Egypt’s cabinet discusses political crisis
An emergency meeting of Egypt’s cabinet has been called to discuss the future of the Muslim Brotherhood in an attempt to bring an end to the political crisis consuming the country.
Egypt’s interim prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, has proposed to legally dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Islamic movement has technically been banned in Egypt since 1954 when the country’s military rulers dissolved it. The Brotherhood re-emerged, however, when it registered itself as a non-governmental organisation.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which supports the ousted president Mohammed Morsi, has said it will keep up mass protests until Morsi is freed from prison and returned to office. The group has called for daily demonstrations against the interim government it considers illegitimate.
The interim government has been cracking down on Brotherhood protests with security forces, clearing a number of Brotherhood camps on Wednesday and leaving hundreds dead.
Nevertheless, the pro-Morsi Anti-Coup Alliance has announced plans for number of further marches this Sunday, six of which will converge on the Supreme Constitutional Court in Maadi.
Not all members of Egypt’s cabinet support the interim prime minister’s proposals, including his deputy, Ziad Bahaa el-Din who will put forward a more liberal proposal.
Mr Bahaa el-Din will put forward a proposal that calls for an immediate end to the state of emergency, permission for political participation by all parties and a guarantee of human rights, including the right to free assembly.
Mr el-Beblawi, who blames the Brotherhood for the violence and bloodshed in Egypt, has said: “There will be no reconciliation with those whose hands have been stained with blood and who turned weapons against the state and its institutions.”
The actions of Egypt’s security forces and the extent of the violence seen in the country have received condemnation from Western nations, who, although uncomfortable with Islamist rule, are also unhappy about the overthrow of a freely elected government.
The clampdown on the Brotherhood has, however, received support from a number of wealthy Arabic allies, including Saudi Arabia, who have feared the spread of the group’s ideology to Arabic monarchies.
The EU, an important trading partner with Egypt, has announced it will “urgently review” its relations with the country while the US has delayed the delivery of four F-16 fighters and cancelled a joint military exercise in response to the actions of the Egyptian army.