Monday, April 30, 2012

Egypt's Islamists And The Military Clash In Standoff

Things are heating up in Egypt, and not in a good way.

After the ruling military junta disqualified their candidates in the coming presidential election, the leaders of Egypt's Islamist dominated parliament demanded that the current junta picked cabinet step down in favor of a cabinet appointed by the parliament.

Things heated up with street protests after Friday's sermons at th emosques to the point where one of th e4protesters was killed outside of Egypt's Ministry of Defense. Others were injured as supporters of the army clashed in street fights with the Islamists.

In response,Parliament Speaker Saad el-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party announced that parliament was suspending sessions for a week to protest the ruling military junta's failure to dismiss the present cabinet and allow the Islamists to pick a new one of their choosing.

"It is my responsibility as speaker of the People's Assembly (parliament) to safeguard the chamber's dignity and that of its members. There must be a solution to this crisis," el-Katatni told lawmakers before he adjourned parliament until May 6.

There's a subtext to this that bears looking at. The Islamists and salafist al-Nour party, who are the majority in parliament maneuvered things so that they dominated the 100 member committee charge with writing Egypt's new constitution.

In response, the military junta had a court disqualify the committee and enter 'negotiations' about appointing a new committee more to the junta's liking.

In response, the Islamists rejected the military's economic program, which included badly needed loans from places like the IMF. This could lead to an early decision by the junta to let the Isalmists form a temporary civilian government until elections in June.

Another interesting sidelight is the salafist Al-Nour Party, the second largest in parliament behind the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom And Justice Party.

While al-Nour is allied with Freedom and Justice, the alliance is not without its friction. Al-Nour could be classified as being to the right of the Muslim Brotherhood, especially when it comes to Islam and sharia. Many of them are worried about being absorbed into the Brotherhood, especially since their leader Hazem Abu Ismail was disqualified from running for president by the junta and have now endorsed former Muslim Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh for the presidency rather than the Brotherhhood's official candidate, Mohammed Mursi.

It remains to be seen whether Fotouh will get enough votes to split the Islamist/Salafist vote and allow the election of former Arab League head Amr Moussa, a presidential candidate more to the ruling junta's liking.


louielouie said...

despite ff excellent sources and commentary, i'm holding out on my assessment of what constitutes a clash, of these two forces, pending an on site report by lara logan.

Rob said...

That was kinda cruel, Louie. Even though I know you didn't mean it that way.