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News Analysis

Morsi Becomes Egypt's 'New Pharaoh'

Sun, November 25, 2012

Ryan Mauro

On November 21, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi was praised for his role in brokering a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. He had positioned himself as the moderate peacemaker worthy of the $1 billion per year the U.S. had given his predecessor. The very next day, he cashed in his good will with an enormous power grab that made him, in the words of one prominent Egyptian, the “new Pharoah.”

It is apparent that the two events are connected. Morsi’s role in the negotiations was not motivated by a desire for everlasting peace between Israel and Hamas. After all, Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and so they share the same goals, such as the elimination of Israel. Morsi and the Brotherhood did not condemn the firing of a single rocket before or during Operation Pillar of Defense. Once it began, Morsi threatened Israel and sided with Hamas.

The ceasefire was the product of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political strategy. Morsi won the admiration of the West without betraying his ideology or his Hamas comrades. His political success in Egypt is dependent upon improving the economy and foreign aid can help him, such as the $6.4 billion package promised by the European Union just before the fighting began. Even more importantly, Morsi sought to convince the West that he’s such a valuable partner that we must turn away as he transforms Egypt into a Sharia state. Morsi dramatically expanded his power grab as his importance was fresh in the minds of Western policymakers.

Already, Morsi had strengthened his grip over the government, media, military and free speech. Morsi went much further by declaring that none of his rulings can be challenged until there is a new constitution and parliament. He declared that the Supreme Constitutional Court could not dissolve the Islamist-stacked committee drafting the next constitution that institutes Sharia as the law of the land. He also fired the country’s top prosecutor-general that was a holdover from Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi contended that the expansion of his power is necessary to defeat a conspiracy by former elements of the Mubarak regime that are stifling democratic reform. The government-controlled media called it a “corrective revolution.” In an example of the “freedom” that Islamists believe in, those who phoned into the state radio station agreed with Morsi. He also tried to minimize blowback by promising $5,000 to the families of those killed during the revolution and $3,333 to all who were injured.

The former director of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed El-Baradei, tweeted, “Morsi today usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh.” El-Baradei’s statement is significant because he used to have a friendly relationship with the Brotherhood. One of Morsi’s Coptic Christian aides resigned.

On Friday, hundreds of thousands of protesters assembled in Tahrir Square in immediate reaction to Morsi’s announcement. The Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Alexandra, Port Said, Suez and Ismailia were attacked by demonstrators. Clashes were also reported in Cairo, Alexandria and Giza. The independent newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm’s front page story was that Morsi had become a "temporary dictator."

“This is a crime against Egypt ant a declaration of the end of [the] January revolution to serve the interest of the Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship. The revolution is over and the new dictator has killed her. His next step is to throw Egypt in prison,” said the chief editor of Al-Tahrir, Ibrahim Eissa.

The United Nations and European Union criticized the power grab. The U.S. had a lighter tone, saying it “raises concerns for many Egyptians and the international community.” It called for “calm” and “all parties to work together.”

For Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the ceasefire was just a tool for its Islamist agenda.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.


See ClarionProject.org's related article Morsi Following Khomeini’s Gameplan