Published — Friday 5 July 2013
Last update 5 July 2013 2:11 am
Having waited for over 80 years, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood secured power when Muhammad Mursi was elected president, but it can only blame itself after being ousted just 12 months later, analysts say.
Opponents of Mursi accused him of failing the 2011 revolution that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak by concentrating power in the hands of his Muslim Brotherhood, while failing to deal with a spiraling economic crisis.
As the world debated whether the military move to end his rule on Wednesday amounted to a real coup, analysts agreed on one thing — Mursi and the Islamist movement brought about their own rapid decline by themselves.
Mursi and the Brotherhood “utterly failed in (the) past year... Egyptians asked for military coup (and) they got one,” tweeted Salman Shaikh, analyst at the Brookings Doha Center.
The Brotherhood, after first looking on from the sidelines, later joined the 18-day popular uprising inspired by the Arab Spring that forced out strongman Mubarak on Feb. 11, 2011.
It then fielded a candidate for the country’s first democratic presidential election last year, with Mursi carrying its baton after the candidacy of the Brotherhood’s first choice, Khairat El Shater, was rejected.
Mursi came out on top in the election, bringing the Islamist movement out of the shadows after it had endured decades of bans and repeated crackdowns under Mubarak’s iron-fisted rule.
Analyst Nathan Brown said: “The Mursi presidency is without a doubt one of the most colossal failures in the Brotherhood's history.”
Even allies of the Brotherhood criticized Mursi and the Islamist movement for they way they tried to run the country.
“The president procrastinated. His group... lost any real opportunities to build a national base that would have isolated the counter-revolution,” said Mohammed Mahsub, a senior leader of the Al-Wasat party.
“The guidance bureau of the Brotherhood bares responsibility for the downfall,” added Mahsub.
Founded in 1928, the Brotherhood had a stated aim of creating an “Islamic generation” as the foundation of a state ruled by Islamic law.
Its long wait finally paid off at the 2012 presidential election, when Mursi defeated former air force chief Ahmed Shafiq in a run-off.
After taking the oath of office on June 30 last year, he slowly began to impose himself on the political scene, eventually granting himself sweeping powers in November.
That move prompted prominent opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei to accuse him of usurping authority and becoming a “new pharaoh” and saw the first protests against his rule.
A month later, he aggravated the situation by ramming through a controversial constitution drafted by a panel that was dominated by Islamists and boycotted by liberals and Christians.
Ultimately, however, Mursi and the Brotherhood squandered their chance at the helm by failing to govern for all Egyptians, address the economic crisis and win over the trust of the powerful military.
“Yes, it is true that the Brotherhood did well in elections; that it was not able to govern fully but still saddled with responsibility for Egypt's insurmountable problems,” the analyst Brown wrote on the New Republic website.
“It is also undeniable that Mursi and the Brotherhood made almost every conceivable mistake... such as reaching too quickly for political power or failing to build coalitions with others.
“They alienated potential allies, ignored rising discontent, focused more on consolidating their rule than on using what tools they did have, used rhetoric that was tone deaf at best and threatening at worst,” wrote Brown.
US intelligence firm Stratfor said, however, that the military also played a major role in the downfall of Mursi and the Brotherhood.
“Mursi never really took control of the machinery of government, partly because he was politically weak, partly because the Muslim Brotherhood was not ready to govern, and partly because the military never quite let go,” it said in an analysis posted on its website.
In the end, “the military did not want to see chaos... the military distrusted the Muslim Brotherhood and was happy to see it forced out of office.”
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