On the eve of the constitutional referendum in Egypt, former foreign minister and secretary general of the Arab League and currently a prominent figure in the opposition, Amr Moussa challenged in an interview with the western media that “there is a rule in all parliaments, and in the UN and all conferences, that the important issues should be voted by a two-thirds majority… The circumstances dictate that this [Egypt's] constitution must be approved by a two-thirds majority.”
According to the preliminary reports, Egypt’s new constitution has been approved by two-thirds of voters who took part in the referendum. Without doubt, this is a significant political victory for President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Even assuming that the disunity and organizational weaknesses of the opposition worked to the MB’s advantage, that alone cannot account for the outcome of the referendum. The Brotherhood and its Salafist allies worked hard to run an effective campaign and ensure that a strong majority democratically supported the new constitution.
Nonetheless, the opposition refuses to accept the verdict and, ominously, the western press is rooting for more turmoil in Egypt. All sorts of hidden forces seem to be at work.
Many opposition groups are supported from behind-the-scenes by the Sunni monarchs of the Persian Gulf and Jordan who harbor grave misgivings about the Brotherhood, which they see as their own domestic international revolutionary Islamist opposition.
The Saudi-backed Al-sharq Al-awsat wrote on Sunday that the difference between Morsi and the Egyptian opposition is “the difference between those who believe in the importance of the state and its institutions, and those who want to swallow the state and distort the performance of its institutions and its basic concepts.”
It warned against the “danger of what is happening in Egypt and our region.” But the Brothers have steely nerves and are unlikely to be deterred by the visceral hatred of the Saudi regime and the other Persian Gulf monarchies towards it. The Brothers’ trump card is that they enjoy the support of the vast majority of the Egyptian nation. Jerusalem Post has a brilliant summing up:
“Morsi will continue to solidify his power in Egypt and tread the line pragmatically between going as far as he can while at the same time pulling back when he sees he is threatening his own hold on power… If, however, the Brotherhood sees that it can continue to advance, overrunning any opposition, it will most likely do so. This is especially going to be the case when it sees the large ‘yes’ vote in the recently completed constitutional referendum.”
What needs to be factored in is that the United States President Barack Obama’s stance on the uprisings in the Arab world has worked in favor of Egypt’s Brotherhood. Obama has jettisoned the traditional US policy of ignoring the Arab people. In an extraordinarily candid assessment, one of Iran’s most distinguished diplomats and former deputy foreign minister Dr. Seyyed Mohammad Sadeh Kharrazi recently said:
“In confronting popular uprisings in the Arab world and the islamic Awakening, Obama has acted very wisely. For the first time, contrary to its traditional view of supporting dictators, the US stood by the [Arab] people and not by the authoritarian regimes. This was one of the most strategic decisions, where the US administration did not accompany [sic] its former allies against the massive popular protests. He [Obama] had the ability, like many other [past] instances where the US had stood by the oppressive rulers, but he expressed his support for people’s uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia. Of course, this measure was taken while considering US interests; the basic principle of US foreign policy is interest-based. Enforcing this policy can undoubtedly be considered as a great event in the history of interactions between the US and the islamic world.”
– December 24, 2012