Power plays in Egypt (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Dr. Liad Porat 04/05/12)
Israel Hayom Articles-Index-Top
Following the Muslim Brotherhood´s unprecedented victory in elections
for both houses of parliament, tensions have increased between the
organization and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The
brotherhood is demanding that the people´s will be realized and that
power be transferred to the elected bodies, while the military
refuses to relinquish the authority it gained following Hosni
The Muslim Brotherhood has behaved with restraint and discretion when
dealing with the military council, but it recently began to sound
warnings – and threatened to incite the Egyptian street if military
leaders do not transfer authority to elected institutions. The
selection of engineer and businessman Khayrat el-Shater as the
brotherhood´s candidate for presidential elections to be held next
month is a continuation of this threat. El-Shater is a symbol of the
sacrifice the brotherhood has been willing to make in the struggle
against the regime, and in an effort to respect the people´s will and
usher in democratic processes.
Over the years El-Shater has served several prison terms and became
one of the brotherhood´s top leaders. In addition to the skilled
fieldwork the brotherhood has performed in recent decades and its
flawless political conduct over the past year, the group also
deserves credit for the price it has paid over time. Brotherhood
members have been imprisoned and endured interrogations and torture –
and a few have even been executed.
El-Shater is perceived as a man who paid a heavy personal price,
including suffering health problems, in his just and principled
struggle against the steadfast tyranny of the regime. His large
family lost its breadwinner while he was in jail and, like many
others, was forced to face a difficult socioeconomic reality. His
wife´s coping garnered widespread coverage and the brotherhood made
sure to publicize her travails. Now the group hopes the Egyptian
people will reward El-Shater for his sacrifice during the elections.
In Egypt, he is perceived as religious, educated in various fields,
charismatic, diligent and principled – as a self-made man. This is
the image that the brotherhood is marketing to the Egyptian people,
as opposed to the military officials pegged as survivors of the
previous, "hated" regime. The brotherhood concluded that nominating a
presidential candidate can only work to its benefit and ensure the
transfer of authority. This is an extremely calculated move, which
could pave the way for the brotherhood to take over Egypt´s
The brotherhood blames the military council for hindering the
assembly charged with drafting a new constitution and also claims
that the army is preventing the creation of a coalition government.
Both of these things fall under the parliament´s authority – and the
brotherhood, as is known, has a majority in the parliament. Mohammed
Saad el-Katatni, the brotherhood´s former secretary-general and an
expert in microbiology, was elected parliament speaker in January.
El-Katatni is known for the tough talk and scathing criticism he has
leveled at the regime. In his current post, he has proved to be
remarkably consistent in the political campaign against the military
council. El-Shater has surpassed El-Katatni´s record in the struggle
against the "survivors of the previous regime," and as such became
the brotherhood´s nominee for president.
The brotherhood is using El-Shater´s candidacy to convey to the
military that, in the event power is not transferred, it is prepared
for a protracted struggle and to pay a price.
It should also be noted that, contrary to the recent reports about El-
Shater´s apparently pragmatic character, another look at his actions
over the years reveals a different conclusion. He is combative and
holds steadfast views – as evidenced by his violation of the law on
more than one occasion in an effort to advance the brotherhood´s
goals: namely, toppling the Mubarak regime and establishing a civil
state that is subject to a ruling Islamic legal body.
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY