T Nation

Egypt--Situation and Policy


Hey all, lots is still happening in Egypt, so I thought perhaps PWI would enjoy a place to discuss and update the situation from time to time.

How do you think Obama handled the situation as it first unfolded? What would you have liked to see him do differently?

Here is the economist's assessment: http://www.economist.com/node/18178389

What about now? What should America do? Here is a recent news article: http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-pm-claims-more-powers-predecessor-142921289.html


There's no action a President can take with Egypt, and come out looking good. I'd look at how we could help the Copts (and others) get the heck out. I know this isn't full of 'here's how it should be fixed,' but I really think Egypt, like much of the Islamic world, is a tar pit. Enter into it at your own risk.


A couple of more articles:




"hesitant, inconsistent, confused and just plain wrong"

Not to have sided with the Muslim Brotherhood. He should never have supported ANY of the uprisings in ME/Mahgreb except Iran and maybe Syria.

Good article.

Support the Egyptian Army. It's either that or the Muslim Brotherhood. There's a reason why they're the largest political force in Egypt. They have the support of a large proportion of the population.


The stability of the whole ME depends on Egpyt. Very worrying.

Don't like that article as much.


Support the Egyptian Army. It's either that or the Muslim Brotherhood. There's a reason why they're the largest political force in Egypt. They have the support of a large proportion of the population.[/quote]

This is an interesting assessment. Correct me if I am wrong, but you are essentially an anti-neoconservative in this. You believe that a push towards democracy will inevitably lead to (in Egypt) the Muslim Brotherhood's rule or (in Egypt and elsewhere) increased "Islamic" rule. Is that right?

In terms of your first quote above, could you go into how he supported the MB a little more? Honestly, I don't know enough about what happened their (had some issues of my own to worry about and never caught up like I should have). Also, would you have continued to support Mubarak as he was removed from power? ....oops, gotta go, thanks for your thoughts.



I just meant that he sided with the Egyptian Spring forces knowing full well that they could/will bring MB to power.

I don't know much about the region either to be honest RE current events. I know a little about the history of the region but I haven't kept up on recent events.

I'd support whoever represented the best chance for peace and stability. Currently that's the Eyptian Army but to be honest I think the place is teetering.


Show me a Muslim country where a reactionary government didn't follow a dictatorship.

Or an election which the people did not elect a more islamic form of government.

Any one with a clue about history would expect this outcome.

(I think the situation in Libya is interesting though. The guy in charge is ex-al Qaeda so he IS an islamist. He's trying to form a national army to eliminate rogue militias and al-qaeda backed terrorists.)




"Early Results in Egypt Show a Mandate for Islamists"


"The predictable rise of radical Islamist movements in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and elsewhere is another negative development, Mr. Obama's romantic fascination with Islam notwithstanding."

"The surge in crude oil prices that accompanied the Arab Spring helped kill U.S. economic growth in the first half of the year. Another spike in oil prices could choke off potential growth in the coming election season."



I think additionally with the rise of a possible Islamic Egypt, with Egypt's large population and influence we could see other sunni countries threatened. Israel could also find herself in a state of war with her neighbor. The importance for America to explore for our own resources for fuel will be more important than ever. Additionally, working with our friends to the north, Canada, and the Keystone pipeline will be crucial.

I suppose concerning President Obama, President Carter is often blamed for loosing Iran. My guess is the same will be said about Obama if Egypt turns Islamic.

Saw this article in Investors Business Daily about the possibility of Egypt going that route.

"With Islamists Rising, Will Egypt Go The Way Of Iran?"



Risky and messy

None of this will be easy for outsiders. The foreign policy of Egypt, the Arabs? leading country, is likely to be less amenable to the West. Even mild-mannered Islamists may still prove narrow-minded on some scores. But that is no reason for the West to desert them, let alone hark nostalgically back to the era of secular strongmen. Democracy entails risks. It is often messy.

Like people everywhere, Arabs may make bad choices. Political Islam comes in many shapes and guises. So far, the version emerging as predominant seems relatively benevolent. Grit your teeth and cautiously welcome it?in the hope that the Arabs turn away from the more malignant variety.



In any case, a Brotherhood-led government is not in the immediate offing. Egypt?s generals, discomfited as anyone by the Islamists? advance, seem determined to find ways to delay it. They insist on retaining the right to appoint a cabinet and are seeking to dilute the new parliament?s role in writing a constitution.

Egypt?s fractious liberals are deeply sceptical of the military, but may revert to accepting a further dose of military dictatorship to stave off the Islamist tide, at least for a while. Just possibly, they may also embrace the Brothers as the best guarantee of getting the soldiers back to the barracks.

Whatever the outcome, Egypt looks set to join a broader regional trend that has seen a more pragmatic, tolerant form of Islamism rise to dominate the political scene, by way of the ballot box rather than the gun barrel. As Islamist parties come to the fore, from Iraq to Morocco, it is worth bearing in mind the words of Safwat Abdel-Ghani, the leader of an Egyptian Salafist group that once preached terrorism in the name of jihad, on the death of Osama bin Laden: ?Al-Qaeda has not been destroyed by the ?war on terror? but by popular revolutions that made it unnecessary.?


I'm not sure what I think about the conclusions to these articles...