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‘Egypt heading towards Sharia enforcement’

Published time: October 13, 2012 01:32
Edited time: October 13, 2012 05:33
Egyptians government supporters throw stones at opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi during clashes in Tahrir square in Cairo on October 12, 2012 (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)

Egyptians government supporters throw stones at opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi during clashes in Tahrir square in Cairo on October 12, 2012 (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)

As Egypt’s liberal and secular activists erupted with anger accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of trying to take over the country, former US Senate foreign policy analyst James Jatras tells RT that Egypt is on its way to becoming a caliphate.

­“Morsi and the Brotherhood had triumphed much quicker than anybody expected, and no one should doubt what their intentions are: strict enforcement of Sharia and the recreation of the caliphate,” Jatras says.

RT: Friday showed that Egypt is far from calm. What does it tell us about the results of President Morsi's first 100 days in office?

James Jatras: We are seeing a rapid Islamization of the political structure in Egypt, and nobody should be surprised by this. There was a lot of discussion about the power struggle that would ensue between Morsi and the military, and it seems that Morsi and the Brotherhood had triumphed much quicker than anybody expected. And no one should doubt what their intentions are: strict enforcement of Sharia and the recreation of the caliphate, the Khilafah. So I think this statement about jihad, to recapture Jerusalem, should not come as any surprise to anyone.

RT: Many people in Tahrir Square protested at what they call "unfulfilled promises." What was the Muslim Brotherhood's role in so-called "Accountability Friday"?

JJ: They’re playing a double game, like they do in many other things. On one hand they can put pressure on Morsi to deliver, especially on things having to do with the economy, but on the other hand it would be the kind of pressure to increase the Islamization of social and political structure in Egypt that Morsi can accommodate under the force of circumstances pushing him and where he wants to go. So, I think there is collusion here more than anything.

RT: And your thoughts about the Muslim Brotherhood's recent call for a holy war, to take Jerusalem back from Israeli after decades of peace accords, and the president's silence on the matter?

JJ: No, I’m not surprised at all, and I do not think we’re going to see Egyptian tanks rolling over Israel any time soon. I think that if I can use a Leninist expression, “one step forward, two steps back” – you lay down where you want to go and then you back away from it, but ultimately you keep making progress towards your goal. The goal would be the restoration of the caliphate. I do not think the peace treaty with Israel ultimately will be honored, but we will see what form that takes and when it will take it. I think, the most important thing that strikes me, is it shows the utter incoherence of American policy in the Arab World by promoting the Islamization of Egypt, the removal of our long time satrap Hosni Mubarak, and then we seem surprised that the democracy in Egypt has taken this direction.

RT: So why has US taken that sort of policy?

JJ: I think it is a combination of naivety and cynicism that we can control people with money. On the other hand, we think, ‘well gosh, if we allow democracy to bloom forth and tyranny to be removed, everyone will come out wanting the same thing that we want and having the same values that we have.’ And the funny thing is – it is not that way!

And you see the same mistake in Libya, and we see the very dangerous progress in this direction on Syria. And I think we are playing with fire and pouring gasoline on it, and I think we will see the fruits of it in Egypt in a not too distant future.

RT: Is the public opposition going to make any difference?

JJ: If you talk about the liberal opposition, they’ve got no place to go. Back when there was a strong standoff between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood, there was a chance somewhere – maybe with the alliance with the military – for some kind of liberalism to hang on. I do not see that now.

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