Monday, June 25, 2012 at 6:16 AM
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….
(“Military Coup after just Five Months of Democracy,” The iPINIONS Journal, June 15, 2012)
Today, just as I predicted, the military-appointed Higher Presidential Election Commission declared Mohammed Morsi the winner of last Sunday’s runoff election 52 percent to 48 percent over Shafiq.
More importantly though, just as I predicted, this declaration was rendered not just anticlimactic but moot a few days ago when the SCAF “intervened” by issuing a decree vesting in itself the exclusive power to make laws (most notably the writing of the constitution), manage the national budget, and deal with all matters related to military and foreign affairs (most notably handling all of the foreign aid from solicitous allies like the United States and the European Union).
This effectively makes Morsi little more than a presidential eunuch, and it is why the Commission made such a show of delineating all of the extraordinary steps it took to ensure that he was, in fact, democratically elected.
There seems little doubt that the military hopes propping up Morsi as a figure head will quell the fury of Islamists who have not only coopted the revolution secularists launched against Mubarak but threatened to turn Egypt into a bloody mess if the military denied them this now-hollow, though admittedly symbolic, victory.
And given that Islamists greeted this belated declaration by turning Tahrir Square into the biggest and most festive Sunday picnic in the history of mankind, the generals must be breathing a sigh of relief. It is noteworthy that Shafiq’s very gracious concession added to the festive atmosphere. (And I’m sure he will be handsomely rewarded for playing his part in orchestrating this dance to the death between the military and the Brotherhood that is just getting underway.)
Of course, as alluded to in my June 15 commentary, Egypt’s Western allies must be breathing a sigh of relief too: first, because there’s dancing instead of rioting tonight in Tahrir Square; and second, because they would have been loath to see Morsi and the Brotherhood given free rein to turn Egypt into an Islamic state.
It would be naïve, however, for anybody to believe that this honeymoon between the military and the Brotherhood will last for too long. Egypt could still (and most likely will) descend into a bloody mess….
NOTE: It speaks volumes about the hypocrisy and unintended consequences inherent in (far too many areas of) U.S. foreign policy that, after 40 years of funding and nurturing Mubarak’s dictatorship, the first democratically elected president of Egypt is an Islamist who is constitutionally inclined to see the United States as the “big Satan” and Israel as its “little Satan” – both of whom must be destroyed. Now the United States has to depend on its ties with the military instead of the civilian government to maintain its relationship with Egypt.
* This commentary was originally published yesterday, Sunday, at 7:26 pm