On the likelihood of an Islamist retaliation if Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi
is forced out of power, the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto says it all: “Allah is
our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is
our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
The BBC quoted a
senior official of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Muhammad
al-Beltagi, as stating on Facebook that “preventing this coup may call for
Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz
Freedom Center and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum, told The
Jerusalem Post that “the Islamists are not going down without a fight, probably
a bloody one, replete with terrorist attacks.
“For almost a century the
party has been dreaming about gaining the reins of power, and now that they have
it,” he said, “I cannot foresee them leaving the way Mubarak did.”
by the Post if he saw Morsi removing defense minister and commander of the
Egyptian armed forces Abel-Fattah el-Sisi, Ibrahim responded that it would not
be as easy as it had been with the former commander, Muhammad Hussein Tantawi.
In any case, he said that various sources pointed out that Tantawi’s removal was
unlikely to have happened without US support.
Prof. Yoram Meital,
chairman of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy at
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, told the Post that the most important element of this new chapter in the Egyptian revolution is the power of
The youth were responsible for removing former president
Mubarak from power in 2011 and they also brought Morsi to power in the
And now, they are playing the main role in the
opposition protests against Morsi.
“It was not accidental that the army
deadline only referred to one group, the youth,” said Meital.
officers of the army supported the opposition from the very beginning of the
protests, according to Meital. However, he does not see the army wishing to run
the country as it did immediately after Mubarak left power. The army thus is
“searching for a different model,” he said.
Meital predicts that the army
will announce a road map for a transition, and Morsi will be left with two
choices. First, he may have no choice but to resign; second, he could refuse to
leave, which would lead to “a very severe escalation by the
The Muslim Brotherhood, however, is not as united as it may
seem, said Meital, with some talking about a political solution and others – who
have been more vocal – threatening that they will not allow the legitimacy of
the president to be taken away.
Prof. Hillel Frisch of the Begin- Sadat
Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University suggested to the Post that
the US should play the role of broker. If there is no deal, he says, the army
will take over and drive the Islamists from power, creating a strong backlash.
It is not in Israel’s interest for the army to be weakened.
believes that while the officer class in Egypt is highly united, he is not sure
whether the foot soldiers will follow them in suppressing the
“Islamists could paralyze the country with demonstrations,” he
Asked if the US should in fact be supporting the opposition, Frisch
responded that he does not think imposing the opposition into power would be a
successful solution. Morsi was democratically elected and his supporters “will
feel wronged and will put up a fight.”