Egypt Referendum.. Scenarios of the Brotherhood after June’s Victory!

20 - Jan - 2014

The Egyptian people have restored the electoral legitimacy from those who put it first, as true legitimacy lies always with the people, not the ballot boxes!

It seems that the hope the Brotherhood Group might review its positions is a futile one. Moreover, it is more likely that the Group will turn into violent Jihadist cells! Jihadist organizations emerged in similar situations of conflict with the ruling regimes. This scenario is more likely now in light of the fact that the Group is controlled by hawks (followers of Sayed Qotb – the Group’s violent thinker), at the expense of the more reasonable pigeons!

The big turnout of the Egyptian people to cast their votes on the new Constitution in January 14th, 15th, 2014, is a new victory both on the popularity and politics levels for the course of June 30th Revolution. Again the Egyptian people have expressed their strong presence despite attempts by followers of the deposed president Mohamed Morsi to monopolize legitimacy and to dub June 30 revolution as a military coup. Again the majority of Egyptians proved June 30th to be a complete popular revolution, just like Jan. 25th, 2011, where the people unified ranks with the state’s institutions to build a new regime. After demonstrating their free will by taking massively to the streets in June 30th, July 3rd, the Egyptians lined up massively to cast their votes, in the first step of the roadmap agreed on by all parties, except the Brotherhood Group!

The turnout in the Jan. Referendum is the highest ever in Egyptian history and the scene of voters massing to cast their votes bypassed any individual party, group or political trend. Support for the constitution was not monopolized by one single party or group. Egyptians massively voted in favor of stability and the July 3rd roadmap. This scene makes us resent questions by some about the role played certain powers such as the Salafist Al-Nour Party, whose leaders participated in rallying for the referendum. However, when the masses dominate the scene, it becomes extremely difficult to distinguish one party or movement from the other. Therefore, the decision by opponents to the roadmap to boycott the process instead of rallying for a “No” vote, was indeed a smart decision. They powers even tried to stop the voting process itself in some areas. Why? Because they know that once the critical mass of Egyptians decided to participate and support the roadmap, case closed!

The referendum was carried out under full judiciary supervision and the whole process was transparent, according to testimonies and statements by the various civil rights societies. Therefore, the overwhelming “Yes” vote is yet another testimony that June 30th was nothing less than a full-fledged popular revolution and a final bullet at the so-called popularity of the Brotherhood Group among Egyptians. The question now is: Will the Group review its positions and literature seeking inside reform? Or will they – as it so seems so far – continue their current path of making enemies with the rest of the Egyptian people?! Following the December 25th decision by the government that dubbed the Group a terrorist one, the turnout and results of the referendum stripped the Group from the legitimacy of ballot boxes! However, the Group seems to be blinded by its own arrogance and insists on walking the path of doom till its inevitable end, as long as it continues to claim monopolization of legitimacy at the expense of the state, Al-Azhar, the Church and now the people!!

Emphasize of the Popular Revolution:

We see the popular scene to be the most prominent mark of success for the post June 30 state and the roadmap that continues its path with utmost success. This scene refutes allegations by the Group and its allies – inside and outside Egypt – that June 30 was a military coup. This scene takes the state of Egypt into a new era of stability and legitimacy. It also puts an end to a number of sayings by June 30 opponents, on top of which come the legitimacy of ballot boxes, which has now moved to the side of the state once again with the blessing of the massive turnout and the overwhelming “Yes” vote! Now, the people of Egypt proved once again that they and only they are the sole owners of legitimacy, be it through massive rallies or through ballot boxes, declaring it aloud that this is “the people’s choice”!

The results of the referendum make it a must for Morsi’s supporters at home and their regional allies to reconsider their positions and give in to the popular will. This message has been expressed by the current authority in Egypt several times, but it always fell into deaf ears by the opponents. It is now important to once again recall the fact the popularity of June 30 was only too clear and obvious to deny, according to statements by some leaders of the Group itself. Back then, the objections of those rational leaders were revolving around the way Morsi was deposed. Yet, the roadmap was supported by Islamists notably Al-Nour Salafist party and Strong Egypt Party, despite their reservations on some steps of the roadmap later. In the same evasive way Morsi issued his December 6th decree, aborting the catastrophic dictatorial presidential decree of November 21st , 2012 but keeping its corrupt consequences, the Group seems to be taking the same path! They want to declare their recognition of June 30 revolution, but still reject its results!!

Fall of Military Coup Claims:

The main logic of Morsi’s supporters, in their violent clashes with the state and the people of Egypt since June 30, depended on the claim that what happened in June and July was nothing but a military coup!

The roadmap declared on July 3rd was not a military seizure of power. It was rather the ONLY way-out of the Egyptian political crisis created by Morsi and his Group. Morsi had threatened the people; either he remains in power or blood paths and civil fighting will be the only result of his removal! By that, the man has exposed himself and his group. The only goal was not the achievement of Jan. 25th Revolution targets, but it was to move the authority completely to his Group. This situation kept repeating itself in several occasions and the same could be detected in even positions by global powers regarding Morsi. For example, US President Obama in Juky 2nd stated that Morsi was a democratically elected president refusing his ousting. But last September, Obama reviewed his statement saying that Morsi came to power through democracy but he (Morsi) did act as a democratic ruler and did not listen to demands by his people!!

Those who ignore the massive popular gatherings and rallies against Morsi on June 30 and even months before, alleging it was a military coup, do not want to see the truth or facts on the ground. The Military Council did not seize power in Egypt. It actually tried to avoid politics, and called since December 2012 for a political solution, but Morsi rejected their calls and insisted on the confrontational path with all parties and eventually the Egyptian people themselves. The soft interference of the military in the political scene in Egypt came only to defuse a bomb before exploding and destroying Egypt as a state! The military council exhausted all means to avoid deposing Morsi, but Morsi and his Group seemed intent on “taking all or losing all”!

The position of the Egyptian military in June 30 was the same position of Jan. 2011; protection of the popular will no more no less! However, the more attempts to destroy the state and institutions the more the army gets involved in the political scene and the more legitimacy it gains. This is a fact beyond doubt or argument. It is of utmost concern now, however, that in case of increasing the terrorist attacks in the coming short run, the security solutions and treatment will top the agenda of authorities and sideline other solutions, making the stay of democratic course more difficult!

The legitimacy of ballot boxes was the last argument by Morsi’s supporters and their allies. It has also been used as a rational by the terrorist Ansra Beit Al-Maqdis organization to defend their operations in Sinai and even within the depth of Egypt! But after the referendum, that legitimacy has now been restored by the people and given to the current authority, insisting on kicking the Brotherhood Group out of the political scene!

Ignoring the Nature of Egyptians:

 Several Egyptian historians or activists ignore, intentionally or unintentionally, the big effect of the Tunisian revolution and the escape of former president Bin Ali on June 14, 2011, on the Egyptian revolution. The Egyptian mood insisted on copying the events in Tunisia, even copying the slogans. The same situation is repeated in Egypt nowadays, as many ignore the Egyptian nature that rejects fundamentalism, sectarianism and violence. The three elements hated by Egyptian represent the pillars of policies and speeches by the anti-June 30 powers, notably the Brotherhood Group! The same sectarian, fundamentalist and violent tactics have been used by the Brotherhood up to the moment of the current referendum!

In addition, the anti-June 30 speech insisted on targeting the social and religious components of the Egyptian society, starting with Al-Azhar and the Church, clashing with the Suphist trends, Salafist movements and ending with other religious symbols. This has led to popular rejection of the Brotherhood and its allies, diminishing their popularity among Egyptians.

Another factor that deepened the crisis of the anti-June 30 powers was present in their attempts to cause cracks in the wall of trust between the civil and military components of the Egyptian society, despite the clear harmony between the Brotherhood and the first Higher Military Council after the ouster on former president Mubarak! This trend reflects ignorance of the Brotherhood towards the nature of Egyptians. Egyptians have historically trusted military leaders. They have chosen the military commander Muhammad Ali to be their ruler in the beginning of the 19th century. They also consider Colonel Nasser (Jamal Abdul Nasser) a popular leader, not the leader of a military coup. The majority of Egyptians see the military in a positive way, unlike the minority of political activists who hold negative opinions about the military due to fears of despotism and military dictatorship. Those fears ignore the fact that dictatorship is not inclusive to the military nor democracy is inclusive to civil rule!

Within the context of increasing criminal and terrorist activities by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis group in Sinai and some governorates, contradicting the “peaceful banners” Brotherhood students in Al-Azhar and Cairo universities raise, the massive population of Egyptians yearn more and more for stability and security. This trend risks the loss of any remaining popular balance for the Brotherhood unless the Group makes real considerations and revisions of its mechanisms and speeches. So far, over 165 statements by the Group and its allies show nothing but rigid stubbornness and insistence on defying the Egyptian people’s will!

Realities on the Ground vs Symbols of Politics:

The new referendum is considered a new vote of confidence for the state and its institutions in the face of current challenges. It has established a fresh legitimacy for the course of June 30 and its roadmap. This undoubtedly breathes despair among the ranks of Morsi’s followers and forces them to either back down or review their positions and strategies. It also strengthens the current authority and increases the levels of confidence among its ranks to go ahead with the roadmap to fulfill the will of the masses described the military spokesman as “difficult to break by risks and challenges”. The current clashes in the street are now clearly riots by a certain group of people against the state and the majority of the people. This is the sort of legitimacy we hope will push the state in the right direction so as to enable the rule of law.

Despite the bloody nature of the dispersing by police forces of the Brotherhood sit-ins in Al-Nahda and Rabi’ah Squares that led to hundreds of deaths and injuries the fact remains that several warnings have been issued to peacefully end the sit-ins and the Brotherhood insisted on a bloody ending. While 391 demonstrators were killed, 55 policemen also lost their lives. This indicates that Brotherhood demonstrators were actually involved in a violent defiance of the state and its institutions.

In the second half of August 2013, the Brotherhood sought to shift the icon of its rallies from having Morsi as the symbol to having Rabi’ah (4 Fingers in Yellow Background) as the new icon, in a bid to emphasize their fallen legitimacy in the face of June 30 legitimacy! The Brotherhood continued their strategy of raising the military coup flag, trying to employ fears of civil rights activists from military rule in attempts to rally more supporters. However, all their attempts have failed due to many factors, on top of them their own lack of flexibility, which the Brotherhood of Tunisia seems to successfully apply so far!

The Brotherhood failed to stop the popular will from voting in the referendum despite using all they could. They have issued several statements expressing confidence that the turnout will be low. They tried playing on the sectarian song by propagating that only Christians will vote! They attempted to slander all political powers participating in drafting the constitutional amendments. They pushed their followers to rally and confront voters to stop them from casting ballots even by force. But all these tactics failed and the turnout was massive, even historic to emphasize the fact that June 30 is nothing short of a popular revolution, intent of restoring democracy the Brotherhood tried to use only as a means to an end!!

Scenarios of Brotherhood and Violence:

After the failure of “military coup claims” politically and constitutionally and the establishment of the constitutional legitimacy of June 30, chairman of Al-Nour Party Younis Makhyoun believes that the massive turnout “refutes claims by violent demonstrators who say they protect legitimacy”. He further asserts that adopting the constitutional amendments with the overwhelming Yes vote transfers the country to an era of constitutional legitimacy supported by the people’s will, following which Egyptians should move on to complete building the state’s institutions on a democratic basis”. Others, however, expect a surge in violent operations by the Group after the referendum, as the move has blown the Brotherhood a knockout. Some Brotherhood members tried to burn the ballot boxes in Giza.

While several political leaders call for reconciliation following the important step of the referendum, as was the case before even by some members of the current government, representatives of the so-called the Alliance for the Support of Legitimacy (Brotherhood and their allies) still insist on staying their course! The representative of the church in the Constitutional Committee welcomed any reconciliation moves with the Brotherhood, on the condition that the Group acknowledges the mistakes committed and apologizes to the people for them. But the Brotherhood insists on not only rejecting the apology/acknowledgement move, but also on continuing to defy the state using the military coup allegation as an excuse. Moreover, while the group says its members are peaceful, events of violence still exist in their rallies and they have even burned down headquarters of Al-Nour Party in some governorates before and during the constitutional referendum. They also continue to attack police stations and other institutions in ways that are dubbed as terrorist actions, even though the Group refuses the “terror” accusations!

A member of the so-called the Alliance for the Support of Legitimacy stated: “The Brotherhood Group will not resort to violence and we do not want to destroy the roadmap using illegal or terrorist methods as some claim, but we will resort to peaceful rallies and reject the constitution through boycotting the referendum to express our opposition and our right to restore legitimacy.” He added: “Violence in the street is not created by us, but rather by those who stole our legitimacy. Our only demand now is for the Brotherhood to return to ruling the country, and then we consider the next move!” These statements make it crystal clear that the current path of violence will continue and revision of positions is not among the expected moves by the Group. The Group is now run by hard-liners and followers of Sayed Qotb (Bloody thinker of the Group), not by the more reasonable leaders.

This conclusion seems even closer to reality when we realize the clear closeness of the Group’s latest statements to those by Jihadist groups.

It is definite that the violent course by the Group and the useless clash with the state and its institutions will certainly negatively affect the democratic course as it will strengthen the security solutions and strategies more at the expense of the political strategies.

(Published views do not necessarily reflect those of Alarabiya Channel or its institute)



Translated by : Khaled Mamdouh

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