Syrian officials had turned off their phones. After Bashar al-Assad’s interview on Egypt with the Syrian state-run daily Al-Thawra, they refused to comment on the situation. Assad had declared the end of political Islam, expressing confidence in the Egyptian people’s consciousness that led to the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Two other official statements appeared, one from Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zobi and the other from Qadri Jamil, the deputy prime minister for economic affairs. Zobi said this was the beginning of the end for Islamist regimes, comparing the collapse of the Brotherhood model in Egypt to Syria’s steadfastness.
An “official source” within the Syrian foreign ministry issued a statement congratulating the Egyptian people, expressing “respect for the popular national protest movement.” Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad refused to give a statement to journalists during his meeting with an Algerian delegation at the Syrian foreign ministry.
Syrian regime loyalists viewed events in Egypt as a victory for Assad since Mursi, who had interfered in Syrian affairs, was booted even though he came to power through elections. Syrians agreed that Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s ouster is a testament to the Egyptian people’s ability to determine their own political destiny. Although there were no rallies in solidarity with Egyptians, as happened previously, Syrian regime loyalists viewed events in Egypt as a victory for Assad since Mursi, who had interfered in Syrian affairs, was booted even though he came to power through elections.
Regime loyalists were not the only Syrians celebrating Mursi’s departure. Regime opponents pointed out that Egyptians were able to topple two presidents – a victory for progress and democracy.
Some Syrians felt a sense of sadness as they saw the Egyptian opposition raising their country’s flag, as opposed to adopting another flag, as the Syrian opposition had done. The scenes from Tahrir Square were broadcast on TV screens in cafes, triggering more sorrow among Syrians who envied the Egyptians’ peaceful protests in the face of violence from Mursi supporters.
Syrian opponent Louay Hussein argued that recent events in Egypt are a continuation of the Arab Spring. “One would be mistaken to think that these revolutions are passing movements that will be content with toppling the existing authorities,” he said.
Hussein analyzed the ramifications for Syria. Change in Egypt will “spur those who rose up in Syria to persevere until they achieve their demands.”
“The armed conflict has got to recede at some point,” he said. “Then the Syrian people will re-mobilize their efforts to bring about a democratic state.”
Syrian MP Hussein Ragheb said, “We were expecting what happened in Egypt because the Brotherhood’s project is a failure, especially in Egypt, which has always embraced Arab nationalism.”
He added in a statement to Al-Akhbar that this was “an uprising by the Egyptian people who refused to surrender to the Brotherhood’s hegemony and the US-Zionist project, creating instead a truly corrective movement against all that is spurious.” Change in Egypt will positively impact Syria because the two countries are complementary wings of the “same school of Arab nationalism.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.