there is no free and independent judiciary, and equal rights for women, minorities and non-Muslims are legally suppressed?

Islam also cannot let go of government control: since its inception, Islam has lacked the confidence in its own survival without government enforcement. As Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi stated this winter on Egyptian television, “without the ‘Death for Apostasy’ laws, apostasy laws, Islam would have failed with the death of Mohamed, as people would never stay in this religion otherwise.” It is no coincidence therefore that Islamic law dictates that all Muslims must be ruled by Sharia, and declares that all secular governments, made by man, not by Allah, are heresy and an abomination.

While mosques are busy teaching Muslims how to carry out jihad, hate Jews and mistreat Christians, their imams allocate no time to preach the values of peace and trust as a foundation for an orderly society or civilization. As a result of such an Islamic education, Muslims who know they want freedom are unable to build the value system on which to achieve it.

Egypt’s dilemma is nothing new, but the good news today is that finally there is an awakening in Egypt regarding the tyranny that Sharia law brings, especially if it is made the basis of a constitution. Despite this awakening, however, not one rebel in Tahrir Square was able openly to carry a sign saying, “Sharia must become null and void.” The majority of Egyptians still believe that to say that would be an act of apostasy, punishable by death.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Related articles:

Nile of democracy will flood jihadists of Egypt

1002293_10201357138313437_1680318255_nBy Walid Phares:

As soon as the Egyptian military asked President Mohammed Mursi to step down and dismantle his Muslim Brotherhood regime, millions in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities and towns celebrated the end of what they felt was a dangerous fascistic regime. But despite an overwhelming popular support for the ousting of the Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) from power, some U.S. leaders, starting with President Barack Obama and later joined by Republican Senator John McCain, expressed their rejection of the move because they argued it was “directed by the Egyptian military against a democratically elected Government.”

Awkwardly, the United States executive branch, along with some of its supporters in the legislature, sided with the Muslim Brotherhood, known to be hard core Islamists, against a wide coalition of democratic and secular forces which called on the military to help them against what they perceived an oppressive regime. Observers both in the Middle East and in the West have asked how this equation can hold. Why would Obama and McCain end up backing the Ikhwan while the liberals and seculars forces of Egyptian civil society rise against the Brotherhood? The chaos in Washington has several roots but one global fact is clear: U.S. Foreign Policy has lost momentum in the Arab Spring.

Muslim Brotherhood maneuvering

The first waves of the revolution in January 2011 were launched and inspired by secular and reformist youth, as I had projected in my book The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East published in 2010, before the upheavals. The first Facebook page of the “Egyptian Revolution” attracted 85,000 “likes.” Many of these early online supporters hit Tahrir Square and drew up to a million citizens from the middle class, from labor, students, women and minorities. The revolution was the baby of moderate, secular and democratic segments of Egyptian civil society who have never spoken in public or taken action on the streets. Once the U.S. and international community recognized them as peaceful demonstrators, the Muslim Brotherhood rushed in and created their “quarter” inside the Square.

From there on, the Ikhwan maneuvered between the military and the youth, pitting one against the other and taking full advantage of the Obama Administration’s vigorous support. In June 2012, Mohammed Mursi won Egypt’s presidential election. This election was praised as “democratically held” by Washington and Western chanceries. While vastly questioned by the Egyptian opposition, the results were accepted as a democratic fact, internationally. Mursi was “democratically elected” in as much as the opposition was not able to draw any attention from a U.S. influenced Western coalition. The sour reality was more of a Washington endorsement to the Ikhwan, trusting their ability to change towards the better, than a truly popular representation. All observers agreed that half of the Mursi voters were not even members of his party, but were rather simply opposed to the other candidate, a remnant of the Mubarak regime.

Mursi then used the next twelve months to deconstruct every aspect of the democratic achievements of the initial Egyptian revolution. He issued a Presidential “constitutional decree,” modifying the constitutional basic rights of Egyptians with major setbacks for women, minorities and seculars and without consultations with the opposition. On those grounds alone, Mursi has committed a breach in constitutional and human rights of Egyptians. He then attempted to transform the leadership of the Army and security forces into Ikhwan extensions; appointed extremist governors throughout the country, including a member of a terrorist group as a governor of the Luxor district, a target of the group’s terror strikes in 1997. In parallel, the Brotherhood regime allowed Islamist militias to grow across the country and opened a dialogue with al-Qaeda linked groups in Sinai. In foreign policy, Mursi stood against the African campaign against al-Qaeda in Northern Mali; consolidated ties with the ICC-indicted head of Sudan’s regime, General Omar Bashir; hosted terror group Hamas in Cairo, aided the Nahda Party in Tunisia as the latter reduced women’s rights in their country and established cooperation with the Jihadi militias of Libya, one of which was responsible for the Benghazi attack against the U.S. consulate in September 2012. In 2013, Mursi presided over a rally to support the A-Q affiliated al Nusra Front in Syria and backed suicide fatwas issued by his allies.

On the economic level, the Brotherhood regime mismanaged the country’s fledgling finances while at the same time receiving significant funding from the United States, Europe and Qatar. The social disparities already monumental under Mubarak became epic under Mursi.

Read more at Al Arabiya

 

Egypt newspapers celebrate Morsi’s ouster

2013-635085466767124719-712Ahram Online, Thursday 4 Jul 2013:

The streets were roaring with celebratory chants, music and fireworks Wednesday evening, as the army declared its roadmap for Egypt in a televised speech delivered by General Abdel Fatah Said El-Sisi — a roadmap that removed Mohamed Morsi from the position of president of Egypt.

Newspapers Thursday morning echoed the widespread excitement, with headlines and photographs in both the private and public press celebrating Morsi’s ouster. The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party paper did not rejoice, and put forward concerns about the democratic future of the country.

The front page of prominent private paper Al-Masry Al-Youm showcased a large photograph depicting thousands of protestors waving Egyptian flags with fireworks hanging like chandeliers in the sky. The main headline reads “Welcome back, Egypt: Morsi eliminated by the people’s command.” The front page detailed the stream of events and decisions that unfolded Wednesday, including the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, suspending the 2012 constitution, and the emergence of liberal leader Mohamed ElBaradei as a prominent contender to lead a truncated transitional period government that will home in on the security and economy files.

Tahrir newspaper, an independent paper led by prominent dissident writer and TV presenter Ibrahim Eissa, published a full-page photography depicting celebrations in Tahrir Square with a bold red headline that reads, “The People Triumph.” The front page also provides snapshots from last night’s televised army statement drawing a roadmap for Egypt’s transitional period, along with “Dismissing Morsi, appointing Adly Mansour as interim president, suspending the constitution, and gearing up for early presidential elections.”

In a rather uncustomary move, Tahrir printed an English headline at the very top of its front page, meant to address none other than the president of the United States: “It’s a Revolution … Not a Coup, Mr Obama!”

The headline responds to a written statement released by US President Barack Obama Wednesday expressing deep concern at the ouster of Morsi. International news outlets have also been dubbing last night’s events a “coup.”

Al-Youm Al-Sabea also celebrated the deposing of Morsi, leading with the headline “Revolutionary legitimacy triumphs.” The word “legitimacy” has been a source of entertainment for Egyptians following former president Morsi’s Tuesday speech, in which he repeated the word more than 40 times, in reference to his constitutional and presidential legitimacy. The paper cites sources saying that Morsi is now under house arrest, that Brotherhood leaders are under a travel ban, and that the army has assumed control of Maspero (the state television building).

Read more

 

 

The rise and fall of an Egyptian president

In response to millions of Egyptians taking to streets, army and number of political and religious leaders propose roadmap aimed at ending year of unrest

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Friday, July 13, 2012 (Photo: AP)

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Friday, July 13, 2012 (Photo: AP)

By Mary Mourad, Wednesday 3 Jul 2013:

Today’s milestone marks a new phase in the Egyptian revolution, one which many had awaited since Mubarak stepped down in February 2011. The statement, read out by military chief-of-staff Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, describes a roadmap that includes the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, suspending the constitution temporarily, and handing over power to the head of Egypt’s High Constitutional Court.

The roadmap, which various political and religious figures participated in drafting, includes forming a committee for revising the constitution, formation of a council for “national reconciliation,” revising laws for parliamentary elections and holding early presidential elections.

Attendees at the press conference where El-Sisi gave his speech included a number of top military and police officials who sat in two rows on either side of the podium.

They included the Coptic Orthodox patriarch Tawadros II, the grand imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Mohamed ElBaradei, a representative of the Salafist Nour Party, Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, one of the anti-Morsi Rebel campaign’s founders, and a senior judicial figure. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party refused to join the meeting.

The statement was received with enthusiasm and cheers by anti-Morsi protesters to close the first chapter of the Egyptian revolution and mark the end of the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The army took these actions following the massive demonstrations, marches and sit-ins that started on 30 June throughout the country. According to some estimates, as many as 17 million Egyptians took to the streets.

The historically unprecedented turnout shook the country and was expected to cause pressure on the presidency. Limited violence erupted leaving 34 dead and a few hundred injured, but no massive or organised violence erupted.

The army was the first to come out with a statement on Monday, 1 July giving a 48-hour ultimatum for political forces to come together to “fulfil the people’s demands” or the army would present a roadmap for the country including all political currents. The police followed suit to announce that they were siding with the Egyptian people and protecting protestors.

Read more at Ahramonline

 

 

Blow to Radical Islam Worldwide if U.S. Tells Morsi to Go

An anti-Morsi poster and protester. (Photo: © Reuters)

An anti-Morsi poster and protester. (Photo: © Reuters)

By Tawfik Hamid:

After one year of Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi’s presidency, millions  of Egyptians-in an unprecedented scene-poured into the streets of Cairo to say NO to Political Islam. This is probably the first time since 9/11 that Egyptians have dared to publicly reject Political and Radical Islam in such huge numbers.

U.S. support for Mohammed Morsi now appears to be pointless as the vast majority of  the population is turning against him. It would seem his collapse is inevitable.

Any attempt by the US to push the military to support Morsi is a form of suicide for the military as literally tens of millions are turning against him, while only tens of thousands are remaining loyal. Additionally, the Egyptian military-which has the support of more than 80% of Egyptians, according to recent surveys-is people-based and not sectarian. This simply means that the military itself may collapse if does not reject Morsi. And if that were to happen, the US would lose the ONLY ally in the country that can protect the Suez Canal and respect the peace treaty with Israel.

Some may argue that the US needs to support the ballot results. On the surface this may seem reasonable. But is the principle of democratic elections more important than the democratic values it is designed to protect? Are election results more important than such democratic values such as respect for minorities, equality of citizens, and the rule of law? President Morsi has made a mockery of these basic values.

Read more at The Clarion Project

For live updates follow: