Egypt’s New President Moves Against Democracy – The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/egypts-new-president-moves-against-democracy ….”The incident gave Mr. Morsi an excuse to sack the security officials who posed the greatest threat to his domestic authority — particularly the leaders of Egypt’s now-defunct military junta, which in June had issued its own constitutional declaration limiting the newly elected president’s powers. More important, Mr. Morsi used the Sinai crisis to assume the powers that the junta had undemocratically asserted for itself in a March 2011 constitutional declaration. He thus claimed unprecedented executive power, including complete authority over legislation, public budgets, foreign affairs, pardons, and political and military appointments. Mr. Morsi’s declaration also gives him the power to select a new assembly for writing Egypt’s constitution. And since the new constitution must be approved by popular referendum before new parliamentary elections can be held, Mr. Morsi can intervene in the constitution-writing process to delay legislative elections — and thereby remain Egypt’s sole legislator — indefinitely.”.. ….”Consider the editors he appointed to lead Egypt’s two largest state-run newspapers. The new editor of Al-Ahram is an old Mubarak regime hack who called last year’s uprising “foreign funded” and lost his column in 2010 for writing anti-Christian articles. The new editor of Gomhoriya shut down a conference on religious freedoms in 2008 and called for the murder of a well-known Bahai activist in 2009. The new editor of Al-Akhbar recently censored an article that criticized the Brotherhood. …”In its first major move against dissenters, the Morsi regime this month began prosecuting the editor of Al-Dustour, a private daily, for “harming the president through phrases and wording punishable by law.”… ….”His amendments to last year’s interim constitution give him the authority to sign — and presumably abrogate –treaties. Although many expected that de facto foreign-policy power would remain with the generals, Mr. Morsi’s quick reshuffling of the military leadership has brought the armed forces under his command. Then there are his overtures to adversaries of the West. In a mere six weeks as president, Mr. Morsi has hosted top-level Hamas delegations twice and, despite the flow of militants from Gaza into Sinai, promised to keep open the Rafah border crossing. Last week he welcomed Iran’s vice president and was invited to attend the Non-Aligned Movement’s upcoming meeting in Tehran. If he does, he’d be the first Egyptian head of state to visit Iran since the 1979 revolution. Accompanying him could be his new chief of staff, Mohamed Rifaat al-Tahtawi, a former ambassador to Libya and Iran who has declared Israel to be Egypt’s “main threat,” praised Syria as “a fundamental pillar of the resistance camp [against] Israel,” and called for closer relations with Iran and Hamas.” Many Washington analysts believe that Mr. Morsi won’t make any major foreign-policy moves, such as revoking Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. They take his verbal assurances at face value and reason that he won’t rock the boat at the very moment that he needs international investment to boost Egypt’s ailing economy. But this same logic once dictated that he wouldn’t rush to challenge Egypt’s generals.”….

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Filed under anti-semitism, Arab Spring, Egypt, Free Speech, GWOT, Human rights, Islamism, Israel, Muslim Brotherhood, Religion, US National Security, Womens Rights

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