Egypt: Morsi Sheds His Moderate Cloak
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Give Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi credit. On Sunday, as the world watched the closing ceremony of the Olympics and debated the nomination of Paul Ryan as the Republican candidate for vice president, Morsi quietly orchestrated perhaps the most significant development in Egypt since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in October 1981.
He completed Egypt’s transformation into an Islamist state.
First, Morsi announced that he’d “retired” a handful of key leaders within Egypt’s military establishment. The men included the defense minister, the army chief of staff, and the commanders of the navy, air defense and air force. These men were holdovers from the administration of former President Hosni Mubarak, and key figures within Egypt’s military establishment, the Supreme Council of Armed Force (scaf). They were pro-Israel, pro-Western, and key intermediaries between Egypt and America.
More importantly, these men were political and ideological counterweights to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Ever since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011, we have been assured by Western experts that as long as the scaf held key positions within Egypt’s government, there was no reason to fear Morsi and the Brotherhood. That sounded logical.
Now these bulwarks are gone.
The men fired on Sunday have already been replaced. No one seems to know too much about this new cadre of leaders, except that they were handpicked by Morsi (and no doubt the Muslim Brotherhood). Some of the snippets of information we do have don’t bode well. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, Egypt’s new defense minister, for example, is reported to be either a member of the Brotherhood or have close ties to the Brotherhood.
Whatever the details, one thing is sure: Morsi has radically limited the influence of his opponents!
So much for Egypt’s “democratic” revolution.
Morsi’s second decision was as dramatic and far-reaching as the first. On Sunday, he also nullified the constitutional declaration made by the military shortly before he took power that gave the scaf additional powers and severely limited presidential authority. Morsi then replaced that constitutional declaration with a declaration of his own, one that equips Egypt’s president with wide-ranging legislative and executive powers, as well as a leading role in drafting the new constitution.
Egypt now belongs to Morsi and the Brotherhood.
You watch. The task of writing Egypt’s new constitution will now undoubtedly be led by an individual faithful to Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamist ideology.
“This is a coup,” lamented Middle East expert Barry Rubin. “Morsi is bound by no constitution. He can do as he pleases unless someone is going to stop him. And the only candidate—the military—is fading fast, far faster than even we pessimists would have predicted.”
On Sunday, Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick wrote that “today Morsi completed the Egyptian revolution. Egypt is now an Islamic state. Its leaders drink from the same well as al Qaeda, Hamas and all the rest. Egypt, with its U.S. armed military, has reemerged after 30 years as the greatest military threat that Israel has ever faced.”
Remarkably, both these radical developments aren’t even the most significant news to come out of Egypt this week.
Perhaps the most important development came Tuesday, when Mohamed Gadallah, Morsi’s chief legal adviser told an Egyptian newspaper—no doubt at the president’s behest—that Morsi is currently “studying” the possibility of revising the 1978 Egypt-Israel peace treaty. (Yes, this contradicts Morsi’s many promises that he would respect all international treaties signed by Egypt.)
One can’t emphasize the significance of this development enough.
More than anything else, Israel’s survival as a sovereign country depends on Egypt’s willingness to uphold the 1978 Camp David Accords. As Stratfor ceo George Friedman once observed, “The only thing that could threaten the survival of Israel, apart from a nuclear barrage, would be a shift in position of neighboring states. [And] the single most important neighbor Israel has is Egypt“ (June 19, 2007; emphasis added).
Now Egypt is seriously considering gutting the Camp David Accords.
This is the context in which we need to watch events in the Sinai Peninsula. Under the Camp David Accords, Israel agreed to withdraw troops and citizens from the Sinai in return for peaceful relations with Egypt and the promise that Cairo would guarantee safe access to the Red Sea and restrict the number of Egyptian troops present in the region.
It appears Morsi wants to renege on these promises. According to Gadallah, the changes Morsi is considering will allow Egypt to “implement its full sovereignty over the Sinai Peninsula.”
This could be huge. The call for complete sovereignty over a demilitarized region like the Sinai should set off some disturbing alarm bells. On March 7, 1936, Adolf Hitler delivered a speech in the Reichstag in which he announced that “Germany no longer feels bound by the Locarno Treaty.” Established in 1925, Locarno delineated postwar territorial boundaries in Europe. After he renounced Locarno, Hitler dispatched troops to retake the Rhineland. He then took Austria, then the Sudetenland, then Poland.
We all know what happened next.
Watch Morsi closely. And don’t be surprised if very soon he publicly calls for the revision of the Camp David Accords. Right now he’s laying the groundwork. The Muslim Brotherhood is openly hostile toward Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and no doubt has a strategy for destroying it. Moreover, as radical Islam’s presence increases in Egypt, and especially in the Sinai, it’s possible Morsi and the Brotherhood might exploit it as a ruse to militarize and establish full sovereignty over the Sinai.
This wouldn’t be too difficult. First, all Cairo would have to do—and in fact already has done—is loosen security in the Sinai and allow it to become an Islamist terrorist hotbed. Such a terrorist encampment would undoubtedly get Israel’s attention, and likely cause it to demand that Cairo take a tougher approach with terrorists. Next, as part of a seemingly altruistic effort to assuage Israel’s concerns over the presence of Islamist terrorists in the Sinai, Egypt could ask Israel to renegotiate the Camp David Accords to allow the Egyptian Army to assume a greater presence in the Sinai. Finally, under the political cover provided by the now-revised, internationally accepted Camp David Accords, Cairo could set up its military on a large scale in the Sinai.
Voilà, the Sinai would belong to Egypt!
The presence of Egypt’s military in the Sinai would effectively give Morsi and the Brotherhood control over Israel’s entire southern flank. And not just Egypt. Morsi has already reached out to Iran. This relationship will continue to develop, especially as Morsi and the Brotherhood continue to gain unilateral control over Egypt. As the Iran-Egypt axis continues to develop, and Bible prophecy says it will, then Tehran will also benefit if Egypt takes hold of the Sinai Peninsula.
Continue to watch Egypt closely. It appears Mohammed Morsi is becoming increasingly willing to shed his moderate cloak and reveal himself for what he really is. That is, a devoted Muslim Brotherhood member and an anti-democratic, anti-Israel, anti-Western, radical Islamist determined to preside over an Islamist renaissance in Egypt, the establishment of Egypt as an Islamist state—and ultimately the conquering of Jerusalem!
These are deeply alarming developments for Israel, for the West, for the international community—and for you.