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Why A Morsi Execution Could Risk Civil War In Egypt

Mohamed Morsi during his trial in Cairo on March 26, 2015
Mohamed Morsi during his trial in Cairo on March 26, 2015
Omar Said

CAIRO — When the Egyptian regime carried out the hanging of six defendants last week in the Arab Sharkas case, it was sending a clear message to former President Mohamed Morsi a day after a Cairo court sentenced the former leader and another 106 people to death. Such is the interpretation of events in the capital by attorney Ahmed Helmy, who represented some of the Arab Sharkas defendants.

The six men were accused members of the militant group formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, and had been sentenced to death last October. As for Morsi and the other defendants, the court handed them a death sentence on charges of prison break.

But execution in Morsi"s case would have heavy political and security implications. "A decision of the sort is not in the best interest of the country's security, or the daily life of citizens," says Abdel Latif al-Bedeiny, former deputy interior minister. "It will only open the door to more violence, which will worsen the conflict between both parties."

Commenting on one of the major flaws commonly cited in the case, he adds, "I do not want to comment on a judicial verdict, but having deceased Palestinians among those convicted raises big question marks."

Among the Palestinians convicted alongside Morsi are Hassan Salama, a detainee in Israeli prisons since 1996; Tayssir Abou Sneema, who was killed by Israeli forces in 2009; Hossam al-Sanei, who was killed in 2008; and Raed al-Attar, founder of the Qassam Brigades, also killed by Israel in the last attack in Gaza.

Ahmed Ban, a researcher on Islamic movements, agrees. "I cannot imagine a sane authority would carry out these verdicts," he says. "Taking that step would open the door for a civil war."

Ban, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, adds, "Carrying out these verdicts means that we have reached the final stage of the confrontation between the Brotherhood and the state, which goes against the history of this conflict. The state has always managed to maintain a balance between confrontation and political settlement with the group. Even if the confrontation seems to now be at its peak, there is room for political settlement."

But Bedeiny blames the escalation in this verdict on the failure of both the Brotherhood and the state to find grounds for reconciliation, especially in the absence of deft political mediation.

In making this claim, Bedeiny also unintentionally points to the verdict's politicization and the judiciary behind it.

"There is an entity trying to embarrass the state and the executive authority," Ban says, in an elusive reference to the judiciary and the security apparatus. "I do not understand how an individual is acquitted from charges of espionage and then sentenced to death because he escaped from prison during a revolution. There seems to be an entity trying to pressure the state to gain or maintain power."

Morsi was sentenced to death on charges of prison escape. He was never sentenced in the espionage case.

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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