While a civil war rages in Syria, the largest player in the Arab Spring, Egypt, has chosen it’s first democratically elected leader in its Entire 7000 year history.
The choice however, is most surprising. Mohammed Mursi, representing the Muslim Brotherhood (known locally as the “Ikhawn”) is now Egypt’s President.
This is an incredible turnaround in historic fortunes, ever since 1928, when the group was founded, it’s members have been repeatedly at odds with nearly every Egyptian leader including assassination attempts as well as regular crackdowns on its members by the each successive government.
Now their tormentor, Hosni Mubarak, is in prison while they set in the presidency.
But who the fuck is Mursi anyway?
Mohammed Morsi was born in a village in the Nile Delta region of Egypt in 1951 (conflicting reports that he was born either middle class or a Peasant) and graduated from Cairo University’s Metallurgical Engineering department with a Master’s Degree and got his Doctorate from University of Southern California in 1982 before working as an assistant Professor at California State University and according to some reports, he worked at NASA’s Space Shuttle Program, designing alloys for the high temperature of the engines. He then returned to Egypt to teach at his hometown’s university: Zagazig University (yes, it sounds just as silly in Arabic).
He was involved in the Brotherhood ever since his early college years (Ironically, Anwar Sadat the Egyptian President at the time encouraged the Brotherhood to counteract the power of Communist Student organizations) and was a member of the rubber stamp parliament from 2000 to 2005 (running as an independent as most Ikhwan did).
People were afraid of the Brotherhood domination of the government but it seems that will not be the case:
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has dissolved parliament (which was controlled by the Ikhwan with nearly 47% of the seats and a further 20% controlled by their allies the Ultra-orthodox Islamists known as Salafists) and stated in nearly plain terms: The President answers to the Army, not the other way around The Constitution has yet to be written so what powers, if any, does Mursi have? No one has a fucking clue.
In addition, Morsi only got 51.73% of the vote in which about 51% of the Electorate participated which means really only about a quarter of Egyptians voted for him.
And the real question is: What the fuck is the Brotherhood going to do with Egypt?
Many people were afraid that Egypt is going to be a theocracy but that’s just silly, the Ikhwan don’t have that kind of power but the three issues that people are worried about are:
#1: The extent of the Muslim Brotherhood’s social conservatism on the Tourism Industry: As we all know, Egypt depends on Tourism, not just to the Pyramids but also resorts on the Red Sea like Sharm Al Sheik. If Egypt adopts a “No Bikini, No Beer” rule, it will seriously damage the economy.
#2: The status of the Camp David Accords and the Issue of Gaza: Camp David was the Israeli Egyptian peace plan brokered by Jimmy Carter and is deeply unpopular in Egypt. However, breaking that agreement might attract Israeli aggression and will certainly bring International Condemnation. Also, will the new government continue to enforce the blockade on the Gaza Strip?
#3: The treatment of Christians and other Minorities: An Islamist ruled government stoked fears that oppression of minorities like Coptic Christians would begin but in reality this doesn’t seem to be forthcoming. The Brotherhood never had any real interaction with minorities for most of its history, being solely focused on overthrowing the secular government and frankly, with only 25% of the electorate voting for him, Morsi and the Brotherhood are already courting Christians, Leftists and other groups to form a unity government. They don’t have the political strength to oppress anyone.
Why is Egypt so Important? Well…. 1 in 3 Arabs is an Egyptian. Whatever Egypt does is felt by every Arab in the world. Whatever Egypt does, it will shift the course of history in the Middle East.
Because this is History in the making folks, is your body ready?