I never expected the international media to be so enthralled with the revolutionary activities Egypt is expected to witness on June 30. Will Egypt write a new chapter in the history of nations and peoples on that day? As former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said after the January 25 revolution: “There is nothing new in Egypt. The Egyptians are rewriting history as usual.”
Everything has a beginning, and the Egyptian revolution began in a British style. Great Britain occupied large parts of the world before it began to withdraw gradually. Before pulling out of any country, Britain used to leave behind a problem or plant seeds of dissension in that place. This is exactly what happened in Egypt on 11 February 2011 when President Hosni Mubarak announced that he was stepping down.
Mubarak’s resignation address, which was drafted by Vice President Omar Sulaiman and Minister of Defense Field Marshal Mohammed Hussain Tantawi, contained the seeds of dissension. The last section of the resignation message said that the Supreme Military Council would run the affairs of the country. This was the phrase that caused all the trouble which Egypt is now witnessing.
The 1971 constitution which governed the country at that time stipulated that when the position of the president became vacant for any reason, power would automatically go to the speaker of the People’s Council (parliament).
If there was no parliament, the chief of the Supreme Constitutional Court would take over to prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections within 60 days.
What happened? Egypt drowned
This did not happen. Egypt was drowned in a whirlpool of legal opinions and counter opinions. Each one of the political parties tried to grab power which simply meant stealing the January 25 revolution.
Regretfully, foreign intervention began to make its way to Egypt specifically from the United States. America had close relations with some Muslim Brotherhood leaders, and when the U.S. was certain that its former ally Mubarak was finished, it began work to bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power hoping that they would adopt the Turkish model of government.
Parliamentary elections were held, and the Muslim Brothers won almost all of the seats through rigging and through the use of force. Complaints poured into the courts. Presidential elections followed, and America’s intervention became larger and more apparent. The U.S. forced the High Elections Committee and Field Marshal Tantawi, chairman of the Supreme Military Council, to announce that Dr. Mohamed Mursi had won the elections although his opponent Gen. Ahmed Shafiq had obtained the majority of the votes. For this reason the announcement of the election results had to be delayed by two days during which time the former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Cairo.
After considering the lawsuits, the judiciary was certain that the elections were rigged and so they were declared unconstitutional. The judiciary issued a ruling to dissolve the People’s Council and supported the decision of the Supreme Constitutional Court regarding the illegitimacy of the law governing the elections.
With this and with the inability of the Muslim Brotherhood to rule, things began to fall apart and the country’s security faltered. Sinai became a bastion of terrorism, and the economy went down the drain. The government was unable to meet the basic requirements of the people including water, electricity and fuel. This is in addition to its diplomatic failure to deal with international issues with have a direct impact on Egypt’s safety and territorial integrity.
The Egyptian people had no other option but to call for early presidential elections, and they therefore decided to call for massive demonstrations on June 30 which coincides with the first anniversary of Mursi’s rule. The Muslim Brotherhood has thus succeeded in splitting the Egyptian people into two unreconcilable groups.
The Muslim Brotherhood has thus succeeded in splitting the Egyptian people into two unreconcilable groups.Hassan Tahsin
However, the situation does not end here. The appellate court of Ismailia exploded a bomb on June 23 when it issued a ruling asking the prosecution to seek the help of Interpol in arresting a number of prisoners who had escaped from a major prison during the havoc which accompanied the revolution of January 25. The renegades include the incumbent president Mohammed Mursi!
The judge made this ruling while considering the case of the prisoners who escaped from the notorious Wadi Al-Natrun prison.
According to the judge the escapees were: Sami Shihab and Ayman Noufal of Hezbollah, Mohammed Mohammed Al-Hadi who was said to be a member of Hamas and Ramzi Mowafi who was believed to be the leader of al-Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula.
The judge asked the prosecution to make an in-depth investigation of the case. He said the court had heard a number of witnesses who spoke about a criminal plot by some elements of Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood to break into prisons and smuggle out prisoners.
The great escape from Wadi Al-Natrun prison took place on 29 January 2011 when security was lax during the days of the revolution.
A total of 234 out of 430 prisoners were able to escape. They included 34 members of the Muslim Brotherhood of whom seven were members of the Guidance Office which is the supreme leadership of the movement. At the top of the list of the seven leaders were President Mohamed Mursi and Dr. Saad Al-Katatni who was the first speaker of the dissolved parliament and the chairman of the Freedom and Justice party which represents the Muslim Brotherhood.
Therefore under the law, the position of the president of the republic should be declared vacant because its holder is a condemned escapee. This is what the masses will call for on June 30.
I am not optimistic about the gloomy political situation in Egypt these days. I do not totally dismiss the possibility of a bloody confrontation between the Muslim Brotherhood and other political groups. I think the situation is very complicated. This is why the Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi said: “The army will not keep silent while the country is sliding into a confrontation that is difficult to control.” I consider the intervention of the army to be the ideal solution.
This article was first published in The Saudi Gazette on June 27, 2013.
Hassan Tahsin is a veteran Egyptian writer and a regular contributor to pan-Arab newspapers, including the Saudi Gazette. His writing focuses on Middle East conflicts. Tahsin’s political analysis particularly centers on Arab-Israeli relations on a regional level, and Egypt’s domestic and foreign policies, including ties with the Western world. Tahsin can be reached at [email protected]