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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Latest Updates on Egypt’s Political Crisis

Live video from Egypt’s ON TV shows Tuesday’s protests against and for President Mohamed Morsi.

The Lede is following events in Egypt on Tuesday, as protesters demanding the resignation of President Mohamed Morsi return to the streets and the clock ticks on an ultimatum issued by the military to resolve the crisis by Wednesday.

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11:13 A.M. Explaining the Discontent With Morsi

As our colleagues David Kirkpatrick, Kareem Fahim and Ben Hubbard report from Cairo, President Mohamed Morsi faced deepening political isolation on Tuesday, as calls for his resignation intensified on the streets and resignations from his government piled up ahead of an army-imposed deadline to resolve the crisis.

Against this backdrop, and the looming threat of violence between supporters and opponents of the Islamist president elected just one year ago, several Egyptian democracy activists have been rying to explain to the rest of the world how Mr. Morsi lost the support of the population in the past year.

Late Monday, the novelist and commentator Ahdaf Soueif â€" who voted for Mr. Morsi to keep out Ahmed Shafik, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister â€" called on the Muslim Brotherhood to disband, in an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News from Cairo.

A Channel 4 News interview with Ahdaf Soueif, an Egyptian novelist and commentator, broadcast Monday night.

In a Facebook post headlined “The Seven Deadly Sins of the Muslim Brotherhood,” the cha! irman of ! the history department at the American University in Cairo, Khaled Fahmy, laid out what he called the “delusional views” of the Islamist society that put Mr. Morsi forward for the presidency, and explained that there is widespread discontent with the American Ambassador, Anne Patterson, for apparently supporting the president.

Mr. Fahmy argued that the Brotherhood’s first mistake was that they “thought that running and winning free and fair elections was what the revolution was all about.”

When Morsy won with a 52 percent of the vote, his group convinced him that this is a sufficient source of legitimacy and that the revolution, now that it has fulfilled its main objective, is over. People should now go back home and mind their business. This was a disastrous reading of the political situation. People did not take to the streets in Jan-Feb 2011 and risk their lives only to have free and fair elections And they were not willing to go back home just because someone won the presidential elections (no matter who), until they made sure that this person at least appeared to be answering their main demands.

He went on to suggest that the group’s other major errors were: failing to reform the hated police force â€" “the fact that the revolution erupted on the 25th of January, Police Day, was not an accident” â€" deciding to battle the press and the judiciary instead of the security forces; insisting on “a winner-takes-all approach” rather than making “credible and meaningful concessions” to the opposition; claiming that all opposition to the new government was solely riven by “feloul,” or remnants of the old regime; ruling in the authoritarian manner of a secret society, rather than an open, democratic government.

Mr. Fahmy concluded:

Lastly, the Muslim Brotherhood has failed to realize that its time is over. This is a secret organization foun! ded in th! e 1920 to fight the British in Egypt. During their long history, they have suffered draconian measures under Egypt’s many rulers, most seriously under Nasser. Their ideology and their tactics, their rhetoric and their philosophy have all reflected this siege mentality. One would have expected that having come to power as a result of free and fair elections that have, in turn, been the result of an amazing popular revolution, that they adopt a more relaxed, open, inclusive and tolerant attitude. Personally, I think the Brotherhood should have disbanded itself and morphed into political party. Instead, they did form a party but in an avaricious, greedy attitude they not only kept their organization, but also kept its secretive, clandestine structure and mentality. Famously, the president showed his true preference when he addressed the MB cadres and members as “my family and folk”, raising doubts in the minds of millions of Egyptians about his true allegiance. And in a drooling hunger for control, the M unleashed their cadres onto the institutions of the state in a rabid race to control them, what we have called ikhwanization. What is more, this ikhwanization has been going on with no vision, philosophy or aim except to control the hinges of the state. And with their old literature making it abundantly clear that this “tamkin” tactic aims at nothing less that imprinting their vision on the totality of Egyptian society, no wonder people got scared and rebelled.

I believe the Muslim Brotherhood is dead. It is a very tragic death as it happens paradoxically just when they thought that the future is theirs. Their best days are already behind them. And what makes it even more difficult for them to accept this tragic end is that it was brought about not because of the clever tactics or the insightful leadership of the opposition, as much as it was the result of their own bullheaded, stubborn leadership that, in the words of my dear friend Sherif Younis, had caused them to win all the battles bu! t lose th! e war.

One of Mr. Morsi’s most persistent antagonists, the satirist Bassem Youssef â€" who was interrogated by the state prosecutor for the supposedly criminal use of satire in his mockery of the president and the Brotherhood â€" drew attention on Twitter to “very impressive” aerial views of Sunday’s massive anti-Morsi protests.

â€" Robert Mackey