Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood appoints new leader as crisis deepens

21st Aug 2013

CAIRO, (Xinhua): The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) on Tuesday named Mahmoud Ezzat as its new leader after the Egyptian government dealt another blow to the group by arresting its supreme guide Mohamed Badie earlier in the day.

Although more Brotherhood members were arrested or going underground, experts said it is unlikely that Badie’s removal could make major influence in practical terms as hardliners of the Islamist group might seek further revenge.

Titled as the wolf among the group, Ezzat was known for his strong relations with the international organization for Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas movement, Tharwat Kharabawy, a dissident former MB leader said.

Ezzat was among the hawks of the group, Kharabawy told Xinhua, deeming Ezaat as “the real guide of the group” and the one “managing the group from behind the curtains.”

Kharabawy noted that it is scarcely possible for the new leader to give up resistance.

Ezzat, former secretary general of the group, a member of the guidance bureau now and a deputy to the guide, was once arrested in 1965, and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

He was chosen as a member of the guidance bureau in 1981, and was arrested again in 2008 during protests over Israeli attack on Gaza.

According to the Egyptian authorities, Badie has been transferred to Mazraah prison in Torah prisons’ complex, where former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons are currently detained.

The prosecution has ordered 15 days pending investigations over inciting violence and killing the protesters, and another 15 days over riots in 2012 outside the presidential palace over the constitutional declaration.

He is due to stand trial on Aug. 25 together with his two deputies, Khairat al-Shater and Rashad al-Bayoumi.

Meanwhile, as attacks on police and army facilities almost become daily events in the country, the Egyptian authorities remain determined to crush the MB and its loyalists.

In an interview with the CNN, Moustafa Hegazi, the presidential political advisor, said that detaining Badie is a victory and a step toward restoring law and order inside the country.

He noted that “Egypt is waging a fierce war against terrorism and criminal acts.”

Hegazi added that it is the most cruel incident over Egypt’s history that 25 off-duty security forces were killed on Monday by suspected militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

Also Tuesday, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that she had offered to return to Cairo to help find a way out of the country’s crisis.

“I told the Egyptian prime minister at the weekend that I would be more than willing to go back to Egypt if they wish me to come back,” said Ashton, who has visited Egypt twice since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi.

Escalating violence in Egypt also threatened to complicate the country’s relationship with the United States amid pressure from the U.S. Congress to cut the annual aid worth 1.3 billion dollars.


Editor: Bi Mingxin

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