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  Middle East & Africa
Letters from Tokyo
Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood: President Mursi under Pressure from National Salvation Front
By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent
President Mursi of Egypt

The internal political crisis in Egypt is showing no signs of abating under the leadership of President Mursi (Morsi). Instead, this nation goes from one political crisis to another and this is followed by further economic pressure on the central state. Despite this, it is apparent that the Obama administration in America, which was quick to condemn Hosni Mubarak, is much more reluctant to condemn Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood agenda.

In the past the nation of Egypt with its sizeable population appeared to be a powerful nation state within the Arabic speaking world. However, today this nation continues to seek economic support and lifelines from America, the European Union and from Gulf nations. Indeed, it is difficult to see the progressive power dynamics of this nation because it is being trampled on by Islamist power projections which seek to control the central state. Yet, in order to do this Egypt is becoming more of a pawn to other nations because nothing new is being provided to restore economic stability, order, and fresh hope. Instead, greater economic reliance is needed to prop up the nation state and America continues to pull many military strings.

General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and other military leaders are worried about the continuing political convulsions since the demise of Mubarak. In the last few days more than 56 Egyptians have been killed in unrest. Also, the state of emergency under Mursi will not ease political tensions in the long-term. Instead, a clampdown by the military will only lead to further divisions within Egypt because this nation is now in a vicious circle.

Ismailia, Port Said and Suez are all very volatile at the moment because these three areas have witnessed the worst of the mass discontent in the last few days. However, political discontent exists throughout all major cities in Egypt. Therefore the populace is not scared to show its displeasure towards the current government despite the severe consequences.

General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi stated that “The continuing conflict between political forces and their differences concerning the management of the country could lead to a collapse of the state and threaten future generations.”

He further stated that the current discontent is “a real threat to the security of Egypt and the cohesiveness of the Egyptian state.” However, with this individual being appointed by Mursi then clearly many Egyptian nationals may believe that he is tainted. After all, many Egyptians are extremely worried by the Islamist agenda under Mursi and what the future holds for this nation – which is becoming over reliant on major economic powers.

The two sparks that triggered the latest events are the second anniversary of the start of the uprising against Mubarak – and after death sentences were given to football supporters who were deemed to be involved in deadly clashes – both events happened in a short space of time. Yet this reality highlights the vulnerability of Egypt because more protesters have joined the fray based on their political opposition to the rule of Mursi. It is this vulnerability which is most alarming because you have no signs of stability within the political fabric of society. This in turn is creating more pressure on the economy and creating more divisions within this nation.

Roger Cohen commented in the New York Times that “Perhaps the most radical change in U.S. foreign policy under President Obama has occurred here in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood, long shunned as a collection of dangerous Islamist extremists, is now the de facto object of American support….. Not only that: Ultraconservative Salafist politicians, who make the Brotherhood seem like moderate pragmatists, are now regular visitors to the U.S. Embassy and, on the theory that it is better to have them inside the tent than out, they are able to visit the United States to learn how things work in the land of Jeffersonian democracy.”

This reality isn’t helping because since the demise of Mubarak it appears that Egypt is being entangled even more deeply into “the Washington web” based on economic and military factors. At the same time, the Islamist agenda of Mursi is a real concern for many Egyptian nationals. After all, where is “freedom,” “prosperity” and “self independence” in the new Egypt? Equally alarming, is that more militant Salafi Islamists are waiting in the wings and this factor bodes ill for Egypt. After all, it appears that this nation is going to be shackled by inward religious forces and outwardly by foreign nations which can use their growing economic leverages.

Mohammed Saber (65 year old engineer) told AP that “People died to gain their freedom, social justice, bread. Now after 29 years of the despotic Mubarak, we’re ruled by a worse regime: religious fascist, more dangerous.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, a very important political figure within the National Salvation Front, stated that “We have to make sure poor people are able to eat, sick people can find health care, children can get educated, and everyone is treated with dignity.”

He also stated that “I am going to protest on Friday (Jan 25) because we are all Egyptians, not Salafists, not Muslim Brothers, not Copts, not liberals. I am going there to reunite Egyptians and demand a constitution for all Egyptians.”

Since mass demonstrations erupted because of several factors the National Salvation Front stated that“excessive violence used by security forces against protesters” was used and that a “neutral investigative committee (should) be formed to punish those responsible for the bloodshed.”

It certainly appears that the current political instability under Mursi will not go away because the political differences are widening in Egypt. Therefore, this nation will go from one political crisis to another until a political solution can be found – or even worse, the current political framework under Mursi will become even more authoritarian.

The above article was written by Boutros Hussein and Lee Jay Walker.
leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

The above article is from Modern Tokyo Times.
http://moderntokyotimes.com



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Lee Jay Walker serves as Tokyo Correspondent of The Seoul Times. He specializes in int'l relations and geopolitics. He is also involved in analyst work and research on business. After finishing BA degree in East European Studies at the University of London, he earned MA degree in Asia Pacific Studies at Nottingham Trent University. His website is at http://www.leejaywalker.wordpress.com

 

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