Tags: walid | phares | egypt | morsi

Walid Phares: Egyptian Demonstrations Signal 'Civilizational War'

By Greg Richter and Kathleen Walter   |   Tuesday, 02 Jul 2013 10:48 PM

The democracy movement in Egypt represents a crossroad, says Middle East expert Walid Phares.

"This is an important event," Phares tells Newsmax TV.

If the democracy movement of Egypt, which gathered millions of people on the streets of Cairo and other cities, is successful, there will be repetition in Tunisia and Libya, he said.

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"And we just saw a few weeks ago seculars rising even in democratic Turkey against attempts of Islamization," Phares tells Newsmax. "This is a civilizational battle happening today and [it happens] to be in Egypt."

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi went on television Tuesday night, saying he will not step down despite massive protests and an ultimatum from the military.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

Phares says Morsi's actions will determine whether Egypt sees a true democratic revoltion. Morsi was elected a year ago – the first freely elected president in the nation's history. But opposition began when he increased presidential powers in November.

Morsi must understand he cannot rule Egypt after the current crisis is over, Phares said. "The majority of the people in Egypt have been rising against him, have been very clear despite the divisions – religious, social, economic."

The army's statement that he must step down is not about forming a military government, he said. "It's really a statement about telling Morsi, we're not going to execute your orders against this mass of the Egyptian people."

The future of the country is in Morsi's hands, Phares said. "What he's going to do is going to affect the history of Egypt."

Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has tried, with some success, to implement a radical Islamist agenda, Phares said. He is in the process of canceling the nation's secular form of government.

He has been trying to change the leadership of the army to go along with his Islamist agenda and has been jailing adversaries, Phares said.

Army intervention is vital, Phares said, or Morsi's militias will attack the demonstrators, sparking a civil war. The army must let Morsi know it will not enforce his orders.

The real force behind change, though, is the people of Egypt, he said.

"The youth, the middle class, women, Christian minorities, lawyers, journalists, activists, this is the first time we see live an uprising that is going against an Islamist regime as we saw in Iran," he said, "but this time in Egypt the army could tip the balance."

Mohamed ElBaradei, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and key force in the ouster of Hosni Mubarak a year ago, would be a logical replacement for Morsi as an interim leader, Phares said. ElBaradei enjoys the support of most factions.

And the United States must take a stand, Phares said. The administration of President Barack Obama is getting a second chance to support democracy after its failure to take sides during the Iranian youth revolution in 2009, he said.

Supporting the revolutionaries in Iran "could have ended half of the War on Terror," he said, because of the variety of radical networks the ayatollah-led country supports.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

It's in the hands of Obama to side with Egyptians, Phares said. If the people of Egypt win the current round, "the entire world will win half of the War on Terror because the Muslim Brotherhood regime is backing, and will be backing, increasingly, the Salafists and jihadists in the region."

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