Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood Vs. The Old Order

The votes for the first round of the the Egyptian presidential election have been counted, and the results are predictable..one candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood representing the Islamists, an done candidate representing the military junta and the status quo. Given that the official turnout was only a mere 46%, I have a feeling this is no accident but the result of the military and the Brotherhood being the two factions with the most boots on the ground and thus being able to control the 'results'.

The junta's choice is Former air force commander Ahmed Shafiq, who ended up with 23.3 percent of the vote.He appeals to Egyptians who are starting to become leery of the idea of Islamist rule and what it might entail.He will also get support from the Copts ( about 10% of the electorate) and Egypt's business community, what remains of it.

His opponent, pictured above is the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Musri, pictured above, who got 24.3 percent of the vote.

Most of the rest of the vote went to leftist Hamdeen Sabahy, with 20.4 percent, Islamist Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, with 17.2 percent, and former Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, with 10.9 percent.

The secular leftists will be in the uncomfortable position of either voting for a man who has espoused admiration for deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak or voting for the Muslim Brotherhood. Those votes will likely be split as the more religious and more Marxist will vote for the Islamists, given that there's not much difference between the Brotherhood's economic policies and theirs. The more secularist 'liberals' will likely either hold their noses and vote for Shafiq or sit the election out.

Foutouh's supporters will almost certainly vote for Musri, and an endorsement by Foutouh is likely in exchange for a piece of the pie. Moussa's supporters are a mixed bag, and it's hard to tell which way they'd go.

Musri is not pulling any punches about what Egypt under his rule will be like. Just last week, at a Cairo University campaign rally, he said:

“The Quran in our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path, and martyrdom in the service of God is our goal. We shall enforce Islamic Sharia, and shall accept no alternative to it.”

If there's a reasonably honest election, I'd predict a win for Musri. If Shafiq wins, you can expect a great deal more unrest and turmoil.In fact, Shafiq's campaign headquarters in the residential quarter of Dokki were trashed and burnt to the ground by protesters as soon as the results came in.

The runoff, scheduled for June 16-17 will name the new president the military junta has promised to hand power to on July 1.

1 comment:

B.Poster said...

"If its a reasonably honest election, I'd predict a win for Musri." I agree. Furthermore given the intense and often hostile media scrutiny the opponents of the MB will face it is hard to envision how they would be able to pull off any electoral fraud without it being widely reported in the news media.

If Shafiq wins, you can expect a great deal more turmoil and unrest." Again, I agree, however, as in when Mubarak was overthrown, the whole thing depends on the military. Many people including much of the media think Mubarak was overthrown because of the bravery of the protestors. This is not the case. Mubarak was ousted because the military chose to stand down.

"In fact, Shafiq's campaign headquarters in the residential quarter of Dokki were trashed and burnt to the ground by protestors..." Can you imagine how the media would have reacted if Shafiq's supporters had behaved this way toward Musri's supporters? The media would have howled with rage against Shafiq and his supporters. When supporters of the MB do this kind of thing, there is virtual silence.

Its clear who the media wants. When Mubarak fell, they gushed like school girls experiencing their first crush toward the "rebels." Even before we really had any clue who these people were or what their agenda might be. As far as I can tell, we still don't knew who funded it, organized it, and directed it.

By trashing the campaign headquarters of an opponent might the MB have over played a good hand. Clearly they have the lead. Clearly even the military leaders want change. After all they stood down when Mubarak fell. Given these actions by the MB supporters, they might not be so quick to stand down next time.

Furthermore they may have learned some lessons from observing Bashar Assad in Syria. His forces did not stand down at the first sign of protest. Instead they brutally suppressed the protests and are on the verge of complete and total victory. For that matter, we could learn allot by studying the tactics and methods applied by Mr. Assad. I'm not suggesting they apply to our situation necessarily but it is a clear domonstration on how to win a war.