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Saturday, 20 July 2013

After Morsi’s ouster, Egypt’s old guard is back — and Muslim Brotherhood is out

Hussein Malla/AP - Egyptian army special forces soldiers stand guard near the Republican Guard headquarters, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, July 19, 2013. Thousands of protesters are holding rallies across Egypt to demand the reinstatement of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
CAIRO — When the military ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Zeinhom Hassan Ibrahim slaughtered a sheep, hired a DJ and threw a block party for his neighbors.
Ibrahim, a former parliamentarian from longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak’s now-defunct National Democratic Party, had lived through the year of Mohamed Morsi’s rule in blinking disbelief, as if the whole world had turned upside down.
Demonstrators hold trays with bites decorated with small portraits of the government members during a protest in front of the delegation of the Spanish government in Catalonia, in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday July 18, 2013. Spain’s prime minister brushed off demands he should resign after text messages emerged showing he had a cozy relationship with a disgraced political party treasurer who amassed 47 million euros ($61 million) in secret Swiss bank accounts. The spectacle of alleged greed and corruption has enraged Spaniards hurting from austerity and sky high unemployment with no end in sight. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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After Morsi’s ouster by military, Egypt’s old guard is back

After Morsi’s ouster by military, Egypt’s old guard is back
The country is experiencing a striking return to the way things were before the 2011 revolution.

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But now, things are finally getting back to normal.
Egypt’s new power dynamic, following theJuly 3 coup that ousted Morsi, is eerily familiar. Gone are the Islamist rulers from the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Back are the faces of the old guard, many closely linked to Mubarak’s reign or to the all-
powerful generals. And for a seemingly broad array of Egyptians, that’s exactly the way they want it.
The overthrow of Morsi has yielded a new appreciation for military rule in a country that so recently shunned it, and a striking return to the way things were before the 2011 revolution against a Mubarak regime that was widely considered irredeemably corrupt and exploitative.
Telltale signs of the old guard are cropping up in Egypt’s new cabinet, where Mubarak-era figures abound and Islamists are absent; in the halls of the nation’s justice system, where prosecutors are investigating the nation’s pre-coup leaders on charges of incitement; and in darkened jail cells, where prisoners are blindfolded, handcuffed and interrogated about their adherence to the Brotherhood.
Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, the man who delivered news of Morsi’s dismissal on national television, has now assumed the role of deputy prime minister in addition to his earlier titles of defense minister and commander of Egypt’s armed forces. Few observers doubt that he pulls the levers behind a facade of civilian rule.
In the state-run media, the old-guard rhetoric of Mubarak’s 30-year reign has made a full-throated return, with patriotic montages and copious praise for the armed forces. Private networks have gotten in on the act, too.
So far, aside from Brotherhood-led protests, there’s been little backlash against the return to the old ways. Egyptians who once demanded punishment for the “feloul” — the so-called remnants of Mubarak’s regime — say that a year of disastrous Brotherhood rule has put everything in perspective.
“I don’t care if they are feloul, as long as they fix what the Brotherhood did,” said Mohamed Mahmoud, a locksmith who voted for Morsi and later joined the protests to oust him.
Eleven out of 34 cabinet ministers are veterans of Mubarak’s regime. Two were members of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, a group that was dissolved after his 2011 fall. Defenders of the old guard say it’s inevitable that the government will include Mubarak-era officials because they are the ones actually qualified to run the country.
“For over a year, the Muslim Brotherhood government proved to be incompetent. So we have to work with these experts from the old regime,” said Ahmed Sarhan, an aide to Ahmed Shafik, the retired air force commander who lost to Morsi by a slim margin in last year’s election.

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