[Marxism] Hazem Kandil · Sisi’s Turn: What does Sisi want? · LRB 20 February 2014
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Sat Feb 15 06:43:49 MST 2014
On 1 February 2011, while the protesters were still entrenched in Tahrir
Square, Morsi and the future head of the Brothers’ Freedom and Justice
Party, Saad al-Katatni, entered into secret negotiations with the
intelligence chief Omar Suleiman for a larger share of power in return
for stopping the revolt. Once Mubarak was ousted, the Islamists adopted
the military-security programme: elections first, constitution and
reform later. Those who argued that new democracies need to establish
some basic guidelines before rushing to the ballot box were dismissed.
The idea that the security agencies should be overhauled before any
election took place was seen as nothing more than a delaying tactic.
Throughout the transitional period, the Brothers blamed the protesters
for the violence directed at them by the state – they were staging
illegal protests, after all – and repeatedly alleged that the activists
were pawns of foreign intelligence services. In parliament, they took
every opportunity to praise Egypt’s gallant law enforcers and blocked
every attempt to hold them accountable. As soon as Morsi was sworn in,
he congratulated the police for reforming themselves, audaciously
referring to them as esteemed partners in the 2011 uprising. Even more
significant was the Brothers’ decision to drop a report detailing police
crimes – among them the shooting of demonstrators – even though its
contents had been leaked to several newspapers (including Al-Shorouk and
the Guardian) and Morsi’s handpicked prosecutor had promised arrests.
Needless to say, security abuses surged during Morsi’s short tenure, and
official coercion was reinforced by the Brothers’ own militias.
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