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Opinion: Egypt's way forward - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Last Friday, July 26, marked an important day in Egypt’s modern history, especially the period after the so-called the Arab Spring. The majority of the Egyptian people responded to the Minister of Defense Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s call, which was approved by the interim President, to take to the streets in the millions to authorize him to confront violence and terrorism. In fact, unprecedented masses of people took to streets to grant him the authorization he requested.

The writer of this article has previously written that the Muslim Brotherhood, having been deposed from power, will return to their old habit and firmly-established practices of violence and terrorism. In the entire body of their public discourse, the Brotherhood never disavowed such practices, nor did they ever apologize for the crimes they committed; from the assassinations and bombings that were carried out on Hassan Al-Banna’s orders to the bombings and killings last week. However, this situation is likely to be further aggravated unless there is strong and firm confrontation with such a provocative discourse, something the Muslim Brotherhood has long considered as their sole course in dealing with reality.

It is clear that the Egyptian people and the Egyptian state, as well as institutions such as the army, the police, the judiciary, al-Azhar, the church, civil political powers in their guises, and media corporations have all become unified in their rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood’s futile “radical rule” and political Islam in general. Yet, this state of unanimity is required over the roadmap for political transition that has been published and needs to be accomplished, as the disagreements over the way forwards could be even deeper than the disagreements over the rejection of the past.

It is anticipated that in the near future, after the terrorist danger is confronted and political Islam groups die down, some public symbols and youth forces will emerge to criticize military rule and protest against the new reality. They may try to pose obstacles to the attempt to strengthen the state’s reverence once again.

History teaches us that following unrest, uprisings and protests or major defeats, people and nations search for a rescuer, a leader who is seen as charismatic and firm enough to offer them hope of restoring the missing stability and safety. This happened with, for example, Napoleon in France, and Hitler in Germany. In Egypt, the scene is open to a similar scenario. Yet, anyone who seeks leadership in Egypt must be aware that his image will not be an abstract sculpture or fixed image. Rather, his image will be a reflection in troubled waters. That leader’s decisions, firmness and leadership must all be decisive and up to the task.

The continued ideological discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood and their adherent media, as well as of their podium in the “Rabaa Al-Adawiya” intersection is an example of extremism and takfirim. Religious texts and concepts about fighting enemies have all been applied to the Egyptian people, the state’s institutions and civil powers in an explicit manner. This, however, is a continuation of an old Brotherhood discourse according to which they view anyone other than the Brotherhood’s adherents as an unbeliever, an enemy of religion and an opponent of Islam.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders are committing an appalling crime against their followers both inside and outside the country by pushing them to adopt a stance akin to that of suicide, by maintaining violence and terrorism as their sole option. This is because the Brotherhood’s fixed approach is to force their adherents to submit and obey blindly without using their minds or their own volition. This also applies to leaders as well as to individuals. Suffice to say that Omar Al-Telmesani, the Brotherhood’s third general guide, spoke about himself by saying: “I was totally submitting myself to Al-Banna [The Muslim Brotherhood founder].”

A careful reader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s discourse must be aware that it is akin to a mafia but in a rather international or Masonic manner, as described by some intellectuals and Islamists. Anyone who contemplates the reactions of the adherents of political Islam, regardless of what is said about their moderation—whither when in power as in Turkey or away from power as is the case with the Brotherhood in the Gulf—must be conscious that they are all part of one alliance with profound roots and links that acts against their own nations and people, and that they are “one family and one clan” which does not recognize states.

A perfect historical parallel to what is happening now in Egypt does not exist, no matter much how some parties have sought to find one, whether good or bad. Egypt will not have a new Gamal Abdel-Nasser, as wished for by pan-Arabists, nor will the people be intimidated by the scarecrow of a return to the Husni Mubarak regime being brandished by the Brotherhood, nor will Egypt be ruled by the military, as some youth groups dread. Egypt needs a totally new example of its own, one that can restore the state’s reverence, strengthen stability and safety and enhance development. No matter how it is assisted by fraternal countries or aided by friends, it must bring in a solution of its own and defend itself.

Perhaps, it is beneficial for Egypt’s future that the current US administration is still confused regarding what is happening in Egypt in the same manner that it is bewildered at what is happening in Syria. It is still hesitant and cannot express a clear, firm strategy. This, however, is something that can be considered as a step forward for the US, having previously made many mistakes.

One would be mistaken to think that the problems in Egypt could be resolved overnight, or that reaching a national consensuses following major uprisings is easy or simple. History suggests this is not the case. There is nothing as harmful as the misleading examples which some politicians base their decisions on, analyses on which some intellectuals build their analysis, and which people rely upon. There is no solution fit for all times and places.

The accusations leveled against ousted president Mohamed Mursi, the Egyptian Minister of Interior’s statements about ending the Brotherhood’s sit-in by legal means, the continual calls for transitional justice, and prior to this the authorization Sisi acquired to confront terrorism, all must make the declared roadmap quite clear. Accordingly, the roadmap must incorporate strengthening the state’s sovereignty, enforcing the law, searching for the safest ways out, originating a new way that maintains the country’s interests and its strategic relations in the region, and looking forward to gaining international support.

Finally, there is no phrase as expressive of the coming period as that which the Egyptian armed forces said to the people: “Salutation, and thanks.”