Has Egypt Crossed the Rubicon? ARCHIVE – 24-3-14
While not Levantine related, the news from Egypt today really does merit a look: 528 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have been sentenced to death after only two hearings (the first on Saturday). Only 147 of the 528 were in court, the rest were tried in absentia.
No doubt an appeal will be lodged (that is if the court’s verdict is approved by the higher religious authority) and the situation will drag on. The decision today makes the Mubarak-era Egyptian state look like fluffy kittens.
Quite how this will play out long term is anyone guess, but it’s clear that the current regime is intent on pushing the Muslim Brotherhood to the farthest edges it can, a departure from Hosni Mubarak’s policy towards the Brotherhood.
Mubarak was always careful around the Brotherhood, aware of the influence the group had…influence rooted strongly in Egyptian society from the ground up. As such Mubarak created a bespoke policy regarding the Brotherhood in a bid to contain their presence through an inclusive/exclusive fashion, making concessions when it was needed.
Sure the Muslim Brotherhood being suppressed is nothing new in Egypt as Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak have all taken their turns in imposing controlling policies, with mass imprisonment being a key in all them. However, the current policies undertaken have not only dialed the clock back to Nasser’s day, but exceeded previous polices towards the group.
So the question turns to what can be expected in the future? With the probable election of General Sisi later next year, the Brotherhood will be expecting the marginalization to continue.
So continued entrenchment of the Egyptian political scene is inevitable, the military regime removed Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi under the pretext that a civil war may have begun had they not acted. However, this act, along with the following policies towards the group, may well have sown the seeds of further conflict over a longer term.