Sunday, April 17, 2011

Radical Islamists Poised To Seize Control of Egypt

As Egypt prepares for the first post-Mubarak elections in September, it becomes more and more obvious that Egypt is going to become the Obama Administration's Iran, just as I predicted a long time ago.

President Obama and his minions encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood and undermined Mubarak politically and now the West is going to be faced with the consequences of that decision.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most organized political power and the founder of Hamas is overwhelming the middle class 'pro-democracy' protesters, and Mohammed Badie, the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader, last week predicted the group's candidates would win 75 per cent of the seats it contested.

And there are even more Islamist groups like Gamaa al-Islamiya, an al-Qaeda linked group that promotes Salafist policies who will likely win enough seats to be part of the government.

In another sign of how things are going, Egypt's Coptic Christians, 10 per cent of the population are starting to flee the country. Al-Masry al-Youm, an Egyptian newspaper, reported last week that the Canadian embassy had been swamped by visa requests from Coptic Christians.

The army, just as it did in Iran, is standing aside in a devil's bargain that the Islamists will allow them to keep their perks and power in exchange for supporting the regime.

Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party, which won 80 per cent of seats in parliament in December's election has been officially disbanded by the Egyptians courts, Mubarak is in the hospital after suffering a heart attack prior to being subjected to questioning over accusations of corruption and his two sons, along with other members of the Mubarak regime are in jail.

There's very little standing in the way of the Islamists taking over.

The leading candidates for Egypt's presidency have all but acknowledged th efact that the next Egypt will be Islamist. The front runner right now, Amr Moussa, the Arab League president, is essentially running on a quasi-Islamist platform that will incorporate sharia, end Egypt's blockade of Gaza, resume relations with Hamas and severely curtail if not end relations with Israel.

At that, Amr Moussa may very well be a stop gap President in the manner of Iran's Mehdi Bazargan, who was pushed out of the way by Khomeini as soon as Khomeini was ready to take over.

Egypt has a population of 80 million people that is can't support, half of its food is now imported, unemployment is rampant, the government admits to 12% inflation and one in four Egyptians is illiterate, including almost 70% of the women.

Mubarak being gone is not going to change this. It might very well be to the Muslim Brotherhood's advantage to have someone else in the president's chair for awhile. These problems guarantee that no matter who rules Egypt, a combination of Islam, harsh repression and the use of a convenient scapegoat like Israel or America may be the only way a new regime will have to keep things in line.

Like every Arab democracy thus far, Egypt's can be counted on to last for one election.

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B.Poster said...

There was nothing that the United States could have done to preserve the Mubarak government. It was going to fall even if America supported it with every thing had. Would supporting the Mubarak government been a particualy good idea? The relationship between Egypt and America was tenuous at best. Even had the Mubarak government somehow survived, it would have eventually cut America loose any way. Very likely this would have happened sooner than later. As such, preparing for a post-Mubarak Egypt would be prudent policy for America to adopt.

Given this political reality, America essentially had two viable options. 1.)Try to work within the revolutionary movement to identify groups who will address the needs of the Egyptian people and who will work with America in regards to its interests. 2.)Do nothing. Wait and see what develops then try and work with whoever emerges as the Egyptian leadership.

While option 1 might be the optimal policy, there are several problems with it. Given the utter contempt held for America by the people in this region and their leaders, any help America might lend would have to be delivered covertly. Also, this means identifying these groups and getting needed aid to them. All of this has to happen without being detected. Frankly, the CIA and other US intellegence agencies lack the core competencies to be capable of carrying out such a mission. I doubt the Western Europeans could do it either. Even if they could, they are not going to want to do any thing to help America who is their "strategic competitor."

If option 2 is implemented, then the Mubark government still falls but it likely takes a bit longer than it would have the way things were done. I estimate it would have taken six months to a year for the government to be fully out of power. In any group of people there are going to be people with a myriad of interests and goals and because humans wish to survive and to achieve those goals and interests these other groups would have organized and gained in strength. As such, by the time the Mubarak government is fully phased out of power it is very likely there would have been other factions to act as a counter weight to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic terrorists.

Unfortunately by intervening the way it did this meant the Mubark government fell faster than it would have had we simply done nothing. This meant other groups who could have and likely would have been able to counter the Islamists never had a chance to organize or prepare. As the Islamists are the most organized, no one else had a chance. As pointed out previously, the government was going to fall no matter what we did.

It clearly seems our best course of action would have been to completely stay out of the Egyptian situation. Allow them to sort this out and then try to work with whoever emerges in the leadership positions.

B.Poster said...

I agree with you regarding the problems Egypt faces and the fact that they aren't going away just because Mubarak is gone. The same holds true for America. Even if Barak Obama and the Democrats suddenly left this would not solve America's problems. Every problem America has predates the Obama Administration, however, he and his team has made the already existant problems much worse.

Even if the country can survive his Administration, an iffy prosepct at best, it will take many long years and perhaps decades to undo all of the damage. In the mean time, as far as foreign policy goes, America should have two primary goals.
1.) Seek to avoid conflict with Russia and China. Having the two most powerful nations on earth opposed to us is not a tenable position. 2.) Seek to restrain the advance of Islamic terrorists. Acting to curb tensions with Russia and China should help in this regard. They often support Islamic terrorists in order to undermine us. Also, it will likely require relations with others who we will need to act in concer with. This leads to 3.) Work to improve our image around the world. As it is right now, we are the most univerisally despised country on earth. We simply must do a better job of getting our message out. While our officials are studying a situation and trying to figure out how to respond, our adversaries and their friends in the media immediately take the anti-American position and this position has already spread around the world a multitude of times before we have even formulated a policy!!