Yesterday evening the Egypt’s president Mohamed Morsi refused to step down. He justified this decision by the fact that he’s has been legitimately elected, he also stated that the army should return to executing its direct duties. In his turn the spokesman for the National Salvation Front Khaled Dawoud stated that Morsi’s reluctance to leave means nothing but revolution for Egypt.
Addressing the people of Egypt by the National TV Morsi underlined that: “there are laws that guarantee the legitimacy of my power and my presidency. I urge you to believe that Egypt needs time to overcome the sins of the past, including the corruption. Give us time to give answers to all the problems inherited from the former regime”. “I have no other choice but to carry on executing my duties” – the president said – “I want to remind to everybody, to the people, to the army, to the police that I’m first president of Egypt that has been legitimately elected.”
He also stressed that he’s prepared to carry out his duties till the end: “If the price for the legitimacy of power is my blood, I’m willing to pay it”. According to his statement, Egyptian people should evade violence against each other and the military at at all costs, since the armed forces belong to the people.
But it was clear for the military high ranks long before the Morsi’s speech, that he wouldn’t leave the Office by his own free will. For this reason the armed forces started deploying across the country on June 2. Now there are capable to take control of all the Egyptian regions in a matter of hours.
Through his Twitter account Morsi urged the army to withdraw its ultimatum, but the military ranks seem determined to suspend constitution, if Morsi fails to meet their demands.
To prove the seriousness of their intentions the head of the Egypt armed forces General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stated that: “We swear to God that we will sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people, to defend them against any terrorist, radical or fool.”According to his statement, the soldiers are more willing to die than watch the people of Egypt being bullied. The General addressed the Egyptian people right after the Morsi’s speech through the official Facebook page of the Egyptian armed forces.
While the leaders are trying to intimidate each other, the people are dying in the streets. The clashes between the supporters of Morsi and the police in Giza resulted in 16 people killed and many more injured.
The army had already prepared a “road map” out of this harsh political crisis. It is be applied when the time given by the military for Morsi to step down expires. According to the reports they are planning to suspend the constitution, dissolve the parliament and establish an interim mostly civil council led by the Supreme Constitutional Court’s chief justice. The new constitution that should be drafted shortly afterwards, but it must be approved by the people through a referendum and by the highest religious authority in the country – the Al-Azhar University. Some sources claim that Morsi will stay for this period as a titular head of the country.
The outcome of the face off of the army and the Islamist forces is clear – the former are trying to execute a bloodless coup d’etat. The only question is the reaction of the “Muslim brotherhood” and its supporters. It seems that the Islamist forces are determined to fight the regular army forces, since they have nowhere to retreat. Morsi’s resignation will throw the “Muslim Brotherhood” back in the times of Mubarak’s rule. This means becoming the opposition to the government again, and the jeopardy of their success at the presidential and parliament elections. They can’t allow this to happen, since there are not getting a second chance to rise to power any time soon.
There are certain chances that the peace will prevail, but the time of the ultimatum is running out fast. Morsi must find the inner strength to demonstrate political wisdom and find a way to yield. But he’s backed by the Islamist powers of the region, including Saudi Arabia which doesn’t support “anti-islamic counter revolutions” all that much. Otherwise the true democracy will flood the Arabian Peninsula oppressed by the impotent monarchies of past that abuse the civil rights. So the odds are the civil war is inevitable. But if you can’t unbind the Gordian knot, you have to cut it.
Two and a half years ago the United States were wrong to allow the “Muslim Brotherhood” to take power in Egypt. Than they were wrong about Libya and Syria. So the American weakening influence in the region may allow the Arabs at a long last to decide their fate for themselves
Alexander Orlov is a political analyst and an expert Orientalist. Exclusively for New Eastern Outlook.