Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians continue to protest across Egypt in response to President Mohammed Morsi’s alleged power seizure last week. Following a day in which the Egyptian stock exchange lost $4.5 billion, its third greatest loss since January 2009, Arab dailies report on the increasing gap between the current Egyptian government and the opposition parties.
“A ‘crisis’ meeting between Morsi and the judges,” reads the main headline of the Saudi-owned A-Sharq Al-Awsat. The paper, which consistently opposes the Muslim Brotherhood, writes that Egypt’s Supreme Judicial Council has issued another strong condemnation of President Morsi’s recent political maneuvers.
The council insists that “constitutional declarations must be limited to sovereign acts” and that Morsi has no authority to override the judiciary. President Morsi’s office announced in response that the president will meet with the Supreme Judicial Council to find a solution to the crisis, hinting at the possibility of a compromise. What President Morsi is willing to compromise on, however, remains unknown.
‘We are not against Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood. We hope the Muslim Brotherhood will bring us a stable civilian political system that resembles Europe, or at least Turkey or Malaysia’
Meanwhile, Egyptian journalists continue to call Morsi’s constitutional declaration “a blatant attack on public freedoms, the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary.” In an editorial written by Abdul Rahman al-Rashad, the general manager of Al-Arabiyya television and the former editor-in-chief of A-Sharq Al-Awsat, he warns that Morsi “is trying to turn Egypt into another Iran,” and in the process, “will fail and destroy the country.”
“We are not against Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood,” he emphasizes. “We hope the Muslim Brotherhood will bring us a stable civilian political system that resembles Europe, or at least Turkey or Malaysia… Morsi has the chance to save the country and lead it to a better era. But now the Muslim Brotherhood is destroying a system that is the true guarantor for them and their country’s future. We are all aware that the Muslim Brotherhood enjoys great popularity and a long history of political action in Egypt. That means they do not need to subvert the system as they are doing today.”
In the last day, violence has erupted between opposing groups of political activists. Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports the killing of a young male Muslim Brotherhood supporter in Damanhour in the North Delta. Over 60 others were wounded when a fight broke out involving sticks, stones, and Molotov cocktails.
Saad El-Katatni, chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, writes on his Facebook page that “the killing of a youth in Damanhour and continuous acts of bullying and burning of the [Muslim Brotherhood] headquarters in the provinces confirms that there are those trying to spread chaos in Egypt.”
Leaders of the ever-growing list of opposition parties seem to agree with Katatni’s point, but have a different take on who is to blame.
In a statement by a large number of political parties and civic movements, including former International Atomic Energy Agency director Mohammed ElBaradei’s Constitution Party and Hamdeen Sabahi of the Dignity Party, President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are accused of “intransigence and of using the Interior Ministry to commit acts of violence against peaceful protesters.” They vow to have no dialogue with Morsi until he complies with the Supreme Judicial Council’s demands.
Indeed, even El-Sayyid El-Badawi, the president of the Al-Wafd Party, which ran on a joint list with the Freedom and Justice Party in this past summer’s elections, told Al-Jazeera that “talk of overthrowing the regime has returned to Tahrir Square. The people of Egypt that brought down the most powerful authoritarian regime can drop this system in a number of days.” He went on to accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of trying to control the Egyptian state.
What average Egyptian citizens and the international community can do to influence the pendulum of events in Egyptian politics remains a topic of debate.
“Call to boycott products of factories owned by the Brotherhood in Egypt,” is the main headline in the London-based daily Al-Hayat. A group of Egyptian activists who will not reveal their political affiliation has called on all Egyptians via Twitter and Facebook to boycott Muslim Brotherhood-produced milk, clothes, furniture, and carbonated water. “The Brotherhood,” the anonymous group claims, “are the clients of the Americans and the Zionists and are trying to kidnap the homeland on behalf of foreign interests.”
The international community, though, should keep its nose out of Egypt’s business, says Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the head of the Ibn Khaldun Center of Political Studies, in an article published in the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.
In response to US Senator John McCain’s suggestion that the US government consider pulling financial assistance to Egypt to put pressure on Morsi, Ibrahim called in to a TV program Sunday night, claiming that “foreign intervention and pressure follow the stupidity of the arbitrary and imperialistic decisions taken by President Mohammed Morsi, which have brought us back to the age of Inquisition.”