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EGYPT/ The compromise that could make them leaders of the region

GIUSEPPE BETTONI comments on the current situation in Egypt, where a tug of war is taking place between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood, and what this means for the entire region.

Mohamed Morsi   (infophoto) Mohamed Morsi (infophoto)

The tug of war going on between the Egyptian army and the President, representative of the political-religious movement of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, is very dangerous and it is impossible to say who will win and in what way. It was expected that Morsi would make a move given the situation of near impotence in which the leaders of the army had placed him by dissolving Parliament and taking back most of the power under Constitutional Law. This battle in Egypt would be less important if it were not the key to a situation that stretches from the Persian Gulf to Morocco. This area is not important “only” because of the so-called Arab Spring, leading to democracies where there were dictatorships. Egypt today is resuming (or could resume) a position of prominence on this regional chessboard, as in the times of the Mamelukes placed in power by Saladin or as in the time of Mehemet Ali. It is in this spirit that the situation in what is called the oldest centralized “nation state” of the world, based on a militarized society for over a thousand years, must be considered. Morsi takes up a conflict that was already underway in the 20s between King Farouk and his political-religious movement (founded in 1928). The Muslim Brotherhood participated in the construction and operation of modern Egypt, so they are not something external that is suddenly returning (as was the case of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran after the revolution of 1979).

The army is important, but no strong personality stands out. In fact, they can no longer count on ex-Chief of Staff Sami Anan, or the almost retired Marshal Tantaoui. And what about General Omar Souleiman, who was defeated in his attempt to take the Presidency? Thus the tug of war is nothing but an attempt to settle the balance of power between the eternal role of the army and the role of the nearly century-old Muslim Brotherhood group, which for decades now has been involved in the operation of power in the country through the control of the most important trade unions and professional associations. The ultimate result of this struggle may be not so much a violent explosion as an agreement, a compromise in light of the external situation. Keep in mind that all the borders of Egypt are extremely dangerous.