Move cements military
control of government,
start of Arab ‘winter’?
Mohamed Morsi, deposed Egyptian president, was overthrown in July. Click image to enlarge.
WHILE THE WORLD was preoccupied with the crisis in Syria – and the U.S. with the crisis in Washington – the military junta that took over Egypt three months ago was cementing its control over that country.
Monday was the final nail in the coffin of the promising experiment in democracy.
In a sweeping ruling, an Egyptian court banned the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leader Mohamed Morsi was duly elected in a ballot widely regarded as fair in 2012.
It is a sad day for what once was known as the “Arab Spring.” As we all just passed the equinox, with fall officially under way, Monday’s development in Egypt might just be heralded one day as the beginning of the “Arab winter.”
IN A DETAILED ACCOUNT in The New York Times headlined Egyptian Court Bans Muslim Brotherhood David D. Kirkpatrick reports on developments.
The Guardian in the U.K. covered the story on the Muslim Brotherhood from Cairo. Click image to enlarge.
“An Egyptian court on Monday ordered the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood and the confiscation of its assets, sharply escalating a broad crackdown on the group in the three months since the military ousted its ally, Mohamed Morsi, from the presidency,” Kirkpatrick wrote.
“The court ruling formalizes the suppression of the group, and comes after mass shootings of more than 1,000 pro-Morsi demonstrators and the arrest of thousands of Brotherhood members and almost all of the group’s leaders.”
Alas, this is not a new situation, although many had hoped that it would stay in the past.
“… the ruling pushes the Brotherhood back underground, where it was for most of its 85-year history before the 2011 revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak allowed the group to operate in the open,” Kirkaptrick adds in his report.
The court’s ruling, which banned “all activities” organized, sponsored or financed by the Islamist group, was surprisingly broad and sweeping.
More background was added to the story in The Guardian of the U.K. headlined Muslim Brotherhood banned by Egyptian court
“A court on Monday ordered the freezing of the Brotherhood’s assets and also banned its spin-off groups, state media reported,” wrote Patrick Kingsley.
“In practice, the group had almost been forced underground already by the arrest this summer of thousands of its members – including most of its leaders – and the killing of about 1,000 more.”
The New York Times breaking news story on Egypt’s ban on the Muslim Brotherhood. Click image to enlarge.
However, Kinglsey added an optimistic tone: “It is a familiar predicament for the Brotherhood, which has been banned for most of its 85-year history and has successfully fought off every threat to its existence.”
BBC News, however, focused on how broad and sweeping the court’s ruling was in Egypt court bans Muslim Brotherhood ‘activities’
“It also ordered the interim government to seize the Brotherhood’s funds and form a panel to administer its frozen assets until any appeal had been heard.”
IT HAS BEEN WIDELY reported that the military launched a massive crackdown on the group since ousting President Mohammed Morsi on July 3.
“Dozens of senior figures, including its general guide Mohammed Badie, have been detained on suspicion of inciting violence and murder,” the BBC reported.
“The 85-year-old Islamist movement was banned by Egypt’s military rulers in 1954, but registered an NGO called the Muslim Brotherhood Association in March in response to a court case bought by opponents who contested its legal status.”
The BBC News story added important background to the latest news from Egypt. Click image to enlarge.
Furthermore, Egypt’s Brotherhood also has a legally registered political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, which was set up in 2011 as a “non-theocratic” group after the uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak from power.
The BBC added this important detail: “Monday’s ruling by the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters bans the Brotherhood itself, the NGO, as well as “any institution derived from or belonging to the Brotherhood” or “receiving financial support from it.
“It is not clear if it applies to the charities and social services linked to the Brotherhood, including schools and hospitals.”
What is clear, however, is that the military establishment has succeeded in extinguishing all possibility that the Muslim Brotherhood can again compete effectively in fair and open elections.
Plans are also afoot to amend the 2012 constitution to prohibit any participation by religion-affiliated groups.
All these signs point to the lights going out on Egypt’s short-lived attempt at democratic rule. It is a tragic development, but seemingly in tune with our Aug. 15 post on this blog that what is happening in Egypt is a clash of world views: Islamism vs. secularism.
This story is not yet finished. But the coming chapters seem as dark as the days before sunlight burst forth in the winter of 2011 when the Arab Spring was born in Tunisia.
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