Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Meanwhile, in Egypt

Things are falling apart:
Egypt's president, Mohamed Morsi, vowed to protect his presidency with his life on Tuesday night, hours before an ultimatum from the leader of Egypt's armed forces is due to expire.

In a defiant late-night speech, Morsi raised the stakes in the standoff between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military – the two most powerful groups in the land – as supporters and opponents of the president clashed in deadly gun fights across the country.

It leaves Egypt braced for its most decisive day since the revolution, with its military preparing to suspend the country's constitution and potentially cripple the authority of its first democratically elected leader.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) made clear that it would stick to an ultimatum it gave Morsi on Monday that urged the embattled president to respond to a wave of mass protests within 48 hours or face an intervention which would in effect subsume his government. Scaf has given no indication it will waive its ultimatum, which expires at 5pm on Wednesday.
It's easy to lump Egypt in with the rest of the Arab world, but it's a mistake to do so. The Egyptian military has a lot of weaponry at its disposal, thanks to well over 30 years of bipartisan largesse from the United States. There are almost 83 million people who live there, which makes Egypt the largest country in the Arab world by a significant margin. By contrast, Saudi Arabia has perhaps 25 million. Egyptians are dealing with the reality that many countries in that part of the world have encountered: you can't eat jihad.

Morsi can argue he is a legitimate ruler, but he'll only remain in power if the military abides it. This could get really ugly.


R.A. Crankbait said...

Morsi's comments in the article I read were very interesting in that he is claiming to hold on in the name of democracy, not the Muslim Brotherhood. If he is sincere it gives one pause to think along those lines, knowing how fragile a sprouting democracy can be as it emerges between the boulders of totalitarianism.

It makes me think of the Spanish Civil War when the elected Socialist/Communist/Anarchist Popular Front was challenged by the Nationalists/Fascists. The U.S. sent money and volunteers (and a fair portion of its progressive literati) to fight on behalf of the government.

It also suggests that despite all the reporting on 33 million people protesting, Morsi has a sizable block of supporters. This will get very, very messy.

Bike Bubba said...

It reminds me of the difference between a democracy and a republic, historically speaking at least; in a republic, certain outcomes are proscribed by law.

Like RA says, it could get really ugly very quickly, and quite frankly I'm not sure there are very many republics left in the world, despite the names.

Bike Bubba said...

....and he's gone, the military holding things down.....for now at least. We'll see how long it takes for the more conservative Islamists in uniform to start speaking up, or for the Islamic Brotherhood forces to act up.