Ever since assuming the office of the presidency, Mohammed Morsi has worked resolutely to portray himself as a moderate Islamist working independent of American influence for the betterment of Egypt and the region. But beneath the veneer of Islamic rhetoric surrounding his domestic and foreign policy actions, Morsi is no better than his predecessor Mubarak - the former custodian of US interests in the region.
On the domestic front, Morsi can claim that the opposition has not permitted his government enough time to push through reforms that will address Egypt’s battered economy, restore law and order, and improve the lives of ordinary Egyptian people. This is despite the fact that such reforms are formulated under the auspices of IMF stipulations for Egypt’s government to revise its economic agenda in order to qualify for the $4.8 billion loan.
The IMF spokesman, Gerry Rice, said: “We understand the Egyptian authorities have been working on revising their economic programme. And once this step is completed, we will discuss the timing of a possible mission to Cairo to assess the revised programme.” The delay has prompted America’s rating agency, Moody, to downgrade Egypt’s credit worthiness. Thus, USA’s economic enslavement of Egypt continues via the IMF and Moody, regardless of the claims made by Morsi’s government of following a sovereign economic policy.
On the foreign policy front, Morsi cannot conceal his pro-American credentials behind the wall of protestors. His foreign policy is distinctively American and in many ways is more than Mubarak’s era.
Consider his treatment of Palestinians living in Gaza. On February 13, 2013, Egypt without warning flooded Gaza tunnels that are a lifeblood of the Palestinian people living in concentration camp like conditions in Gaza, which for all intents and purposes is controlled by the cowardly Jewish state.
The tunnels bring in everything from food and medicine to cement and iron, providing up to 75 percent of the goods to a population of 1.6 million people. An Egyptian security official in the Sinai told Reuters: “We are using water to close the tunnels by raising water from one of the wells.”
Meanwhile, Hamas has been reluctant to criticise Morsi in public, but the Gazan’s are more outspoken about Hamas’ naivety and Morsi’s brutality. “Egyptian measures against tunnels have worsened since the election of Morsi. Our Hamas brothers thought he would open up Gaza. I guess they were wrong,” said a tunnel owner, who identified himself only as Ayed, fearing reprisal. “Perhaps, 150 or 200 tunnels have been shut since the Sinai attack. This is the Morsi era,” he added.
So, Morsi’s government has exploited the attacks on the Egyptian forces in Sinai in August 2012 to drive a ruthless campaign to close as many tunnels as possible and bolster the security of the Jewish state ahead of the much anticipated resumption of the dormant peace process. With Palestinian unity talks planned in the days ahead, Netanyahu weakened by the recent elections and Obama scheduled to visit the Jewish state in March 2013, Washington is keen to create the right atmosphere to give a vital push for peace between the Arabs and the Jewish state.
Central to the commencement of peace talks is the security of the Jewish state, and Morsi like his predecessor is doing his utmost to meet American and Jewish expectations. Nonetheless, the timing of the recent operation is intended to mollify Jewish criticism of America’s delivery of four F-16 aircraft to the Egyptian air force.
Likewise, Morsi’s close ties with Iran to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria that preserves remnants of Assad’s regime bears the hallmark of America’s intended solution.
America has been working tirelessly with Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Gulf countries as well as with the EU and Russia to protect Assad’s regime in some form through a variety of initiatives - the latest being the Brahimi Plan. This will ensure the continuation of its hegemony over the Levant.
Within this context, Morsi visited Tehran in September 2012 and spoke of Iran as a pivotal stakeholder in finding a solution to the Syrian crisis. He said: “(Iran) a main player in the region that could have an active and supportive role in solving the Syrian problem.......I don’t see the presence of Iran in this quartet (Turkey, Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia) as a problem, but is a part of solving the problem.” This also explains why Morsi, a few days ago, warmly greeted Ahmadinejad.
His treatment of the Iranian President attracted the ire of some of Morsi’s close supporters such as Daawa Salafiyya, which issued a statement: “Egypt is committed to the protection of all Sunni nations.” Hence within a space of a few months, Morsi has managed to surpass Mubarak and do what his predecessor failed to do, i.e. forge a working relationship with Iran to safeguard US interests in the Levant.
America is mightily pleased with the domestic and foreign policy actions undertaken by Morsi’s government. On February 3, 2013, US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson said: “We look to Egypt to continue to serve as a force for peace, security and leadership as the Middle East proceeds with its challenging yet essential journey towards democracy.”
There are important lessons for Egyptians to learn from Morsi’s rule:
First, by simply calling for the ouster of a brutal dictator only to be replaced by someone who overtly expresses his faith in Islam is a folly of enormous proportions and will not change the plight of the people.
Second, the real cause of misery for Egyptians is the current system through which America continues to colonise the country. Unless the system is eradicated from its roots, the people will continue to suffer under Washington’s colonial policies implemented by its loyalists in the present regime - be they Islamists or liberals.
Third, the only alternative to the present decadent system is the Islamic Sharia and not Western liberal democracy, as advocated by the short-sighted liberals. Western liberal democracy along with capitalism is dying and even people in the West are eagerly looking for an alternative system. But for Islamic Sharia to succeed, it has to be implemented holistically not in a piecemeal fashion, as championed by Muslim brotherhood and its supporters.
Fourthly, the only practical way to realise the implementation of the Sharia in domestic and foreign policy areas is through the re-establishment of the Caliphate. Only the Caliphate can guarantee an independent economic and foreign policy free from Western interference.
The writer is a political commentator, who specialises in Muslim affairs and global politics.