President Morsi’s attempts to push through a Sharia constitution go against Egyptian cultural tradition and spark an even worse uprising as people don’t want religion to be dictated, political analyst and author William Engdahl told RT.
RT: Despite Morsi having strong support in the country,
why is there so much anger at him and the Muslim Brotherhood at
William Engdahl: I think a number of issues. Number one – is trying to ram a Sharia constitution down the throats of the Egyptian people. That goes against Egyptian cultural tradition – 80-90 per cent of the population are Sunni Muslims – but it is a tradition of tolerance for other religion groups, Coptic and other Islamic groups. The other thing is the economy. Morsi has done nothing to improve the economy. In fact the economy has generated youth unemployment to bulge to an explosive level. That I think is a lot to do with the tinderbox that you see in the streets right now. But the other thing is that the military hasn’t yet weighed in as to whether they are going to continue to back Morsi as they have done under enormous Washington pressure – they are dependent on Washington for military aid and have been for decades. But the interesting new factor is that the Tamarod campaign – the reorganized opposition group that led the protest a year ago in Tahrir Square and elsewhere – they have claimed to have gathered a 15 million-strong petition asking for Morsi to step down. I think this is a make or break situation. The Obama administration continues to back the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a very unfortunate thing, but that’s a part of a larger geopolitical agenda that Washington and the State Department have built up over the past years.
RT: The US supported the uprising that brought Morsi to power. Now the opposition's calling for a ''second revolution'', do you see Washington playing a part?
WE: I think there is a question whether that was a
democratic election because a lot of the opposition to the Muslim
Brotherhood were simply in disarray and Washington pressed for an
early election. The military thought they had done a deal with
Morsi that he would be a figurehead and as soon as Morsi got into
power he renaged on that deal, he fired chiefs of
staff and so forth, and did it with backing from Washington. The
Obama administration is backing the Muslim Brotherhood agenda
here and in Syria with the opposition there.
RT: Could Sunday prove to be a watershed moment?
ME: There is no question that it is going to be massive. Morsi has already indicated he is going to take an Erdogan kind of brute force state power reaction to try to terrorize the opposition, but that is not going to work at this point. I have talked to people who were in Tahrir Square demonstrations two year ago and it is like a festering boil that has been growing as long as Morsi has shown that he has done nothing to improve the fundamentals of the economy. All he has done is introduce or he tried to introduce that fundamental constitution that would turn Egypt into a Sharia state. Most Egyptians don’t want that. They want to have their religion in private, but not to have the state dictate to them exactly what it is going to look like.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.