News / Middle East

'Deep State' Feared, Welcomed in Split Egypt

'Deep State' Feared, Welcomed in Divided Egypti
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July 29, 2013 7:07 PM
As Egypt reels from its deep and violent political divisions, VOA's Elizabeth Arrott looks at massive challenges still ahead for a nation trying to live up to the promise of its 2011 revolution. Some Cairo analysts say long-entrenched institutions in Egypt both hamper the struggle and offer hope that a competent government may be able overcome it.
Elizabeth Arrott
As Egypt reels with deep and violent political divisions, big challenges are still ahead for a nation trying to live up to the promise of its 2011 revolution.

The divisions plaguing Egypt often are portrayed as a struggle between those for and against ousted President Mohamed Morsi. But for those on Mr. Morsi's side, there appears to be a far more sinister player on the scene - moving against whatever progress Egypt has seen since the 2011 uprising.

Mohamed Soudan, foreign secretary of the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing said, “As soon as the Revolution of 25th of January started, there is a conspiracy against this revolution. There is a deep state. There is corruption. There is counter-revolution started also.”

Soudan said this “deep state” aims to revive everything the protesters on Tahrir Square two years ago tried sweep away.

“Now the police state is coming back," he said. "The army state is coming back. The conspiracy of the former regime, Mubarak regime is coming back very, very strong. They try to get back this era of dictatorship.”

To him, the “Tamaroud” or Rebel campaign that nominally led a populist drive against Mr. Morsi was simply cover for the entrenched interests of the Egypt of former president Hosni Mubarak.

The deep state - a concept rooted in the old Ottoman Empire - pits conservatives against those who would bring change. Even some opposed to both the Mubarak and the Morsi governments see a deep state triumphant. But like political analyst and publisher Hisham Kassem, they put the blame on Mr. Morsi himself.

“He fell out with, basically, the judiciary, the media, the foreign office, the police force, the military, Al Azhar mosque and the church. And they resisted. You cannot subdue these pillars of the state, said Kassem.”

The Brotherhood says it tried to end Egypt's long-time dynamic pitting Islamists against their deep state opponents. But Soudan says entrenched interests worked furiously to turn ordinary Egyptians against them, with problems that largely disappeared when Armed Forces Chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi came on the scene.

“They worked together to escalate the anger of the Egyptian people with the fabricated crises - lack of electricity, lack of water, lack of fuel, diesel and gasoline and then people feel anger," said Soudan. "And starting July 1st, all this fabricated crisis cut.  It looks like a magic stick in Sissi's arm.”

But such complaints elicit little sympathy from others, who argue a competent government should be up to such challenges. For analyst Kassem, the concept of a deep state and entrenched institutions in Egypt is not necessarily negative.

“In Qatar, the foreign ministry is Sheikh Hamad's airplane. Here is an institution with diplomats, seasoned diplomats with a heritage,” he said.

The downside was the repression, the heavy hand that the revolutionaries of 2011 wanted gone.

The killing of Morsi supporters Saturday in Cairo was a stark reminder to many that the darker aspects of the deep state are still strong.

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by: TutAnkhAmon from: Cairo
July 31, 2013 5:38 AM
---------This is child abuse----------
The Muslim Brothers are using children, they made them to wear burial shrouds with their name and project martyr written on it. They are paraded in front of foreign media like sacrificed animals. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BQYk9nGCEAAm1oL.jpg:large

This's why Morsi and the MB public speech and culture of hate and death had to go.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 30, 2013 2:12 AM
I do not know if democracy is the best political system for every country. But it seems the most desirable system to protect human rights as far as we could consider now. Morsi who was elected as a president for the first time in Egypt was ousted by opposing general people and military. What do they want to politics and politicians? Were they really cheated by fabrications?

Anyway, I can say it is wealthy lives what they want no matter what people's nationalities are. I am not sure if domocracy actually offer such welthy lives evenly to every nationals as seeing exceed capitalism, which is usually coupled with democracy, has been bringing about numerous poor people.

by: ali baba from: new york
July 29, 2013 9:26 PM
It is clear that Muslim brotherhood are fighting back with all the deception and liar. The fact that general sisi is appointed by Muslim brotherhood and is not supporter of Mubarak. He felt the crisis that made by Muslim brotherhood. they make the country in deep trouble.it is deep trouble economically and people starving and no solution on the horizon. Muslim brotherhood is destroying the country. if they believe in democracy and the interest of the country, they step down peacefully to avoid blood shed and give the new people chance to clear the mess that done by Muslim brotherhood .but they choose violent to put the country in the brink of civil war

by: MarkT
July 29, 2013 7:33 PM
Sometimes, Democracy is not for everyone. Sometimes, a people, a Nation, is not ready for Democracy. While it is good and admirable that so many nations are embracing a more democratic system of government, it may not be for the betterment of some people, some nations to embrace Democracy....at this time. Case in point; after WWI, the victorious allies (ie. Britain and France, particularly France) wanted to force a democratic style of government on the German people. The Weimer Republic. That government was a failure, an unpopular failure that dramatically lead to the rise of such political parties as the Nazis. Now, of course, Germany has a democratic-styled government, embraced by its people. But in 1919, Germany did not understand, nor want a democratic type of government, and they resisted it, demonstrated against it and despised it. In the case of Egypt, it may not be the people who are resisting a change to a democratic style of government, but those who once held power and still refuse to let go of that power. I don't know. I just know that there is a time and place for everything, and if Egypt, or any nation, is to achieve a desired way of government, they have to figure it out for themselves...and yes, sometimes that will include unrest and bloodshed, however unfortunate that may be.

by: Taz Nizami from: Corona, California
July 29, 2013 5:27 PM
I agree with this article. In fact it was recently reported in Daily Telegraph that the whole sequence of events after Morsi took office have been meticulously choreographed to create public crisis by the military to create public anger. Morsi just was in office for one year he has no magic wand to fix everything in a mess that Egypt is in. We in America are still struggling with our Economic disaster after 5 years. If you look at the current line up of the interim Govt Ministers starting with Adly Mansour, good 40% of the Admin is from Mubarak Era. What ever the reasons Military has no justification of sacking and throwing the publically elected President in Jail, throwing the publically approved constitution in a referendum in a trash can and then embark upon a campaign of selective arrests. If Tehriris did not agree with the Morsi policies they should wait for the his term to expire and take their anger out at the ballot box that's how we do in America. Clearly the army in Egypt has shot itself in the foot by taking repressive actions and have created similar situation as the civil war started in Syria. The more the army takes belligerent stand and kill unarmed public more it will lose and hasten the people to take up arms and there is no shortage of them around Egypt.
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 30, 2013 9:20 AM
Arrant nonsense! Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to return Egypt to the Stone Age barbarism and oppression of the serfs. Moderates and minorities were relegated to a state of nobodism and the rule of law was set aside for decrees. Were you living in the moon all that while and never knew what was going on in your country? Please note that Egypt's democracy is work in progress, and errors must be corrected necessitating another revolution; hence the 2011 campaign was inconclusive.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
July 29, 2013 9:28 PM
what you write is foolish

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