Making way for military rule

(Image courtesy E3 Partners)

(Image courtesy E3 Partners)

Egypt (MNN) — Political players are making moves in Egypt ahead of April’s elections. Egypt’s interim Prime Minister and his entire cabinet resigned yesterday, reportedly clearing the way for army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run for President.

Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi didn’t give a clear reason for resigning. However, Beblawi did tell state media that his government essentially started the interim authorities’ recovery process for Egypt by holding a referendum on a new constitution in January.

“For the past six to seven months, the government assumed its responsibilities and duties…the government did not spare any efforts to get Egypt out of a bad phase,” said Beblawi on state television.

“This is not the time for personal interests. The nation is above everybody.”

Thus far, only short-lived workers’ strikes have taken place throughout the country. But E3 Partners Middle East expert Tom Doyle warns, “Every election, every political move, causes instability, riots, killings.”

Doyle agrees with the view of many analysts who believe Sisi is a prime contender for Egypt’s presidency.

“I think there’s possibly only one other person that has been named as a candidate,” Doyle says, referring to leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi.

“I would imagine in the next month that he [Sisi] would be elected the president of Egypt.”

Revolutionary chaos

In Egypt, 2011’s Arab Spring movement was largely an uprising against Hosni Mubarak’s nearly-30 year military rule. Egyptian youth, tired of tyrannical rule, were desperate for change.

“There’s been a military government in Egypt since 1953,” Doyle explains. “Military rule tends to be harsh and keep people in line, and enforce rules.”

Though strict, Egypt’s military rule typically kept radical religious factions under control, providing relative safety for the Christian population. When Mohammed Morsi came to power in 2012 as Egypt’s first civilian president, the sands shifted.

“When Morsi was elected and stayed in power for only one year, the country spiraled into chaos,” notes Doyle. “That’s when you had churches being burned to the ground all over [Egypt], nothing being done by the government.”

Muslim Brotherhood protestors took out their frustrations on Christians following Morsi's ouster.  (Image courtesy E3 Partners)

Muslim Brotherhood protestors took out their frustrations on Christians following Morsi’s ouster.
(Image courtesy E3 Partners)

As the Muslim Brotherhood gained an upper-hand through Morsi, persecution of Christians increased throughout the country. At the same time, Egyptians grew increasingly tired of Morsi’s failure to uphold his campaign promises. Grumblings gained strength heading into summer 2013, and in early July a military government led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave Morsi the boot.

Christians became an immediate scapegoat for the former majority party’s rage. A three-month national state of emergency was declared as Muslim Brotherhood protests became progressively out-of-hand.

Many believers have lost their lives in Egypt’s political turmoil. But for those who survive and remain in their homeland, perseverance is paying off.

“The great news, in the midst of all this political instability, is that more people are coming to faith in Christ in Egypt now than what we’ve seen in the last 20 years,” Doyle notes.

“There’s an upsurge in interest and people’s hopes, especially young people.”

Back to Square One

Following the resignation of Beblawi and his cabinet, signs seemingly point to the rise of another military ruler.

Holding high rank in Egypt’s military and the outgoing cabinet, SiSi is required to resign from both positions if he wants to campaign for presidency. Aides told ChannelNewsAsia.com that SiSi “has already decided to run and will make the announcement soon.”

“We are forbidden to share about Christ with
Muslims, because we are ruled by Sharia Law.
But we Christians should be more courageous than this.
Please pray that the Lord would give us courage.”
(Image, caption courtesy 8thirty8)

Pray for believers who may be in danger as a result.

“We have believers out there on the frontlines, bringing Jesus Christ to villages and cities every day in the midst of [political instability],” Doyle says.

“Pray for the national leaders that are going and taking Christ to the unreached.”

Find more ways you can help through E3 Partners here.

“There are above-ground churches in Egypt, and God really uses them,” says Doyle. “We pray for them, we send them support, and we bring them training and all the tools they need to reach Egyptians.”