Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi shows his Teeth

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 29, 2012

After a modest attempt to bring opponents together, the Egyptian president turned dictator, Mohamed Morsi and his political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, have opted to shield themselves again against the political crisis gripping the country after he granted himself almost absolute power.

On Wednesday night it emerged that the Brotherhood will accelerate the process of drafting the new constitution to finish on Thursday, a move that will deteriorate even more the relations between Islamist and secular.

As we reported last week, one of the most controversial provisions in the constitutional declaration was Morsi’s shielding of the Constituent Assembly against a possible dissolution by the Constitutional Court. The Court was expected to rule on the legality of the committee, now dominated by Islamists, beginning next December 2. Secular forces had withdrawn from the Assembly, hoping that it could lead to a new more balanced committee.

The process of drafting the new constitution began almost six months ago, and had entered its final phase in October. In fact, several drafts have already been published, and the time has come to decide the content of several of the most sensitive items. The President of the Assembly, Hossan al Geriany reported Wednesday that the next day there would be a final vote of each of the 200 items.

“The decision to accelerate the vote will only serve to add fuel to the fire,” said Mohamed Abdel-Alim Dawoud to the Al Ahram newspaper. Dawoud is a member of the historic Wafd party, and one of the representatives of the Constituent Assembly that was removed. The sudden decision is directly related to the political crisis in the country.

For the Muslim Brotherhood the decision to accelerate the process is a way to double its bet on his game with the opposition, presenting some stark choices: accept the exceptional powers or a constitution that is not to their liking. Geriany was very clear: “If you are angry about the decree, nothing better than an approved constitution to solve the problem”.

Under current legislation, the majority needed to approve the Constitution is 57 of the 100 members of the Constituent Assembly. Subsequently, the voted version must be approved in a popular referendum in order to take effect. Despite the withdrawal of the representatives of the secular parties and some civil entities, experts believe that the Islamists possess a quorum to approve a new constitution

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court reacted to Morsi’s accusations about the the Court’s leaks regarding its decisions. The Court accused Morsi of launching a “campaign of relentless attacks” against the institution. In a statement, the Constitutional denies the assertion that it has politicized the political game.

Most political analysts insist that there is a need to seek a negotiated solution to the conflict and the process of drafting the new constitution. Failure to reach an agreement will certainly cause another period of confrontations, both on the media and on the streets.

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Tahrir Square rumbles against the new Dictator

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 28, 2012

A new version of an Arab revolution seems to be brewing in Egypt. Right after the people thought a new beginning was right on the horizon, suddenly the new puppet in chief showed his teeth for the disappointment of many of those who helped elect him.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians protested on Tuesday and Wednesday against President Mohamed Morsi in one of the largest demonstrations since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, accusing the Islamist leader of seeking to impose a new autocracy. Police fired tear gas at stone-throwing youths in streets near Tahrir Square in Cairo, the center of the revolt that toppled Mubarak last year.

Clashes broke out between supporters and opponents of Morsi in a town north of Cairo. But violence could not overshadow the show of force which involves both opponents and supporters of the Islamists in power. The latest round of revolts is the biggest challenge for Morsi in his five months in office.

“The people want to topple the regime,” chanted the demonstrators, repeating phrases used in the uprising of 2011. There were also protests in Alexandria, Suez, Minya and Nile Delta cities. The protest organized by leftist groups, liberals and socialists marks an escalation in the worst crisis since the election last June, which exposes divisions inside the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and its rivals.

A 52-year-old protester died after inhaling the gas, the second fatality since Morsi announced last week that he had expanded the decree powers to prevent legal challenges to any of his decisions. The Morsi Government has defended the decree as an effort to speed up reforms and complete the transition to democracy. Opponents accuse him of behaving like a modern pharaoh. United States, a great benefactor of the Egyptian army, has expressed concern, fearing more turmoil in a country that has a crucial peace treaty with Israel.

“We do not want a dictatorship again. Mubarak’s regime was a dictatorship. We’ve had a revolution to bring justice and freedom,” said Ahmed Husseini, 32. The split opposition groups composed by Egyptian Islamist not have joined in the streets, and have yet to build an electoral machine to challenge the well-organized Islamists.

“There are signs that in the last couple of days, Morsi and the Brothers have realized their mistake,” said Elijah Zarwan, a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, adding that the protests were “a clear illustration that this was a political miscalculation. ”

The Morsi measure provoked a rebellion among judges and knocked confidence in an economy struggling to recover from two years of turmoil. The president has yet to implement unpopular measures to contain the country’s crushing budget deficit, necessary to complete an agreement for a loan of 4,800 million from the International Monetary Fund.

Mursi Supporters and opponents clashed with stones and firebombs thrown some in the city of Mahalla el Kubra in the Nile Delta. Medical sources said that nearly 200 people were injured. “The main demand is the withdrawal of the constitutional declaration (the decree). This is the point,” said Amr Moussa, former Arab League chief and presidential candidate who joined the new opposition coalition called the National Salvation Front.

The group includes several leading liberal politicians. Some scholars of the prestigious al-Azhar Mosque and University joined the demonstrations on Tuesday, showing that Morsi and his supporters have alienated some more moderate Muslims. Members of the large minority of Egyptian Christians also joined.

In Washington, the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, urged protesters to behave peacefully. “The current situation is an internal  constitutional dispute in Egypt and can only be decided by the Egyptian people through democratic peaceful dialogue,” he told reporters. Human Rights Watch said that the text gives more power to Morsi of the military junta that is in control of the country. This new regime is supported by the western oppressors who helped take down their long-term puppet, Hosni Mubarak.

The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon told an Austrian newspaper that he encouraged Mursi to resolve the issue through dialogue. In an attempt to ease tensions with the judges who were outraged by his decree, Morsi said to the high court that the fragments of his decree on the immunity of their decisions will be implemented only on issues of importance regarding Egyptian “sovereignty”.

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Egyptians say NO to new Dictator

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 23, 2012

The opposition of the Egyptians to having a new puppet dictator did not take long to appear. The streets of Cairo and other cities resounded with the force that helped topple dictator Hosni Mubarak. The message is now directed to recently elected Mohamed Morsi, who wants to ensure his presence in government for much more time than everyone else expected. After passing a package of measures that he deems relevant to turn true some of his campaign promises, thousands of Egyptians fear Morsi will remain forever in power, especially after signing a ‘constitutional’ statement which places him above the law.

The “decree” that Morsi issued became the spark of yet another flammable round of protests that threatens to divide even more the two most powerful groups in Egypt: the Islamists and the secular. In several localities clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents broke the period of relative stability after the elections.  In at least three cities, Alexandria, Port and Ismailiya, protesters torched offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, the president’s party.

In the capital, the street marches began and ended without serious incidents, except for some skirmishes with police in Tahrir, where police used tear gas against protestors. The main opposition leaders, who are also West-controlled puppets, Mohamed El Baradei, and Hamdin Sabahi, the presidential candidate who finished third, took part in the demonstrations.

ElBaradei, founder of the new Constitution Party, called Morsi the “new king” after learning about the decree. “He has usurped all state power: a blow to the revolution that can have serious consequences,” the former diplomat wrote in his Twitter account. Some constitutional law professors have come to describe the movement as a “coup”.

In contrast, Islamist formations, both Salafists as the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, have come out in defense of the president. Thousands of Islamists gathered outside the gates of the presidential palace to express their support to President Morsi.

Early in the afternoon, the Morsi addressed his followers on a nationwide public television message issued from a stage in which there was a large picture of him. “The old regime is paying to attack government buildings and sow chaos,” proclaimed Morsi, who said that the role of what he called the ‘real opposition’ was important. “They want to obstruct the revolution, but do not let them do so … My decision today is to compensate those injured in the revolution,” Morsi said.

As for his decree, he denied wanting to break laws, and justified it with arguments such as seeking stability and purge of counterrevolutionary elements in the judiciary.

Until yesterday, Morsi had control of the Executive, Legislative and Constituent Assembly. After relieving the army leadership in August, the only institution hostile to his reign was the judiciary. So with the new constitutional declaration, submitted to the judiciary authority, Morsi has now seriously undermined the central pillar of the weak rule of law in post revolutionary Egypt.

According to the text, none of the decisions, decrees or laws approved by the him since his inauguration may be revoked by another state institution, including the judiciary. Morsi said there are those “who hide behind the judges” to derail the transition to democracy. “I do not like or want to use exceptional procedures, but if I see that my country is in danger I will, because it is my duty,” he said. “We respect justice, because in it there are many individuals who are clean, but we are against those who hide behind it.

Moreover, the Islamist leader shielded the Constituent Assembly and the Senate, both threatened with dissolution by three requests being considered by the Constitutional Court. Morsi also extended to two months the time available for the Constituent Committee to draft the new constitution, which was supposed to expire in early December.

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Egypt: A dictator’s best friend is always a crisis

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Taking advantage of its renewed popularity thanks to the diplomatic success in the Gaza crisis, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, signed on Thursday four decrees that set him above the law, subjecting the judiciary branch of government to his authority. The sudden decision represents quite a dramatic effect in the long conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and a section of the judiciary, in the context of a democratic transition.

According to the new legal package, which has the status of a constitutional declaration in the absence of a constitution, none of the decisions, decrees or laws approved by the president since his inauguration may be revoked by another state institution, and that includes the capacities of the judiciary branch. Not even Hosni Mubarak get such a position of prominence, at least from a legal standpoint.

In addition, the rais ceases the rebel state prosecutor, Abdel Magid Mahmud, and appointed in his place Talat Abdullah. Mahmud was a problem to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. As one of the lat vestiges of the Mubarak era, the former Prosecutor General is responsible for the acquittal of important figures of the former regime. The president ceased Mahmud last month, and sent him as ambassador to the Vatican. However, the attorney general, a lifetime appointment under current regulations, clung to his post and succeeded in making Morsi give up in his attempt to unseat him. Apparently, only temporarily.

In a nod to the revolutionary forces, one of the decrees ordered by Morsi says that all those acquitted on the murders and abuses committed during the 18 days of the Egyptian revolution last year will have to be retried. With few exceptions, including Mubarak and his interior minister at the time, the trials of senior officials and officers of the security forces have resulted in acquittals for lack of evidence. Indeed, this was one of the main demands of the revolutionaries which Morsi promised to meet during the election campaign.

Morsi also shields the Constituent Assembly and the Senate, both threatened with dissolution by three applications being considered by the Constitutional Court. Furthermore, in two months Morsi gave the constituent committee two more months to write the new draft of the constitution, that was due to expire in early December. The Assembly is facing a serious crisis after the recent withdrawal of the secular parties arguing that the body is dominated by Islamists.

So, with his legal package, Morsi tries to bring water to his mill in several conflicts between the Muslim Brotherhood with some strata and sectors of Egyptian society. The rais repeats the move that allowed him to relieve the army leadership last August, and shows that he or his puppet masters understand the dynamics of power and the windows of political opportunity to reassert presidential authority. What a better time than a regional crisis to assert himself as a ‘leader’?

Undoubtedly, the main target of Morsi’s move is a judiciary sector led by the Constitutional Court. The row with the highest levels of the judiciary starts with the dissolution of the first Constituent Assembly and Parliament, both bodies dominated by Islamists.

Since its inception, the Egyptian transition has been a struggle between various political movements and power centers. The absence of any consensus, not even among the revolutionary forces, caused the politicization of the judiciary. And especially its upper echelons, plagued by judges loyal to Mubarak and hostile to Islamist ideology.

However, we have to see if Morsi achieves his goals with this bold move, or rather galvanizes and unites his detractors. Since his inauguration last June, the popular manifestations of rejection of his government have been rather limited in scope, but the frequency of those manifestations has increased. A questions that needs to be asked is whether the order to retry those allegedly responsible for crimes during the Mubarak regime will bring together the revolutionaries or if that move will install fears of a new theocracy.

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U.S. created Al-Qaida. Al-Qaeda supports rebels in Libya

Al-Qaida, an American creation used to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, has supported U.S. plans to destabilize Africa and the Middle East for years.

JerusalemPost.com
March 23, 2011

A senior member of al Qaida urged Libyan rebels to continue their fight against Muammar Gaddafi and warned of the consequences of defeat, in a videotaped message posted on Jihadi websites, the Qatar-based Gulf News reported on Sunday.

The message from Libya native, Abu Yahya al-Libi, marked the first time a top ranked al Qaida commander had commented on the uprising in Libya. Gaddafi has repeatedly blamed al Qaida for inciting the unrest against him.

“The Libyan people have suffered at the hands of Gaddafi for more than 40 years … He used the Libyans as a testing ground for his violent, rambling and disgusting thoughts,” Abu Yahya stated.

He warned that “Retreating will mean decades of harsher oppression and greater injustices than what you have endured.”

Abu Yahya also accused the West, and the US in particular, of having supported oppressive Arab regimes at the expense of the people.

The taped message could not be independently authenticated, according to the Gulf Times report.

An assault on Libya’s rebel-held city of Misrata was stalled on Sunday by renewed fighting between members of Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces, rebels said, but the government denied reports of a mutiny.

Residents said fighting broke out on Saturday after some units of the Libyan leader’s force refused to attack Misrata, Libya’s third-biggest city and the only place in the west of the country still openly defying Gaddafi’s rule.

The reports of a mutiny could not be verified because Libyan authorities have not allowed reporters access to the city of 300,000 which is 200 km (130 miles) east of the capital.

“From the early morning they (the security forces) are fighting among each other. We hear the fighting,” Mohammed, one of the rebel fighters, told Reuters by telephone on Sunday.

“This division between them came to us from God. Just when we thought the end was coming, this happened. Now we are waiting to see what will happen.”

Mutiny Reports “Rubbish”

Asked about reports of a mutiny in Misrata, government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said: “This is rubbish. It is not true.”

“The army has surrounded the centre of Misrata. They are in the city. Tribal elders are talking to them (the rebels) to surrender,” he said in Tripoli.

Misrata residents said they could hear the sound of heavy fighting from a military airfield to the south of the town, where pro-Gaddafi forces have been based. They said there were no clashes between rebels and security forces on Sunday.

“They (Gaddafi’s forces) are still fighting each other. The shelling hit a house and a shop in southern Misrata, I don’t know whether there are any casualties,” said rebel spokesman Gemal.

He said shops in the city were open as normal, but added: “Of course there is tension as everybody is waiting to see what will happen.”

Puppets of the West or Victims of Proxy Wars

Arab-Muslim regimes are artificial, the militant Salafis said. The regimes are oppressive, Western-controlled entities, designed to keep “true Islam” in check.

Nationalism, state borders that divide Muslims and secularism were all seen by al-Qaida ideologues, like Bin Laden’s mentor Palestinian cleric Abdullah Azzam, as foreign ideas adopted by the Arab regimes and used to keep the Muslims weak.

Dislodging the regimes of Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia and others and replacing them with an Islamic superstate, a caliphate, has been the main objective of al- Qaida for more than two decades.

The war between jihadi movements and Arab-Muslim states has been raging for years. It was a war prosecuted by the jihadis with much fury and dedication, but without much success.

In fact, it was the failure of the global jihadi movement to achieve its aim to establish sovereignty in place of Arab regimes that drove its members and leaders to seek refuge on the Internet, and set up a virtual caliphate, a place where they could safely spread their ideology, recruit soldiers and plan the structure and policies of their future caliphate.

Now, the very premise of al-Qaida could be in jeopardy.

While it is far too early to begin to know how the uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and other Arab nations will turn out in the long run, it is obvious to all that the Arab regimes so despised by al-Qaida were challenged and, in some cases, removed from power without its help.

Bloomberg reported this week that al-Qaida’s secondin- command, Zawahiri, “urged Egyptians to revive Islamic rule and criticized Hosni Mubarak as a ‘modernday pharaoh’ in remarks that came before the former Egyptian president was toppled.”

“The Egyptian regime is in fact a repressive regime that relies on brutality and rigged elections, while the Islamic system is consultative and seeks to achieve justice,” Zawahiri said in an online audio recording. It was an attempt to score some points on the back of the uprising.