History shows that taking leadership in a post-revolutionary, post-war country has always been a tall order and Mohammed Morsi, the first President of Egypt
who has no ties with the army, is no exception here.
In fact, this engineer educated in the United States might be one of the unluckiest people in his country: pulling one's country round is, in itself, an already challenging task. However, things get even more complicated when, as president, you have half of your country against you and the army had overtaken virtually all the power, thus rendering you powerless.
Perhaps we should slow things down a bit and start from the beginning. On 24 June 2012 a new era in the history of Egypt had begun or at least it is said to have done so. After all, who would have thought one year ago that a candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood
would eventually be elected president?The same Muslim Brotherhood that would not accept a woman or aCopt
as a candidate? Furthermore, we are talking here about a back-up candidate, very often mocked for his lack of charisma during his campaign (having said that, his recent speeches deny it), who ran for office only because Khairat El-Shater
, the Muslim Brotherhood’s first candidate, was disqualified and who started his political career as one of the founding members of the Egyptian Commission against Zionism which is a rather inconvenient fact given his promises to maintain peaceful relations with Israel.
And he promised even more: the army retreating from the politics, a modern country where every citizen is equal regardless of faith and gender (religious persecutions have a long tradition in Egypt with Muslim Brotherhood and Copts being oppressed for decades) and numerous economic reforms. The question is not 'will he succeed?', but 'will he be allowed to succeed? Stratfor
analysts claim that there will be no visible change in Egypt as all the power still belongs to the SCAF
and the army, controlling even up to 40% of the country's economy, would have to be foolish to even think about giving up its privileges: the right to veto any legislation and budget proposal as well as the right to monitor the drafting of the new constitution, tax exemptions and confiscation of rights.
Nonetheless, Mr. Morsi is not planning on laying down his arms although his room to maneuver is very limited. His actions are therefore of strictly symbolical value, like his decision to take an informal oath of office in Tahrir Square where thousands of his supporters had gathered despite the army demanding the oath be taken in front of the constitutional court. The aim of the speech he delivered was fairly simple: assure all the Egyptians that he wishes to be the President of all citizens, no matter what their faith might be. However, a vast majority of people - mainly Copts who make up about 10% of country's population and liberals - still does not trust him due to his relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, something which should not be that surprising (older generations still remember the more radical face of the Muslim Brotherhood). After all, promises are free and Morsi himself announced that he would like the basis of the new law to be enshrined in Sharia, for the declaration of which he was subjected to harsh criticism from Christian and liberal environments, despite him frequently reassuring that he has no intention of introducing theocracy in Egypt. As a sign of his good intentions he wishes to appoint a Coptic Christian and a woman to form his cabinet. Yet, it will probably not be enough for his opponents, slightly less numerous than supporters (Morsi won by gaining 51.73% of all the votes).
To make things worse: it is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, there are still many economic problems to tackle: 40% of Egyptians living below the poverty line, strikes, factories being closed, lack of investments and, as was said before, the army with its privileges. But obviously, domestic affairs are not the only ones to be dealt with. The Middle East
has been unstable for decades and Hosni Mubarak
, , the former ruler, could at least guarantee that Egypt would not provoke any conflict. But suddenly, like a bolt out of the blue, Mr. Morsi appears and nobody is able to predict what he is going to do as his political origin is all but reassuring. Still, he claims that Egypt will observe all peace treaties, even those with Israel. Fortunately, almost immediately he had the chance to prove his honesty: The Iranian press agency Fars
Fars published an interview according to which Morsi was willing to establish a diplomatic cooperation with Iran for the first time in the history of modern Egypt (previous rulers had always been trying to steer away from this idea). Cairo's reaction was prompt and firm, as its official spokesman denied that the interview had ever taken place. Morsi will also have a hard task to find the perfect balance regarding the relations with the USA. Obviously, it would be political suicide to completely neglect them, but on the other hand the Muslim Brotherhood used to describe Hosni Mubarak as a pawn in the hands of the USA and hence, if Egypt decides to tighten its relations, Morsi will end up as a hypocrite. Currently, he is on a collision course due to what he promised during his pledge, i.e. to release Omar Abdel-Rahman
, serving life sentence as a result of his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing
and it is completely improbable that Michael Bloomberg
, New York's mayor would let him go.
Summing things up, Mr. Morsi has an enormous amount of work to do while being practically powerless, as everything has to be accepted by the SCAF. Unfortunately for him, he will be held responsible in case of failure as many people consider him the country’s savior. Others, more skeptical, created a 'Morsi-meter
' indicating how many promises the Egyptian President will manage to fulfill. Although I do hope that Morsi will be able to push all of his reforms through, my common sense tells me that he is bound to end up as his nation's scapegoat.
Author: Damian Kwapisiewicz / pr-controlled.com ©