Egypt Teeters on the Brink of Civil War

UPDATES (7 am Israel time Wednesday) and TODAY’S BLOG:

The last 12 hours have seen a defiant Egyptian president Morsi proclaiming on Egyptian television that he will not resign: “There is no substitute for the constitution and its legitimacy. Nobody has the right to change the existing order.” 

Morsi went on to blame the Mubarak government for Egypt’s social, political, and economic woes: “Before the January 25 revolution there were corruption, theft, oppression and election forgery. . . The Egyptians showed the world on June 29, 2012 that they have elected a president freely. After I was elected, I swore to you that I would keep the nation and its stability. Thirty two families controlled the country and sucked the blood of the Egyptian people. The old forces of crime are not after democracy. They are using the young people’s rage to create anarchy.”

In an earlier tweet from his Twitter account, Morsi made it clear that he will not accept the military ultimatum to resign nor will he accept any dictates “from anybody”. Nevetheless, reports are that U.S. President Obama, a long time supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi, has called on the Egyptian president to set a date for new elections.

Meanwhile the death toll has begun to mount. Following Morsi’s televised address, 16 people died in fighting at Cairo University. At least 10 more demonstrators have been killed elsewhere.

Earlier, the Egyptian military released its “roadmap” which calls for:

1. suspending the Egyptian constitution

2. dissolving the Islamist-dominated Parliament

3. forming an interim council that would include civilians representing different political parties as well as experienced technocrats. This group would control the country until the constitution can be amended.

4. setting the date for a new presidential election which would be tightly controlled as to who would be able to run

So where do we stand this morning?

Egypt is on the verge of dissolving into chaos and civil war. The military deadline of 5 pm this afternoon–ten hours from now–for Morsi to reach a power-sharing deal with the opposition is fast approaching. Morsi himself is increasingly isolated with new resignations from some of his most senior officials. However, the Muslim Brotherhood is more determined than ever to remain in power. 

One Muslim Brotherhood official, Muhammad al-Beltagi, warned last evening that the only way to prevent a military coup may be “martyrdom.”

As the Brotherhood motto declares:

“Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the name of Allah is our highest hope.”





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