Sunday 22 October 2017

Congratulations flow in but this is no ordinary party

Richard Spencer in Cairo

THEY sent customary congratulations from around the world -- the Iranians and the Emiratis, the British and Hamas. Even Israel said it "respected the outcome". William Hague, Britain's Foreign Secretary, was almost effusive.

"I congratulate the Egyptian people for their commitment to the democratic process," he said. It was as if the Muslim Brotherhood were just any other party, Mohammed Morsi just another politician, and Egypt any other democratic country.

It is not, of course. For one thing, nobody really knows who is in power now. Mr Morsi, just about everyone agrees, is not. He is answerable to two men: Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and defence minister; and Mohammed Badie, the Murshid or Guide of the Brotherhood, to whom he also owes obedience.

It is easy to see why the liberal activists who started last year's revolution against Hosni Mubarak feel betrayed. While the press in Egypt and abroad have been talking of the battle between the Islamists and the army, the real story has been the pair's co-operation -- sometimes angry, sometimes enthusiastic, always competing for attention.

The first group the Brotherhood thanked yesterday was the military. The first congratulations to Mr Morsi came from Field Marshal Tantawi. Troops who might once have arrested him were placed on guard at his door -- though, of course, the guns could quickly point in the other direction if Mr Morsi steps out of line. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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