New Egyptian Constitution: A Slap at the Brotherhood


464D0383-FA87-472C-8669-A8CFDA6876C3_mw1024_n_sEgyptians have a new draft constitution to vote upon in a referendum to be held either later this month or in January 2014. It is meant to replace, with amendment language and new provisions, the more Islamist-oriented constitution rammed through by former Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi. “It is now the right of every Egyptian to declare that this is their constitution,” said Bishop Bola, the representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church on the panel that was responsible for drafting the new constitution. 

The big loser will be the Muslim Brotherhood, eclipsed by representatives from a more conservative Islamist party and from Al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni learning, who spoke for Islamists on the drafting panel and have backed the new constitution. The drafting panel also consisted of activists from Tamarod, the secular youth movement that rallied millions of Egyptians who demanded that Morsi step aside, leading to his ouster and replacement by an interim government under the rule of the defense minister, General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.

The constitution drafters and the interim government leaders hope that there will be a significantly larger turnout of voters to approve this constitution than showed up to approve Morsi’s constitution.  A larger turnout and vote in support of the draft constitution would serve to legitimize the current interim government’s self-proclaimed move towards a more inclusive, democratic regime – at least, that is what the interim government leaders are claiming. Whether presidential or parliamentary elections would be held first following the constitution’s ratification remains an open question, possibly to provide the opportunity for Sisi to run for president and consolidate his influence in advance of more contentious, drawn-out parliamentary elections.

On paper, the new constitution would grant new important rights to Egyptian citizens, including protection against torture, human trafficking and persecution for religious belief. It bans parties founded on religion or sect and mandates equality between men and women, both slaps in the face of the Muslim Brotherhood which tried to remake the country in its own image of an Islamist state. In practice, however, the new constitution is but another in a series of constitutional documents, more honored in their breach than their observance. While the new draft pays lip service to human rights and is more secular in nature than its predecessor, the draft keeps Sharia law as the basis for legislation. Repression of dissent, limitations on freedom to practice one’s own religion, and violence and discrimination against women are likely to remain the grim reality on the streets of Egypt. State institutions such as the military and the police will retain their privileged status.

Not surprisingly, the Muslim Brotherhood has already denounced the new draft constitution. It said that “abusive coupists” were trying to “distort Egypt’s legitimate constitution,” by which they mean the Islamist-oriented constitution foisted on the Egyptian people last year by a far less inclusive drafting process.  Liberals, secularists and the Coptic Church were on the outside looking in, in contrast to their inclusion in the current drafting process.

The Obama administration appears to be taking a wait-and-see attitude towards the new draft constitution. But, in the meantime, the administration continues to punish the interim regime by cutting off vital military aid, including the delivery of F-16s, M1A1 tank kits, Harpoon missiles and Apache helicopters. It does so on the pretext that the regime’s forcible suppression of dissent and lack of inclusiveness forced the administration to the point that “we could not continue business as usual with respect to our assistance.”

Why not begin resuming at least some deliveries now that the interim government has taken at least a preliminary step on its roadmap towards a more inclusive civil democracy? The excuse appears to be a recently passed law placing restrictions on protest demonstrations, which was aimed at curbing the incessant protests by Islamists supporting Morsi before violence could erupt but has also ensnared some disaffected secularist activists. In a press statement issued on November 25, 2013, Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson, said that “this law, which imposes restrictions on Egyptians’ ability to assemble peacefully and express their views, does not meet international standards and will not move Egypt’s democratic transition forward.”  Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, piled on with this tweet on November 26th: “New law regulating peaceful protests in #Egypt simply doesn’t meet intl standards. Gov’t must protect freedoms, and this law restricts them.”

Why didn’t the administration apply the same “international standards” when it kept the arms flowing unabated to the repressive, non-inclusive Morsi regime? The truth is that the administration would have preferred the Islamist Morsi regime to remain in power.

Recall that as millions of anti-Morsi protesters filled the streets of Egypt last June in peaceful demonstrations, Anne Patterson, the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt at the time, said that she and “my government” were “deeply skeptical” about the effectiveness of “street action.”  In a little-noticed statement before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on October 29, 2013, A. Elizabeth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, said the “decision to remove Morsi” was “troubling.”

President Obama still appears to view the Muslim Brotherhood, whose representatives he invited to his June 2009 speech in Cairo, as the preferred, legitimate rulers in Egypt. It is part of a dramatic pivot that has placed Obama on the side of Islamist authoritarian regimes against more secular, military-supported authoritarian regimes in the region.

In the words of A. Savyon, director of MEMRI’s Iran Media Project, and Y. Carmon, President of MEMRI, in their analysis of the roots of the U.S.’s policy change in the Middle East that led to the Obama administration’s disastrous interim nuclear agreement with Iran:

“In previous attempts to appeal to the peoples of the region, that is, in Ankara and Cairo in 2009, Obama presented a vision of an America that is no longer an imperialist power that maintains military bases in the region and intervenes militarily to protect the status quo, but a country that identifies with the aspirations and interests of the Arab and Muslim peoples and disregards their regimes. In Obama’s perception, the overall U.S. shift in recent years – the pinnacle of which is his attempts at reconciliation with the Iranian regime – does not stem from weakness but is ideologically directed; it dovetails with and intensifies the revolutionary changes taking place in the Arab world since the Arab Spring, with the aim of integrating the U.S. into the Arab and Muslim world of the future.”

The new draft Egyptian constitution, as imperfect as it is, represents an improvement over the Muslim Brotherhood-backed constitution. It was also drafted with more inclusive participation. Egypt will not be a Jeffersonian democracy, no matter who rules. Therefore, given the choice between a nominally more inclusive but authoritarian secular regime committed to fighting terrorism and standing by international treaties, versus an authoritarian jihadist regime that at best turned a blind eye to Islamist violence against Christians and other “infidels” and questioned its existing treaty obligations, the correct choice should be clear. Sadly, the Obama administration appears committed to choosing the wrong side.

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  • papa joe

    “……..It bans parties founded on religion or sect and mandates equality
    between men and women, both slaps in the face of the Muslim Brotherhood…”

    A few of these rules would be great for Israel, where religious nuts are taking over the country… Let’s learn some modernization from Egypt.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Move to Egypt and tell us how things work out.

    • defcon 4

      Gee, women have full rights to men in Israel islam0liar, as do all religious groups — even the najjis kaffir. I’ll bet that last point gets your islamic panties in a wad doesn’t it?

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “Sadly, the Obama administration appears committed to choosing the wrong side.”

    How surprising.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      What do you expect from a man whose middle name is “Hussein”.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frances-Chute-Quinn/100002220220146 Frances Chute Quinn

        that should have been the first clue in 2007!

        • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94rcOVJBMYQ Winston Blake

          People are still clueless, McCain would have been worse.

          • defcon 4

            What about Romney?

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94rcOVJBMYQ Winston Blake

      People in today’s world are illiterate… it was written about thousands of years ago… in this hieroglyph…

  • ObamaYoMoma

    But, in the meantime, the administration continues to punish the interim regime by cutting off vital military aid, including the delivery of F-16s, M1A1 tank kits, Harpoon missiles and Apache helicopters. It does so on the pretext that the regime’s forcible suppression of dissent and lack of inclusiveness forced the administration to the point that “we could not continue business as usual with respect to our assistance.”

    Personally, I would not recommend giving any of the above under any circumstances whatsoever, even if they choose a constitution as inclusive as ours used to be before the Left destroyed it, but nonetheless I’m not blinded by political correct multiculturalism the same way this writer is either.

    which was aimed at curbing the incessant protests by Islamists supporting Morsi before violence could erupt but has also ensnared some disaffected secularist activists.

    Uhm….all mainstream orthodox Muslims in the world are Islamists, since waging jihad is a fundamental holy obligation incumbent upon all Muslims in one form or another, as Islam is not a faith-based religion as it masquerades as being, but a very totalitarian cult instead that punishes non-compliance, i.e., blasphemy and apostasy, under the penalty of death.

    Thus, all Muslims are either Muslims or otherwise blasphemous apostates that per the dictates of Islam must be executed, and so-called “moderate Muslims”, which is a political correct multicultural myth, falls in that group that would inevitably have to be executed had full Sharia been imposed.

    Hence, this begs the question of how did so many liberal secularists become existent in Egypt. Simple, the previous Egyptian government wasn’t a full Islamic government. So those that inevitably strayed away from Islam were allowed to flourish, before they idiotically turned on their former benefactor.

    Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson, said that “this law, which imposes restrictions on Egyptians’ ability to assemble peacefully and express their views, does not meet international standards and will not move Egypt’s democratic transition forward.” Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, piled on with this tweet on November 26th: “New law regulating peaceful protests in #Egypt simply doesn’t meet intl standards. Gov’t must protect freedoms, and this law restricts them.”

    I hate to rain on each of their naive clueless parades, but any manmade secular laws are in the eyes of all Muslims abominations that ultimately must be obliterated and superseded by Sharia (Islamic totalitarian law), because Sharia law as opposed to manmade secular law emanates divinely directly from Allah and is therefore absolutely flawless and perfectly just as it is the “will of Allah”. Thus, unless Sharia becomes the law of the land, there will always be an Islamic resistance, i.e., jihad, waged against the less than Islamic government, similar to the resistance, i.e., jihad, waged by the MB and the Salifists against the former Mubarak government.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    It is part of a dramatic pivot that has placed Obama on the side of Islamist authoritarian regimes against more secular, military-supported authoritarian regimes in the region.

    The writer’s adherence to political correct multiculturalism runs amuck here, but nevertheless any government that emerges either way will have to be very authoritarian and totalitarian in nature no matter what, as Islam is not a religion but instead a very rabid form of totalitarianism. Additionally, any secular government that may emerge will have to be very authoritarian and totalitarian too to the extent that it will have to fend off a never ending Islamic resistance, i.e., a jihad (holy war), waged against it by Muslims similar to the jihad waged perpetually against the Israelis by the Islamic world. Not to mention the fact that Sharia, but less than full Sharia, which is Islamic totalitarian law, will still have to be a very large part of any secular authoritarian government as well.

    As a matter of fact, the establishment of liberal Western style democracy, as the clueless GWB administration idiotically tried to establish at great expense to the American people in Afghanistan and Iraq, is absolutely impossible in the Islamic world. Indeed, between the previous GWB administration and the current Obama administration, it is very hard to determine which one of them is more incompetent.

    In my book I would recommend that the infidel world collectively fully abandon and isolate the entire Islamic world altogether after confiscating their oil resources and outlawing, banning, and reversing mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage ASAP. Indeed, that’s the only sane thing to do. Of course, Iran’s nuclear weapons program will also have to be eradicated along with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal and their nuclear weapons program as well. Indeed, we have nothing to gain by trying to delude ourselves in the spirit of political correct multiculturalism into believing that Muslims can ever be our allies, as that is utterly impossible.

    Therefore, given the choice between a nominally more inclusive but authoritarian secular regime committed to fighting terrorism

    Muslims aren’t terrorists. Instead, they are jihadists that are waging both violent and non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad (holy war) to ultimately make Islam supreme, not only in Egypt, but throughout the world as well because jihad is not only the highest pillar of Islam, waging it is also a fundamental holy obligation incumbent upon all Muslims in one form or another.

    Hence, the writer’s reduction, in the spirit of political correct multiculturalism, of what is really a jihad (holy war) being waged by the entire Islamic world down to being just a much smaller problem of terrorism perpetrated by a tiny minority of so-called Islamists, i.e. Muslim extremists and Muslims radicals, whose existence is a political correct multicultural myth, by the way, is part of the worldwide political correct multicultural campaign by the ideological Left to minimize the true nature of the problem.

    Indeed, jihad (holy war) waged by the entire Islamic world as opposed to terrorism perpetrated willy-nilly by a few stray Muslim extremists and radicals, i.e., so-called Islamists, here and there, is a far more substantial problem for the infidel world at large, but that must never be acknowledged because the infidel world would inevitably be forced to outlaw, ban, and reverse decades of mass Muslim immigration and infiltration. Thus, whether the writer realizes it or not, he is a very gullible useful idiot being used by the ideological Left for their ends.

  • v

    Obama seems to be always betting on the wrong people, but then he is a memeber of the wrong people, and don’t we know it too well here domestically.

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94rcOVJBMYQ Winston Blake

      “As for the mountain of Bakhu on which the sky rests, it is in the east of the sky… A serpent is on the top of that mountain; it is thirty cubits long, eight cubits of its forepart are of flint, and its teeth gleam… Now after a while he will turn his eye against Re, and a stoppage will occur in the Sacred Bark and a great vision among the crew, for he will swallow up seven cubits of the great waters; Seth will project a lance of iron against him and will make him (Obama) vomit up all that he has swallowed.”

      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94rcOVJBMYQ Winston Blake

        Most of you people aren’t very observant…

  • defcon 4

    “F-16s, M1A1 tank kits, Harpoon missiles and Apache helicopters”. Why does Egypt need all this military hardware? What enemies does Egypt have that require this kind of military hardware to defeat?

  • USARetired

    By receiving a conviction in the World Court! Dingle Barry is a criminal at large!