Friday, June 15, 2012 at 7:12 AM
Over the past few months, pro-democracy protesters were ruing the fact that those benefiting most from their blood, sweat and tears are members of the Muslim Brotherhood who, after winning control of parliament, seemed hell-bent on turning Egypt into an Islamic state … like Iran.
Indeed, some protesters were so wistful that they began rallying support for Mubarak loyalist Ahmed Shafiq in this weekend’s presidential runoff election in a desperate bid to prevent the Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohamed Morsi, from winning.
Our goal is a civil state. We don’t see anyone else who can protect this except for [Shafiq].
(Montaser Qalbek, son of Azaziya’s town leader, The Times of Israel, June 13, 2012)
There is a Brotherhood strategy to work toward building an Islamic country.
(Yousef Sidhom, editor of the weekly Watani newspaper, The Times of Israel, June 13, 2012)
But their wistfulness must have heightened into buyers’ remorse when the Brotherhood began rallying support to have Shafiq disqualified from the runoff.
So just imagine the ironic prospect of a once proudly-secular Egypt having a parliament and presidency both controlled by Islamists. Except that the irony of ironies is that pro-democracy protesters can thank the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (aka the SCAF) for intervening yesterday to prevent this from happening.
Specifically, the SCAF-backed Supreme Constitutional Court not only ruled that Shafiq can stand in the runoff, but actually dissolved the Brotherhood-controlled parliament, claiming that:
One-third of Egypt’s members of parliament were invalid because they ran as independents and later joined party blocs [i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood].
(CNN, June 14, 2012)
Clearly the intent here is to force Islamists to identify themselves so that voters will not be duped into voting for members of the Brotherhood fronting as independent candidates. What’s more, if by some fluke the Brotherhood’s candidate were to win the presidential runoff, chances are very good that the court will find some reason to invalidate that outcome too.
Therefore, what is unfolding in Egypt is, in effect, a military coup d’état against the democratically elected government of the Muslim Brotherhood. And if you think the military is serving as deus ex machina just for pro-democracy protesters, think again. Because despite their chest thumping about their democratic values, no two countries are more pleased about what is unfolding there than the United States and Israel.
(The United States is depending on the military to prevent Iran from usurping its influence in Egypt the way Iran has done in Iraq. Israel is depending on it to uphold the historic Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty that the Brotherhood was already threatening to rescind. And they are both praying that the billions the United States provides the Egyptian military in aid will prove sufficient inducement in both respects.)
I never doubted it would be thus. Not least because, like Mubarak, the generals who still control Egypt are far more interested in making hedonistic trips to Paris than religious pilgrimages to Mecca:
The ominous fact is that the military rulers have just cause to fear ending up like Mubarak: in prison awaiting trial on a battery of corruption and murder charges. After all, they too have amassed so much ill-gotten wealth and ordered so many killings that to subordinate themselves to civilian rulers would be tantamount to signing their own arrest warrants.
Military rulers will continue to pay lip service to democratic elections. But, just as it was during Mubarak’s reign, they will ensure that no civilian government has the authority (or would dare) to check their power or investigate their activities.
(“Egypt: Military Savior a Bigger Devil than Mubarak?” The iPINIONS Journal, November 22, 2011)
Accordingly, the SCAF reacted to the court’s dissolution of parliament by assuming “full legislative control of government.”
With all due respect to the protesters, the issue is not whether Mubarak will go, for he will. (The man is 82 and already looks half dead for Christ’s sake!) Rather, the issue is who will replace him. And it appears they have not given any thought whatsoever to this very critical question.
The devil the Egyptians know might prove far preferable to the devil they don’t. Just ask the Iranians who got rid of the Mubarak-like Shah in 1979 only to end up with the Ayatollah—whose Islamic revolution they’ve regretted (and have longed to overturn) ever since….
(“Army Pledges No Force Against Protesters,” The iPINIONS Journal, February 1, 2011)
You’d think these newly-baptized revolutionaries could cool their heels for just one more year while the council facilitates the drafting of a new constitution and the implementation of new policies and procedures to guarantee democratic elections.
But most of them are kids whose frame of reference is informed not by history or personal experience, but by social networking. As such they seem to think that transitioning from dictatorship to democracy should be as quick and easy as downloading a good-governance app to their PDAs.
(“Egyptian Revolution II,” The iPINIONS Journal, July 14, 2011)
And so the post-Mubarak chaos I warned about continues … with more pro-democracy protesters vowing to boycott the runoff than those planning to vote. This, of course, would virtually guarantee the outcome these nincompoop protesters fear most (i.e., the election of the Brotherhood’s candidate) and force the military to intervene again….