Egypt is undergoing a serious security and political crisis that is fast approaching a violent climax.
That crisis began with the Arab Spring and the resignation of longtime President Hosni Mubarak in 2011; Egypt’s first free presidential election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in 2012; the military coup that toppled Morsi in 2013; and the largely unpopular election of coup leader President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2014.
Ever since those dramatic shake-ups, Egypt has teetered on the brink of catastrophe. But a series of events in the last three weeks appears to have tipped Egypt’s security further off its balance.
In mid-June, when Egyptian courts upheld the death sentence initially imposed on Morsi in May, a document written by pro-Muslim Brotherhood clerics came to the media’s attention. It decrees that all Egyptians are duty-bound to “strive for complete elimination” of Sisi’s “criminal and murderous regime,” and to do so by “all legitimate means.”
The document was endorsed by 10 Islamic bodies and half a million supporters across the Muslim world.
On June 29, some jihadists seemingly heeded the call and responded by killing Egypt’s prosecutor general Hisham Barakat with a car bomb in Cairo. Barakat became Egypt’s most senior official assassinated since the 2013 military coup that toppled Morsi. Barakat was known mostly for his prosecution of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) supporters, and the Egyptian government suspects that his assassination was retribution.
Then, on July 1, nine senior MB leaders were killed in what security officials said was a regular raid that escalated into an exchange of gunfire. The Sisi administration said it initially only intended to arrest the men for plotting terrorist attacks against Egypt’s army, police force, judiciary and media. Two of the slain leaders had been previously sentenced to death, presumably by the slain prosecutor.
Security officials claim that during the raid the MB leaders initiated the gun battle, which ended up killing all nine of them and wounding three security officials. As evidence, the Egyptian government released three photographs of the slain men lying next to their weapons.
The Muslim Brotherhood, however, disputes that account. It claims instead that its top leaders were killed “in cold blood” while they were discussing ways they could support families of the MB’s political detainees and “martyrs.”
Relatives of some of the leaders killed in that raid believe that the men were first arrested, then taken to the local police station for fingerprinting, then killed and eventually returned to their apartment. The relatives believe the police planted the guns and rifles on the scene.
“[T]he situation has a lot of question marks surrounding it,” Mohamed Lotfy, the head of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, told Middle East Eye.
Whatever the truth of the matter is, it’s not as significant as the manner in which the Muslim Brotherhood is exploiting this crisis and the extent to which it might attainsome success in its radical goals.
The MB declared that the deaths of its leaders is “a turning point that will have its own repercussions.” It also said that Sisi is “initiating a new phase during which it will not be possible to control the anger of the oppressed sectors .…”
It then made this chilling call to action: “Come out in rebellion and in defense of your country, yourselves and your children. Destroy the citadels of his oppression and tyranny and reclaim Egypt once more.”
What makes these calls significant is that the MB maintains a high level of influence on Muslims both within and without Egypt. Founded in 1928, it is the world’s oldest Islamist organization, and over the years, it has inspired the formation of radical Islamist militia like the Islamic Group, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda.
After so many years of political involvement, the Muslim Brotherhood has never been in power. That is, until Egypt’s first-ever democratic election in 2013, when its candidate Mohamed Morsi was elected president. But that reign was cut short by Sisi’s military coup.
Former Israeli ambassador to Egypt Zvi Mazel noted that the MB is “very bitter and overwhelmed by what has happened to them.”
Since the Muslim Brotherhood elected youthful Mohammad Montasser as its spokesperson in January, the group has been in revolutionary mode. The younger and more revolutionary MB members have filled the leadership vacancies created by the imprisonment of some of the older generation of the MB.
Following Morsi’s death sentence, Montasser said, “[R]evolution will be ignited, popular anger will increase, and we promise you unexpected revolutionary surprises.” He has also issued public calls for a “revolution that would decapitate heads.”
On the same day that MB leaders were killed for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks, an Islamic State-affiliated militant group called Sinai Province attacked military checkpoints and occupied a police station and a town in the Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt deployed its army and air force to fight the militants in a battle that took the entire day. Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb declared that his country was officially in a “state of war,” which ended after 17 soldiers and over 100 militants were killed, according to Egyptian Army figures.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry also blamed the MB for this attack, as perhaps would almost everyone, given the circumstances and how the Brotherhood has been inciting violence. “All of these attacks,” the Foreign Ministry said, “were conducted days apart, and showed a level of sophistication and coordination that affirms the presence of organized terrorist activity perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Whatever the truth of the matter, the crisis in Egypt will escalate as the government continues its crackdown on the MB, and the MB continues to incite violence and revolution.
Egypt is prophesied in the Bible to fall under the umbrella of the “king of the south”—radical Islam led by Iran (see Daniel 11:40-43). The Muslim Brotherhood is setting up Egypt for this outcome. It’s an outcome the Trumpet has proclaimed for over two decades. Request your free copy of The King of the South to understand why. ?