The Middle East Channel

Egyptian police arrest Muslim Brotherhood’s top leader

Egyptian police arrest Muslim Brotherhood’s top leader

The Egyptian police detained the Brotherhood’s general guide, Mohamed Badie, from his apartment in Cairo’s Nasr City early Tuesday. Badie has hidden from authorities since the military ordered his arrest in July, and is now expected to stand trial on August 25 charged with "incitement to murder." Alongside Badie, the military-backed government has arrested hundreds of Brotherhood members, including ousted President Mohamed Morsi and top Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shater. In response to Badie’s arrest and the military’s attempts to seriously weaken the Brotherhood, the organization projected resilience and temporarily appointed Mahmoud Ezzat, one of Badie’s deputies, as the general guide. Senior Brotherhood leader Ahmed Akef said yesterday that Badie "is just one individual" among the millions who oppose the coup. Meanwhile, the continued detainment of Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, coincides with news of the potential release of deposed President Hosni Mubarak, signaling a dramatic reversal of events in Egypt. While the United States and European Union have backed away from the Egyptian government, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have promised firm support for Egypt’s new leaders despite recent turmoil. On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declared that Washington’s "ability to influence the outcome in Egypt is limited," and "it’s up to the Egyptian people" to sort out their country’s conditions.  

Headlines

  • The United Nations estimates that at least 29,000 Syrians have fled to Iraqi Kurdistan since Thursday, prompting local authorities to set a quota on daily refugee migration.
  • European Union foreign ministers will meet on Wednesday to determine whether to suspend or continue EU aid to Egypt.
  • An Egyptian court will review a petition for the release of Hosni Mubarak, submitted by his lawyer, on Wednesday.
  • Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are set to meet for their second round of peace talks today after last week’s secret talks were held in Jerusalem.
  • The CIA formally acknowledged its role in instigating the 1953 coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq. 

Arguments & Analysis

With Or Against Us‘ (Sarah Carr, Mada Masr)

"It looks like we are heading towards media oppression that will be worse than under 2011. There is a public appetite for it, and the security bodies have apparently been given a green light to do as they please. Wars on terrorism rely on crude binaries: You are either with us or against us, and this is the constant message being relayed to us (Hegazy even said during the presser yesterday that Egypt is ‘taking note of who is with it and who is against it’). Attempting to steer through the choppy mess that is Egypt at the moment with such a simplistic approach is disastrous, and is intended to reinforce the fiction that there are only two camps in the country. This is about bolstering the military regime’s strength, and its strength is dependent on the creation of an equal and opposing force against which it must pit itself. The Brotherhood has become its raison d’etre: There is no other reason to justify its current position and current actions. 

The Brotherhood has shown that it has access to arms. It has not condemned the church attacks in any meaningful way (and remember that Morsi oversaw an attack on a cathedral), raising suspicion that Morsi’s supporters are involved in the attacks with the Brotherhood’s tacit blessing. Is it a full-on terrorist organization?

The issue is that whether it is or not is not as important as the fact that the military needs it to be, and has deemed it so; and the media are not only being force fed this line, but are being forced to regurgitate it."

The Revenge of the Police State‘ (Wael Eskandar, Jadaliyya)

"But setting aside analyses of what the police could have done differently, it remains that the recent violence has only deepened people’s reliance on the security state and will exempt politicians from devising solutions to political differences. With the increase in social conflict, particularly along sectarian lines, security services will once again regain their traditional role as an arbiter of these conflicts, as well as their license to employ abusive, repressive tactics. This sustained sense of insecurity will only steer Egypt away from real justice. With the empowerment of the security sector, there will be no reason or motivation to push for revolutionary demands for real reforms inside the policing establishment. It is also likely that the escalation in violence and the pro-security rhetoric that the state has been touting will make it difficult for political dissidents, who are equally opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, to employ street action.

In some ways, the MB’s confrontational approach, wittingly or not, is handing back the coercive apparatus its license to kill and repress with impunity, but so are all those who are cheering on the security forces’ crackdown against the Brotherhood. Many such voices have criticized Mohamed ElBaradie for resigning his post as vice president in the wake of the recent violence. But in reality there is no role for a politician in a state that is poised to pick a security solution in dealing with every pressing challenge.

As we confront the question of whether or not Egypt will witness the ‘return’ of the police of the Mubarak era, a number of critical questions arise, such as: Is there any revolutionary fervor left to resist this route? Or have revolutionary commitments been drained through all the blood and the failed attempts at establishing a democratic political order?"

– Joshua Haber