“Believe those who seek the truth but doubt those who find it”
I know everyone is curious and anxious about what I will say about the current situation in my Egypt these days but I need first to talk about the reasons that lead to June 30th.
What led to the quick fall of the Muslim Brotherhood after only one year in power while they had been 80 years in operation?
During the presidential campaign in 2012, I wasn’t convinced by any of the running candidates, as I wrote about at the beginning of the elections.
When Mohamed Morsi won the elections by almost 52% he showed up at Tahrir Square with no bulletproof vest depitcting himself as a hero who will save my Egypt and bring our dreams to reality. So I told myself, like millions of Egyptians, let’s give the hero and his Brotherhood a chance since they have been oppressed, hunted down and imprisoned all these years by every regime that ruled my Egypt.
Therefore, logically, and with some common sense, the Muslim Brotherhood will do the total opposite to what happened to them and make a better Egypt.
Add to this the Brotherhood’s strength as a supposedly well-organized Islamist organization which owned a wide network of charitable organizations throughout my Egypt that served them well when they were the underdog and helped them to win the majority of the post revolution parliament seats, which were dissolved by the constitutional court later in June the same year.
The Brotherhood didn’t learn their lesson from the parliament dissolving signaling that the military, along with the justice system, were in control and it would be better not be defined or challenged.
Once the Brotherhood took charge and became officially elected, Morsi promised a so-called 100-days program to work and eliminate certain issues. So I waited patiently for the 3 months to pass then start judging Morsi`s promises and credibility. Then Morsi showed his true face along with his Brotherhood of heroes, on the eve of the 100 days, which happened to be the 39th anniversary of the October war. Morsi entered a packed Cairo Stadium in an open vehicle, saluting the crowd marked by the unmistakable presence and cheers of the MB members and with the equal absence of all the leading military figures from the October 6 War itself.Then the big shocking scene ensued with the presence of Islamists at the ceremony whose names were closely associated with the assassination of President Sadat on October 6th 1981!!
That day I realized how naïve we were and how much of zeroes the MB was.
Then, the next month, on Thursday the 22nd of November, Morsi issued a decree, which sacked the state prosecutor. The agonizing shock following was that Morsi awarded himself absolute powers with the protection of all his presidential decisions from any judicial review or accountability. Sadly I was right when I predicted after the October 6th speech that the MB was just creating a dictator who would only serve them their greed for power, which was bound to divide the country.
Add to this the pure arrogance that suddenly emerged towards the rest of the political parties or groups and opposition, even those who were their allies and backed them during the elections, such as their former biggest ally the Salafist party “AlNour”.
The MB was so distracted by working only on a sole mission during their year of power to place their loyal members into all the key positions in the country’s institutions without the need of any qualifications for the position, the one and only qualification needed was loyalty to the zeroes.
As for their foreign policy and diplomacy, it was a complete failure and a real disaster, showing it was in an amateur hour of diplomacy. Morsi took a series of missteps in his dealings with Algeria, Jordan, and Iraq, but the decisive amateur hour was cutting relations with Syria. It did not put any pressure on the Assad regime or even help the opposition in any way.
Morsi announced he was severing relations with Assad’s regime in June 2013, just weeks before his ouster. To many people, this decision was a mistake, deepening sectarian divisions and revealing short-sighted policy at a moment when unity was the key.
The Syria move came after an equally misguided diplomatic incident involving Ethiopia’s decision to begin construction on its Nile Renaissance Dam, which would damage my Egypt’s annual water supply.
But the biggest hit of all regarding foreign policy and crisis management was the unintentionally televised private meeting of Morsi’s advisers regarding the Ethiopian situation, during which military actions were proposed against the Ethiopian dam. Even though Egypt’s stand on the dam was politically and legally correct, being caught on TV having a presidential meeting that suggested the threat to incite unrest in Ethiopia and its neighboring African states gave Ethiopia all it needed to successfully use this to garner support from African countries.
But, in the sense of fairness I must also say that along with these countless failures, another critical problem Morsi’s regime faced upon coming to power was the opposition of the deep state, which consisted of the elites that ruled the country during the Mubarak regime (1981-2011) and continued to control the bureaucracy, the police, the armed forces, and the court system during Morsi’s year in power. With few exceptions, most members of the old regime kept their jobs following the revolution. The members of this deep state often ignored Morsi’s policies because they knew how focused the MB was on assuming all power and key positions, which caused further economic and political challenges for a nation that was already torn apart by revolution, and which would in turn lead to another one.
The Brotherhood’s year in power, to put it simply, was mixed by diplomatic incompetence, economic mismanagement, and a stubborn refusal to compromise with other political factions.