The Middle East Channel

After Egypt’s election, Mohamed Morsi claims victory as military consolidates power

Egyptian news media has declared Mohamed Morsi the winner of the presidential runoff election held on Saturday and Sunday. The runoff between Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of former president Hosni Mubarak, was the first competitive election for president in the country’s history. The Brotherhood claims Morsi won with a 52%-48% lead ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Egyptian news media has declared Mohamed Morsi the winner of the presidential runoff election held on Saturday and Sunday. The runoff between Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of former president Hosni Mubarak, was the first competitive election for president in the country’s history. The Brotherhood claims Morsi won with a 52%-48% lead over Shafiq. The official results will be announced on Thursday. But a triumvirate of maneuvers by the ruling military council cast doubt on the extent of the country’s transition to democracy. The council dissolved the democratically elected parliament that was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood; consolidated legislative power; and released a new interim constitution that greatly decreased the parameters of the new president’s authority. The new charter gives the ruling military council power over the prime minster, all legislation, the national budget, and declarations of war, without any oversight. In addition, the interim constitution postpones new parliamentary elections until a new constitution is ratified. Mohamed ElBaradei has declared this interim constitution a "grave setback for democracy and revolution." The revolutionary group April 6 Youth Movement has called for mass protests in Tahrir Square against what they claim is a military coup.

Syria

On Friday, the United Nations observer mission to Syria was suspended due to increased violence across the country. Major General Robert Mood, head of the observer mission, has urged both sides of the conflict to allow civilians to be evacuated from conflict zones. Gen. Mood will brief the U.N. security council on Monday. Meanwhile, the Syrian government increased attacks across the country, particularly in Homs, which sustained a massive shelling. The United Nations’ human rights head recently said that government shelling of civilian areas amounts to war crimes. Opposition groups claim more than 14,000 civilians and 3,400 soldiers and militiamen loyal to Assad have been killed since the revolt began in March 2011. Meanwhile, Russia’s chief arms exporter, Anatoly P. Isaykin, said that his company will ship advanced defensive missile technologies to Syria, adding "these mechanisms are really a good means of defense, a reliable defense against attacks from the air or sea." Additionally, Russia will sail two navy ships to the Syrian port of Tartus in an attempt to protect Russian nationals in Syria and its naval base there.

Headlines

  • On Saturday, the former Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi created a new secularist political party, which aims to compete with Ennahda, the popular Islamist group.
  • Israel has begun deporting migrant workers to South Sudan, the first in a series of weekly repatriation flights. This move, which could culminate in the expulsion of 4,500 Africans, comes after a spate of anti-migrant violence and rhetoric.  
  • Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, died in Geneva and was buried in Mecca on Sunday.

Arguments & Analysis

What went wrong in Egypt?‘ (Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera English)
"Has the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood been too ambitious and opportunistic? Have the youth been too naive to let go of their accomplishments and abandon the squares too early? Perhaps. What is clear is that decades of dictatorship and one-party rule don’t just evaporate because the powers that be lost the first or second round to the people they long treated unworthy of government. For a revolution to succeed, it takes more than wide popular support for a break with the past. It also takes more than elections. It requires translating the control of the streets and public squares into people’s control over the pillars of the state."

Libyan resilience on a hot day in June‘ (Rhiannon Smith, OpenDemocracy)

"While Libyans are quietly proving that they can forgive, forget and move forward together, the current political and military powers in Libya seem intent on proving the opposite to the rest of the world. Recent threats to security have indeed been serious and in some areas of Libya life is far from peaceful, yet what most Libyans are striving towards is stability, security and rule of law. They don’t want a redraft of Gaddafi’s draconian laws; they don’t want vigilantes in military uniforms dishing out their own brand of justice; they don’t want their martyrs to have died in vain."

China Should Intervene in Syria, Not America‘  (Niall Ferguson, The Daily Beast)

"There can be no morally credible argument against intervention-by someone. Leaving Syria to descend into the kind of sectarian violence that devastated neighboring Lebanon in the 1980s would condemn hundreds of thousands to premature, violent death. Syria is five times the size of Lebanon. The risks of leaving it to degenerate into a failed state are surely higher than the risks of intervention. But why should it be the United States that once again attempts to play the part of global cop?…Under President Obama, U.S. grand strategy has been at best incoherent, at worst nonexistent. I can think of no better complement to the president’s recent "pivot" to the Asia-Pacific region than to invite China to play a greater role in the Middle East-one that is commensurate with its newfound wealth and growing military capability."

Muslim Brotherhood still fails to offer a ‘civil state’ solution‘ (Hassan Hassan, The National)

"The Brotherhood sets itself apart from other Islamist groups as a pragmatic faction that accepts modernity and its ethos, using the "civil state" idea to reassure secularists and minorities. But while its moderate leaders may mean well by their promises of a modern state, the organisation is prone to resist change. The moderate discourse must be translated into binding guidelines, a type of manifesto, as part of a reconfiguration of its overall ideology. Until then, secularist groups and regional governments will continue to view the group with suspicion."

–By Jennifer Parker 

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