Egypt's Power Struggle
"This council and this constitution will also fail as long as there is no real opposition and no real dialogue, and as long as Morsi is only serving his clan and taking orders from the head office of the Muslim Brotherhood."
Hussein Abdel-Razek, National Salvation Front
“I am telling everyone, do not hate the Muslim Brotherhood so much that you forget Egypt’s best interest.Egyptians generally have less trust now in the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's new president, Mohammed Morsi, since the night of December 6 when Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with a crowd of anti-Morsi protesters and bloody violence erupted. The Brotherhood claims that the ten who died were their supporters did not serve to mollify its critics.
“You can be angry at us and hate us as much as you want; we cannot control affection. But I say to you, be rational. Protect Egypt. Its unity cannot survive what is happening.”
Mohamed Badie, spiritual leader, Muslim Brotherhood.
And yesterday, prior to today's second-tranche vote on the draft constitution, violence again broke out on the streets of the Mediterranean city of Alexandra. It is clear enough that the population is divided on the issue of bringing implementation of Islamic law to Egypt. The extremely low turnout in the previous vote resulting in an anaemic 52% 'yes' will represents a victory, however for the regime.
For over a month now Egypt has been wracked between Islamists and their opponents. The former are encouraged with President Morsi's aggressive moves toward Islamicizing Egypt and the latter are outraged at his crude attempts to monopolize the political-social agenda. Even-handedness and polite courtesies are understandably lacking during this oppositional critical time for Egypt.
It both frustrates and angers Egyptians that their economy remains in a perilous near-collapse state. Without social and political stability there is no moving forward on that critical part of state affairs. The outside world is not anxious to begin investing again in a country that teeters on insurrection. The World Bank is not happy to proffer those anxiously-required bridging loans with an administration that hasn't the courage to raise necessary taxes.
But this is a chicken-and-egg conundrum; with the economy faltering, wide unemployment, tourism near collapse and manufacturing at a standstill, people are suffering financially, and not the least bit amenable to rising taxes they can ill afford. They are more concerned about their daily bread, their cooking oil, their access to health care, itself dismal, like their employment prospects.
The mass rallies comprised of tens of thousands representing either side in the raging debate and resistance to what now appears the inevitable, will ultimately leave a population divided. And that is a Gordian knot that President Morsi, who no longer appears as plausible and steadfast, as courageous and determined as he was once made out to be, with a problem partially of his own ambitious making.
The Brotherhood, after such generations-long patience to attain the place they most desired within Egyptian society at its political helm, appears to have acted too rashly for their own good, for the good of the country. Six months in power has now convinced Egyptians that do not support the Islamists, that they have inherited yet another autocracy, and they much prefer Hosni Mubarak's by comparison.