For the second day in a row, protesters marched from multiple countries to the borders of Israel including into the occupied Golan Heights, parts of Lebanon, Syria and from Egypt across the Sinai to the Rafah border. On twitter acconts, it is easy to see that many of those participating were also involved in the Jan 25 revolt as well as those in Syria. Many are denouncing their own militaries for keeping them from crossing. The Egyptian army was more successful while the Lebanese army was forced to fire into the air to disperse the protesters. On the Syrian side going into Golan Heights, a fence was breached and approximately a hundred protesters filed in. Even inside the Gaza strip, Hamas held back protesters from breaching the chain link fence.
What has become more than clear is that the revolutionaries are, as they have been since those days in Tahrir, drunk on the belief of their own power. They have determined that they can resolve the situation with a "peaceful march" unwilling to recognize that what is admirable and possible inside their own nations as liberation, is an act of war, regardless of the alleged lack of arms among the marchers, when they are approaching the borders of another nation. The right of defense becomes paramount. The protesters, of course, do not recognize these borders and assume some legality or moral right will protect them.
In the mean time, Syria (the regime) "condemns" the killing of four protesters in the Golan heights. Israel says that the military and Palestinian refugee leader in Syria had kept the protesters away in past years, but now believes this is a cynical attempt to draw the attention away from their internal unrest, using it to force protesters to decide between "national unity" and treason if they refuse to support the efforts against Israel.
Other news has the Lebanese army evacuating people from the Golan Height area while Hezbollah was put on high alert and is mobilizing their fighters.
Hamas attempting to stop the protesters is either for show or because any event that is outside of their organization necessarily damages their ability to continue to negotiate for their own position of power. One of the few positives of the whole event. On the other hand, it is bringing the Egyptian political narrative closer and closer to the Muslim Brotherhood's goal. Last week in al Ahram, the Brotherhood, still playing the deep game, said they would not abrogate the Egyptian treaty with Israel. This would only occur if the people demand it.
On international treaties signed by Egypt, the head of the Justice and Freedom Party said: "We will respect these treaties and not abolish them. We might have been against them before they came into force. But now that they carry the Egyptian seal, we can not change them unless that is by the will of the people through an elected parliament, which we want to be a strong parliament."
On Friday, May 13, the National Association for Change (el Baradei, et al) had called for a national march for Unity after sectarian violence had erupted in Maspiro in the enclave of Imbaba, Giza, Egypt. Friday being the beginning of the weekend for Egyptians. It is also the Muslim holy day and the MB and their partner Salafis called in the Mosques and on facebook for a march from Cairo to Palestine. Thousands more arrived in Tahrir Square than had originally showed up at the preceding attempts to have a "unity" march. Carrying Palestinian flags and chanting anti-Israel chants, including "Millions of Martyrs to Jerusalem", (a favored chant of Hamas and the Brotherhood), the event was quickly over taken by the Palestinian contingent with more than half of the speakers on stage railing against Israel and urging the people to march to Gaza.
The Brotherhood had effectively taken over the unity march and gave the appearance that the greater population was behind their program to abrogate the peace treaty with Israel. This was not a hard sell as the April 6 leftist youth movement had been planning at least a symbolic attempt to cross into Gaza, traveling over the Sinai for Nakba (catastrophe, Israel's declared statehood). The Egyptian leftists are not only insistent on the right of return of Palestinians and establishment of the state, they believe they have been shut off of Sinai to protect Israel. They demand the right to travel about their own country. Some claim that the Egyptian army is managing the Sinai for Israel.
Few seem to recognize that attacks on Israel from the Sinai as well as the protection of water ways (Suez Canal) that provide Egypt with nearly one tenth of it's yearly revenues for the state is necessary for Egypt's security and economic viability.
In any event, the left and some aspects of the liberal organizations have sold their revolution cheaply. The MB are controlling the narrative to the point that the liberal parties are arguing amongst themselves over how to "talk to people to assure them that the secular state is not the end of religion" (the MB have effectively tagged the "liberals" or "seculars" as "pagans" and "athiests"). They also argue over details like whether sharia law is acceptable in some liberalized manner and how, if at all, they should work with the Brotherhood. All seeming to have decided that the Brotherhood will have effective control of the government and that they will be left with the crumbs.
This is not because the Brotherhood is that strong, but because the liberal and the left are that weak. The revolution was effectively a "catastrophic success" that has left them no idea which way to go. There are movements, such as the recent debate and the attempt at four liberal parties to join in order to face off against the Islamists. However,
"We have not heard of a liberal bloc with a unified vision... On the contrary, liberals seem to be the weakest and most fragmented political force in Egypt," said Samuel Tadros, an expert on the history of liberalism in Egypt.
Tadros added that liberal parties differ on social policies and foreign policy. "The only thing they have in common is that they are not Islamists," he said.
El Baradei keeps pushing to have the elections put off to give the other parties time to form and campaign, but this seems unlikely. SCAF is not willing to try to control the country any longer than it has to as each day sees it's ability to secure the nation deteriorate and it's popularity along with it. Other entities seem to be pushing the narrative of an unsecure Egypt without a strong government.
This may either be the MB, pushing back against El Baradei and the NAC's attempt to go around their proposed power bid or the NDP elements who are unhappy about being pushed out of any of the power sharing as they will lose a considerable amount of money and power if the prevailing attitude of exclusion persists.
Attacks by "thugs" and "Salafis" on the Copt Contingent, a favored tactic of the old regime, may actually be at the behest of the Muslim Brotherhood and their new allies the Salafis. The Egyptian population and SCAF are unlikely to put off elections under the assumption that government must be quickly installed, stability immediately realized and "the law" applied strongly and resolutely.
Some believe this is the old NDP, as it was their tactic, but they have barely raised their heads and suggested that they return to any prominence. Apparently still reeling from the multiple arrests of both the political and business/money based members, the party seems unable to pull itself together, much less continue to use the same tactics to re-install themselves in the political narrative, much less to power.
Amr Mousa has pronounced himself the new face of the new NDP. Not directly, but in so many words by insisting that he will continue Mubarek's foreign policies.
The Brotherhood may have one fly in the ointment of their plans. They have planned not to take the Presidency. Largely because they want the president's executive authority to be subservient to the parliament that they plan to control. To that end, they have insisted that they will not challenge for that seat, but will concentrate on the parliament instead. However, Abouel Foutah, a Brotherhood member who has not been expelled or resigned officially, announced his candidacy for the Presidency.
The Brotherhood has gone back and forth, some saying they will expel any members who run for the Presidency, others saying it is still under advisement. At times suggesting that anyone that does not join the Freedom and Justice Party, but some other party will be expelled, then backtracking again. They are working hard to maintain their own unity while at the same time, it is likely that they are forcing the liberal and leftists parties to march to their tune.
Sectarian strife and Palestine have over taken any idea of freedom and the greater revolution of the youth for the Egypt of tomorrow. Completely swamped by all of the players from the Egypt of yesterday.
The Revolutionaries for their part are either completely clueless or are helpless against the narrative that the Brotherhood has set for the upcoming political elections. The ones that are coming regardless of what the liberals and the leftists demand.
At this rate, Nakba will not only stand for the creation of Israel, but for the failure of the January 25 revolution.