News / Africa

Analysts Debate Success of Egypt's Military Intervention

FILE - An image grab taken from Egyptian state TV shows Egypt's army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a live broadcast calling for public rallies  to give him a mandate to fight "terrorism and violence."
FILE - An image grab taken from Egyptian state TV shows Egypt's army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a live broadcast calling for public rallies to give him a mandate to fight "terrorism and violence."
William Eagle
In recent weeks, Egypt’s military-backed government has introduced new measures to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood.  It has labeled the group a terrorist organization, and has also detained Al Jazeerah journalists said to be backing them.  Civil libertarians have criticized the moves.  But others say they’re necessary as the country heads toward a constitutional referendum and elections.

Despite the measures, protests continue in some towns and universities. 

One Egyptian analyst says the crackdown is working -- and that protests to reinstate ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi have become smaller and less frequent.

Gamal Soltan, an associate professor of political science at American University in Cairo, questions the designation of protesters as students or journalists.

“ [When we mention] students or journalists,” he asserted, “we are talking about non-ideological groups.  But [these] students, they are actually Muslim Brothers, and unfortunately, Al Jazeerah has been an integral part of the conflict in Egypt. It has taken sides. The situation has changed, and it is now on the wrong side.”

He says reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood is out of the question for the time being.  He says the government’s policy is to redefine political Islam – by excluding the Brotherhood but allowing Islamic moderates such as the Al-Nour party to be on the ballot for parliament. 
 
Soltan says people want stability.

An Egyptian pritzel vender sits next to copies of the new constitution sold on a street in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013.An Egyptian pritzel vender sits next to copies of the new constitution sold on a street in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013.
x
An Egyptian pritzel vender sits next to copies of the new constitution sold on a street in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013.
An Egyptian pritzel vender sits next to copies of the new constitution sold on a street in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013.
“The majority of the people,” he said, “tend to support the new constitution and want to restore normalcy.  Most are hungry for a kind of a strongman, a strong government to be able to bring order and peace and to put the economy back on track.” 

Constitutional referendum

Said Sadek, an affiliate professor of political sociology at American University, says the Muslim Brotherhood is using protests and riots to derail the referendum.

“If there is a high turnout like 25 million out of 50 million,” he says, “this would be the official death certificate for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Morsi regime.  The Muslim Brotherhood has been in existence since 1928; its failure would affect other movements in the Islamic world.”

Temporary measures

Sadek says the government’s increased powers to detain and arrest are temporary, and may well change when, in his view, the Brotherhood is defeated.

“We are in exceptional circumstances,” he says, “and you must take lots of measures.  Our neighboring countries are failing states and now there’s an internal organization that wants to destroy our army and police to exert whatever [power] they like through their secret militias...there are no human rights for those who don’t believe in human rights.”

Political maneuvering

Recently, Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, suggested that the presidential elections come before those for the legislature.  Soltan says it’s a good idea, because parliamentary campaigns can be divisive, and the pressure of electoral competition could fragment the broad coalition of parties that support the military-led roadmap to democracy.  He sees an elected president lending stability in the lead-up to the parliamentary polls. 

Others are more critical of the military-led transition. 

Na’eem Jeenah, the executive director of the Afro-Middle East Center in Johannesburg, sees political manipulation behind the choice of election dates.

“You [could] have the election of a strong president who would be able to dictate the time table and the rules for how the parliamentary elections take place,” he said. “[Head of the armed forces, General Adbul Fattal] al Sisi [may] stand for president, and he [would] be the kind of strongman president which the continent has been suffering under for decades.”

Jeenah says the current crackdown does not just affect the Islamists but anyone who disagrees with the military-led ouster of former President Morsi.  He says the stand-off is not between Islamists and secularists, but between those for and against the military-led intervention.

He says among those imprisoned by what he calls draconian anti-terror laws are secular activists and journalists.  He says the laws are meant to silence critics prior to the referendum on the new constitution. 

Media bias

Analyst Mohamad Hamas Elmasry says polling data continue to show that Egyptian society is largely split, with a one-sided media environment that promotes the interim government, not reconciliation.

Elmasry is an assistant professor and the graduate director in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo.
He says both the media and government routinely suggest the Brotherhood is treasonous and un-Egyptian, and have praised massacres of Brotherhood protesters. 

As an example, he referred to the killings of hundreds of protestors at Rabba al-Adawiya camp outside Cairo by security forces.  The government said troops fired in self defense.

An Egyptian civilian runs out of a public bus after it was caught up in clashes between supporters of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi and police in the northeastern part of Cairo's Nasr City district, Jan. 3, 2014.An Egyptian civilian runs out of a public bus after it was caught up in clashes between supporters of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi and police in the northeastern part of Cairo's Nasr City district, Jan. 3, 2014.
x
An Egyptian civilian runs out of a public bus after it was caught up in clashes between supporters of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi and police in the northeastern part of Cairo's Nasr City district, Jan. 3, 2014.
An Egyptian civilian runs out of a public bus after it was caught up in clashes between supporters of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi and police in the northeastern part of Cairo's Nasr City district, Jan. 3, 2014.
“After the massacres in August,” says Elmasry, “the Egyptian media were praising the government-instigated violence.  One of the private networks on TV was showing footage of the dispersal of the largest protests, while playing [the triumphant soundtrack to the film] Rocky in the background. “

Paper promises

Elmasry doubts that the proposed new constitution will restore civil liberties, despite articles that promise freedoms. He says the constitution under former president Hosni Mubarak, who ruled for over 30 years, also guaranteed press and personal freedoms.  However, those promises were replaced by what he calls draconian laws which remain on the books today. 

“Another problem with the [proposed] constitution,” he says, “is that the minister of defense is going to be essentially the most powerful person in the country. His appointment must be approved by the military [over the next two presidential terms], the president can not remove him, and his term is eight years long, which is twice as long as the president's term.”

Elmasry says democracy cannot develop in an environment of systematic exclusion, a repressive legal framework, and military domination.

Others say what Egypt needs is stability and evolution, not revolution.  They say a government headed by a military-backed president and a multi-party parliament is a step in the right direction.

Listen to analysis of Egypt's transition to a new constitution
Listen to analysis of Egypt's transition to a new constitutioni
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Masri from: Cairo
January 08, 2014 6:55 AM
Sensi you should be talking about yourself if you view it as a coup then your just as ignorant and blind as the rest of the muslim brotherhood supporters who were told " if you dont vote for morsi you wont go to heaven " just one example i can give you a million more but there would be no point


by: Sensi
January 07, 2014 2:32 AM
Keep this nauseous propaganda coming, when you have bankrolled a nauseous military junta for decades like the US have and that this military junta have just killed Egyptian democracy with a coup d'Etat you still have to find discredited propagandists to push the military junta ludicrous talking points to the ignorant and conditioned masses... Shameful.

I predict that dictator Sisi is "elected", and that all will be back to dictatorship as usual soon enough I guess, more or less with the blessing of the West turning a blind eye...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid