Thursday, April 12, 2012

Egypt’s Brotherhood turn against the man they had praised

Bikya Masr

"A new secular wave of criticism is hitting the fan and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are getting smacked in the face. The group is launching a massive attack campaign against the same man they shook his bloody hand during the 18 day uprising, Omar Soliman, who announced his presidential ambitions recently.

The Brotherhood sat with him, had their cup of tea while Egyptian blood was still running warm on the pavements of Tahrir. When he was then Vice-President, Soliman invited the revolutionary powers for negotiations and talks. No one answered but the Brotherhood.

Any followers of the group’s political history can tell that they do not like to walk empty-handed from anything they dip their feet in. So in case the revolution did not work, they sat with the man who headed the Egyptian intelligence body for over a decade, personally implementing the American program of rendition, and approved the torture of thousands of Egyptian “suspects.”

On February 7, 2011, shortly after the Camel battle, in which tens were killed when the deposed ruling party hired thugs with swords and guns, who raided Tahrir square Medieval style, Saad al-Katatny, who is now the Speaker or parliament, said that he “believes Soliman” and called his promises “a positive and important step.” Katatny then pleaded with the nation “to give the regime a chance.”

Now posters portraying Souliman as a butcher, with blood dripping from his hands, accusing him of being “Israel and Mubarak’s servant” and the “sequel to Mubarak, or Mubarak 2″ and the “revolutionary youth killer”, publishing and republishing anything negative about him on their newspaper and website, announcing they obtained “important documents exposing Souliman as part of the gas deal with Israel”, calling for him to be tried for “treason”.

The MB now, especially after pushing Khairat al-Shater into the presidential feast, are more invested than ever in the process. They repeated over and over again that they would not nominate anyone from within and went as far as firing leading figures, notably Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, for expressing their wish to run in the race.

Now the group is furious.

They want Soliman out of the picture, waging war against him, calling him the reincarnation of Mubarak. Marches, speeches and battles were organized around the country tarnishing Soliman, a tactic that doesn’t need much effort as very few already trust the man. They say if he wins, the elections will have been cooked.

Their lack of faith in the Egyptian voter seems to be pushing them far. They are scared and want to get people on their side. But not for one second have they stopped campaigning for the presidential race.

Yet, the liberals and seculars in Egypt have swallowed the bait oh so well. They have seized organizing and put all their eggs against the Soliman basket. With mass sit-ins and protests on the horizon to get him kicked out of the race, they seem to have lost their focus. The liberals don’t see that while the MB shamelessly attack the same man who they cozied up with during the revolution, always have their eyes, and beards, on the prize.

One can also say that the whole hate campaign against Soliman aims to reestablish their image as a national “selfless” power, instead of a religion abusing, opportunity jumping bunch.

They are telling the people, we will guard the revolution, even if they did occasionally compromise their honor. One of the biggest banners that we saw during the recent protests outside of the now Islamic-run Parliament, was the cover of a magazine in 2005 featuring the former Supreme Guide Mahdi Akef, with the headline “We support president Hosni Mubarak for another term.”

The dirty political games that the Brotherhood plays might not be that dirty in political contexts, but it is a tarnished and soiled playground for the new and clean start Egyptians wish to rebuild their country and political system upon. They do not want manipulations or corrupt politics. They had decades upon decades of it and all agree it is time to move on. But the liberals, who in many ways are the real hope for real change in Egypt, but their emotional drifting and lack of focus will not only harm their political hopes, but the country as a whole."

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