A week after the dispersal of Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo and Giza a tentative sense of “normality” is returning to Egypt’s streets. Two major developments in the last three days have reassured the public that Egypt is not about to be dragged into the kind of nightmare scenario currently engulfing Syria.
The first is the success of security forces in rounding up dozens of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and their associates, including the group’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie. The 70-year-old was taken into custody on Tuesday, accused of inciting violence. Badie, like his deputy Mahmoud Ezzat who was appointed the Brotherhood’s acting supreme guide following Badie’s detention, espouses a Qutbist ideology which promotes “jihad” as a path to “Islamising” the world.
Also among the detained are Mohamed Al-Zawahri, the brother of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahri, and Mustafa Hamza, commander of the military wing of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya which killed president Anwar Al-Sadat in 1981 and tried to assassinate Hosni Mubarak in 1995. On Monday jihadists in Sinai responded to Al-Zawahri’s arrest by executing 25 soldiers in Sinai.
According to the Ministry of Interior, a total of 650 leading Brotherhood officials and allied extremists have been arrested since 14 August.
Sameh Seif Al-Yazal, a former intelligence officer and currently chairman Al-Gomhuriya Centre for Strategic Studies, argues that “catching hundreds of the Brotherhood’s big fish and forcing others into hiding has disrupted the group’s internal communications and weakened its ability to organise street protests”.
“This was clear in the case of Badie who looked completely isolated from the group’s other leaders after the police, helped by ordinary citizens, tracked him to an apartment in northeast Cairo.”
“Most Egyptians,” says Seif Al-Yazal, “were chilled to the bone on Friday 16 August when they watched supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi’s occupy Ramses Square and raise the black flags of Al-Qaeda, torching an administrative building and trying to storm Al-Azbakiya police station.”
According to Seif Al-Yazal Friday’s nightmarish scenes were dispelled on Saturday when security and army forces moved to round up hundreds of Brotherhood rioters who had attempted to occupy Al-Fateh Mosque and turn it into another belligerent Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in.
Though more than 800 people are thought to have been killed in bloody clashes between security forces and Brotherhood supporters security experts say the death toll could have been much higher.
“Our initial estimate was that the dispersal would leave at least 1,500 dead but final figures show that the number was around 500. Another 400 died in clashes between security forces and the Brotherhood’s armed rioters who took to the streets in several governorates trying to spread chaos and burn Egypt,” says Seif Al-Yazal.
“Most of the deaths occurred in the first three days following the dispersal of the sit-ins. For Brotherhood officials a quick and easy dispersal of their sit-ins would have been a deafening blow. It was anticipated that they would try to retaliate in the following three days and shed as much blood as possible in an attempt to ratchet up international pressure.”
Al-Ahram analyst Emad Gad argues that “Brotherhood officials deceived themselves by believing that as long as they had CNN and the New York Times on their side they would be able to play the victim card.”
“It was telling to see their old slogan ‘Islam is the Solution’ replaced by America and the West — or the new Crusaders — are the Solution,” says Gad … //
… Most political commentators agree that Western media outlets such as the New York Times and CNN played a leading role in portraying the Muslim Brotherhood as a victim.
“The Western media,” says Al-Sadat, “falsely claimed that dispersing the sit-ins by force was not a necessity but an attempt to demonise the Brotherhood.”
Abdallah Schleifer, a professor of journalism at the American University in Cairo, said he was shocked by the way the New York Times has covered the political situation in Cairo since the removal of Morsi.
“One would never know from reading NY Times editorials and a good deal of its coverage — along with that of other leading news organisations — that the Egyptian Armed Forces had moved against a political movement attempting to impose an authoritarian regime on the country,” says Schleifer.
Gad and Al-Sadat agree that whatever the international pressure, all roads lead to the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“I think if members of this group are still keen to exercise their political rights and not to be isolated they have just one option, to join a non-Islamist political party,” says Gad. “In these parties they should undergo a long-term indoctrination process aimed at Egyptianising their identity and enforcing the message that their loyalty should be to the country in which they were born rather than a faith-based international organisation intent on realising the crazy dream of recovering the despotic Islamic Caliphate.”
As bloody protests wane, the new political roadmap is expected to progress this week. A technical committee entrusted with amending the 2012 Islamist-backed constitution has finished its task. The new draft, however, will now be revised by a 50-member committee. Fierce debates are expected as controversial issues such as whether a ban be imposed on religion-based political parties or not are debated.
(My comment: NYT and CNN are typical main stream medias, depending from rainmaker’s orders who want a big, big mess in the whole middle east region, and later in the rest of the world … to finally better submit all the 99% of us).