25 June 2012
By Pinhas Inbari
The official announcement of Mohammad Mursi as the winner in Egypt’s presidential election is unlikely to put an end to the country’s internal crisis or to the sharp split among the Egyptian people between the Islamists, represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the secularists, represented by the Supreme Council of the Allied Forces.
The SCAF was quick to amend the constitutional law ahead of the election in a way that would make it impossible for the country to resume stable governance for a long while, leaving the SCAF as the real ruler of Egypt for the foreseeable future. This move made it clear to the Muslim Brotherhood that its expectation of power-sharing with the SCAF, as was understood prior to the presidential race, was rejected even before an official offer could be made.
The reopened rift between the Brotherhood and the SCAF translated to their Palestinian neighbors, where the gap between Gaza and Ramallah immediately widened.
Ramallah is linked to the SCAF's anti-Muslim Brotherhood axis, while Hamas is strongly affiliated with the Islamist axis and has offered to support the Muslim Brotherhood not only politically but also through armed resistance. The PLO, on the other hand, used the time to mock the Brotherhood’s candidate Mursi by calling him "Mursi with no chair".
Further to Hamas’ departure from Damascus, the organization’s politburo discussed the possibility of joining the Muslim Brotherhood Shura in Cairo. The Brotherhood conditioned its acceptance on the politburo’s renunciation of its "resistance" character and conversion to a political party during the period when the Brotherhood believed it could overtake Egypt through the ballot box. Hamas, in turn, offered to be considered as the military wing of the Brotherhood but was denied.
However, further to the SCAF ‘s "constitutional coup", the Muslim Brotherhood may have gone back on its policy and de facto accepted Hamas’ earlier offer. Egyptian media reported that Hamas was involved in planning to commit terror operations in Egypt during the electoral campaign.
Even as the voters were going to the polls, Gaza-inspired militants launched missile attacks from Sinai into Israel, followed by another volley from Gaza itself. Hamas quickly took formal responsibility for the launch after a prolonged period of silence regarding its involvement in the attacks. The timing of the rocket fire was a signal from the Muslim Brotherhood to the SCAF which clearly indicated it could counter the power of the latter with its own militia.
The Muslim Brotherhood may decide to follow Hamas’ example by forming a body similar to the Al-Qassam Brigades or the Iranian example of the Al-Quds Brigades and the Pasdaran, in addition to its presence in parliament and the government. In either case, heating up the temperatures along the Sinai border will complicate relations between Israel and the SCAF and foil cooperation between the two against Gaza, while increasing the Brotherhood’s popularity on the street.
The regime in Ramallah, on the other hand, was one of the only governments left standing after the events of the Arab Spring, including Jordan, the Gulf States, and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Salman, who has been named as successor to the ailing Prince Abdullah, ordered the University of Medina to recognize Hamas after the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo refused to recognize Sheikh Yasseen, while he served as the governor of the holy city in the 1980s.
The prince hoped that that militant Islamic movement would join the ranks of the Sunni Mujahedeen, but instead, it turned toward Shiite Iran. As a result, the future leader of the oil-producing giant has a score to settle with Hamas and is naturally inclined to support Ramallah against it.
Photo: A Hamas sign that illustrates the point (“Gaza: Between escalation and the new situation in Egypt”)
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