Monday, June 25, 2012

Egypt's Turmoil

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


Lime Lite said...

Obama should rather stick to playing golf or fundraising. That's about all he's good for - and that's questionable. It's going to be fascinating to watch how Egypt slowly dies under the Muslim Brotherhood. Give it a few years though as they'll be trying to convince the world that they're not fanatical Islamist's initially. Already today their new idiot has said that he wants to forge closer ties with Iran and scrap the treaty with Israel. That should mean immediate suspension of any funding to Egypt, but Obama doesn't have the cojones. He'd much rather attack his own law enforcement agencies (who are at least trying to protect America) in Arizona than say one bad word against the Islamist's of the world. He is a blubbering talent-less fool and he shows it every time his teleprompter is not in front of him.

Abbie S said...

Democracy is a process, not an 'end state'.
It is the process of choosing something through vote, with many different criteria governing the process possible. Majority of 50% plus one, unanimous majority as in a jury trial, 'first-past-the-post', etc.
But this process does not tell us anything about what happens once the choice is made, especially when we are choosing people to have the power to govern over us. Are they bound by a set of rules, like a strong constitution ?
Are they guided by strong religious beliefs that require strict rules of behavior ?
Just to call it a 'Democracy' does not say much...

LarryOldtimer said...

These two factions have been at war as long as I can recall. It is one thing to win an election, but another to take power.

Islam is a woe-begotten and woe-bringing religion, even unto its own followers. There is no central authority in Islam. Just a matter of who holds power at a given time. With the seat of power forever changing constantly. Outsiders provoke unity, but left alone there is no peace between factions, and the factions are many.