|Monday, 02 July 2012 12:53|
With additional attention, we listened to the speech of the new Egyptian president, Mohammad Mursi. We all wanted to know the new president and his political inclinations better, which came out moderate although pompous. An important point in the speech was Mursi"s pledge that his country would not interfere in the internal affairs of others. This was a clear message aimed at reassuring the GCC, Jordan and other countries in the region.
Although Mursi"s first speech was satisfactory to many people, he should recognize the fears of the others and reassure them in a number of suspended issues on which the Muslim Brothers had hostile or opposing attitudes during the time of former President Hosni Mubarak. For instance, Egypt did not have a firm or decisive stance on the slaughters the ex-ally of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers, Bashar Assad, is committing against his people in Syria. It was not enough to just condemn the massacres.
There are many questions we do not know Mursi"s answer to. His compass did not show us which direction he would take.
For instance: What would he do if Israel attacked Hamas in Gaza? Would he ask the Egyptian armed forces to intervene?
What side would he support in the continued differences over who will represent the Palestinian people the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas or the dismissed transitional government in Gaza under Ismail Haniyeh?
We will closely watch to see if Mursi will receive the Israeli ambassador in Cairo or refuse to do so. We will also ask: If a new Israeli ambassador were appointed to Egypt, to whom would he present his credentials? Mursi had said he would honor his country"s agreements with the world. Does this mean he will continue to maintain ties with Israel? In this connection, will the Egyptian presidency stop the mediations Cairo used to make between the Palestinians and the Israelis?
What is his stand regarding the current events in Sudan, especially that President Omar Bashir, who is very much hated by his own people, had expressed happiness over the Muslim Brothers coming to power in Egypt?
His attitude regarding Iran is much more complex and embarrassing. Iran was a strong ally of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt. Will Mursi decide to resume relations with Tehran on the pretext that Iran has embassies and envoys in the Gulf countries? Or will he abstain from doing this so as not to give a misleading message to his Arab neighbors in the Gulf and to the West?
Will Mursi keep silent over Iran"s ideological and religious activities in Egypt, which increased by several folds since the downfall of Mubarak? Iran is extending support to some local groups and spreading the Shiite ideology among the Egyptians. Al-Azhar, the highest Islamic authority in Egypt, has criticized this work and warned that it might result in sectarian conflicts.
What is the attitude of the new Egyptian president vis-à-vis terrorism? Would he be ready to give orders tomorrow to pursue and crush Al-Qaeda elements if the terrorist organization decided to target the tourist areas in Egypt? What will be the fate of the country"s security cooperation with the world, which was an important pillar in Mubarak"s anti-terror policies?
What would he do if the U.S. or Saudi Arabia asked him to turn over some wanted al-Qaeda members who entered Egypt?
In his speech, President Mursi pledged not to interfere in the internal affairs of others. Here rises a question: What would he do if confrontations broke out between a country"s government and the Muslim Brothers in that country, such as Jordan? The most probable challenge remains to be: How will he deal with the human rights organizations and foreign ministries in the West when they criticize his government if it encroaches on freedom in the name of religion, allow courts to pursue artists, confiscate books and publications or close down satellite TV channels?
Challenges abound on the internal front. The most prominent among them is the possible ideological collision. The religious beliefs of the Muslim Brotherhood are objectionable to a large number of Egyptian intellectuals. Is Mursi capable of respecting the cultural freedoms that existed during Mubarak"s reign?
Such issues may probably agitate the fanatic wing within the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi groups. What will Mursi do in this case? Will he send the police to arrest his brothers in the party or leave all sides to express their attitudes in the methods most suitable to them?
For all these reasons, one speech is not enough to know or judge the new Egyptian president.