|code: 325457||Date: 2012/06/28 - 18:22||source: Press TV|
Mursi and the Egyptian military
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Mursi´s victory represents a remarkable victory for the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization which had been outlawed and systematically suppressed for decades, including under the three-decade regime of toppled president Hosni Mubarak. During the election campaign, Mursi got the benefits of the electoral work of the organization's grassroots network his highly organized campaign team.
Mursi is the Arab world´s first elected Islamist president after more than a year of popular uprisings that ousted some autocrats and fueled the rise of Islamist forces in the whole region. His victory also means the end of a 60-year of military monopoly on the presidency. The previous presidents, who ruled the country since the Free Officers´ coup in 1952 -Mohamed Naguib, Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Anwar El Sadat and Hosni Mubarak- all came from within the military's ranks.
The SCAF´s grip on power
Mursi's victory, however, does not mean that the military junta is willing to loosen its current grip on power. Recent decisions by SCAF have given the military junta expanded powers at the expense of both parliament and the presidency. The SCAF released late on Sunday 17 June an addendum to the military-authored March 2011 Constitutional Declaration.
The articles of the amended Constitutional Declaration put the SCAF in sole charge of the armed forces and its affairs, including selecting military leaders and the defense minister. The president will also not be able to declare a state of war or order the deployment of troops, even to contain domestic disturbances, without the SCAF´s consent, according to the terms of the constitutional addendum.
“The addendum means that the SCAF has become a state above the state, with wide legislative and executive powers, a veto on constitutional and other political matters, and stands immune to any challenges,” liberal political analyst Amr Hamzawy said via Twitter. Revolutionary author Alaa El-Aswany adds: “The Constitutional Deceleration is a complete turn against the revolution and it makes the president a mere affiliate of the military council”.
Moreover, the dissolution of parliament's lower house by the Supreme Constitutional Court, under the SCAF´s control, has given the military junta full legislative and executive authority until a new People's Assembly can be elected. The SCAF has also threatened to use an “iron fist” against protesters, and has deployed troops and armored vehicles in front of several public buildings in Cairo.
With its attitude, the military has clearly signaled that it did not intend to hand over the power to the Muslim Brotherhood. It has dissolved the parliament and the constituent assembly, which were both dominated by the Islamists. “The establishment is still there and they have an ideology against the Brotherhood,” said Said Sadek, a professor of political sociology at American University in Cairo. “They were trained to look the brotherhood and political Islam as the enemy.”
However, if this agreement proves to be something more than a temporary one, it would be a travesty of democracy, as the outcome would be an agreement between two factions of the ruling elite that would exclude the sentiments and interests of the Egyptian people at large. Most analysts insist that the only possible end for the democratic process in the country must be the definite return of military to their barracks.
Another problem is the size of the military's role in economy. According to different estimates, their companies and industries account for around 8%-40% of the country's gross national product. But since all the army's accounts are secret no one knows this for sure. It is noteworthy to point out that the three main land-developing authorities (agricultural, urban and tourism) are headed by former military officers who, in addition to their military pensions, receive lucrative salaries and benefits associated with their civilian jobs.
Any attempt to scrutinize, nationalize or privatize the army's business empire will face strong opposition, not just from the high officers but also from powerful allies within the state bureaucracy; that is, people who are benefiting largely from the status quo.
Therefore, the military junta and some sector of the bureaucracy could be tempted to make Mursi a lame-duck president or a figurehead and prevent him from implementing the Muslim Brotherhood program or his own ideas for the development of the country. “President Morsi will struggle to control the levers of state,” said Elijah Zarwan, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “He will likely face foot-dragging and perhaps outright attempts to undermine his initiatives from key institutions. Faced with such resistance, frustration may tempt him to fall into the trap of attempting to throw his new weight around,” Zarwan told Reuters. “This would be a mistake”.
After some days of meetings with other revolutionary parties and organizations, such as the 6 April Youth Movement and secular Nasserites, leftist and liberals Mursi held a press conference in which he announced the formation of a national front. In order to dismiss allegations that the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to monopolize the power, he said that he would appoint a personality that is not member of his organization as prime minister and assign other cabinet posts to non-Islamist figures.
The second card is Egyptian masses, who are not longer willing to have a shadow military government and let the army rule the country. In fact, protests have been going on since the junta dissolved the parliament earlier this month even after the announcement of Mursi´s win. Egyptians of all the political spectrum are saying loudly that they will not tolerate a role for military in the country's politics. And, in spite of some threats of using the force against “rioters”, the Egyptian generals are aware that they are too weak to launch a crackdown campaign against their own people.