Crying out: Supporters of Mohammed Morsi protest against Egypt’s military rulers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt (June 23, 2012).Source: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
When Hosni Mubarak resigned from the Egyptian presidency in 2011, the West’s reaction was immediate and resolute: a burning desire to proudly fly the flags of “democracy,” “freedom” and “justice” over post-revolution Egypt. The nation was to become the success story for fledgling Arab Spring governments in the region.
Such eagerness was understandable. An outcome favorable to Europe, the United States, and Israel had the potential to usher in an era of stability, prosperity—and even peace for the Middle East.
Yet the situation is not so simple. In reality, a Gordian knot of unknown variables complicates Egypt’s future.
Rivals: Two file photos show Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (left) at his office in Cairo (Nov. 28, 2011), and former prime minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq (right) in Cairo (March 10, 2012).Source: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images
Take newly instated President Mohammed Morsi for example. The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Morsi, 60, an American-trained engineer and former lawmaker, is the first Islamist elected as head of an Arab state. He becomes Egypt’s fifth president and the first from outside the military. But his victory, 16 months after the military took over on the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, is an ambiguous milestone in Egypt’s promised transition to democracy.”
While Mr. Morsi is the country’s first freely elected head of state, many are concerned that an Islamist leader—even one with a purportedly moderate stance—could initiate the first of many more theocracies in the region.
There is also the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Since forming a de facto government after Mr. Mubarak’s resignation, the group dissolved the entire parliament and has systematically reduced the incoming president’s power. It penned a transition constitution that, with subsequent amendments, has left SCAF essentially in charge of the nation’s executive and legislative branches.
Another point worrying the West is that Mohammed Morsi did not campaign on his own vision. Rather, he followed a platform set by the Muslim Brotherhood—a religious/political group with the slogan, “Islam is the answer.”
The views of Muslim Brotherhood members seem to oscillate between seemingly moderate (President Morsi has indicated he will appoint a woman and a Coptic Christian as two of his vice presidents) and inflammatory (at a political rally with Mr. Morsi in attendance, a popular Muslim preacher declared to an enthusiastic crowd, “We shall pray in Jerusalem or else we shall die as martyrs on its threshold”).
At other times, those affiliated with the Brotherhood have seemingly taken every position in between.
New Position: President Mohammed Morsi delivers a speech in Cairo after being sworn in as Egypt’s first freely elected leader (June 30, 2012).Source: Ahmad Abdul Fatah/AFP/Getty Images
Public opinion regarding the two candidates was split down the middle. Mr. Morsi did win 51.7 percent of the presidential vote, but his opponent Ahmed Shafiq—who served as prime minister under Mr. Mubarak—garnered 48.3 percent. These results are neither a landslide victory nor a confident move away from the former regime.
Each party involved in Egypt seems to have a different ideal outcome in mind. Western nations want a shining beacon of democracy to bring stability to the region. The army appears to want to continue upholding a status quo peace. And the Muslim Brotherhood wants a nation governed by traditional Islamic values.
Due to these strong, conflicting feelings about Egypt’s future, few are confidently predicting where the nation is heading. As the country is a pacesetter for the region, the outcome of the entire Arab Spring movement rests on Cairo’s shoulders.
Yet amid this sea of “unknowns,” almost all ignore a vital key to understanding the Middle East’s future.
When Mr. Mubarak relinquished power after years of autocratic rule, the army quickly stepped in to assist in the transition process to a new government. Since then, the actions of the SCAF, led by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, signal it is here to stay.
In the expansive article “Morsi in Power: a Time-line of Diminishing Presidential Prerogatives,” Egyptian paper Al-Ahram detailed each of the subsequent moves by the army:
This last point means that after a new constitution is drafted—by a committee the SCAF will appoint—Mr. Morsi could face re-election.
While the army holds sweeping power, Mohammed Morsi has many Western media outlets on his side. News agencies, which have reported almost nonstop about Egypt’s “new democracy,” do not want to see the nation return to the strong-arm government favored by Mr. Mubarak.
What worries many commentators is how much of a role the Muslim Brotherhood will play during Mr. Morsi’s term in office. Over the past 18 months, the group has slowly shifted its stance on a number of issues. For example, after the dissolution of the old regime, the Muslim Brotherhood assured the world that they would not pursue the presidency. Yet they eventually did.
The organization also sought to gain control of the Libyan government during the country’s first parliamentary elections in five decades. The newly elected parliament is responsible for choosing the next prime minister.
“Some secular Libyans fear the Brotherhood[’s] rising influence, despite promises from the Justice and Construction Party that it won’t seek to impose religious views through control of the bureaucracy.”
And it is hard to find a definitive answer on the organization’s beliefs. The New Yorker stated that “Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, once warned his followers that it was a mistake to be too candid, and secrecy has always characterized the society.”
Since there is no parliament, Mr. Morsi has begun to work directly with the SCAF. The Times of India quoted Essam Haddad, who is a senior member of the Brotherhood and an aide to the president: “We are working on reaching a compromise on various items so all parties are able to work together in the future.”
“We do not accept having a president without powers. The solution being worked out now is scaling back those restrictions so that President Morsi can deliver to the people what he promised,” he said.
For now, the relationship between the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the Muslim Brotherhood remains strained at best. And U.S. News and World Report stated that experts feel something has to give: “‘The odds are overwhelming that the current military and Muslim Brotherhood leadership will not be around in five years time unless there is a military coup,’ says Center for Strategic and International Studies analyst Anthony Cordesman. ‘Several political transitions likely will play out over the next decade until a regime experienced enough and capable enough comes in.’”
Soon after Mr. Mubarak’s resignation in 2011, Real Truth Editor-in-Chief David C. Pack wrote this about the country: “To look closely at Egypt is in some ways to look closely at the entire Middle East.
“The biggest and most populous, and most geographically central nation in the Mid-East, Egypt—and its historical role—is referenced many times in the Bible. Egypt was the world’s first recorded great empire. And it is still the 16th most populous country in the world. History records that Noah escaped to Egypt when persecutors sought his death before the Flood. The ancient patriarch Joseph was sold into slavery there, which led to his father, Jacob, then named Israel, settling there. Certain historians believe that the patriarch Job—Joseph’s nephew—built some of the pyramids. Moses was largely trained in Egypt. An infant Jesus was taken there for protection. Before the Exodus, it took many miracles to break the will of the stout-hearted Egyptians before God could deliver His people from enslavement. Egyptian arrogance caused Pharaoh to ignore all of this and lose his army in the Red Sea as God’s people fled under His protection. History records Egypt never recovered.
“Ancient Israel often went to war with Egypt. The Bible records many accounts involving this country as God’s servants and people came into contact with it.
“Of course, many dismiss such Bible accounts as Hebrew fables. They do not believe the miracles of Egypt—or any other miracles of the Bible—actually occurred. It can be proven with unmistakable clarity…Even the close-minded will be surprised at the stubbornness—and the power—of the facts. The authority of the Bible can be proven.”
The World to Come broadcast You Can Prove the Bible’s Authority presented by Mr. Pack addresses this topic in detail.
Yet the Bible—the missing key to understanding Egypt’s future—reveals much more. It outlines the role the nation will play in a foretold entity called “the king of the south,” which is a lead player in a long prophecy found in chapter 11 of the Old Testament book of Daniel.
Historical tensions between Egypt and Israel can essentially be boiled down to the clash between Islam and Judaism, which can be likened to the sibling rivalry of Ishmael and Isaac, both sons of the Old Testament patriarch Abraham.
While most self-appointed Bible prophecy experts seem to relish outlining scenarios where Islamists “get what is coming to them” in their convoluted interpretations of God’s Word, the inventions of such authors and preachers never point to a positive future for Egypt and Israel.
But God’s Word does! Isaiah 19:23-25 states, “In that day shall Israel be [close allies] with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.”
In this last verse, the God of Abraham calls Israel and Egypt His people.
But this is clearly a future scenario. Events today are rushing toward other prophecies involving the nation’s future.
To learn what is to come for Egypt and the entire region, order a free copy of David C. Pack’s The Mid-East in Bible Prophecy.