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Whither Morsi?

Israel/Palestine
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This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

The next Egyptian shoe to drop is word of what will happen with Mohamed Morsi.  A few days ago I speculated that Morsi might be renditioned to Guantanamo but no one picked up the idea and ran with it.  I was writing tongue-in-cheek but the question remains. Whither Morsi?

Germany has called for Morsi’s release. The United States signed on.  Release Morsi in Egypt?  I doubt it. 

With millions of disgruntled Muslim Brotherhood members demanding his reinstatement as President, releasing Morsi would make him a hero on the streets.  You simply can’t have a democratically-elected, deposed, former President walking the Egyptian streets. 

The other idea – placing Morsi on trial for treason – is more likely.  It is obviously ludicrous.  It is also dangerous.  Do you remember the emotions that surfaced at Mubarak’s trial after he was deposed?  Though there remained some committed Mubarak supporters, most everyone was tired of him.  Nor did Mubarak ever have the popular base Morsi has.  Everyone in the world would see Morsi’s prosecution as a show trial. 

Imagine if Morsi were somehow found innocent.  What to do with a democratically elected, deposed, innocent, former President with years left in his term of office.  Reinstate him?

The assumed guilty verdict would create problems as well.  If Morsi were found to be a traitor, would he be imprisoned for life?  Hanged? 

The dangers are obvious.  Right now Morsi is a hero to his supporters.  I doubt the Egyptian army wants to make him a martyr.

If Morsi were convicted and wasn’t executed, he couldn’t stay in Egypt as a free man or in prison.  The best case scenario for the Egyptian army is to get Morsi out of Egypt.  But to where?

Since Germany has called for his release, would Germany be willing to take him?  Perhaps another European country – France or Spain?  The problem is that European countries, the preferred destination of deposed leaders for years, now have sizable Muslim populations.  Morsi might become a rallying cry among Muslims in Europe and perhaps even among the non-Muslim populous who believe that the democratic process is important.  It’s difficult to imagine Morsi spending the rest of his life hanging out in Parisian cafes or in the London pubs.

How about the United States?  Impossible.  It would raise too many questions about the US war on terror and America’s participation in international intrigue.  No doubt Wikileaks or Edward Snowden would have a field day exposing American communications with the Egyptian military.

Then there’s Russia and China – Japan?  How about Africa or the Arab world?  Would Venezuela do a twofer, getting safe passage for Snowden if they agree to take Morsi?

There are problems with all these scenarios since the deep state everywhere also has to be aware of deep Islam – the more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.  Morsi may have been a localized Egyptian Muslim politician.  Deposed and held incommunicado by the Egyptian army he is on the verge of becoming something else.  What that something else is remains to be seen.

Revolutions are complicated, since you never know where they might go. Coups are complicated, too. 

The world’s eyes are on what happens to the deposed Egyptian leader.  That might tell us where Egypt is going.  

Marc H. Ellis
About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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8 Responses

  1. American
    American
    July 14, 2013, 1:38 pm

    Last I read he was still being held by the military.
    Haven’t seen anything to indicate Morsi committed any ‘crimes”— or examples of Morsi committing ‘treason or of being guilty of any kind of financial corruption as Mubarak was.

    Looks to me the military is trying to ‘wipe out the MB” by violence..dont see any ‘democratic results or processes in this.

    So for all those who call this a people’s protest ‘win and not a coup……be careful what you ask for…..your revolt isn’t looking too good so far.

    Did see that Obama and some other leaders have called for Morsi release.

  2. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    July 15, 2013, 4:52 am

    Germany and US supported the coup, the call for releasing Mursi is just damage Control to ease muslims and islamists in the region. No one buys that. US could start by cutting off the aid.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      July 15, 2013, 10:57 am

      US won’t cut off aid to Egypt. That aid secures one of Israel’s borders. Israeli officials have been all over the WH & high level government phones, demanding the aid continue. Somehow McCain didn’t get the message, nor did Lindsey Graham, who seem unusually, literally, stuck on the legislation cutting off aid to any state resulting from a coup. Surely both of those guys know aid to Egypt is actually to secure Israel?

      Video speech by Senator Menedez on AIPAC website:
      ” American security assistance to Egypt cannot be a blank check. That’s why Congress made it abundantly clear in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 that U.S. assistance to Egypt would be contingent upon upholding its 1979 peace treaty with Israel. That is our bottom line and it will remain our bottom line when it comes to the U.S.-Egypt relationship.”

  3. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 15, 2013, 10:51 am

    “How about the United States? Impossible. It would raise too many questions about the US war on terror and America’s participation in international intrigue.”

    Obama calls for Mursi’s release but there’s no way he or his handlers have thought it through as Mr. Ellis has done here, or neither Obama or his handlers give a crap what is likely to happen if he is released, in Egypt or elsewhere. And Obama would never allow Morsi into the USA since Morsi is a leader in the MB. Obama catches crazy flack for being a Muslim as it is, and AIPAC would never allow Morsi refuge here.

  4. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    July 15, 2013, 11:01 am

    And so many of the heads of the Muslim Brotherhood arrested.

    “Do you remember the emotions that surfaced at Mubarak’s trial after he was deposed? Though there remained some committed Mubarak supporters, most everyone was tired of him. Nor did Mubarak ever have the popular base Morsi has. Everyone in the world would see Morsi’s prosecution as a show trial. ”

    Mubarak was in a cage on trial. Kept fantasizing Cheney in the same circumstance as a war criminal.

    Egyptian military putting Morsi on trial would be absurd. A coup is a coup is a coup. Still amazed by NPR’s Scott Simon and so many other MSM host unable and willing to call the Egyptian military take over a “coup” is really something.

    On Scott Simon’s NPR’s Weekend edition he could not call the Egyptian coup a “coup” Two segments on Egypt
    http://www.npr.org/programs/weekend-edition-saturday/

  5. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 15, 2013, 11:17 am

    Here’s is AIPAC’s directive to the US government:
    While only the Egyptians can form their own government, the United States should insist on several goals for the next Egyptian government to meet.
    • Egypt needs to maintain the peace treaty with Israel, including the demilitarization of the Sinai Peninsula and permission for the continued presence of the U.S.-led Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai.
    • Egypt needs to adhere to other contractual obligations to Israel, particularly continuing the supply of natural gas.
    • Egypt must maintain its policy of isolating Hamas in Gaza.
    • Egypt needs to continue to oppose Iran’s efforts to expand its regional influence—both directly and
    through Hizballah and Hamas.
    • Egypt must continue to oppose the global jihad of al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
    • Egypt must keep the Suez Canal open to all shipping, including the passage of Israeli civilian and military vessels.

    If Egypt does not follow this directive, the US will cut off aid to Egypt. If any US congress person or the WH does not follow this directive, their political career will be over.

    We The People is not involved at all, except to pay the foreign aid bill despite sequestration and its impact on We The People. All food stamps will be cut off before foreign aid to Egypt, conditional as AIPAC demands, will suffer a hit, and Israel will only get more foreign aid, no matter if Dick and Jane go to economic hell in a hand basket woven by AIPAC.

  6. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 15, 2013, 11:36 am

    Excerpt from Massad’s article on Counterpunch:

    Mursi’s Record
    The Mursi government seemed surprisingly pliant and friendly to Western interests, including towards Israel, whose president Shimon Peres was addressed by Mursi as “my dear friend” in an official presidential letter. Contrary to expectations of a burgeoning friendship with Hamas, under Mursi’s government, the Gaza border in Rafah was closed more times than under Mubarak, security coordination with Israel became more intimate than under Mubarak, and to make matters worse, Mursi, with the Egyptian army and the help of the Americans, destroyed the majority of the underground tunnels between Gaza and Sinai which the Palestinians had dug out to smuggle in food and goods during their interminable siege since 2005 and which Mubarak had not dared demolish. Mursi even went further by mediating between Israel and Hamas during the latest Israeli attack on Gaza, vouching that he would guarantee that Hamas would not launch rockets against Israel but not the other way around. It is true that Mursi refused to meet with Israeli leaders but even Mubarak had refused to visit Israel for years before his ouster and had recalled his ambassador in protest against Israeli policies. One of Mursi’s more major acts before his recent ouster was not the closure of the Israeli embassy, as friends and enemies of the Islamists threatened he would do, but closed down instead the Syrian embassy in support of the ongoing rightwing Islamist insurrection in that country.

  7. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    July 15, 2013, 12:06 pm

    NPR’s Scott Simon could not call the Egyptian military coup a “coup” He even claimed that it was the Egyptian “people” who removed democratically elected Egyptian President Morsi instead of the Egyptian military forcefully removing Morsi.

    Brings up the money that Egypt, Kuwait etc giving Egypt after this coup.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=7

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