UNITED NATIONS. MORSI OR MORESISI?! WHAT ABOUT A THIRD OPTION?

 

1 SEPTEMBER 2013

MORSI OR MORESISI?! WHAT ABOUT A THIRD OPTION?

Are there no other options for Egypt?

President Morsi, by consensus, bungled up his reign. Despite over-enthusiastic coverage by The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick, he and his group exaggerated their internal mandate and their external support. They assumed that those who voted for him -- mostly versus the Mubarak regime -- were also voting their way of life to a secretive cult group used to underground conduct and sign language. Like the world around it, Moslem Brotherhood in 2013 could not behave in the same way as in 1953, when they were seriously banned.

Externally, President Morsi's term was carried out by overwhelming support from "Brotherly" governments in Tunis, Morocco (to a degree), and -- more directly -- Turkey. They presumed that admiration by U.S. President Obama's Administration for Prime Minister Erdogan and the links certain Egyptian Brotherhood individuals had established with that Administration would give them a free hand. The first crackdown by President Morsi happened immediately after President Obama praised him publicly for helping arrange a ceasefire over Gaza between Hamas and Israel. A second move followed a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Panetta who praised Morsi as "his own man" (whatever that meant!). The Egyptian Armed Forces Commander, Marshall Tantawi, was replaced with what Brotherhood leaders thought was an amenable General, former Army Intelligence Chief, Abdel Fatteh el-Sisi. By now, the name -- abbreviated by media as Sisi -- sounds familiar.

In turn, General Sisi may be overplaying his hand after he initially reflected the popular position of millions of Egyptians. He may still represent their general sentiment, which he seemed to be ably evolving on his person. Circulating his photo as a young boy saluting then-popular President and "free" army officer Nasser, aimed at reaching out to a wider crowd while reassuring fellow officers.

A pledge by the Brotherhood of a 100-day Martyr's March fizzled away after the arrest of its leader. That did not stop some frustrated terrorists from burning Christian churches, thus playing more into the hand of Security forces. So were threats by visiting Senator McCain to cut off U.S. assistance to Egypt. In fact, Egyptians watch television and follow world news perhaps closer than others. They would easily note that during the clampdown on Morsi's demonstrating followers, U.S. President Obama was playing golf in Martha's Vineyard, with a particular circulated photo lifting a leg upward. A field day of local jokes followed. When the crisis erupted, there were photos -- deliberate or otherwise -- of U.S. Secretary of State Kerry gliding on his windsurfer elsewhere in Massachusetts (now, you try and pronounce that one -- the Bee Gees did!).

Threats to cut off U.S. aid would most likely lead to more Sisi than Morsi. The $1.5 billion would look like peanuts compared to the over $11 billion pledge by oil rich Gulf States (following which former President Mubarak suddenly was found not guilty of most charges and moved from jail to "house arrest"). In fact, it is the U.S. that needs Egypt's military to handle security relations on that strategic country's border, continue to provide U.S. flights (and drones!), free passage to Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc., and -- very important -- provide priority to U.S. vital shipping (of oil, gas and other vital material) through the Suez Canal.

With politically-correct political posturing, more Sisi is likely, unless a breather is offered for Egypt to work out its own dilemma. No doubt, the Moslem Brotherhood -- though obsessed with underground attitude -- is an integral part of the country. So are Egypt's armed forces -- sons and fathers of farmers, labourers and hardworking people.

No exclusive group could get away with running that vast complex versatile country. An all-inclusive arrangement should open the way to an overall participatory freely expressed process.

A third option is vital for Egypt and for the international community. Perhaps the U.N. could provide a ladder on which every side could step one step backward for everyone to step forward. That is, if the U.N. could perform such functions ?. But the opportunity is there.

Otherwise, the great Egyptian people who dazzled the world twice over the last three years will no doubt -- in time -- demonstrate once more their historic determination.

For whatever happens, Egypt remains as its simple, generous, experienced people call it: "Um Ed Dunia." Mother of the World.