Monday, June 25, 2012
By Alan Caruba
While the evening news showed thousands of Egyptians in Cairo’s Tahrir Square celebrating the election of Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Morsi, who won by a slim fifty-one percent of the vote, other Egyptians now have good cause to live in fear for their lives, the Copts, a Christian sect that has long been under attack there..
We are not witnessing a great victory for democracy in Egypt. Egypt has never known democracy.
Modern day Egypt dates back back to the days of Farouk the first, the tenth ruler from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty, who succeeded his father in 1936 and was overthrown in a 1952 revolution. In the wake of the revolution, he was replaced by Gamal Abdel Nasser who died in office. Following the assassination of Anwar al-Sadat, Hosni Mubarack, took over in 1981 until being forced from office in 2011.
Under Mubarack, Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel was maintained and the U.S. provided billions in military aid. Since being deposed, Egypt’s economy, such as it was, has been in free fall. Tourism, which used to be a major resource, has dried up.
Though rarely mentioned in news reports, the Egyptian military is still in control. The Morsi election victory is mostly symbolic because the military has issued a decree that empowers it to write a new constitution and pass laws. Earlier they disbanded the elected parliament.
The win for the Muslim Brotherhood is the worst possible news for Egypt because, simply stated, it does not matter what its candidate promises or says. The Brotherhood has been waiting a long time to take over Egypt and its likely first move would be to make the Koran the nation’s “constitution.” The military has no intention of permitting that to occur.
Not one Middle Eastern and North African Muslim-dominated nation functions as an actual democracy with the possible exception of Turkey. Despite “elections” they operate as autocracies and feudal kingdoms.
No doubt Morsi will negotiate with the military to impose some Islamic rules with the intention of returning life in Egypt to the burka and other Islamic strictures
Islam and democracy are entirely incompatible. Islam is more than a religion. It is a political system as well. There is no secular divide between the two. Its concept of justice and law remains rooted in the seventh century. It subjugates all non-Muslims and reduces women to chattel.
There is no denying that life under the generals was no picnic in Egypt. Its human rights record is as appalling as other Middle Eastern nations, but the military kept the lid on the Muslim Brotherhood that has been around for 84 years. Egyptians have no experience with rule by anything other than an autocratic government. In a nation where everyone is shouting “Allah Akbar” and brandishing the Koran as the answer to every issue and question, it is hard to function in the modern world.
This is the clash of civilizations that scholars have spoken and written about.
If Morsi keeps his word about the peace treaty with Israel it will only be because Egypt cannot afford another war and because few, if any, Middle East nations would lend any support. Meanwhile, the Israelis have moved tanks to the border with Egypt.
The whole Middle East is an ugly place these days. Syria is a powder keg. Turkey, a member of NATO—which just had one of its jet fighters shot down by the Syrians is in a foul mood. Jordan’s monarchy is watching with no small amount of fear for its future. Lebanon is little more than a Syrian satellite run by Hezbollah, which in turn is an Iranian proxy. Pakistan has demonstrated it is no friend to America. Iran is everyone’s enemy.
The U.S. billions that propped up the Mubarack regime will be needed to keep the Egyptian military in charge. The reasons include keeping the peace treaty with Israel, cooperation in counter terrorism efforts, protection of transportation through the Suez Canal, and even the need for a possible military operations against Iran.
The Obama administration is pressuring the Egyptian military to turn over power to the Muslim Brotherhood. Thus far, its entire Middle East foreign policy has been a total failure, based on naiveté and bad judgment.
© Alan Caruba, 2012