Brotherhood’s Erian Denounces Egypt Coup

In an interview with Al-Hayat, the vice chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party, Essam el-Erian, denounces the recent coup against Morsi.

al-monitor Essam el-Erian, deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, speaks during Egypt's Shura Council meeting in Cairo on May 25, 2013, before a coup ousted Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohammed Morsi. Photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh.

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mohammed morsi, mohammad morsi, military, issam el-erian, egyptian coup, egyptian muslim brotherhood, egypt

Jul 17, 2013

Essam el-Erian, vice chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, revealed to Al-Hayat that former Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has contacted Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi following the dismissal of President Mohammed Morsi, and requested to meet with him to initiate a solution to the crisis. Sisi rejected his invitation, saying, “I do not want to meet you. I want to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Erian said that the Muslim Brotherhood has received calls from military leaders and public figures offering to mediate between the Brotherhood and the army, stressing that the group has closed all channels of communication with the American Embassy in Cairo after it insisted the Brotherhood accept what happened.

Al-Hayat met with Erian in a hall attached to Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque, where thousands of supporters of the deposed president have been protesting. He said that Morsi was pressured by the leadership of the armed forces, the US and European countries before being toppled “to make concessions when it comes to the constitution, but he refused because those concessions would open the door of great evil on Egypt.”

Erian also criticized the US stance, saying that “those who claim that Washington supports the Muslim Brotherhood are liars. America is aware that the Brotherhood seeks to establish a democratic state with an Islamic penchant or reference, which would be completely independent of any foreign domination. However, Washington wants one of two things. It seeks [to establish] a military regime, whether overtly or from behind the scenes, one that it can deal with through military aid or by providing rehabilitation programs politically, intellectually and militarily, or an Islamist regime along the lines of Islamic countries that use Islamic slogans as a cover, while they adopt pro-US policies in return for its protection.”

He also denounced silence on the “accusations made by revolutionaries.” He noted, “During the era of the army, 100 citizens were killed, many satellite channels were shut down and hundreds of people arrested. Meanwhile, Morsi has never ordered the killing of demonstrators and has never shut down any station, despite the accusations and derision that have been hurled at him. Morsi has never arrested any protester.”

He added that “the coup would cause confusion and lead to actual division. The previous division in society was political and could be resolved through the ballot box. However, the split caused by the army is very discouraging. We knew that the army was giving orders to kill or allow the killing of a group of Egyptian civilians, as it took sides with one group against the other.”

Erian was referring to the clashes that broke out between the army and pro-Morsi protesters in front of the Republican Guard headquarters last week, which killed dozens of the president’s supporters. This was dubbed the “massacre of worshipers” by the Muslim Brotherhood. The group accused the army of killing demonstrators as they prayed.

However, Erian said that “protesters were about to begin prayers when the army killed them. This same army killed fasting soldiers in Rafah [last year]. People ask who killed the soldiers of Rafah. I tell you they were killed by those who killed Egyptians while prostrating in front of the Republican Guard headquarters. They were killed at the hands of the military intelligence, the police and the state security apparatus.”

Furthermore, he added that “contacts with the US have been conducted at the lowest level between the secretary of the FJP’s Foreign Relations Committee, Walid Haddad, and the deputy ambassador to Cairo. These contacts faltered as we were requested to accept what happened, which we totally rejected. When these requests were reiterated, I ordered the party’s official to sever all contacts. It has been said that US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns was coming to meet with us, but we refused.”

Regarding communication with the army, he said that “there have been phone calls between Qandil, Sisi, Gen. Mohammed Assar and Mohammed Ali Beshr (the former Minister of Local Development and a former leader in the Muslim Brotherhood). Beshr was invited to a special meeting, but refused to attend after he consulted us and we said no.”

“The coup and its outcome shall be recognized. It is invalid and everything ensuing from it is also invalid. There will be no negotiations with the armed forces. We suggested that they negotiate with Qandil alone, they refused. The army wanted to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood, but we turned them down,” he added.

Al-Hayat asked Erian if the Muslim Brotherhood has charged Qandil to mediate between it and the army. He answered, “There is no mediation or negotiations whatsoever. Beshr has been receiving call from all sides, including Qandil and Islamic thinker Mohamed Selim al-Awa, but he does not take the initiative to contact anyone. Qandil informed Beshr that he had an initiative to resolve the crisis. Qandil requested that he call Sisi and tell him about the initiative, and so he did. Sisi, however, refused to meet with him and told him he wanted to negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood and not him.”

Erian believes that “any concession in the face of the coup is far more dangerous than any escalation.” He also considered that “the leadership of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and Gen. Sami Annan had more wisdom than the new leadership, which is not as savvy and as rational. Should this situation continue, we will be facing a tragedy that harms the army first.”

Regarding contacts with the West, Erian said that “the FJP Foreign Relations Committee has been sending messages abroad and receiving responses. We have been corresponding with all embassies in Egypt and parliament has been addressing all parliaments of the world. However, embassies cannot afford to take a stance, which is understandable, because the country is in a state of revolution. Everybody is anticipating the events and we appreciate it. However, when the people decide to abort the coup, everyone will recognize democracy.”

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