Egypt has gone from a bad dictatorship to worse…with lots of dead people in between.
Yesterday, Egypt’s High Court threw out its heavily Islamist parliament, reverting power to the military generals. Today, with no constitution and no legislature, Mohamed ElBaradei, a man the Jerusalem Post calls a “stooge for Iran”, described Egypt’s current state of complete “mess and confusion” as having “led nowhere except the place we were at 18 months ago, but under even more adverse conditions”. On the other hand, he describes the Muslim Brotherhood (75% of former parliament) as having “scared people right, left and centre with some of the extremist views put forward from them and other Islamist groups”.
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As Egypt prepares for its national election just hours from now, The Cutting Edge News agrees and goes further, describing the high potential for massive violence:
In short, everything is confused and everything is a mess. All calculations are thrown to the wind. What this appears to be is a new military coup. What is the underlying theme? The armed forces concluded that an Islamist takeover was so dangerous for Egypt and for its own interests that it is better to risk civil war, a bloodbath, and tremendous unpopularity than to remain passive and turn over power. I believe this decision was made very reluctantly and not out of some lust for power by the generals. They have decided that they had no choice.
Yes, it is under legal cover, but nobody is going to see it as a group of judges — appointed by former President Hosni Mubarak, remember — looking deep into the law books and coming up with a carefully reasoned decision based on precedent. In theory, this will be seen by every Islamist — whether Salafi or Muslim Brotherhood — and by most of the liberals — who feel closer to the Islamists than to the government — as if the 2011 revolution has just been reversed. In preparation, the army prepared a new regulation allowing itself arrest anyone.
Prediction: massive violence.
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Still, there’s something strange going on. So far, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists have not reacted so strongly. Is it that they were caught unawares, or want to keep quiet because they think they’ll win the presidential election, or maybe there will be some kind of deal in which the Muslim Brotherhood backs down, most of the parliamentary members will be allowed to stay on, and the military will retain a lot of political power? Everything is up in the air? So far the Brotherhood doesn’t seem so upset by the decision. Why is that?
With typical journalistic “neutrality,” CNN’s Ben Wedeman reported from Cairo: “Those who don’t want to see a return to the oppression of the past … are very unhappy with this ruling.” What about the people who don’t want a radical Islamist regime and a Sharia state to become the oppression of the future? …
I’m not saying that the armed forces told the justices to make such a ruling. But clearly by backing it up the generals are declaring their willingness to confront the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists rather than let them take power. Is there a precedent for this? You bet there is: Algeria.
In 1991 the Islamic Salvation Front was on the verge of gaining victory. Before the second round of voting could be held, the army staged a coup to stop the election. The resulting war lasted more than a decade — in some respects, it’s still continuing today. Cost in lives? About 150,000 — 200,000 in a country whose population was about one-third that of contemporary Egypt. You do the math.
This is bad. The Arab Spring has become the Arab Winter and they’re going to need a mortuary instead of a parliament building.