No surprise whatsoever here:
Egypt’s president on Thursday issued constitutional amendments that placed him above judicial oversight and ordered the retrial of Hosni Mubarak for the killing of protesters in last year’s uprising.
Mohammed Morsi also decreed immunity for the Islamist-dominated panel drafting a new constitution from any possible court decisions to dissolve it, a threat that had been hanging over the controversial assembly.
Liberal and Christian members withdrew from the assembly during the past week to protest what they say is the hijacking of the process by Morsi’s allies, who they saw are trying to push through a document that will have an Islamist slant marginalizing women and minority Christians and infringing on personal liberties. Several courts have been looking into cases demanding the dissolution of the panel.
The Egyptian leader also decreed that all decisions he has made since taking office in June and until a new constitution is adopted and a new parliament is elected — which is not expected before next spring — are not subject to appeal in court or by any other authority. He also barred any court from dissolving the Islamist-led upper house of parliament, a largely toothless body that has also faced court cases.
The moves effectively remove any oversight on Morsi, the longtime Muslim Brotherhood figure who became Egypt’s first freely elected president last summer after the Feb. 11, 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak. They come as Morsi is riding high on lavish praise from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for mediating an end to eight days of fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
I said “no surprise whatsoever,” and I meant it. Here’s an excerpt from my very first post written at the beginning of the Egyptian rebellion against Mubarak:
I have been concerned from the start about the possible influence and popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood, a currently-banned Islamist fundamentalist group that has its roots in Egypt in the earlier part of the twentieth century…
The Egyptian people are protesting in favor of democracy. As a person who remembers the turmoil of the Iranian revolution of 1979—the different groups temporarily united for the Shah’s overthrow and then jockeying for position (vainly) against the fundamentalist Islamists who quickly established their dominance—I have to say the situation makes me nervous.
I went on to write post after post about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the fact that it was a distinct possibility that they would end up the winners there (see this, for example). And believe me, I’m not trumpeting my great brilliance or unusual insight. It didn’t take either to see the writing on the wall.
Anyone who is surprised by today’s news—which may or may not include members of the Obama administration—is either a fool or a liar, or perhaps both.