Iran: Editorial Blames Mursi Government`s `Inefficiencies` for Crisis in Egypt
Friday, July 5, 2013
An anti-Mursi protester chants anti-government slogans at Tahrir Square in Cairo November 30, 2012. An Islamist-led assembly raced through approval of a new constitution for Egypt on Friday to end a crisis over President Mohamed Mursi`s newly expanded powers, but opponents responded with another rally in Cairo against the Islamist leader. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Editorial by the editor in chief, Davud Mohammadi entitled: “Street Democracy.”
As one of mankind`s oldest systems of government, particularly during the period after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and communist regimes, democracy turned into the prevalent model of government throughout the world. The attraction of democracy is so high that even rulers that do not believe in democracy try to show themselves as being committed to the people`s votes and to create a democratic facade. During the trend of general democracy, the people do not have the necessary enforcement guarantees concerning the execution of the promises made by the winning candidate, because the person elected will continue with his work until the next round of voting. If a politician is able to attract the majority public vote and come to power as the winner of a competitive and free election, but is in practice “unable” or “unwilling” to execute the will of the majority and even acts contrary to the voters` demands, what is to be done? It is at this point that one of the most fundamental shortcomings of democracy is revealed and the imperfections of this model of government are proven.
Champions of democracy admit to the existence of such shortcomings but they insist on two points. The first is that despite such faults, compared with other models of government, democracy is still the least faulty or in other words the best “existing option” and has no serious rival. The second is that the advantages of democracy are so numerous that its shortcomings are shown as being tolerable. However, this reasoning is merely theoretical and is only used as a standard of action where democracy has been institutionalized and determining the fate of differences of opinion is entrusted to the ballot boxes and specific timetables in accordance with the “law.” However, if a democratic culture has no deep roots in a society and people feel, justly or unjustly, that the politician who has won the election is taking steps along a different path or one contrary to the will of the majority, one cannot expect them to postpone a change in the status quo until the next election. They will enter into a challenge with the government and should the latter be unable to control the protests, they will bring down the government that has come to power through democracy using non-democratic means. They normally try to bring another competent ruler to power by organizing another election in order to realize the dreams of the majority. This is a dream, the accessibility of which is not yet known.
What happened several hours ago in Egypt, which resulted in Mursi`s overthrow through a “military coup d`etat”, is a development of this kind. After overthrowing the dictator Hosni Mubarak, which was made possible through military collaboration, the Egyptian nation went to the ballot boxes to choose their country`s helmsman in a democratic process and entrust him with the control of affairs. Ultimately and for a variety of reasons, the Islamists, based on the axis of the Muslim Brotherhood, overcame their rivals with a fragile majority of 52%, and Mursi became the first Arab Spring president of the land of the pharaohs. However, the inefficiency of the new government meant that not only his opposition failed to join his supporters, a large section of those who had voted for the brotherhood`s candidate, changed their stance and became part of Mursi`s opposition. Thus, a powerful front consisting of seculars, intellectuals, Christians, classes that have had enough of corruption and high cost of living, and Islamist critics of Mursi, was formed. The widespread and symbolic presence of protesters in recent days in Al-Tahrir Square, was the climactic point of their challenge against the brotherhood government. The number of protesters was so significant that it gave meaning to Mubarak`s bitterly ironic sentence that “my opponents were greatly fewer in number than the current protesters against Mursi.” At the height of pressure from the opposition, the government had pinned its hopes on the army`s support, but the military, which was not particularly happy about the brotherhood`s objectives and performance, preferred to stand alongside the majority of the nation and adopted standpoints that led to the protesters` increased determination and the brotherhood supporters` reduced self-confidence.
The speech delivered by Mursi on Tuesday was the final opportunity when he could have saved the Islamist government from the brink of the precipice, by using insight, or at least leave the already lost battlefield with grace. But as in the past, he showed that he is not a clever politician or a man of crisis. The brotherhood president made a brief reference to the “mistakes” committed by his government, with a worried face and in a shaking voice, and tried to attribute Egypt`s critical situation, particularly as far as the economy is concerned, to Mubarak`s performance when he was in power; a justification that had no audience among the protesters. At the same time, he spoke of resistance to the point of death in order to stay in power, and also revealed his differences of opinion with the army. These standpoints, which could neither be interpreted as “negotiation” and interest in “compromise”, nor could they rely on military power in order to carry out threats and rants, brought the ranks of the brotherhood`s opposition closer together and made them more unified. Ultimately, it was the military who had the last word, announcing the overthrow of the president and the suspension of the Constitution, and handing over the responsibility for the next election to a transition government.
Whatever Egypt`s future, it is an alarm bell for other governments that have risen from the ashes of the Arab Spring, because it reminds them of the bitter truth that obtaining power is not enough and in order to continue in power, one must remain loyal to one`s election commitments. Otherwise, if people are dissatisfied with the government`s actions, there is no guarantee that they will last until the lawful time for the next election. The masses have learnt the way to street democracy and have discovered its profound power, and they will not wait for the next opportunity of democracy at the ballot box. The expansion of such beliefs has a number of advantages and faults, which must be examined at another time.
(Description of Source: Tehran Sharq Online in Persian -- Website of reformist daily that has been subject to intermittent bans that has eroded its quality and circulation. The most recent ban, in September 2012, was lifted in December 2012. Launched as a weekly in 1998, it became a daily in 2003; URL: www.sharghdaily.ir)
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Iran: Commentary Says Egypt To Enter `Dark Tunnel` if Neither Side Compromises
Friday, July 5, 2013
Commentary by Ahmad Kazemzadeh entitled: “The Play of Egyptian Political Factions on the Edge of the Precipice”
Although the first anniversary of Mohammed Mursi`s election should have been a cause for celebration and happiness in view of the fact that he is the country`s first elected president in the past six decades, unfortunately, the anniversary of Mursi`s coming to power turned into a scene of confrontation between his supporters and opponents of the ruling Justice and Freedom Party (affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood); an unprecedented matter even during Mubarak`s term in office. Despite widespread complications, several factions can be specified within the trend of the recent political developments in Egypt.
On the one hand, stand Mohammed Mursi`s supporters, the majority of whom consist of members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Justice and Freedom Party. Although compared with the protesters, this action appears to be small, it is in fact extremely solid. On the other side, stand the members of the National Salvation Front together with members of the Tammarud movement (civil disobedience), and although each of these factions has its own special plans and objectives, at this particular juncture in time, they are standing together within the framework of the June 30 Front. It has been said that supporters of the former regime have hidden themselves among the members of this front.
However, there are also two other influential institutions, meaning the army and Al-Azhar, which initially tried to act in line with controlling the crisis and bringing the two opposing poles closer together, while maintaining their impartiality. But the 48 hour ultimatum issued by the army to the sides involved to reach an agreement, created the idea that the army has turned in favor of the opposition. The threatening statement issued by the army in submitting a road map not only created dissatisfaction for Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood`s supporters, it was a cause for happiness for the opposition, including the National Salvation Front and the Tamarrud movement, at the same time provoking them into continuing their opposition. This act on the part of the Army also provided continuation to the resignations by members of the Mursi government and resulted in the resignation of Kamel Amr, the Egyptian foreign minister.
Under such conditions, Mursi`s opposition sees its position as having become strengthened more than ever before, which is why it is showing no interest in retreating from its standpoints. At the same time, it appears that retreat and modified standpoints are considerably easier for the opposition than Mursi`s government because both government and army see the bridges behind them as having been completely destroyed and any kind of retreat from their standpoint can result in the weakening of their domestic position. While the majority of the players involved in Egypt`s domestic crises see no solution other than moving forward for themselves, they are also unaware that they are standing at the edge of a precipice. It is natural that under such circumstances, any move forward can result in a fall. Consequently, it is only the understanding of this dangerous situation that can encourage the players to review their standpoints and show flexibility in their stance, thus providing the possibility of a resolution to the crisis. Otherwise, there is a possibility that Egypt will enter a dark tunnel.
(Description of Source: Tehran Javan Online in Persian -- Website of hardline conservative daily affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC); URL: www.javannewspaper.com)
© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.
Former Egyptian deputy PM Al-Salmi refutes claims of military coup d`etat
BBC Monitoring Middle East
July 05, 2013
Text of report by Muhammad Abduh Hasanayn, from Cairo: “Former Egyptian deputy prime minister to Al-Sharq al-Awsat: the people have put an end to Muslim Brotherhood occupation,” published by Saudi-owned leading pan-Arab daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat website on 5 July
Former Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ali al-Salmi has described as “nonsense” the claim by some people that what has taken place in Egypt was an army coup d`etat against legitimacy. Al-Salmi stresses that the army has no desire whatsoever to assume power and all it has done is that it responded to the demands of the people. In exclusive statements to Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Al-Salmi points out: “The people have restored their hijacked revolution, and have put an end to an odious Muslim Brotherhood occupation of the country.”
In his turn, Egyptian Foreign Minister Muhammad Kamil Amr denounced yesterday the circulating claims that the removal of former President Muhammad Mursi is a military coup d`etat in Egypt.
Al-Salmi, who is deputy leader of the Democratic Front Party, occupied the post of deputy prime minister in the government of Dr Isam Sharaf during the period of the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces rule of the country after the revolution of 25 January 2011. During that period Al-Salmi aroused a major controversy after he proposed the “supra-constitutional principles” document in order to protect the civil character of the Egyptian State and its national institutions, but at that time this was rejected by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Al-Salmi says in his statements of yesterday: “What happened is that the people of Egypt have restored their dignity and revolution, which has been hijacked along the past year. By this the Egyptian people have put an end to the odious Muslim Brotherhood in record time compared to the huge amounts of mistakes, sins, and calamities that have been brought in by the Muslim Brotherhood and its rule of the country, and that have produced divided people hunted down by the Muslim Brotherhood that has not recognized anything other than the clan and close circle affiliated to it.”
Al-Salmi stresses: “The great Egyptian people, their wonderful youths, and their patriotic armed forces have restored the authority and sovereignty of law, and carried out the people`s decision to remove this odious regime, which has been expected since the first day former President Muhammad Mursi ascended to the seat of government because of the magnitude of the popular anger and of the mistakes.”
Al-Salmi describes what happened on 30 June 2013 as “an overwhelming popular revolution around which the entire people, men, women, and youths, gathered in an unprecedented way, as more than 30 million citizens have gone to the squares. Therefore, the concept of an army coup d`etat is nonsense. The armed forces have not done anything other than to respond to the demands of the people, who gathered through Tamarrud Movement thousands of signatures calling on Gen Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi to administer the country since the events of Port Said last year.”
Al-Salmi continues: “The statement by the General Command of the Armed Forces is balanced and clear. It indicates that the armed forces are not pursuing power or gain, and are not taking any side except the side of the people. Moreover, the moral is in the premise, which still is valid; what the masses demanded is what the army responded to on the basis that the army is the only national institution capable of correcting the course of the state, which has become deviant under the Muslim Brotherhood rule.”
Al-Salmi stresses: “Had the army and Gen Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi been ambitious to assume power, they would not have handed it over to an elected president on 30 June 2012, and they would not have waited for one year despite the huge problems between the presidential institution and the army during Mursi`s era. These problems include limiting the ability of the army to confront the terrorists in Sinai, and confronting the tunnels to Gaza through which weapons were smuggled, decisions all of which were taken by the Muslim Brotherhood. Despite the army`s dissatisfaction with this, it has waited for the people`s will to act.”
In his turn, Foreign Minister Muhammad Kamil Amr yesterday denounced the circulating claims that what happened in Egypt was a military coup d`etat. Amr has said: “What is being said in some circles about a military coup d`etat does not reflect the reality of the situation. What happened has been the result of a popular demand. The armed forces will have no role in the upcoming transitional stage; the armed forces` role will be restricted to the protection of the country and of the citizens.”
The foreign minister, who announced his resignation three days ago during the era of Muhammad Mursi, has started a series of contacts with his opposite numbers on the international and regional arenas. So far, these contacts have included the foreign ministers of the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Qatar, and Jordan, in addition to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
During these contacts Minister Amr has explained that what happened in Egypt on the day before yesterday “represents a real reflection of the will and demand of the Egyptian people as expressed by the huge crowds that took to the street, and represents the demands of the political powers of all directions. The armed forces have found themselves obliged to respond to this demand, and to spare the country the possibility of disastrous clashes.” Amr also has explained that the road map, mentioned in the statement of the general commander of the armed forces, is a reflection of what has been agreed among the political powers of all directions.
Source: Al-Sharq al-Awsat website, London, in Arabic 0000 gmt 5 Jul 13
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