ABDUL RAHMAN AL-RASHED, General Manager of Al Arabiya[/one_third](Al Arabiya) In the views of some Brotherhood members, we are running a schadenfreude campaign without genuine political objections. Throughout the Arab world, there are people like us whose sole aim is to discredit the new regime.
Of course, this is only an excuse, a failure to justify the decision to stage a coup which Mursi announced last Thursday. By this decision Mursi became the government, the People’s Assembly, the judiciary and the only person to decide the constituents of the new Constitution.
The spiteful accusations and revenge that ensued are offensive mechanisms of defense and a way to silence critics. They forget the fact that Egypt is a major regional state. If led by Mursi toward totalitarian rule, we are facing a new Iran. This coup of Mursi will sweep the Arab world toward the abyss. Therefore, it is not surprising that the avid objections to his rise to power stem from genuine pain.
We were hoping that the rational and sensible members of the Brotherhood will lead Egypt toward a civil, modern and stable political system similar to the European model or Turkey and Malaysia at least and not toward the format of the Iranian system. Certainly, our feelings do not come out of spite. On the contrary, we sincerely hoped that the system he would instate would move Egypt from autocratic rule to a state system where there is a peaceful sharing of power.
Egypt is a leading regional player, not a follower. It should be at the forefront not in the rear. Mursi has had and still has the opportunity to be a historical leader and save the country, to take it to a better era. No matter how much we disagree with the details, with him or with the Brotherhood, it is an indisputable fact that he is the president chosen by the majority of Egyptians to be the president for the largest Arab state. Yet he has now overthrown all the concepts he brought to power, which is a system based upon the balance of power, not its usurping.
The confusion that prevailed following Mursi’s two most recent speeches — they tried to sugarcoat the dictatorial process, to assure the world that this is temporary, that it is in the best interests of the country, until finalizing the constitution and electing the People’s Assembly.
In principle, power should never lie in the hands of one individual even momentarily. Egypt is not at war or on the brink of collapse to impose emergency rule (martial law). Secondly, he failed to show any reasoning or wisdom, as he grabbed hold of power almost as soon as the announcement was made and then removed the general prosecutor and appointed another. He also established revolutionary courts at the same moment he abolished other courts and judicial provisions and decided on the Constitution.
Though his supporters advised that patience should be exercised in the first few months, within half an hour, he had exercised the full powers of the high council of the judiciary and the People’s Assembly as well.
Meanwhile, when the president returns the powers to the judiciary after less than four months, he would have removed those judges who do not agree with him, replaced them with others who do, with the general prosecutor he appointed among them. In practice, he removed the democratic concept of the state based upon the balance of power and committed a worse crime than Hosni Mubarak throughout his 30 years in office.
Finally, can Mursi get away with what he did taking advantage of the enormous powers he holds and the huge potentials of the country?
The answer is yes. He can transform Egypt to another Iran, but he will fail and destroy his country. The reason is that he doesn’t own the three advantages that maintained the Ayatollah’s regime in power. The first is the Iranian oil. Iran sits on a sea of oil that enabled it to finance the regime for three whole decades. Egypt on the other hand, has to struggle for the survival of 80 million individuals with limited resources that require political stability and international support.
The second is that the Ayatollah of Iran possesses sanctity according to the Shiite creed, which the Brotherhood — Sunnis — do not possess.
Finally, total dominance on the people was available at the time of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. Today, thanks to modern media it is impossible to control the peoples ideas and steer the country according to the wishes of the political regime. Without convincing people and garnering their support it is impossible for them to stay in power.
For this reason, we pity (and not, God forbid, gloat at) the failure of the Brotherhood to abstain from engaging in a power grab following their triumph in the elections. They are destroying a system that is considered a true guarantee for them and the future of their country.
We are aware that the Brotherhood is a popular movement with a long history of political work in Egypt that qualifies it to stay among the strongest parties who share in a peaceful division of power on a democratic basis. They need not sabotage the system as they are doing today.
(The article was published in Arab News on Nov. 27, 2012)