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Friday, August 31, 2012

Why we can't take Egypt's President Morsi at face value


Above you can watch an interview with me on RT on the new Egyptian President and why we can't take him at face value.

More on this story here.


K Naylor said...

The Eygptian President Morsi's statements are surely mostly to do with the fact that he represents the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the offshoot of which in Syria has long been an opponent of secularist Arab nationalist regimes on the Baathist model.

That is not surprising given the Hama Massacre of 1982 when Hafez al-Assad's regime killed 20,000 Syrians in the city for supporting Sunni Islamist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, The Assad Dynasty are Alawites.

So Morsi has his own crowd to please. I cannot see him a mere puppet of US interests. He is the "acceptable" face of Muslim Brotherhood Islamism. His connections to the US consist of working as a professor in engineering at the University of Southern California.

Is there any evidence he wants to really do the bidding of the US ?

The real danger is that Sunni Islamists such as Morsi could be exacerbating the regionwide sectarian tensions. The USA will attempt to steer those in places such as Syria to their geopolitical benefit but they exist irrespective of US foreign policy.

Indeed for many years, the USA backed secular dictatorships as a bulwark against Revolutionary Islamism on the principle they would be more dangerous to regional stability and oil supplies ( think of Saddam's backing vs Iran in the 1980s ).

Sunni Islamism of the sort Morsi is seen to represent was satirised by the idea that for the Muslim Brotherhood democracy meant "one man, one vote-once". And that contempt was behind much Western opposition to "Islamic Revolutions".

K Naylor said...

An Associated Press release states tonight,

"After he publicly denounced Syria's regime while being hosted by Damascus' top ally Iran, Egyptian supporters and even some critics are lauding him as a new Arab leader that speaks truth to power.

That may have been precisely the point. The drama of his Tehran speech boosts Morsi, an Islamist from the Muslim Brotherhood who became his country's first freely elected president, as he works to entrench his authority in Egypt.

His speech also points to new images he is cultivating: The tough, fearless leader who speaks with the voice of a people who chose him. For Islamists, he was a Sunni hero against the Shiites"

In addition Morsi is having to accommodate to Egypt's regional interests as he has inherited them, the Arab Revolution has damaged the economy and he needs the West to invest

"Morsi has spoken more warmly of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic militant group that rules Gaza. But he has not significantly eased access to Gaza through their shared border, a key Hamas concern. He has also sought to warm up to Saudi Arabia, a key ally of Egypt but a longtime rival of the Brotherhood.


'Hanna, of the Century Foundation, said Morsi is in no condition to make major changes at a time when he has to deal with a faltering economy that needs aid from allies.

Egypt "has no economic base upon which to project power in the region. We are talking about a rhetorical shift in the near term.'

K Naylor said...

There is also evidence that the US IS trying to meddle in Egypt's affairs. Evidence from a Simon Tisdall piece ( and he's not known for being particularly critical of the USA ).

'Dennis Ross, a Bush-era Middle East envoy, complained that Morsi was trying to gag the press by replacing 50 leading editors and journalists and was ignoring other key democratic "principles" (as defined by Ross).

Ross said: "None of this means that Egypt's path of change is foreordained. It does mean that the president, who has largely surrounded himself with members of the Muslim Brotherhood or sympathisers, dominates all of Egypt's institutions of power." If Morsi stepped too far out of line, the US should consider suspending direct financial assistance and blocking IMF loans, Ross suggested'

Neil Clark said...

Hi Karl,
Good to hear from you. So long as Egypt is getting such large sums of money from the US, it's naive to think that the country will suddenly embark on an independent foreign policy, or that it will be allowed to.
Morsi's rhetoric on issues like Palestine might be a bit stronger than Mubarak's but he won't do anything radically different.

Anonymous said...

I see what you're saying Neil, but personally I think it may also be a bit naive to think that Islamists (which is, I understand, what the Muslim Brotherhood are) would be hugely motivated by cheques from the USA. These guys (or some of 'em at least) are real fanatics!

I hope I'm wrong, but looking ahead I seem to see the River Nile foaming with much blood...

brian said...

what CNNi refused to show and mentioned in Glenn Greenwalds Guardian article:

the Greenwald article:

CCN has also responded...damage control mode!
(barf bags advised for that!)

brian said...

Syrian insurgents torture and execute unarmed prisoners

brian said...

the austraian 60minutes FB page removed an article on Syria and the in insurgents, lots of my comments there are now not eveh history....

LOL the entire Syrian story was removed from channel 9's facebook wall after the syrians posted too much truth on it