Morsy role at Syria rally seen as tipping point for Egypt army

That speech was definitely one of Morsi's top five mistakes. 

Army concern about the way President Mohamed Morsy was governing Egypt reached tipping point when the head of state attended a rally packed with hardline fellow Islamists calling for holy war in Syria, military sources said.

At the June 15 rally, Sunni Muslim clerics used the word "infidels" to denounce both the Shi'ites fighting to protect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the non-Islamists that oppose Morsy at home.

Morsy himself called for foreign intervention in Syria against Assad, leading to a veiled rebuke from the army, which issued an apparently bland but sharp-edged statement the next day stressing that its only role was guarding Egypt's borders.

"The armed forces were very alarmed by the Syrian conference at a time the state was going through a major political crisis," said one officer, whose comments reflected remarks made privately by other army staff. He was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to talk to the media.

 

El-Ghobashy on Morsi

Mona El-Ghobashy with some insights on Morsi and the MB's mistake of opting for "elite-level machinations", in the NYT: 

Mr. Morsi and the Brotherhood faced daunting obstacles, said Prof. Mona el-Ghobashy, who teaches political science at Barnard College and studies the Brotherhood. “The first elected president as a product of revolutionary upheaval is already in a hazardous position,” she said. “He was not only the first, but he was elected by the skin of an onion,” she said, with just over 51 percent of the vote.

Mr. Morsi was ill equipped to soothe the nation, a party oligarch who hailed from the “most conservative flank of the most conservative organization,” Professor Ghobashy said. And the Brotherhood, seeking to tighten its grip on power, favored “elite level machinations” — like neutralizing the military — rather than the public and its needs, she said.

“They are old-style politicians. The people are trotted out to give you their vote. Then, ‘Go back home, and let the leaders take care of you,’ ” Professor Ghobashy said. “The newly empowered public, which doesn’t have fixed allegiances to the felool” — the remnants of the old government — “or the Brotherhood, need you to deliver.”

 

"For secular Arabs, these are good time"

Asa'ad Abukhalil aka Angry Arab:

The disaster of the Brotherhood is that they don't have any viable options anymore: if the MB gives up power, they will be exposed for their utter bankruptcy and for failing to deliver on their promises only after one year in power.  And if they stick to power, they will also reinforce the fears and perceptions that they are not truly democratic.  For secular Arabs, these are good times.  Who could have predicted that that the Brotherhood would lose their luster, promise, and credibility after mere months in power?  This is quite amazing.  If the Brotherhood in any Arab country raises the slogan of the "Islamic solution", people know that it has no meaning or promise.  If they raise the slogan of Jihad, people will remember the letter of Morsi to Shimon Peres.  If they speak about the dignity of the ummah, people will remember the cozy relationship between Morsi and the US administration.  There is a window for new groups to emerge now, and the beauty of it all is that the lousy Salafis are tainted along with the MB.

Wishful thinking. Don't write Islamism off just yet, and don't ignore the possibility of the crisis evolving through much more violence.  

In Translation: the Egyptian army's first #june30 decree

Thanks to Geoffrey Aronson for sending me this, translated by Philip Sweigart. Posting here for the record.

General Sisi’s Ultimatum: July 1, 2013
[Begin]
In the name of God, the Compassionate and the Merciful
An announcement from the leadership of the armed forces:
Egypt and the world have seen unprecedented protests, in which the great people of Egypt have filled the streets to express their opinions and desires in a peaceful and civilized way.
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Democrats vs. Liberals or democrats vs. republicans?

Egypt has a dilemma: its politics are dominated by democrats who are not liberals and liberals who are not democrats.

This is a pithy and elegant way to put things that Samer Shehata has used in this NYT op-ed, but I think it's inaccurate. A lot of it depends on how you use the words "democrats" and "liberals". The meaning of democratic is wooly in the age of universal human rights, because it does not always take into account cultural specificities. Many would say that even if fairly elected a government is not democratic if it does not take into account minority rights, gender rights, even gay rights. Likewise "liberals" can't be called liberals if they want to return to the old security state that existed under Mubarak (esp. towards Islamists).

The dilemma facing Egypt is that it's a limited, electoral democracy whereas many want it to be a republic. The difference being that in a republic the individual has guarantees in the context of a socio-political compact, whereas in a democracy the minority has little if any voice. Egypt is formally a republic, and has been since 1956, over several iterations of a compact (one that failed over the 15 years). It might have turned into a more democratic republic after 2011 except the new social compact was left to elections. Because elections are not very accurate indicators of national sentiment (because of variety in electoral systems, the importance of electoral strategy, etc.) and the voting public has still mostly few lasting allegiances in post-revolution Egypt, this was always a bad idea. A lot of people have changed their mind.  

However Egypt comes out of this crisis, hopefully a republican pact — hopefully based around a bill of rights — will form a more stable base for its political system. 

48 hours of bliss, fear and anger – in that order

Nour The Intern writes in with some personal thoughts...

Following the military's earlier-than-expected ultimatum, protesters in Tahrir and elsewhere, and their supporters at home, let out a collective sigh of relief and smiled contentedly. The military had just promised to get rid of Morsi, they just have to stay put for two short days. No one has to die or sleep on the asphalt. All they have to do is wait.

The ultimatum, which people are treating as if it were employment termination letter, gave the channel Al-Kahera Wa Alnas, who already shared Mahmoud Saad's views on the importance of a neutral media - which he summarized last night in two words and a sound: "Huh? What neutrality?" - the courage to rid themselves of the last pretense of it. The channel now has a 4-split screen coverage of protests: three anti-Morsi protests by "the Egyptian people" and one by mere, probably foreign,"regime supporters," topped with a timer counting down the hours to Morsi's ouster.

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