Morsi Takes Control – Egypt Heading Towards Fundamentalism?
The new Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has purged the military's top brass and cemented his power. In a surprise move he forced both defense minister HusseinTantawi and chief-of-staff General Sami Anan to resign. Mursi also cancelled a controversial constitutional declaration issued by the military in June shortly before his election, curbing the president's power.
Morsi's move is seen as his boldest yet in the Muslim Brotherhood's struggle against the old power structures. But he stressed his aim was not to target certain individuals but to act in the interests of the nation. He also restated his committment to democracy, saying a new parliament could be elected as soon as a new constitution has been drawn up and approved in a referendum.
But does this represent a decisive step towards democracy by Islamist Morsi or does it represent, as one Egyptian newspaper says "a dictatorship of the Muslim Brotherhood". The majority of Egyptians have welcomed Morsi's move and there appears to have been no negative reaction from the military. So does this mean that Morsi has won the power struggle? And was this a coup planned with the support of some elements of the military. What do these developments mean for Egypt - and for the country's ties with Israel?
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Hamed Abdel-Samad– is the son of a Sunni Imam. At the age of 23, the Egyptian national moved to Germany. He studied political science in Augsburg and English and French at Cairo University. After his studies, he taught at the Institute for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Munich. Since 2009, he has worked exclusively as a freelance writer and journalist. His works include, Mein Abschied vom Himmel: Aus dem Leben eines Muslims in Deutschland (My Farewell from Heaven: the Life of a Muslim in Germany), and Der Untergang der islamischen Welt: Eine Prognose (The Downfall of the Islamic World: A Forecast). He also made a name for himself as a critic of Islam when he co-authored Entweder Broder – Die Deutschland Safari (Either Broder - The Germany Safari).
Ahmed Badawi –After a course in Development Studies at the University of London, Ahmed Badawi joined the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik) as a research associate. He earned his doctorate in political science from Humboldt University. He has worked for the Institute of Development and Peace, University of Duisburg-Essen, the Oxford Research Group and the International Crisis Group. His research focused on Palestinian politics, the Israeli Palestinian conflict and the political economy of policy change. Prior to leaving Egypt in 1999, he used to work as a print and TV journalist and as a community development specialist. He is now a Research Fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient where he is studying representations of Europe held by contemporary Egyptian Islamists.
Jan Kuhlmann - After studying History and Islamic Studies in Hamburg Jan Kuhlmann started his journalistic career at the Kieler Nachrichten. His work took him to the Middle East where he worked for the dpa news agency in Tel Aviv and he studied Arabic at the American University of Cairo. Back in Germany he became the Berlin Correspondent of the Rheinischen Merkur newspaper. He is a freelance journalist specialising in events in the Arab world.