The announcement that Egypt will sever all ties with Syria, made by President Mohamed Morsi while addressing thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members at Cairo Stadium Saturday night, reflects a decision made by the president against the advice of top bureaucratic aides, informed government sources say.
The decision was pronounced in the course of an otherwise fiery speech where the president in a high pitch insisted that “Hezbollah should leave Syria.”
It came in the wake of several activities among Islamist figures who underlined the need to support Sunni Syrians against Hezbollah and the Shia-offshoot regime. It also came back to back with a US announcement that it will provide arms for Syrian groups who are fighting — alongside foreign jihadis — to remove the Alawite regime of Bashar Al-Assad.
While some government sources said they were briefly notified of the presidential decision, in order to take the necessary logistical steps ahead of the announcement, others said they only knew of the decision when it was announced at the Muslim Brotherhood event on Saturday night.
According to the informed sources, who spoke to Ahram Online on condition of anonymity, Morsi was advised against the move by some of his top bureaucratic aides who insisted that the move would antagonise the Syrian regime against any mediation forums that have been proposed.
Nader Bakkar, whose party has been at odds in recent months with the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, criticises Morsi’s new stance on Syria
Salafist Al-Nour party spokesman Nader Bakkar says the position President Mohamed Morsi announced at the Cairo Stadium’s indoor venue Saturday night contradicts earlier statements Morsi made.
“The president’s [new line] is not in line with the statement he made earlier in Moscow on the similarity of the Egyptian and Russian stance [towards Syria],” Bakkar tweeted, referring to Morsi’s agreement in April with Russia on the importance of maintaining channels of communication with the Syrian regime.
During the mass rally attended by 20,000 Islamists, President Morsi announced Egypt was cutting all diplomatic ties with Syria.
Bakkar charged that the timing of the event held by the presidency adds fuel to the fire for mobilisation and counter-mobilisation before 30 June.
The ’Rebel’ 30 June protests are set to demand early presidential elections. ’Rebel’ aims to gather 15 million signatures to withdraw confidence in the president - outnumbering the 13.2 million votes that put Morsi into office in the June 2012 presidential elections. The campaign had gathered 7 million signatures by the end of May.
In a phone interview on Al-Qahera Al-Youm television show, Bakkar accused the presidency of using several recent events to mobilise against upcoming anti-government protests.
On Wednesday, a joint press conference of a number of Islamist groups, including Gamaa Islamiya, the centrist Wasat Party, and the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), from which Morsi hails, said they would hold a rally to “denounce violence” on 21 June, warning that figures from the Mubarak regime plan to use violence as part of the opposition protests.