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Morsi Seeks Direction

But starts with prime minister's visit tomorrow to Gaza.

5:12 PM, Nov 15, 2012 • By LEE SMITH
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The reality is that it’s unclear whether or not Morsi really does want Egyptian soldiers there, or if he’s even committed to making a case for this amendment. After all, the actual legal procedure is still way off. The Freedom and Justice party’s legal committee says the amendments would be reviewed by Morsi and the next parliament, which won’t be elected until next year. Morsi and the MB are making noise about the Sinai because they need to get out front on the issue so that they will not be outflanked by domestic rivals, especially the Salafis.

The Egypt-Israel peace treaty is a bad fit with the Muslim Brotherhood’s political framework. Morsi and the Brotherhood can hardly embrace a relationship with Israel and stay in power. That’s why Morsi has generally chosen to keep his public statements about Israel to a minimum, while he raises money around the world. But domestically, he has to ensure that his opposition can’t portray him as a clone of his predecessor, a Mubarak with a beard, who adheres to the status quo position of compromise with the West.

Accordingly, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood need to own the Sinai issue so that their rivals don’t. Drafting an amendment that will not even be reviewed for a year is a way to stall. The danger is that putting such an amendment into play means that in spite of Morsi’s intentions, what started as a ploy to fend off local challengers could nonetheless become real very quickly. The fate of Egypt depends largely on the ability of an untested leader to navigate very difficult weather, on the international, regional, and domestic fronts.

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