When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Why Morsi And Muslim Brotherhood Are Doomed To Fail, Mubarak-Style

Anti-Brotherhood protester
Anti-Brotherhood protester
Paul Sedra

As President Mohamed Morsi wagged his finger at Egyptians in his televised address to the nation on January 27, my mind wandered back to the televised addresses former President Hosni Mubarak gave during his last 18 days in power.

Back then, too, there were pitched battles in the streets of Cairo, Suez and Port Said. Back then, too, the police sought to bludgeon Egyptians into submission as the government invoked the Emergency Law and granted the military arrest powers.

And back then, too, there appeared before the nation a president who sought to accuse rather than convince — whose paternalistic attitude toward Egyptians was matched only by his apparent disconnect from reality on the ground.

Of course, there are those who are celebrating the downfall of the Brotherhood — who are relishing the irony of the organization, resorting to the very legal instruments that were used to repress it. Nevertheless, I cannot escape a certain sense of tragedy as I observe how precipitously the president and his allies have fallen since their rise to power a mere seven months ago.

This is not to say, of course, that the president can shirk his responsibility for the morass in which Egypt currently finds itself. Had he adopted a different path — the path of magnanimity and collaboration that he promised when he took his symbolic oath of office in Tahrir Square — the situation would be altogether different. There would not exist the ever-widening chasm between the Islamists and their opponents that now characterizes the Egyptian political scene.

[rebelmouse-image 27086236 alt="""" original_size="319x213" expand=1]

Two years after Jan. 25 revolution (Gigi Ibrahim)

And there would exist a constituency of Egyptians willing to give the nation’s first civilian president the benefit of the doubt.

That constituency, which once numbered in the millions and included countless non-Islamists, has dwindled. The Freedom and Justice Party would have Egyptians believe that remnants of the old regime — the “feloul” — remain behind all of the country’s problems, and are bound and determined to sabotage whatever movement toward reform the president undertakes.

But this is, to my mind, Morsi’s Achilles’ heel: a tragic delusion that will rob Morsi and the Brotherhood of whatever political success they have achieved in post-revolutionary Egypt.

Egyptian politics is not a zero-sum game. Yet that is precisely the attitude Morsi has adopted in running the country, an attitude tinged by an almost paranoid fear of losing power. Where is the confidence the president displayed when he presented himself to the masses at Tahrir seven months ago?

One cannot but wonder whether the president, who resorts to Twitter in the wee hours of the morning to speak to Egyptians on the second anniversary of their revolution, is indeed the same man who refused a bulletproof vest when he spoke to Tahrir.

There is no question that the weight of expectation that Morsi faced on his rise to power was tremendous. But so too was the moral and, indeed, revolutionary legitimacy behind the president.

After all, he had emerged the victor from the first remotely democratic presidential elections in the country’s history. With such a victory, and certainly after successfully marginalizing the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, what would it have cost the president to reach out to his political opponents? What threat to his rule would a government of national unity posed?

[rebelmouse-image 27086237 alt="""" original_size="380x252" expand=1]

Morsi with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (State Department)

Of course, that time of possibility is now in the distant past. Like the boy who cried wolf, Morsi now appeals for “dialogue” at every turn, apparently hoping that Egyptians will forget his intransigence in the constitutional debate, his reliance on a government seen as hopelessly incompetent, and his repeated efforts to clamp down on the media and circumvent the legal system.

That this is a time of tragedy for Egypt, there is, of course, no doubt. The nation mourns as lives are lost day in and day out — whether at the hands of the unreformed police, or as a consequence of an almost systematic neglect of state infrastructure.

But this is a tragedy, too, for the Brethren. Having spent over 80 years in the political wilderness, victims of violent repression for most of their existence, and finally entrusted with the power that had so long eluded them, the Muslim Brothers have wasted every modicum of good will they had before them. And now, I’m afraid, they’re finished.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Finally Time For Negotiations? Russia And Ukraine Have The Exact Same Answer

The war in Ukraine appears to have reached a stalemate, with neither side able to make significant progress on the battlefield. A number of Western experts and politicians are now pushing for negotiations. But the irreconcilable positions of both the Russian and Ukrainian sides make such negotiations tricky, if not impossible.

photo of : Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, presents a battle flag to a soldier as he kisses it

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky presents a battle flag to a soldier at the Kyiv Fortress, October 1, 2023.

Ukraine Presidency/Ukrainian Pre/Planet Pix via ZUMA
Yuri Fedorov


The Russian-Ukrainian war appears to have reached a strategic impasse — a veritable stalemate. Neither side is in a position at this point to achieve a fundamental change on the ground in their favor. Inevitably, this has triggered no shortage of analysts and politicians saying it's time for negotiations.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

These conversations especially intensified after the results of the summer-autumn counteroffensive were analyzed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhny, with not very optimistic details.

Though there are advances of the Ukrainian army, it is mostly “stuck in minefields under attacks from Russian artillery and drones,” and there is a increasing prospect of trench warfare that “could drag on for years and exhaust the Ukrainian state.”

Zaluzhny concluded: “Russia should not be underestimated. It suffered heavy losses and used up a lot of ammunition, but it will have an advantage in weapons, equipment, missiles and ammunition for a long time," he said. "Our NATO partners are also dramatically increasing their production capacity, but this requires at least a year, and in some cases, such as aircraft and control systems, two years.”

For the Ukrainian army to truly succeed, it needs air superiority, highly effective electronic and counter-battery warfare, new technologies for mining and crossing minefields, and the ability to mobilize and train more reserves.

China and most countries of the so-called global South have expressed their support for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Meanwhile in the West, certain influential voices are pushing for negotiations, guided by a purely pragmatic principle that if military victory is impossible, it is necessary to move on to diplomacy.

The position of the allies is crucial: Ukraine’s ability to fight a long war of attrition and eventually change the situation at the front in its favor depends on the military, economic and political support of the West. And this support, at least on the scale necessary for victory, is not guaranteed.

Still, the question of negotiations is no less complicated, as the positions of Russia and Ukraine today are so irreconcilable that it is difficult to imagine productive negotiations.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest