Analysis: Sisi determined to stamp out all opposition

After violent crackdown fails to completely neutralize the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the new regime turns to legal action to achieve complete victory, charging Morsi with conspiring with Hamas, Hezbollah.

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December 19, 2013 03:36
2 minute read.
Egypt's Army Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meeting with Russian delegation in Cairo, Nov 14.

General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

 
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Egyptian military chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seeks to put a nail in the coffin of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Sisi has been taking advantage of, and consolidating his powerful position, using the military-backed government to carry out a relentless crackdown on ousted former president Mohamed Morsi’s Brotherhood, which is the country’s main opposition movement.

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Sisi has been throwing the group’s leadership and members in jail and violently breaking up any protests, while continuing to pursue a military campaign against terrorism in Sinai, the upsurge which is believed to be linked to the Brotherhood’s fall from power.

But despite the crackdown, the Brotherhood and its allies have still been able to muster protesters in the streets and universities. This may signal to the country’s leadership that the local organization is still functioning, thus justifying more severe measures.

On Wednesday, Egypt’s public prosecutor charged Morsi and 35 other top Islamists with conspiring with foreign groups to commit terrorist acts in Egypt, in a case that could result in their execution.

Samuel Tadros, a research fellow at the Hudson Institutes’s Center for Religious Freedom, told The Jerusalem Post: “These are certainly wild charges.”

He said there were many contradictions in the allegations, and little that made sense.



“It seems like various bits and pieces were lumped together to create a picture with no attention given to its contradictory details,” he said. “Whether this is part of the new regime’s pressure on the Brotherhood to force concessions, or part of the ongoing propaganda campaign against the Brotherhood, or if they will actually bring such a case to court remains to be seen.”

Zvi Mazel, who served as Israel’s sixth ambassador to Egypt and today is a fellow at The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a contributor to this newspaper, told the Post that there was no doubt that the new regime sought to neutralize the Brotherhood with its legal action.

“On the other hand, there is a basis of truth to the allegations,” he said.

There is evidence that the Brotherhood had connections with Hamas and Hezbollah, Mazel said, adding that there were possibly ties to jihadists in Sinai as well.

Asked if Egypt would execute Morsi or other leaders, Mazel responded that he did not think this would occur, but that it would provide the legal case for their incarceration.

While Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders remain behind bars or on the run, it is not enough for Sisi, who seeks a complete victory over the main opposition movement.

Sisi is not allowing any dissension or leaving anything to chance, going so far as to take one of the country’s most popular comedians off the air for criticizing the government.

Sisi has enjoyed positive media coverage and public support since the July 3 coup that ousted Morsi from power.

In a possible sign that Sisi may make a presidential bid, former presidential candidate Amr Moussa said on Tuesday that he strongly backs him for president.

“If Abdel Fattah al-Sisi refuses to run [for the presidency], we will urge him to do so,” Moussa said, according to a report by Ahram Online.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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