11:23 AM, Jun 26, 2015 • By JOHN ROSENTHAL
Back in the heady days when the Western world was still enthralled by what was then known as the Arab Spring, the 2012 Egyptian presidential elections represented a watershed – if albeit a mixed one, given the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Morsi. The coming-to-power of Morsi provided one of the clearest signals that the “Arab Spring” was turning out to be an Islamist spring. But as it occurred by democratic means, hardly anyone could object. The will of the people had been expressed and Egyptians had definitively turned their backs on three decades of Hosni Mubarak’s military rule. If they preferred an Islamist party, then so be it. This was democracy in action.
Never mind that a representative of the supposedly universally hated ancien régime, Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, won nearly half of the vote; nor that Shafiq’s campaign headquarters had been ransacked and set aflame after the first round of voting; nor that the Muslim Brotherhood leadership had made clear that it would not accept a Shafiq victory, in any case, and that tens of thousands of Brotherhood supporters had gathered in Tahrir Square, ready to make good on the thinly-veiled threats (see, for instance, here and here).
Now, however, the news website Al-Monitor reports that there is evidence that Morsi did not win the 2012 elections after all, but was merely declared the winner by the electoral commission, in order to avert the violence that was sure to follow an announcement to the contrary. The evidence consists of a letter allegedly sent by the commission’s general-secretary Hatem Bagato to General Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which ruled the country after Mubarak’s resignation in February 2011.
Per Al-Monitor’s translation, the document states that the commission had opted to “take the decision that is correct and most beneficial for the country and its citizens, despite it being in violation of the law, and announce Dr. Mohammed Morsi president of Egypt. This is to spare the country of the bloody conflict that will inevitably occur in the event that Ahmed Shafiq is announced president….”
The letter also, however, spells out another option: namely, and again per the translation of Al-Monitor, “to reject all pressure – whether internal or external – and announce the facts to the Egyptian and global public opinion, and reveal the defects and gross cases of manipulation and forgery that marred the electoral process as a whole. This is in addition to revealing the criminal pressures, practices and threats that the chairman and members of the committee, as well as their families, have faced.”
The allusion to “external” sources of pressure is particularly intriguing. According to Al-Monitor, local Egyptian press has reported that then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contacted Tantawi prior to the announcement of the election results with the aim of “putting pressure on Egyptian authorities to hand power over to Morsi.” Such reports obviously do not in themselves constitute proof. But given the pressure that the Obama administration publicly exerted on Mubarak to resign and its strong embrace of the revolutionaries of Tahrir Square, there is little doubt that the election of Shafiq, a man who proudly described Mubarak as his “role model,” would have been as anathema to the White House as to the Egyptian revolutionaries themselves.
John Rosenthal is the author of The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion. You can follow his work at www.trans-int.com or on Facebook here.
3:07 PM, Oct 9, 2013 • By IRFAN AL-ALAWI and STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
On October 2, Arab media reported that a Kuwaiti radical Muslim television preacher, Tareq Suwaidan, was prohibited from visiting Saudi Arabia. Suwaidan had sought to go to Mecca to perform “umrah,” a shorter version of the annual hajj pilgrimage.
Egypt’s descent into chaos Aug 5, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 44 • By REUEL MARC GERECHT
For most of those who were so hopeful when the Great Arab Revolt downed the dictator Hosni Mubarak two years ago, the travails of Egypt’s fledgling democracy have been depressing. Many in the West expected the country’s hodgepodge of secularists—the young men and women who were the cutting edge of the demonstrations, first against Mubarak, then against his freely elected Muslim Brotherhood successor, Mohamed Morsi—to do better than they did at the ballot box, where Islamists so far have triumphed.
10:44 AM, Jul 16, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Bill Kristol, with Mara Liasson and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News:
A coup in ungovernable Egypt Jul 22, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 42 • By LEE SMITH
In assessing Egyptian defense minister Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi’s decision to remove President Mohamed Morsi from office July 3, there are two key points to keep in mind. The first concerns the army, and the second concerns what is now, given the escalation of violence over the last two weeks, its rival in the field, the Muslim Brotherhood.
1:19 PM, Nov 21, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a phone call today between the two leaders, President Barack Obama thanked Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi for helping to assist with the ceasefire between Hamas in Gaza and Israel.
1:31 PM, Nov 18, 2012 • By JONATHAN SPYER
The crisis now under way in Gaza represents the moment when the wave of Sunni Islamism that has been achieving triumph after triumph in the region since early 2011 finally crashes up against the Jewish state.
The wrong way to influence Egypt’s new leaders. Nov 12, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 09 • By ERIC TRAGER
There is one curious beneficiary of the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that cost four American lives: Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood government. The attack in Libya and subsequent controversy has almost entirely obscured the siege that same day of the American embassy in Cairo, and President Mohamed Morsi’s irresponsible handling of a very dangerous situation.
6:10 PM, Aug 15, 2012 • By LEE SMITH
Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi’s housecleaning over the last two weeks—dismissing several top army officers and an intelligence chief and abrogating constitutional amendments limiting presidential power—has left observers trying to figure out the grand design behind Morsi’s actions.
7:17 AM, Jul 10, 2012 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
In a remarkable development, the people of Libya on Sunday voted against the seemingly-irresistible advance of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in the “Arab Spring” countries of North Africa. Until Libyan ballots began coming in, Western media seemed assured that the MB would repeat, in that country, its successes elsewhere over the past year. In Tunisia last October, the Ennahda or Rebirth party won 37 percent at the polls. In Morocco’s November contest, the MB’s Justice and Development party gained enough strength to form a government under its leadership.
2:57 PM, Jun 29, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
In a rousing speech in Tahrir Square on Friday, Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, told the crowd that he will work to free Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, aka the “Blind Sheikh.” Rahman is currently serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a follow-on plot against New York City landmarks.
10:45 AM, Jun 26, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
News channel France 24 hosted a panel Monday night to discuss Egypt’s first civilian president, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi. One of the guests on the panel, via satellite from Cairo, was Nader Amram, a member of the Freedom & Justice Party’s foreign relations committee. (The Freedom & Justice Party (FJP) is the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party.)