This week has witnessed many political events. Internally, the country has witnessed large demonstrations in Cairo and several provinces,under the banner of 'Revolution first', and this was followed by asit-in in Tahrir Square, Alexandria and Suez. There has also been adebate revolving around the authority of the State in controlling foreign funding particularly that extended to NGOs.
On the regional and international levels, the independence of the'State of South Sudan was announced, Israel announced the adoption of new policies threatening regional stability, and there was also the controversy about the fate of the Arab revolutions being debated by Western scholars and political circles.
The Muslim Brotherhood explains its position on these events as follows:
First, internal affairs:
- There have been massive demonstrations breaking out all around the country. The protests are against the very slow pace of the government in achieving the demands of the revolution, led by the demand of cleansing state institutions from the followers of the toppled regime,which should include many sectors such as the police, governors,public information and media, universities, and even the Cabinet ofDr. Essam Sharaf itself. The protests also demanded expediting the trials of murderers and corrupt individuals, holding serious investigations into the killing of demonstrators to achieve retaliation and ensure just administration of justice among all people, and the demand to preserve the rights of the families of the martyrs. State negligence and bureaucracy has been an obstacle against fulfilling this much-needed demand. There have also been strong calls to stop the unjust pressure exercised by senior police officers to protect the killers of the victims and pressure the victims’ families to get them to change their statements in the investigation or to waive their claims in order to get the officers to escape the due sanctions.
These demonstrations have paid off and have yielded a lot of fruit; the prime minister came out twice to speak to the people and made two statements that contained a positive response for many of these demands, but these statements did not tackle the due purge in universities, dissolving the existing old regime’s labor union,preventing the trial of civilians before military courts, or transferring the former president from the hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh to the prison hospital in Tora. The prime minister failed to address these elementary issues, while these are the things that would alleviate much of the legitimate popular resentment, in addition to the need to see the promises made by the government becoming a realityon the ground.
We wish that the Cabinet of Ministers had not been so late and slow acting regarding meeting these demands, so the people would not have been forced - and we are part of them - to go out in new demonstrations against the government. We hoped that the Cabinet would not wait and delay its response till it had to react and respond to the demands under the pressure of the demonstrations.
Some groups and political forces have decided to protest in Tahrir Square, Alexandria and Suez until their demands have been implemented. It is possible to understand their enthusiasm despite the fact that some of the protestors have disrupted the traffic, which has led to the entire traffic system in Cairo being paralyzed, in addition to the negative impact of the sit-on on people’s work and rate of production.The most dangerous and the worst of all, was the action taken by some of the demonstrators sitting-in in Tahrir Square as they raided the Tahrir complex building and forced the staff out of their offices.This has prevented hundreds of thousands of stakeholders from finishing their paper work and has disturbed the work in the complex as a whole. In addition, some of the protesters have tried to stop the operations in the Suez Canal. These are all very grave actions becausethey push the country into chaos.
Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood, after expressing its refusal to participate in the sit-ins, is also stating that it has always refused chaos and any action that leads to it. The Brotherhood calls upon the honorable and wise people among therebels - and all of them are wiseand honest - to refrain from anything that harms the supreme interests of the nation and anything that may affect Egyptian national security.
These events have prompted the Council of the Armed Forces to go out to the people and it made a statement on Tuesday, July 12, in the tone of threats and intimidation. We wish that the tone used would have been quieter and gentler, but still, we believe that this statement was balanced and positive in substance, and wise - in general - for it confirmed the army's commitment to ensure freedom of opinion, continuing dialogue with all groups and an emphasis on the obligation to hand over power to civilians in accordance with the timetable set forth in the Constitutional Declaration as well as continuing to
support the prime minister.
Yet, there is an important point that was raised regarding the intention of the military junta to set some governing rules and regulations for the selection of a constituent body which will draft the Constitution, and issuing these rules and guidelines in a special constitutional declaration, after having these rules approved by the national forces.
We believe that this would restrict the freedom of the members of parliament when making the election of the members of the constituent body that have already been approved to be formed through the referendum last March. In addition, it is obvious that the phrase "the national forces" is a very vague and loosely defined. Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood believes that the existing Constitutional Declaration is sufficient, and it points that there is no justification whatsoever for having another constitutional declaration. We have to leave this to the elected members of parliament and the political parties themselves to fulfill the task of identifying these controls and exercising their full freedom in selecting this constituent body for drafting the constitution.
For a long time, foreign funding has been a challenge to the authority of the state, especially since the beginning of the implementation of privatization programs in the early 1990s; where donor countries have been providing financial assistance to some institutions away from the formal methods, and without coordination with the competent authorities. This has caused a breach of state sovereignty, and has undermined the ability of the state to track the path and impact of the movement of funds of all kinds. Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood believes in the importance of respecting the laws governing the entry and exit of capital and foreign aid, as well as abiding by the set rules and regulations in this respect, pursuant to ensure the principle of transparency and the provision of solid accounting standards.
Second, Regional and International Affairs:
- During this week, the independence of the State of South Sudan has been officially announced, and Egypt and many other countries rushed to recognize the new state. This came after a long civil war that was ignited by many colonial countries. Israel has played a major role in this conflict in Sudan in order to break up the integrity of this country. There are a lot of issues that are still pending between the two states of north and south of Sudan, and we hope that these problems are resolved within the framework of a peaceful mechanism to avoid the interference of external forces.
The Muslim Brotherhood hopes that the new situation brings an appropriate framework for cooperation and integration at the regional level, while working to find a formula to solve existing problems independently and find possible ways for the consolidation of common interests. The Brotherhood hopes that Egypt maintains its share of Nile water and works for the development of the water resources in cooperation with the new State in the South.
- The government of Israel began to adopt policies that threaten regional stability. On one hand, it is active in developing settlement policies in the West Bank and Jerusalem, through the confiscation of Palestinian-owned land. This policy comes in the light of the Quartet Committee actions made to ensure the prevention of presenting the issue of the Palestinian State in the United Nations. On the other hand, it was very clear that Israel has violated the maritime rights of the State of Lebanon, where Israel made a decision to expand the use of territorial waters, whether for the exploration for gas or for other purposes. It is likely that this policy will give rise to legal disputes and political conflict, and this will restore the atmosphere of regional war. Other than this, Zionist pressures have led to the prevention of the flotilla (2) ships from sailing from the ports of Greece.
- Since the outbreak of the Arab revolutions, a major political controversy has erupted in the West about the fate of the political transformations in Middle Eastern countries. While some parties have expressed their concern that a genuine democratic transition could threaten the interests of Western countries, especially with Islamic movements assuming power, there was another group that believes that the Arab revolutions would not constitute a threat to Western interests, especially with the elimination of corruption and the establishment of a new system based on democracy and free elections. In this context, the Muslim Brotherhood asserts the primacy of democratic transitions, the peaceful rotation of power and the establishment of relations between all countries on the basis of cooperation and integration, taking into account that the system that is based on having power and authority in the hands of the people through democratic means is the one that would enhance the chances of political stability and prevent hatred.
- Many countries are now witnessing economic and financial crises, whether in America or Europe. This situation confirms the gravity and serious impact of the current economic situation and the global fiscal policies being applied, which threaten global economic stability, and even signal potential and serious economic collapses. This situation should be prompting non-western countries to identify the need to get rid of their economic dependency on the capitalist system, as well as the importance of reviewing the agreements of the Bretton Woods System that dominated the financial and economic policies in the wake of World War II.