Skip to comments.What’s really happening in post-Mubarak Egypt?
Posted on 04/26/2011 5:45:46 PM PDT by SJackson
Understanding Egyptian politics means penetrating the characteristically Mideastern double game one played out by military and Islamists. As Egypt lurches into a new era, a look at its complexities helps one understand the countrys likely course. Some thoughts on key issues:
The spirit of Tahrir Square is real and alive, but exceedingly far from the halls of power. Revolutionary ideas that government should serve the people, not the reverse; that rulers should be chosen by the people; and that individuals have inherent rights have finally penetrated a substantial portion of the country, especially the young. But for now, they are dissident ideas, firmly excluded from any operational role.
A military court sentenced liberal blogger Maikel Nabil to three years in jail.
Military rule will continue. You see, soldiers did not seize power with Hosni Mubaraks departure two months ago; they did so in 1952. Thats when the Free Officers overthrew the constitutional monarchy and took office. One senior military man followed another from Naguib to Nasser to Sadat to Mubarak to Tantawi in an unbroken succession over 59 years. With time, the military expanded its grip to include the economic realm, producing everything from television sets to olive oil and thus acquiring control over a sizable portion of Egypts wealth. Egypts soldiers have become far too accustomed to power and the good life to give up these perks. They will do whatever it takes, be it purging Mubarak, throwing his sons in jail, banning his old political party, changing the constitution or repressing dissent, to keep power.
The military is not secular. From the first Free Officers in the 1930s to the recent re-affirmation of Sharia (Islamic law) as the principal source of legislation, Egyptian military leaders have consistently displayed an Islamist orientation. More specifically, the Free Officers emerged out of the military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and through the decades have been in competition with the civilian wing. As analyst Cynthia Farahat writes in the Middle East Quarterly, their rivalry should be understood, not as a struggle between an autocratic, secular dictatorship and a would-be Islamist one, but a struggle between two ideologically similar rival groups hailing from the same source.
The Muslim Brotherhood is less formidable than its reputation suggests. Its not a powerhouse. The organization suffers from major problems. First, hot-headed Islamists despise it. Al-Qaida recently blasted it for taking part in elections and ridiculed it for being on the path to becoming secular and falsely affiliated with Islam.
Second, the Brotherhood is weak on the ground. Hesham Kassem of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights notes that its membership does not exceed 100,000 which, in a country of 80 million, means it is not really a grass-roots movement but a coddled institution. Genuine political competition should diminish its appeal.
FINALLY, UNDERSTANDING Egyptian politics means penetrating the characteristically Middle Eastern double game (as in Iraqi and Syrian politics) one played out here by the military and the Islamists. Note its contrary elements:
Routine military-Islamist cooperation. The military has, Farahat notes, subtly colluded with Islamists against their more democratically inclined compatriots and religious minorities, notably the Copts.
One of many examples: On April 14, a human rights conference critiquing the military for hauling civilians before military tribunals was twice interrupted. First by a military officer worried about indecent women and second by Islamists angry about inappropriate discussion of the military.
Who is who? Roles have became nearly interchangeable. Likewise, the new military leadership permitted Islamists to form political parties and released Brotherhood members from jail. Conversely, Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood leader, praised the armed forces, and his organization endorsed the armys March referendum.
Egypts lower chamber, the Peoples Assembly, is a tool for combating the Muslim Brotherhood.
The government exploits fears of the Brotherhood. The military benefits from worries, both domestic and foreign, of an Islamist takeover. That prospect justifies not only its own continued domination, but also excuses its excesses. The military has learned to play Islamists like a yo-yo. For example, Mubarak cunningly allowed 88 Muslim Brothers into parliament in 2005; this simultaneously showed the perils of democracy and made his own tyranny indispensible. Having established this point, he allowed just one Muslim Brother into parliament in the 2010 elections.
In brief, while the modernity of Tahrir Square and the barbarism of the Muslim Brotherhood both have long-term importance, in all likelihood, the military will continue to rule Egypt, making only cosmetic changes.
The writer (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
One of those things the media isn’t talking about.
I sure hope that Daniel Pipes is right. If true, this would be encouraging. But I’m not sure if I’m that hopeful. Turkey moved way down the road toward Islamism over the past decade, and they are no longer our allies.
And Pipes says that the Muslim Brotherhood is “thin on the ground.” Only 50,000 of them. Well, how many Communists do you need to stage a revolution, take over the country, and run it for 70 years? Not really very many, as long as they are very determined and ruthless. And the Brotherhood has learned its ways from Hitler, Stalin, and Mohammed.
If people make the mistake of electing Hitler to office, that doesn’t mean they can then change their minds. If they think that Lenin might be nicer than the Czar, they don’t get to change their minds, either.
The military is not secular... Egyptian military leaders have consistently displayed an Islamist orientation. More specifically, the Free Officers emerged out of the military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and through the decades have been in competition with the civilian wing. As analyst Cynthia Farahat writes in the Middle East Quarterly, their rivalry "should be understood, not as a struggle between an autocratic, secular dictatorship and a would-be Islamist one, but a struggle between two ideologically similar rival groups hailing from the same source." The Muslim Brotherhood is less formidable... First, hot-headed Islamists despise it... Second, the Brotherhood is weak on the ground. Hesham Kassem of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights notes that its membership does not exceed 100,000 which, in a country of 80 million, means it "is not really a grass-roots movement" but a coddled institution. Genuine political competition should diminish its appeal... The military has, Farahat notes, "subtly colluded with Islamists against their more democratically inclined compatriots and religious minorities, notably the Copts." ...Egypt's lower chamber, the People's Assembly, is a tool for combating the Muslim Brotherhood... Mubarak cunningly allowed 88 Muslim Brothers into parliament in 2005; this simultaneously showed the perils of democracy and made his own tyranny indispensible. Having established this point, he allowed just one Muslim Brother into parliament in the 2010 elections.
How close is the Mus-Bro-hood connected to Lou FairyCON? Lou gave RezCO his first job when he came to the US from ME. IMO Rez was a mule (doing other people work) when he brokered BO’s house deal. Seeing that the house is still not in BO’s name, has he not completed his end of the deal?......HMmmm Connect the dots.
(Misspelling is on purpose so it doesn’t come up on Google)
1.) Agitation to break the treaty with Israel
2.) Rampant anti-Americanism
3.) Increasing volume on demands to release Omar Abdel-Rahman (The "Blind Sheikh")
You could knock me over with a feather.
Yep, especially in light of the Bolshevik Revolution.this, something's wrong with your ears.
Interesting connections. Although I think that Lou was really furious with Obama when he turned against Kaddafi and betrayed the man who called him “son.” Kaddafi was a strong supporter of the Black Muslim movement, has provided a lot of aid and jobs to black Africans, and is very popular among black African leaders. Which is one reason why the other Arab leaders despise him.
But as you say, Egypt is another kettle of fish. Obama started undermining Mubarak immediately, and may have been responsible for sending in Code Pink and other agents to stir up trouble in the first place.
I think the Generals could still possibly keep the Brotherhood out, but I don’t know if they will. And if they let them in, I doubt whether they will be given an opportunity to change their minds.
There was an e-mail which circulated during the Madison "unpleasantness". In it, an Organizing for America leader claimed they were going to do in Madison "the same thing we did in Cairo".
But Im not sure if Im that hopeful.
Music. Thanks. WOW!
Hadn’t heard about that, but I can well believe it. And all of this on the taxpayers’ dime.
Sweet, ain't it?this, something's wrong with your ears.
This is why you must read an article like this having at least your first cup of coffee!
Yes, it is. Very. As I was reading other threads I let the continuous loop run in the background. I emailed it to all of my family members and ended the night just listening to it one more time.
Thanks again, rdb3. WOW! & WHOA! (as I start the day with it...)
But wait...there’s more...(sweet siren, stormy sea)
Sirens and death
The Siren, by John William Waterhouse (circa 1900), depicted as a fish-chimera.According to Ovid (Metamorphoses V, 551), the Sirens were the companions of young Persephone and were given wings by Demeter to search for Persephone when she was abducted. The Sirens might be called the Muses of the lower world, Walter Copland Perry observed: “Their song, though irresistibly sweet, was no less sad than sweet, and lapped both body and soul in a fatal lethargy, the forerunner of death and corruption.” Their song is continually calling on Persephone. The term “siren song” refers to an appeal that is hard to resist but that, if heeded, will lead to a bad result. Later writers have inferred that the Sirens were anthropophagous, based on Circe’s description of them “lolling there in their meadow, round them heaps of corpses rotting away, rags of skin shriveling on their bones.” As Jane Ellen Harrison notes of “The Ker as siren:” “It is strange and beautiful that Homer should make the Sirens appeal to the spirit, not to the flesh.” For the matter of the siren song is a promise to Odysseus of mantic truths; with a false promise that he will live to tell them, they sing,
Once he hears to his heart’s content, sails on, a wiser man.
We know all the pains that the Greeks and Trojans once endured
on the spreading plain of Troy when the gods willed it so
all that comes to pass on the fertile earth, we know it all!
“They are mantic creatures like the Sphinx with whom they have much in common, knowing both the past and the future,” Harrison observed. “Their song takes effect at midday, in a windless calm. The end of that song is death.” That the sailors’ flesh is rotting away, though, would suggest it has not been eaten. It has been suggested that, with their feathers stolen, their divine nature kept them alive, but unable to provide for their visitors, who starved to death by refusing to leave.
Just sayin’ :). (Thanks again for the link to that beautiful music, rdb3)
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