July 2nd, 2012

Harvard’s Masoud on Egyptian President Morsi: ‘he is a fighting personality’

For the Sunday, July 1 edition of FAREED ZAKARIA GPS, host Fareed Zakaria spoke with the Council of  Foreign Relations’ Steven Cook,  author of The Struggle for Egypt, and Dr. Tarek Masoud, Harvard University professor and frequent interviewer of Egypt’s now-President Mohamed Morsi about this week’s historic presidential election.  They discussed the newly-elected leader’s fragile coalition:

TAREK MASOUD, PhD, Harvard University:  Mohamed is — he’s a very — the one senior Muslim Brotherhood member described him to me is that he is a fighting personality, which I think is absolutely right.  He is absolutely a fighter and he was one of the best Muslim Brotherhood members of parliament from 2000 to 2005 in terms of standing up to the regime, in terms of ferreting out its corruption and holding it to account for its corruption and failures.  A fighting personality is a fighting personality.  This is not a person who is seductive in the way that you expect politicians to be.  He’s not a glad-hander.  He’s not somebody who can really win over people.  A lot of people have talked about his lack of charisma.STEVEN COOK, AUTHOR, THE STRUGGLE FOR EGYPT That’s probably a good thing.

MASOUD:  It may be a good thing, but at this moment in Egypt’s history what — if you really are serious about getting the military about of power you need a president who can unite all of these disparate forces, the revolutionaries, the liberals in order to make a kind of united front against the military.  Is Mohamed Morsi who is the very faithful son of the Muslim Brotherhood, and lots of places he’s been described as a Muslim Brotherhood enforcer, is he the guy to do this? I’m not sure.

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS:  Do you think there is a way to unite the Muslim Brotherhood, the liberals and people like that to create a kind of common democratic front in Egypt?

COOK: Well there is to some extent, the revolutionaries, the liberals lined up behind Morsi in the presidential election because they hated Shafik.  They did not want a clone of Mubarak that would be the representation of the old regime.  Now the election is over, and the revolutionaries have their own demands.  Liberals have their own demands.  And Morsi is going to have to juggle their demands.  And it’s clear that the revolutionaries still can make trouble, can still bring people out into the streets, perhaps not in the same numbers as they did during the uprising, but certainly have proven that they have been able to do that.  And he’s also going to have to deal with the military that is looking out for its own interests.  This is not going to be an easy thing and it may not be a fighting personality that is the best thing in order of a united democratic front in Egypt right now.

FAREED ZAKARIA GPS airs Sundays on CNN/U.S. at 10:00am and 1:00pm and on CNN International at 8:00am and 3:00pm.  All times Eastern.