Muslim Brotherhood candidate Muhammad Mursi did not wait for the ballots of the two-day poll to be counted before proclaiming himself Monday, June 18, President of Egypt and claiming 52.5 percent of the vote against 47.5 percent for his rival, Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.
Morsi promised a cheering news conference “a civil, patriotic, democratic, constitutional and modern state” as “president of all the Egyptian people.” Shafiq’s protest that the millions of uncounted votes could change the results was drowned out by Islamist celebrations in several Egyptian cities – as well as the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The scene was being set for the Muslim Brotherhood to rally the street against a possible Shafiq win; Islamist multitudes would force the Morsi victory down the throats of the country and the transitional military council rulers.
Anticipating this scenario, the supreme military council Sunday virtually stripped the incoming president of powers by assuming the legislative authority of the dissolved parliament and control of the national budget.
The council will release details of an interim constitutional declaration Monday, said Maj. Mohamed Askar, the council's spokesman.
debkafile’s sources report that the council will not go directly up against the Muslim Brotherhood, although it was often accused of plotting its overthrow. What the generals are doing is maneuvering for a foothold from which to bargain for a portion of rule. Reluctant to give up the reins of government, they are nonetheless aware that Morsi may not only prove to be the chosen president of millions of Egyptians, but enjoys quiet backing from the Obama administration.
US president Barack Obama’s goal from the outset of the Tahrir Square revolution early last year was to get the Muslim Brotherhood installed in government through the ballot box. He sees this as the grand vindication of the vision he unveiled at Cairo University on June 4, 2009 in a speech reaching out to world Muslims.
Obama accepts Muslim parties who are not al Qaeda or jihadists as forces of moderation who must be allowed to attain power through their embrace of democracy, and with whom the US, the West and Israel must learn to coexist.
This perception, which entails getting even pro-Western autocratic rulers displaced, guided his hand in supporting the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and Muammar Qaddafi’s overthrow in Libya seven months later to make way for “moderate” Muslim rule.
It is also being applied in Syria. Aided by the Muslim ruler closest to him, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Obama is working hard to unify the squabbling factions of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, the backbone of the Sunni rebellion against the Assad regime and his Alawite sect, and bring the MB to power through the democratic process. It is too soon to predict his chances of success.
In Cairo, Egypt’s generals are engaged in an acrobatic exercise to keep their balance while watching the Brotherhood take power with the blessing of the White House in Washington.
Israel, it must be said, finds itself in a strategic pits deeper than ever before as it faces the Islamist revolution overtaking Egypt. While promising Israel every possible security perk, Obama has relentlessly pursued a policy of accommodation with revolutionary Islam, both Shiite – through a nuclear deal with Iran after it progressed beyond the point of no return for building a bomb – and the Sunnis, by collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood and its branches.
This policy has stripped Israel of its strategic assets barring one – military prowess.
In their three years at the helm of Israel’s government, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have lined up with Obama policy – often involuntarily. However, every Obama success in promoting Muslim power drops Israel further down the strategic scale in the face of its empowered foes.
Israel’s only recourse for recovering shrinking strategic ground in the Middle East and deterrent strength against the rising Islamist forces in Egypt is to take matters in its own hands and dismantle Iran’s nuclear program by force.
If Netanyahu waits much longer, Israel will find Shiite and Sunni revolutionary rulers uniting against their perceived common enemy, Israel, before they fight each other over slicies of the Middle East. A military coup in Cairo could set this process back, but the chances of its happening are slight.