April 9, 2013

ARAB SPRING NOT LOOKING SO SPRINGLIKE: Egypt’s Immobile Government Losing Grip on Security.

Security has become a huge problem in Cairo and other cities in Egypt. Large numbers of police have gone on strike over the past few months, leaving Egyptians at the mercy of armed gangs and vigilante groups. The situation for minorities is especially dangerous. The government tends to “condemn” violence and promise “transparent” investigations into events like this weekend’s fighting. President Morsi even condemned attacks on Christians as “an attack on me personally,” yet nothing much seems to improve.

Meanwhile, the Brotherhood government continues to run low on funds (President Morsi recently had to go looking for handouts from Libya and Iraq, of all places), and soon it won’t be able to continue to prop up Egypt’s shaky economy. Subsidies for cooking gas and bread, among other goods, are a huge burden for the government but canceling them would be unacceptable to many Egyptians. Security and the economy are bad and getting worse.

Which leads us to wonder: what happens if the Brotherhood fails?

Many in the Brotherhood are okay with the violence, but it doesn’t seem to have shut down opposition, and — by killing tourism, the main source of vital foreign exchange — it has only weakened the government overall. Meanwhile, is there anyone sending guns to the Copts?