Fresh from his anointing with the blessings of the US State Dpt. in the shape of la Clinton, for his role in brokering the Israeli/Hamas ceasefire, the Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, announced this morning sweeping new powers, transforming his presidency into a virtual dictatorship on the model of the old Mubarak regime.
The move has been long-anticipated by the progressive factions of the Feb 2011 movement, who have progressively withdrawn from the consultative council charged with drawing up the new constitution, denouncing it as a right-wing islamist stich-up between the MB and the Salafis.
Still the cynicism of the timing of the move, bought as it is by the blood of the Palestinians of Gaza, has nonetheless prompted a furious response. Egyptian TV news is reporting the torching of Muslim Brotherhood party offices in several locations and different cities, as well as violent clashes between pro- and anti-MB demonstrators.
Whether this signals the opening of a new wave of struggles against the new composition of a US- and Israeli-approved Egyptian dictatorship, or whether these are the last gasps of protest before the MB crushes all opposition, remains to be seen. Similarly the cohesion of the new power, with its contradictory historical ties to Hamas, vulnerability to anti-Israeli forces both within its own body, and on its Salafi flank, remains to be proved.