The continuous bad news, good news story in Egypt

Watching Egypt is like watching professional wrestling, you never quite know who is good and who is bad and there is never a solution. Photo: Egypt Defense Minister,Abdul-Fattah al-Sissi Photo: AP

CHARLOTTEJuly 15, 2013 — Egypt is so confusing these days that even the Egyptians may not understand what is happening. There seems to be good news and bad news coming out of Cairo on a daily, if not hourly basis, but the internal political turmoil has muddied the situation to an incomprehensible level.

It all seemed so simple when Egyptian President Morsi was overthrown by the military, which was a major blow to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.


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Morsi was out and the military, which receives most of the American financial aid, was in. By some estimates the protests were the largest political demonstrations in history, but they were perceived as a good thing because the military regards itself as Egypt’s protector. It is supposedly the fire-wall between democracy and chaos.

The bad news is that Morsi’s hand-picked Defense Minister, General Abdul-Fattah al-Sissi to be his top military official. In the process, though the military swings one way, the head man goes the other. He is said to be an Islamist who, according to an Egyptian military expert is “known inside the military for being a Muslim Brother in the closet.”

The MB denies al-Sissi is a member, but outsiders say the Brotherhood is an ideology that does not require membership to believe its tenets.

The good news, however, is that the size and scope of the demonstrations in Egypt were so vast that al-Sissi was forced to respond in favor of the military or the violence would have become uncontrollable.

Some sources also claim that al-Sissi was unhappy with Morsi’s performance, so despite being an Islamist, he wanted Morsi to go.

There is more bad news though. Ahrim Onilne summarizes the declaration of Article of the new constitutions as saying “the Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic system based on citizenship, that Islam is the religion of the state, Arabic is the official language and the principles of sharia law derived from established Sunni canons are its main source of legislation.”

The key phrase being “sharia law,” which has caused much of the unrest.

Not to worry. There is still good news. In the past few days several Al-Jazeera employees, including some reporters and anchors, have submitted their resignations to protest bias by the network in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This is significant because it is a major tear in the Islamist playbook to go against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood with pro-democracy desires of the people. Posters condemning Al-Jazeera and its editorial philosophy are widespread throughout Egypt.

It appears this is the first time since the fall of the Twin Towers in New York that Muslims themselves are protesting against Islamist ideologies as well. Until now, the sound of silence was overwhelming. Suddenly, a major Arabic news network, Al-Jazeera, is feeling the wrath.

Meanwhile, the bad news continues. Despite being Ramadan, the “religion of peace” always has its violent moments. The Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, issued numerous tweets over the weekend to announce the breaking of the fast since they were in the “state of jihad” and there would soon be a battle for Egypt.

Of course “state of jihad” is a relative term. When is the Middle East NOT in the “state of jihad?” In essence, Ramadan has no meaning if it can be justified that there is a need for an uprising. Nowhere in the world is there ever a greater need at any given time for a good old fashioned donnybrook.

Badie compares the Morsi coup in Egypt with Mohammad’s Battle of Badr in 624, which also took place during Ramadan. The prophet prevailed though greatly outnumbered, and it was this victory that led him to believe Allah was on the side of Islam. Had it gone the other way, Islam might not even exist today.

All of which creates muddy news. The fourteen century struggle for survival continues where good is sometimes bad and bad is sometimes good, but there never seems to be a solution.

Recent polls showed a large majority of Egyptians support sharia law, but the demonstrations either indicate a change in those beliefs or that the polls are wrong.

Does al-Sissi permit a legitimate democratic process to take place where the people ultimately vote on the desire for a new draft constitution? Is al-Sissi an Islamist or is he changing to side with his own military?

In the end, if elections are held, and the Islamists prevail, as they have in other Middle Eastern countries, then the bloodshed and violence in Egypt will largely have been much ado about nothing.

And the not-so-good-not-so-bad news for the moment is that it is impossible to tell which way the pendulum will swing.

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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

 

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