While the world persists in looking for signs of pragmatism in the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsy is quietly taking over all the power bases in the country.
Having gotten rid of the army old guard, he replaced them with his own men – officers belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood or known sympathizers. Then he turned his attention to the media, replacing 50 editors working for the government’s extensive and influential press empire – including Al- Ahram, Al-Akhbar, Al-Gomhuria. He is now busy appointing new governors to the 27 regions of the country.
Hosni Mubarak used to choose retired generals he could depend on for these sensitive posts; Morsy is hand picking party faithful. At the same time upper echelons in government ministries and economic and cultural organizations are methodically being replaced. The Muslim Brotherhood is fast assuming total control. For many observers, the deployment of army units in Sinai is more about proclaiming Egyptian sovereignty in the face of Israel than actually fighting Islamic terrorism.
Drafting the new constitution is their next objective. Brothers and Salafis make up an absolute majority in the Constituent Assembly. Liberal and secular forces are boycotting its sessions, and the Supreme Constitutional Court is examining a request to have it dissolved since it does not conform to the constitution because of its overly Islamic composition; a decision is expected in September.
The assembly, however, is not waiting. According to various leaks it is putting the final touch to a constitution where all laws have to conform to the Shari’a and special committees will supervise the media and forbid any criticism of Islam and of the Prophet. In the wings is the creation of a Committee of Islamic Sages supervising the law-making process and in effect voiding of substance the parliament elected by the people, though it is not clear yet if, when and how it will work. What is clear is that a parliament made of flesh and blood individuals is against the very nature of the Shari’a, where all laws are based on the Koran and the hadiths. This is a far cry from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.