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Last week, a group of terrorists in Sinai killed 16 Egyptian soldiers before launching a failed attack into Israel. And a few days later, the new Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, removed the chief of the armed forces and defense minister, Mohammed Tantawi, along with the army, navy and air force service heads. On the same day, he also cancelled the constitutional addendum restricting presidential powers that Tantawi and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces had imposed last June. These events tell us much about what lies ahead.
Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who won presidential elections, has full executive and legislative authority. He can convene a new constituent assembly to draft a new constitution, without the oversight of the military establishment that has ruled Egypt for six decades.
This means an Islamist constitution. The Brotherhood, the “the mother of all Islamist movements” as Shadi Hamid, a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center, puts it, an Islamist organization dating back to 1928, whose leading ideologues, notably Sayyid Qutb, were the precursor of al-Qaeda, will create an Islamist order in Egypt.
The Brotherhood is vehemently anti-American, so expect a slow demise in the alliance into which America poured $60 billion over three decades. Its leader, Muhammad Badi’ said in October 2010 that, “The U.S. is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise.”
The Brotherhood is also virulently opposed to Israel’s existence and calls for the rescission of the Egyptian/Israeli peace treaty. Its deputy leader, Rashad al-Bayoumi has described Israel as “enemy entity” and asserted that the existing peace treaty “isn’t binding at all.” Expect Israeli/Egyptian relations – frosty at the best of times – to petrify.
Morsi no longer speaks for the Brotherhood – he resigned on becoming president – but he needn’t: it speaks for itself. And its reaction to the recent terrorist attack, which the Israelis narrowly averted, was to blame it on the Israeli intelligence service “Mossad, which has been seeking to abort the Egyptian revolution.” Hamas, the Palestinian off-shoot of the Brotherhood which controls Gaza and calls in its Charter for the worldwide murder of Jews, took the same line. Its prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, stated, “The crime itself and what preceded it confirms Israel’s involvement in one way or another.”
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