Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

What would overthrowing Mursi actually mean? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Is the fierce campaign being launched by the “remnants alliance” seeking to topple President Mursi?

The answer is yes. Implicit and explicit statements issued by the alliance’s symbols have been reported by media outlets, and we are not talking about secret leaks from closed meetings. For example, let us consider what ElBaradei meant when he said the regime has lost its legitimacy.

Before I proceed any further, I would like to point out that when I use the term “remnants alliance” I do not only mean the remnants of the former regime and Mubarak’s inner circle such as Ahmed Ezz, Ahmad Fathi Sorour, Safwat El-Sherif or Ahmed Shafik. Rather, I also mean anyone who ever used the regime, its mechanisms and individuals as a shield from opponents, and anyone who benefitted from it politically, economically or ideologically.

The remnants alliance is currently fooling people into thinking that the mass mobility on the Egyptian street stems from President Mursi’s temporary constitutional decrees, even though they will be invalid in a few days after the Egyptian people endorse the constitution by means of a fair and democratic vote. In fact, the impartial and well-organized nature of the referendum can already be seen in the marginal difference between those who have voted yes and those who have voted no. It is hard to believe that the remnants alliance is inciting its supporters in front of the presidential palace (a dangerous and far from innocent act) simply because of two or three articles in the constitution. Everyone is well aware that key figures within this alliance participated in the drafting of the constitution over six months, yet all of a sudden the whole group decided to withdraw in order to spark off a crisis that the country is yet to recover from. This is the very same tactic used by the Egyptian security services during the million man marches in Tahrir Square, which sought to overthrow the Mubarak regime. At that time policemen would suddenly withdraw from the Egyptian street in order to create a security vacuum that would delude the Egyptian people into thinking that the bleariness of the Mubarak regime would be better than the blindness of the revolution.

Here a key question must be asked: Is the remnants alliance aware of the consequences of its attempts to topple President Mursi? The movement has insisted on staging demonstrations in front of the presidential palace, with some protestors climbing the outer walls without a word of condemnation. Furthermore, the remnants alliance failed to issue any form of denouncement when twenty five headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party were burned down. Thus the answer to my above question is “no” because partisan maneuvers have blinded this alliance, and now it fails to see the gravity of its actions.

Let us suppose that the remnants alliance, by provoking and escalating Egypt’s crises, was eventually successful in toppling President Mursi. Then Egypt would lose its bet on integrating the peaceful Islamist movements, whether Brotherhood or Salafi affiliates, into the democratic process. In fact, this integration has already reached a degree whereby the Salafi current has accepted the democratic process and voted on constitutional articles, something that would have been considered blasphemous in the past. Furthermore, overthrowing the president would pave the way for the rise of extremist currents such as al-Qaeda and others. If this were to happen it would have a greater impact on Brotherhood and Salafi youths, for the overwhelming sense of despair and frustration would push them towards violence as a means of achieving change. Without a doubt, Egypt would then experience a rapid deterioration and a potential civil war that could wreak havoc. And as we all know, if Egypt sneezes other Arab states soon catch the cold.

The former Salafi presidential candidate Hazem Abu Ismail recently warned that if demonstrators stormed the presidential palace then the Islamists would declare an Islamic revolution from the Maspero. Here we can see how the state of frustration in Egypt has influenced this elderly figure, whose group until recently considered the revolution against the Mubarak regime to be illegitimate, so we can only imagine the reaction of more fervent and zealous youths! The remnants alliance must realize that by seeking to overthrow an elected president it is playing with an extremely dangerous card.