Egypt’s Morsi Provokes Anger, Astonishment with appointment of Governor from former Terrorist Group

As Egyptians demonstrated against him again on Friday, in preparation for big rallies on June 30, President Muhammad Morsi has shot himself in the foot with a series of ill advised appointments of provincial governors.

Morsi continues to demonstrate that he is politically tone deaf and that his decision-making takes place in a small circle of close advisers from his Muslim Brotherhood sect. He appointed 17 new governors on Sunday, several of them from the Muslim Brotherhood, and he put Adel Khayat over the province of Luxor. Khayat is from the former terrorist group, al-Gama’a al-Islamiya (The Islamic Grouping), which gave up violence about a decade ago.

The Gama’a is implicated in a horrific 1997 attack on tourists in … Luxor. Its members were trying to hurt tourism as a way of starving the government of Hosni Mubarak of money. (There is no reason to think Khayat himself was involved in that particular attack).

Locals in Luxor, who are suffering from a severe drop in Pharaonic tourism, were outraged at the appointment and have not let the governor enter his office. Morsi’s minister of tourism submitted his resignation over the affair.

InDepth Africa reports

Morsi’s appointments of Muslim Brotherhood figures over other provinces have also provoked demonstrations during the past week.

Morsi is facing an effort, called Rebellion (al-Tamarrud), to recall him or force him into early elections, by a coalition of leftist, liberal and centrist groups, who have gained millions of signatures during their petition drive. Rebellion is behind the planned June 30 protests.

When I was in Egypt in early June, I was given those petitions by several people, including by a pious elderly taxi driver.

Morsi is trying to gain the support of the Salafi hard right among the religious parties by appointing a Gama’a governor, at a time when many Salafis have joined the Rebellion petition drive against him.

10 Responses

  1. Its really a shot in the leg,he obviously is struggling to balance his policies and influence and yet made this terrible move,this will really be a big set back to the muslim brotherhood.

  2. Since taking office, Morsi has demonstrated that he can be, by turns, bombastic, indecisive, and feckless. He has no political compass and cannot locate True North, always veering back toward the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi is a political and religious provincial, seemingly unable to rise above his Muslim Brotherhood roots and show leadership. His continued pandering to the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists bodes ill, both for Egypt and for the United States.

    • I had such high hopes for him, and for the MB government. Their decision to opt out of large numbers of parliamentary races in order to give competing parties a chance was a remarkable act of decency and responsibility. Remember when Morsi worked with the US to get Israel to enter into a cease-fire in Gaza? I thought that was going to be his debut as a major international statesman. And then, the very next day, he puts on the pharaoh’s crown and starts dismissing judges.

  3. In what sense shot himself in the foot? He is implementing his party’s agenda. What is to stop him from continuing?

  4. You started the article with “As Egyptians demonstrated against [Morsi] again on Friday”, yet today (i.e. Friday) hundreds of thousands have rallied in SUPPORT of the Egyptian president!See: link to english.ahram.org.eg

    • There were also widespread demonstrations against.

      But anyway I write these things the previous evening, so couldn’t have included Nasr City. Will try to comment tomorrow.

  5. Well, watching Tayyip’s openly sectarian, irredentist Ottomanism, another week of whipping up angry crowds, calls for the Ministry of Information to get to the bottom of the foreign (European, Iranian, Kurdish) plotters of the protest and the rumors that tear gas was used, I’m not surprised. After all, Morsi was supposed to be the sketchy one, and he proved that with his constution-writing exercise.

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