The Brotherhood vs. Suleiman

Egypt's parliament voted yesterday to amend the law on political participation to ban high-ranking members of the former regime from running in the presidential elections. The amendment would disqualify Omar Suleiman and Ahmad Shafiq, but will certainly be challenged in court.

Today the Muslim Brotherhood has called for a "Defending the Revolution" rally in Tahrir that is really a protest against Suleiman's candidacy. Many youth and protest groups are not participating, though -- they're holding their own rally later this month. The MB is reaping the mistrust it has sowed over the last year. They didn't seem to think the revolution needed any defending when kids were getting maimed and shot and young women dragged across the ground and jumped up and down on by soldiers earlier this year.  

Meanwhile, Suleiman (cleaving to the criticism of the "Brother Muslimhood" he's made since the first days of last year's uprising) tells Al Ahram newspaper that the MB has high-jacked the revolution and that all they want is "revenge and to burn down the country."

Suleiman mentions what a challenge it was to gather the necessary 30,000 notarized signatures in 11 hours, something I've wondered about myself -- how did he get so many signatures so quickly? (with a little cooperation from the army, the police and some generous backers?)

A few other points:

He says Egyptians society used to be "closed and organized and to discuss things calmly" and that it has never been as divided as it is now, and says he is entering the race to restore order. 

He says religious organizations like the Brotherhood need to be regulated so Egypt doesn't turn into a religious regime like Pakistan or Afghanistan that is targeted by the international community. 

The former intelligence chief promises (threatens?) to reveal many secrets to the public soon. He confirms the assassination attempt on him on January 30 2011 -- apparently unknown assailants tried to gun him down in the street in Heliopolis. He describes them as "terrorists" but says he has no details as to who they were. 

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Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.