The Financial Times’ Heba Saleh reports that certain “authorities” (read that: the ruling Supreme Mlitary Council) in Egypt have moved to expand existing emergency laws in an attempt to corral the spread of violence, end increasing work stoppages, and halt the promulgation of “rumours” in the revolution-torn nation. It apears that the transition from the temporary military rule to the promised elected government is moving too slowly, causing some citizens to become restless and angry. At least that’s the cover story. Interestingly, some of that pent-up anger was turned against the Israeli embassy a few days ago, driving the ambassador home to Jerusalem.
The new rules include the power to muzzle the press corps in the post-Mubarak “transitional” era. Here’s some of Saleh’s story from the FT:
The authorities in Egypt have widened emergency laws and clamped down on the press, raising fears of a curtailment of the liberties gained after the popular uprising which toppled Hosni Mubarak, the former president, earlier this year.
I cannot help wondering if, after all the dust settles and the new Egyptian order is firmly established, that oh so “popular uprising”, like the 1979 revolt in Iran, may not turn out to be so popular.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in power during a promised transition to elected rule, said on Sunday night that it was widening emergency legislation to cover a range of “threats to public order” including “attacks on the freedom to work” – code for strikes – and the deliberate dissemination of rumours and false information.
“The most dangerous thing is that they have amended the emergency law to cover what they consider crimes committed by journalists,” said Gamal Fahmy, a board member of the journalists union. “The text is vague and can stretch to cover all sorts of criticism of the authorities.”
Sort of like that Doctrine of Abrogation stretched ideas at Muhammad’s convenience to replace old peaceful Koranic passages with newer bellicose verses?
The reactivation of the emergency law came hours after a police raid on the offices of an Egypt-focused television channel launched after the revolution by Qatar-based Al Jazeera television. The channel was taken off the air and the authorities said it was operating without a licence.
Now I’m curious. What was that TV station broadcasting that needed to be stifled?
The tough measures by the military council were triggered by the storming on Friday of the Israeli embassy by protesters who proceeded to fling its documents out of windows to cheering crowds on the street.
Yes. That would be the same attack on the Israeli embassy that went on for about thirteen hours while the Cairo police stood around and watched.
Much to the embarrassment of Egypt’s military rulers, they received calls from Israel and the United States urging the country to respect its international obligations.
Here’s what I think is going on. There’s a new internal fight roiling the ranks of the ruling council. There’s going to be yet another pitched battle between the traditional Mubarak men in uniform and the Muslim Brotherhood for control of the military – and ultimately for control of Egypt. The MB honchos know they will eventually have to eliminate the old-timer secular-minded military men in order to make way for the transition into Egypt becoming an Islamic Shariah-compliant state. We already have information that the MB struck a deal with the military early in the revolt. Now that the real picture is beginning to emerge as to where the MB actually wants to take Egypt, some of the senior commanders may be changing their minds.
I think this revolt is still in metamorphosis, with a surprise or two waiting in the wings.
Thanks to Drudge for the link.