Egypt Presidential Election, 2014: The One
Abd El Fattah Al Sisi
He went from head of the Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance to Minister of Defense to the real ruler to a presidential candidate, who will soon be Post-Revolution-Egypt's next president. From a General to a Colonel General to a Field Marshal, to a civilian, all in three years.
He was the youngest member of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces in 2011 during the first military rule after the revolution. 59 year old Abd El Fattah El Sisi first made it to the headlines in June 2011 when he spoke to Amnesty International about the "virginity tests", stating that "the army will no longer carry out these tests", he defended the tests saying that they had been carried out on female detainees in March to "protect the army against possible allegations of rape". This was the first time an army official declared that the tests have happened.
It was not until August 2012 that Sisi made it to the headlines again, when ousted president Mohamed Morsi appointed him as the army's Chief Commander and Minister of Defense in Hesham Kandil's cabinet. It was then when, TV presenter and owner of Fara'een Channel, Tawfik Okasha said that Sisi "has close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood" and as usual has never given any proof for his words. Okasha was proven wrong in one way or another after June 30 2013.
On June 30 2013 Sisi's name was heard again. After less than a year of Morsi's rule, Egyptians have decided that they've had enough. One very important factor for the mobilizing of the masses was the political movement "Tamarod", Rebel. On June 30 huge protests have erupted all over the country and it was only then when some protesters where heard calling for Sisi to bring down Morsi. On June 30 there was only one fact, and that is that millions of Egyptians wanted Morsi and the MB out, yet there are many unknowns. Was Tamarod supported by the military? Was it started by the military? Did the military push for brining the MB down? The answers to these questions shall remain unknown for sometime, and it does not seem to be a problem for the majority that they are unknown as long as Morsi has been ousted.
With the start of July Sisi has become the country's most popular man, after he spoke with his strongest voice and gave Morsi a 48 hour ultimatum. Sisi gave a what-could-never-be-thought-of-as-anything but an order to either seek reconciliation with opposition, or else... The result of course was that on July 3rd, 2013 Morsi was ousted and the announcement was made by his Defense Minister along with popular political and religious figures including the head of the Egyptian Salvation Front, Mohamed El Baradei, Al Azhar's Supreme Sheikh and the Orthodox pope.
Although the Western Media saw this as a coup, the case inside Egypt was different; formally Sisi was only a Defense Minister and did not rule, and although what happens behind closed doors remains unknown, the one thing that could be very easily seen was how much Sisi was loved and respected among the great majority of Egyptians. It was during the month of July when Egyptians and Sisi "bonded"; the man's "charisma" and his soft wording apparently fits the taste of the majority of Egyptians. Adding to this love and respect a great deal of hatred to the MB, an increase in the number of terrorist attacks and two sit-ins that have constantly turned violent and caused great problems to their neighborhoods, when Sisi asked the people to take to the street as a symbolic mandate for him to fight the "war against terrorism" millions were seen on July 26 even during the morning of Ramadan to give the mandate. The love and respect has not diminished when Sisi did nothing to fight terrorism.
On August 14 of the same year when both Raba'a and Nahdet Masr sit-ins were violently dispersed causing hundreds of deaths from the MB protesters' side and tens of deaths from the army and police sides, that is when a few have started to question Sisi's actions and intentions, now believing that he is the real ruler after he asked for the mandate. Yet the majority was still on his side and that's when the calls from him to run for presidency have started to spread.
During the time from mid August to the day he has finally announced that he is running he was the main subject in any political conversation. As the time passed it became clear that Sisi will be Egypt's next president with a real support from the majority. This has become even clearer when The Egyptian Satirist Bassem Youssef made his come back in October. Although he has not once mentioned Sisi's name, the public opinion has turned against the one show with the highest number of viewership because of jokes that did not even make fun of Sisi, but rather of the situation. This has resulted in stopping the show after one episode was aired.
The following months have seen more plans for Sisi to become president, especially after he was promoted to Field Marshal, a promotion only given to the men who lead wars. It was said that Sisi was given this promotion for fighting the "war against terrorism". Yet it was not clear that this war has been won, seeing the terrorist attacks continuous increase and spreading. The one question that was bashfully asked by a few was: is Sisi the old regime's presidential candidate?
With the rise of Abd El Reheem Ali, a journalist who was also part of Shafiq's presidential campaign in 2012, and his leaks about many activists from different backgrounds, ideologies and political groups who took part in January 25 Revolution and are known to be against Sisi, with his rise it could be felt that his intentions are not so innocent. The leaks that were mainly telephone calls between activists didn't really have anything that condemns the activists, but rather were marketed as scandals that were in truth empty. The source of these private telephone calls was never really known, but it became a known fact that Ali had connections in Egypt's National Security Authority. It was also clear that the National Security's aim to was turn the public against these activists that were turning against Sisi.
The brainwashing was not only through Ali, but many other popular channels and many many popular talk show anchors who started a propaganda campaign against the January 25 activists and for Sisi. This propaganda campaign has even used the new constitution. When the 2014 constitution was drafted, it was again marketed as Egypt's best ever constitution, and although there are a few good articles in this constitution, there was also disastrous articles like those of the military trails. This has not stopped the propaganda of this constitution as the best ever, and as Sisi's constitution. On January 14 and 15, when the referendum resulted in more than 98% yes, this was sold as a yes to Sisi. Yet, it never seemed to be a problem that the turnout was less than 39%, proving that it's all nothing but brainwashing.
Not long before the referendum, the protest law was issued. A law that is only used against people who are against Sisi including students, and rarely against MB members. The law has become unconstitutional after the referendum but is still in use. The law that was said to be issued to stop the terrorist attacks has failed to do so and is only used to jail anyone that could turn people against Sisi.
When Sisi announced his candidacy in the end of March from a venue owned by the army and wearing his military uniform, speaking with his most emotional voice saying the softest of words, his supporters started celebrating [full text here]. On that day it became a fact that Field Marshal Abd El Fattah El Sisi is Egypt's next president.
The campaign leaders of Sisi are mostly men of the old regime like Amr Moussa. Also one of the leaders is Mahmoud Badr of Tamarod as well as other members of Tamarod, which makes one question Tamarod in the first place. The important point here is that every new supporter, every new announcement, and every new interview keeps proving that our new president is a man of the old regime, and is a new tyrant. Some of the coming posts will prove why.