Thursday, July 04, 2013

Only In The MidEast: Egyptian Liberals Support Military Coup


Egypt after Morsi: Joy and Worry -Daniel Pipes, PhD

The overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt delights and worries me.

Delight is easy to explain. What appears to have been the largest political demonstration in history uprooted the arrogant Islamists of Egypt who ruled with near-total disregard for anything other than consolidating their own power. Islamism, the drive to apply a medieval Islamic law and the only vibrant radical utopian movement in the world today, experienced an unprecedented repudiation. Egyptians showed an inspiring spirit.  

If it took 18 days to overthrow Husni Mubarak in 2011, just four were needed to overthrow Morsi this past week. The number of deaths commensurately went down from about 850 to 40. Western governments (notably the Obama administration) thinking they had sided with history by helping the Muslim Brotherhood regime found themselves appropriately embarrassed.  

My worry is more complex. The historical record shows that the thrall of radical utopianism endures until calamity sets in. On paper, fascism and communism sound appealing; only the realities of Hitler and Stalin discredited and marginalized these movements.

In the case of Islamism, this same process has already begun; indeed, the revulsion started with much less destruction wrought than in the prior two cases (Islamism not yet having killed tens of millions) and with greater speed (years, not decades). Recent weeks have seen three rejections of Islamist rule in a row, what with the Gezi Park-inspired demonstrations across Turkey, a resounding victory by the least-hardline Islamist in the Iranian elections on June 14, and now the unprecedentedly massive refutation of the Muslim Brotherhood in public squares along the Nile River.  

But I fear that the quick military removal of the Muslim Brotherhood government will exonerate Islamists.  

[T]he year-long interlude of Islamist rule by Morsi & Co., which did so much to exacerbate [economic] problems, may well be forgotten – and whoever inherits the rule will take the blame. In other words, the pain Egyptians have and will go through may be for naught. Who knows, they might in desperation turn again to Islamists to pull them out of their future predicament. Likewise, the Muslim Brotherhood's brief time in power means other Muslim peoples will also not gain as they should from Egypt's dire experience.  

Egypt is a mess. Relations between pro- and anti-Muslim Brotherhood elements have already turned violent and threaten to degenerate. Copts and Shi'ites get murdered just because of their identities. The Sinai Peninsula is anarchic. The incompetent and greedy military leadership, which viciously ruled Egypt from behind the scenes between 1952 and 2012, is back in charge.  

In short, my joy at Morsi's departure more than offset by my concern that the lessons of his misrule will not be learned.
[National Post]

In the Aftermath of Morsi's Ouster -Avi Issacharoff

If the Muslim Brotherhood consents to Morsi's ouster, it may even win the next presidential elections with a more effective candidate.

If it refuses and orders its followers to battle the new regime, Egypt may spiral into a bloody cycle of violence.

For Hamas, the news out of Cairo was especially grim. The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas' parent organization, lost its power to a military establishment that is hostile to the Palestinian group's goals.

Hamas, which has clashed with Syria and Iran over the course of the last year, now finds itself nearly isolated in the Arab sphere.
(Times of Israel)

A Political Blow for Hamas -Alex Fishman

The collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt directly affects the standing of Hamas in the Arab and Palestinian contexts. Hamas has been dealt a heavy blow.

Fearing the spread of Islamist influence into the Sinai, the Egyptian army has implemented a total closure on the Gaza-Egyptian border.

Hamas' desperate situation is likely to weaken its standing against Islamic Jihad and other Salafist groups in Gaza, but also its general standing in the world.
(Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew-4July2013)

Egypt: What Happens Now? -Ashraf Khalil

The Muslim Brotherhood will not simply leave, as Mubarak did. After all, it has been a mainstay in Egyptian politics for decades.

Egypt's first round of presidential elections last summer indicated that the Brotherhood's true national support is likely still around 25%.

Whoever leads the government next, therefore, will have to somehow make peace with the Brotherhood.
(Foreign Affairs)

Turkey's Leadership Watches Uneasily -Joe Parkinson

Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan has invested heavily to forge a strong alliance with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, born from shared roots in political Islam. The collapse of the Islamist government in Cairo would mark the removal of a key ally for Ankara and could further undermine Turkey's bid to become a regional model for emerging Arab democracies.
(Wall Street Journal)

After Morsi's Ouster -Robert Satloff

No one should revel in the deposition of an elected leader by a country's military, but this is not a coup in the traditional sense and does not merit a suspension of U.S. assistance. Indeed, the army almost surely prevented a bloodbath that would have scarred Egypt for decades. The writer is executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
(Washington Post)

Egypt's Lost Opportunity -Fareed Zakaria

The Muslim Brotherhood's biggest failing has been incompetence. Egypt is in free fall. In the year that Morsi was in power, the economy sunk, unemployment skyrocketed, public order collapsed, crime rose, and basic social services have stalled.

Egypt's military has presented this coup as a "soft" one, aimed at restoring democracy, not subverting it.
(Washington Post)

People Power Rises Again -David Ignatius

This new wave of activism in the Middle East isn't pro- or anti-American. It's a movement of empowered citizens who don't want the old secular dictatorships of Hosni Mubarak's era, and don't want a new Islamic authoritarianism, either. This week showed there is still a popular movement for democratic change that resists dictation from anyone.

For U.S. officials, recent events are a reminder that the Middle East is still in the early stages of a long-running process of transformation. Morsi's election in 2012 offered the Muslim Brotherhood a chance to show that it could govern Egypt effectively. It has flunked the test.
(Washington Post)
Palestinian Authority leaders on expressed joy over the downfall of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s regime, with some calling on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to follow suit and topple the Hamas government.

Palestinian analysts predicted that the collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt would undermine Hamas, which in the past year has been emboldened by Morsi’s rise to power.
Several Fatah officials expressed hope that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would wage a revolution against Hamas.
[Jerusalem Post]
In Egypt, the Popularity of Islamism Shall Endure - Reuel Marc Gerecht

Morsi, an incompetent, boring and inarticulate demagogue, will not return. But Egypt's enormous systemic problems remain. 

Mindful of recent Turkish history, senior officers will not allow vengeful Islamists to compete, win and neuter the army. However, Egypt's problems are now the responsibility of the military and Egyptian liberals. The odds are that they will fail abysmally, and in their failure, the Brotherhood and other Islamists will recapture the street. 
The writer, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, served in the CIA's Clandestine Service from 1985 to 1994, specializing in the Middle East. 
(Washington Post)


LHwrites said...

A lot here because this is a big issue. What has really happened here is the military decided to back the people, and the people have refuted extremism even from originally a populist candidate from an accepted party. What the people showed is even though they may support their religion they do not want extremists and they do not want elected officials then falling into old unacceptable ways. The military decided to back them for many reasons, some good for the people, true some to consolidate power from a government that was looking to do the same outside the military. This chain of events should worry the more repressive and extreme MidEast governments and should point the way for the Syrian military to start to do what is right for the people of Syria.

Bruce said...

I'm not too hopeful about real democracy in Egypt.

The ball to watch here is the economy. It doesn't matter who rules Egypt if the economy cannot be stabilized. Tourism, their main gig, is dismal for obvious reasons.

Watch the relationship that now develops between Saudi Arabia [they are glad to see the Muslim Brotherhood gone] and Egypt. Loans are already being negotiated. The Saudi's have more influence now in Egypt than the US does. Sad.

Bruce said...

As a follow up to my last comment, see this from the NYTimes:

Arab Economic Aid Helps Egypt Avoid Reforms - Jonathan Tepperman

Barely a week after Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's (Qatari-backed) president, was ousted by the military, Saudi Arabia swooped in and blessed the new regime with a $5 billion check (followed promptly by the UAE and Kuwait, which together kicked in another $7 billion). However, this meddling is more likely to hurt than help. Egypt certainly needs outside aid, but the kind it's getting seems sure to make things worse.

After all, Morsi, despite his epic incompetence, managed to hold on as long as he did in large part thanks to $8 billion in aid he got from Qatar over his year-long tenure. Now the Saudis' gift will similarly help his replacements stay afloat. But it will also allow the new government to avoid the painful but desperately needed spending reforms the International Monetary Fund was insisting on. The writer is managing editor of Foreign Affairs.
(New York Times)