‘Muslim Brotherhood paying price for ruling dictatorially’

As Egypt reels in violent protests against the rule of President Morsi, political commentators and protesters say the Islamists are now paying the price for not involving other political factions since being elected by a narrow margin in 2012.

Mohamed Morsi (AFP Photo / Egyptian presidency)

Ahmed Naguib, a political activist from Cairo, believes that President Morsi must step down as he has betrayed the very revolution that brought him to power.

“I would like to see a unified and non-fragmented opposition that can negotiate with the current government a smooth transition and a peaceful one. There’s no talk about credibility and legitimacy with almost the entire country out on the streets,” he told RT.

His views are echoed by Hugh Miles, a journalist specializing in the Middle East and the Arab world, who thinks that events in Egypt are extremely fluid and will depend both on Morsi himself and the stamina of the 7 million people on the streets.

But Miles acknowledges that there is not much of an alternative even if Morsi was to go as the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the only well-organized institutions in Egypt, along with the army."Say if he did step down, it would be very unclear who would run the country. Presumably the army, in the short term at least, but they have been running the country much of the time since the revolution in 2011 and they were not popular either, which raises the question - is Egypt beyond governance and can anyone fix all the problems in the country?” “Miles told RT.

While the situation in the wider Middle East is extremely volatile at the moment, the situation in Egypt, while fluid and potentially incendiary, is not subject to the kind of outside influences of other Middle Eastern nations.

“What we see is that the Egyptian people are saying no to interference in their destiny, they are trying to take back control from the Muslim Brotherhood and are saying that we want to have a secular, modern Egypt that is not ruled by Islamists. There is no foreign hand in what is happening in Egypt today,” said Miles.

Miles’ views are echoed by Neil Clark a UK based journalist and blogger, who told RT that as the economic situation in Egypt continues to worsen and prices for basic foodstuffs and fuel continue to rise, Egyptians will stay out on the streets until they get radical change.

“[Morsi’s] broken every single promise that he made when he was elected. And it’s time for him to go. If he doesn’t go, I think civil war could happen. Because you know people are extremely angry. They are angry about what happened in 2011. They didn’t just want Mubarak to be replaced by another pro-US Western puppet”, said Clark.

Opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans while holding an anti-Morsi banner during a protest calling for his ouster outside the presidential palace in Cairo on June 30, 2013. (AFP Photo / Mahmud Khaled)

Washington has so far supported Morsi, but is calling for restraint in Egypt and has told him to try and be more inclusive in his policies, but Miles and Clark both believe that what the US is really interested in is having someone at the helm in Egypt who can influence the security situation in Israel.

They [Washington] want someone who can take care of Israel’s interests and they don’t really care if its communists or Islamists or a general,” said Miles.

But most Egyptians who are out on the streets are oblivious to the interests of Washington or Tel Aviv and want an increase in living standards. Clark believes that the socialist policies of the past Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser, who ruled from 1952 to 1970, should be emulated in Egypt now.

“The model that Egypt followed from 1952 to 1970 under Nasser was hugely successful for the majority of Egyptians. That was the fastest rise in living standards for ordinary people, and these are the kind of policies that Egypt needs to follow now and to break fully 100 percent with the flawed policies of the Mubarak era,” said Clark.

But as Washington and other outside powers are not very influential at the moment, the outcome of the situation in Egypt is unclear believes Miles.

“The fact is that Egypt is a giant, giant juggernaut that is speeding out of control, possibly going off a cliff and nobody has much influence over the situation outside the country,” he said.

However, Mark Almond, a Middle East historian from Oxford University, explained that Morsi is the only person with any kind of democratic legitimacy in Egypt, even though both the army and the police have refused to defend him or his party. 

“It seems that the army is trying to determine the future and that could very well be a return to the past, because there isn’t an obvious alternative to Morsi,” Almond told RT. 

He added that whoever comes to power in Egypt will have to face the same basic problems of great poverty and the difficulty of paying for vital resources such as food. Morsi’s best hope may be that the army and his political rivals know that “in six weeks or six months down the line people in huge numbers will be saying ‘well you got rid of Morsi and what have you done? You haven’t solved the problems?’ So he may be saved by the fact that it’s a very unenviable position to be in charge of Egypt,” said Almond.