News / Middle East

Egypt's Moussa Says Brotherhood Out for Revenge

FILE - Amr Moussa in Doha,  April 23, 2007.
FILE - Amr Moussa in Doha, April 23, 2007.
Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood is trying to exact revenge on the judiciary for years of imprisonment and political exclusion, but is attacking the wrong target, opposition leader Amr Moussa said on Monday.

The elder statesman told Reuters that Egypt faced an exceptional "to be or not to be crisis" worse than after its 1967 defeat by Israel, and Islamist President Mohamed Morsi would do better to pursue national unity rather than division.

Morsi appeared to back down when he agreed with senior judges on Sunday to seek a compromise on judicial reform instead of acting on proposals by his Islamist supporters to force more than 3,000 judges into retirement.

Moussa, 76, a former Arab League secretary-general and Egyptian foreign minister, said the assault on judicial independence should never have happened in the first place.

"This is not a concession. This is what should have been done from the start," he said in an interview in his liberal opposition Congress Party's office, saying Morsi's climbdown came after strong public disapproval.

Asked what had prompted the campaign against the judiciary, Moussa said: "I believe it is a strange feeling of revenge, of punishment. Some say that the judges were responsible for it [their imprisonment]. In fact this was not true. They got a lot of rulings from the judges that they were innocent."

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed for much of its nearly 80-year existence, and its members were repeatedly imprisoned, tortured and barred from most political activity under former President Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown in a 2011 uprising.


Moussa said the Brotherhood was wrong to brand him a "remnant" of the old regime, simply because he had served Mubarak for a decade as foreign minister. That argument had not prevented many Egyptians from voting for him in last year's presidential election, when he came in fifth.

"Egypt is not divided between the Muslim Brotherhood and others, or between people of today and people of yesterday. Egypt is for all Egyptians... the previous regime is finished, is gone," he said.

Even though Mubarak was now on trial in a courtroom cage, he said the Brotherhood seemed to fear "that he might come again, the former president. This is paranoia."

Asked whether the former ruler should be pardoned or punished over charges of corruption and killing protesters, he said: "I have faith in the Egyptian judiciary, that things will be put in the right perspective."

Moussa said there were dangerous precedents in Egyptian history of rulers interfering with the judiciary. He was referring to President Gamal Abdel Nasser's 1969 action to sack about 100 judges, which became known as the "judicial massacre".

Morsi's Islamist allies had proposed a law to force judges to retire at 60 instead of 70 that would have purged nearly one-third of the 13,000 judges and prosecutors at a stroke, and replace them with new appointees.

"These newcomers would be an unknown quantity," Moussa suggested. "Are they going to be judges in the right sense of the word or just political agents?" he asked.

"A growing number of Egyptians were so discontented with the political and economic situation that they were beginning to call for a return to military rule," he said. "This was a failure of both the government and the opposition".

"That shows the effects of the wrong policies, the ill-considered policies that have been formed by the Brotherhood. It brought back the desire of the people for the protection of the army against policies that they disagree with," he said.

A member of the National Salvation Front opposition coalition of secular, liberal and leftist parties, Moussa said the army had no desire to get involved in politics but he did not totally rule out military intervention.

The armed forces could feel a responsibility to act "if and when a country gets into major confrontation, total breakdown, something like that. But we are not at this stage," he said.

You May Like

Taiwan President Sounds Warning on Future of China Ties

Current Taiwan government has eased once dangerously tough relations with Beijing since 2008, but next year’s presidential election could change that course More

US Presidential Candidates Woo Hispanic Voters

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton reached out to Hispanic voters this past week in a bid to boost their voter support More

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Documentary is a close-up and personal view of young woman who has become of global symbol of courage and inspiration More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs