435. The Rise of Mohamed Morsi – Part Two

Now that Mohamed Morsi has been in office since June, let’s look at what he has done. Recently, he won the praises from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for mediating a cease fire between Israel and the Hamas leaders in Gaza. What did his new-found hero status prompt him to do? He issued a series of constitutional amendments that placed him above judicial oversight and ordered the retrial of Hosni Mubarak for the killing of protesters in last year’s uprising. He also secured the status of the Islamist-dominated panel drafting a new constitution by decreeing immunity from any possible court decisions to dissolve it. (Several courts have been looking into cases demanding the dissolution of the panel.)

Liberal and Christian members recently withdrew from the assembly, accusing Morsi’s allies of attempting to push through an Islamist-leaning document marginalizing women and minority Christians and severely restricting individual liberties. Morsi also decreed that all decisions he has made since taking office and until a new constitution is adopted and a new parliament is elected – which could take a while – are not subject to court appeals. He also barred the courts from dissolving the Islamist-led upper house of parliament, which has faced court cases of its own. By these moves, Morsi has prevented any group or body from exercising oversight over him. In addition to his executive power, he has also gained control of the legislature. Only the judiciary remains out of his control, but that hasn’t stopped him from firing the nation’s top prosecutor.

These moves will only add to the growing public criticism that Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood have monopolized power while ignoring the country’s widespread problems. Thousands of demonstrators gathered in downtown Cairo for nearly a week to express their outrage over the policies of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood buddies. They will soon have even more to complain about when they learn how he gained the support of the much hated police force (infamous for its human rights violations) that had abandoned the streets for more than a year after Mubarak’s ouster. He earned the police force’s loyalty by limiting his proposed retrial to Mubarak, excluding the dozens of lower-level police officers who have been acquitted or received suspended sentences in trials for killing protesters – verdicts that have outraged many Egyptians.

These and other recent decisions were read on state television by Morsi’s spokesman with the explanation that they were designed to “protect” the revolution and dismantle the old regime, a clear signal to the revolutionaries who had complained that too little had been done to reform the country after Mubarak’s 29-year rule. He tried to rally the rest of Egypt by following the remarks with a string of nationalist songs.

Mohamed Morsi has boldly laid out his agenda for the world to see. As predicted, his rise to power was nothing short of a strategically planned Muslim Brotherhood power grab. Yet, the Obama administration will continue to deny its involvement in elevating Morsi to the presidency and to deny that he has any interests other than to advance democracy in the region. Morsi likely feels he has earned the respect of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and can expect the foreign aid gravy train to continue uninterrupted.


Two silkworms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

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