Informed sources in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have disclosed that the movement received communications from personalities close to the regime and from others within as part of an attempt to end the country’s crisis, or at least arrive at a calming period between the various parties.
The sources which refused to be identified explained that these contacts received by the group did not occur during the days that followed the interview conducted by Arabi 21 with the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ibrahim Munir. They actually took place prior. They pointed out that contacts were noticeably renewed after the interview itself, which stirred wide-ranging reactions.
Speaking exclusively to Arabi 21, the sources pointed out that these contacts were made with prominent Egyptian personalities inside Egypt (inside and outside the prisons) as well as with some senior leaders outside the country. They further disclosed that some current and former military officials made contacts in this regard.
The sources said that the Arabi 21 interview with Ibrahim Munir conveyed many messages to different parties whether inside or outside Egypt and that these messages have indeed been delivered. This is particularly so since the interview bore many insinuations that have been described as “significant” specifically at this time.
The sources also noted that the Muslim Brotherhood welcomes these communications as well as others in an endeavour to end or shake up the crisis on the condition of providing what they described as the minimum level required for accomplishing the objectives of the January revolution and safeguarding its gains.
They went on to say: “So far, there is nothing tangible that can specifically be talked about. What is going on is nothing but attempts and communications that have produced nothing in particular.” They stressed that it would be difficult to predict what these communications will lead to during the upcoming period.
Muhammad Soudan, Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Freedom and Justice Party, stressed that the official stance of his party on the question of reconciliation is exactly what was expressed by the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ibrahim Munir, in his Arab 21 interview and his subsequent television interviews. He affirmed that there are fights, principles and values that cannot be compromised.
Speaking to Arabi 21, Soudan explained that political positions may undergo changes and are usually flexible. He added that this is only natural and logical depending on developments witnessed by the internal arena and even by the external one. He stressed that at the same time there are “fixed principles” that cannot be compromised no matter what.
He also said: “A step backward may be taken and some possible concessions may be made one way or another, but the nature of such a step or such compromise cannot be determined except after we receive a serious and comprehensive vision for ending the crisis. In addition, there would have to be genuine guarantees so as to put this vision into practice in the real world so as to prevent a coup from taking place against it. It is only then that one can talk.”
He pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood is still waiting for ideas or proposals from any persons or circles whether internal or external and that it will welcome and discuss them and take them seriously irrespective of the eventual stance of the group toward these awaited conceptions.
According to Soudan: “The Muslim Brotherhood has not and will not propose an initiative for reconciliation with this regime and will, rather, be patient like other honourable and free peoples until God decides. We shall continue to work for bringing down the coup with all peaceful and legitimate means. This is our principle and we shall not relinquish it.” He pointed out that had the Brotherhood wanted to reconcile itself with the military it would have done so as early as 1952.
He continued: “At the moment, we do not possess a new and clear road-map for ending the crisis. But if intentions are sincere and there is collective determination to be delivered from the crisis, and if all those concerned offer some concessions, then we shall arrive at a solution that would safeguard rights and please the various parties.”
Soudan pointed out that “there are persons and circles within the Egyptian regime and the military institution who have the intention and the desire to conduct reconciliation and attempt to end the crisis. The honourable and the sincere have not and will not expire whether inside the army or outside it.” He noted that they realise the size of the challenges and circumstance that face them.
The Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Freedom and Justice Party stressed that “legitimacy will have to be restored one way or another, even if just temporarily or symbolically. You simply cannot completely ignore the legitimacy that was represented in the elections of 2012.”
He stressed the necessity of the existence of a full and not just a partial conception for ending the crisis. He said: “There will never be any talk with this regime, no reconciliation, no compromise, nothing whatsoever unless there is a complete and comprehensive agreement. Those who wish to take a lead in this matter they should address all the details and the various dimensions. The crisis is more like a sickness that should be treated fully. As we see it, is unlikely to happen now.”
Responding to what some press reports mentioned about Saudi Arabia sponsoring a secret agreement between the Brotherhood and the State, Soudan said: “I do not imagine this happening at the present time. The Saudi administration is not on good terms with Egyptian regime at the moment. Everyone knows this. Furthermore, the Saudis continue to place the Muslim Brotherhood on the terrorism lists, although they are gradually retreating from their previous positions toward the group.”
Soudan went on to say: “The idea of a Saudi intervention – or the intervention of other states that are keen on the stability of a state the size and position of Egypt, historically and geographically – is expected and logical, and it will happen sooner or later. However, the question is: how will Saudi Arabia intervene while its relations with Egypt are tense at the moment?”
He added: “Perhaps the crises and disasters perpetrated by the Egyptian regime will motivate the regional and international communities – which do not accept the collapse of Egypt – to exercise pressure on the coup authority in order to move the crisis in the direction of resolution or at least prevent its explosion beyond what it is now, especially that the matter is not restricted to the regime, because it does not possess the freedom to decide for itself. Its decision-making is in the hands of its regional and international backers who stood behind it.”
When asked whether he expects that reconciliation efforts will be completed after or before Sisi’s term in government expires, Sudan answered: “Egypt will not be able to bear another one year and a half. Circumstances are extremely bad and highly complex. A solution must be reached as soon as possible.”
He continued: “We welcome any communication or effort from Egyptian, Arab or international personalities or circles in order to serve the public interest and prevent the collapse of the country or its slide down any dangerous turn in the shade of the despotic and failing practices that we are witnessing under the rule of the military and in order to try and put an end to the haemorrhage, detentions, destruction and all forms of violations.”
He pointed out that “there is opposition to Sisi’s policies within the military institution and there is rejection of the practices of the military council. There is a number of army officers and soldiers who have been detained because of their positions and opinions. Therefore, it is expected that the honourable and the patriot within the armed forces – as well as within others – will mobilise to take part in the action against the ruling military junta as a result of the circumstances the country is living through.”
The Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Freedom and Justice Party also said: “We do not count on the movement of the army’s honourable officers and soldiers alone but on the movement of all the honourable, free and patriotic people in all the institutions and circles. He then drew attention to “the likelihood of the execution of another coup against the coup by a group of army officers and soldiers. He who reads history realises this.”