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Mohammed Morsi, Tamarod, and the Current Crisis in Egypt

Mohammed Morsi, Tamarod, and the Current Crisis in Egypt


28th June 2013 - FDD Policy Brief

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi delivered a major speech on June 26 that was designed to defuse the political tensions which had been building in anticipation of widespread protests across the country.  However, his words appear to have exacerbated tensions among anti-Islamists in the country. The Tamarod (Rebellion) campaign will engage in widespread protests across Egypt starting Sunday, June 30, which marks the one-year anniversary of Morsi's presidency. Tamarod, which now has the backing of millions of Egyptians, seek to impeach the president, and to carry on until the Muslim Brotherhood leaves office.

There can be little doubt that Morsi's attempt to neutralize the current crisis backfired. The tone and manner with which he described the opposition was offensive to the non-Islamist forces. Morsi, for example, blamed the current situation on the remnant of the old regime and "foreign" enemies.

Morsi's attempts to appease his critics also fell short. For instance, he offered to create a commission for national reconciliation, but he did not address the underlying problems that have stymied reconciliation. A serious offer would have included the dismissal of the Muslim Brotherhood dominated cabinet and the cancellation of divisive new laws that weaken the judiciary and imperil NGOs. He might also have offered to remove his controversial attorney general, whom he appointed, and to let the judiciary select a new one as it did in the past.

Morsi also offered to set up a commission made up of all parties to present suggestions about constitutional amendments to the upcoming parliament. However, this is exactly what he promised the judges before he rammed through a controversial judiciary law. This issue was at the core of the tension and instability that has been building since late November last year.

In the eyes of Egypt's opposition, Morsi cannot be redeemed. Their demands are now sweeping: new presidential elections and a genuinely inclusive cabinet. In other words, they want to start the post-Mubarak transition over again, and they do not believe that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood should shepherd this process.

This crisis has taught many Egyptians that democracy is a process, not an event. Egypt's new mass protests make it clear that this process is far from complete.

Khairi Abaza is a senior fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He will be in Cairo for the June 30 demonstrations.

Tags

arab-spring, egypt, islamist, mohammed-morsi, muslim-brotherhood