And the Muslim Brotherhood Said, "Let There Be War!"
Fear and terror loom on the horizon as tensions increase between former President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood allies and his plethora of enemies. In Cairo, enemies of former President Mohamed Morsi cast the first stones against Morsi demonstrators on Aug. 13.
Morsi demonstrators marched toward the Egyptian Interior Ministry, demanding the reinstatement of Morsi. Opposition first manifested when Morsi enemies insulted the demonstrators by screaming "terrorists" and saying they were no longer welcome. The situation escalated as Morsi enemies threw stones and bottles at the demonstrators. More chaos ensued once Egyptian authorities assaulted the demonstrators with tear gas. Morsi demonstrators retaliated by hurling stones at their assaulters, inciting a brawl among the crowd. Eyewitnesses even confirmed that two participants had machetes and chased some demonstrators during the brawl. Thus, any attempts of diplomacy and mediation are rendered moot because the Muslim Brotherhood still vie for Morsi's reinstatement and are unwilling to accept any other suggestions, hindering a national consensus.
Since Morsi's exile from office, Egypt is now a war zone where multiple factions fight because of conflicting interests. Thus, death and violence run rampant through the North African country, catching both participants and innocent bystanders in the fray. Abhorring these actions and behavior, members from the Al-Azhar Mosque planned a conference in which Morsi allies and enemies could voice their grievances and reach a consensus. The Muslim Brotherhood seemed to show a slight inclination in cooperating with Al-Azhar.
"If they stick to the rules we're asking for, then yes," said Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood. "The talks must be based on the restoration of constitutional legitimacy."
This restoration was in the realm of possibility since the Muslim Brotherhood claimed that it values democracy and freedom from Mubarak regime. The Muslim Brotherhood asserted that this could be accomplished with Morsi in office and demanded the populace and military to give him another chance. Although this is impossible, the Al-Azhar suggested this conference as a means of offering the most viable solution for all factions.
"Currently, the noble Al-Azhar is trying to bring together for discussions those who have drawn up initiatives to agree," said Younes Makhyoun, leader of the Salafi Nour Party, to Reuters. "For example, on one initiative and vision, which we will use to pressure all the parties, so they accept it."
Although admirable and sensible, Al-Azhar's efforts were in vain because the Muslim Brotherhood refused them and continued on with their plans, despite the lack of progress. The Muslim Brotherhood's initial inclination was a moment of weakness because it interfered with their primary mission. In addition, there is residual aggression between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Azhar. The former accuses the latter of endorsing Morsi's dismissal from office. The faction considers Grand Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, an Al-Azhar member, a prime suspect of supporting the Egyptian military in ousting Morsi from office. Thus, one could say that the Muslim Brotherhood prefers opposition instead of negotiation.
Diplomacy and mediation drift further away because of this new conflict in Cairo. Morsi enemies assaulted the demonstrators with words and objects, indicating that they will never accept Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian military and populace accuse Morsi of extending the Muslim Brotherhood's authority throughout the country, falling back on his original promises. The current administration bans affiliates of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from participating in any political processes. Since then, the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi demonstrators remain insistent on Morsi regaining office, disregarding any other options. Thus, Al-Azhar's conference was pointless and any future negotiations are virtually impossible, which has resulted in Egypt's continuing internal division.