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The Men Responsible for Starving Egyptian Families

The ship is sinking, and the cry is, "Women and children last!"

by
David P. Goldman

Bio

April 15, 2013 - 11:05 am
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Egypt’s pound has fallen by 40% since last December, from 6 to the dollar to 8.25 to the dollar on the black market. The prices of basic food items like beans and milk have risen by more than that, pricing all forms of protein out of the range of the half of Egyptians who live on less than $2 a day. And the worst is yet to come: according to the U.S. embassy, the Muslim Brotherhood government has vastly inflated its estimates of this year’s wheat harvest in order to keep export orders down — because it doesn’t have the money to pay for them. Egypt reportedly got $5 billion in emergency loans from Libya and Qatar (although it is not clear how much of that can be spent), but that barely covers the government’s arrears to oil companies operating in the country. I published an update on Egypt’s economic free fall in Asia Times Online¬†this morning.

Mohammed Morsi’s Islamist government is living hand to mouth, stiffing suppliers and exporters, and cadging emergency loans, but it hasn’t ordered a shipload of oil or wheat since January. When things get this bad, everyone who can get dollars out will. The ship is sinking, and the cry is, “Women and children last!”

Here’s an example.

Just after I filed the story, Al Ahram reported that the country’s cotton exports had dropped 40.6% between September-November of 2012 and the same period of 2011 (hat tip: Daniel Pipes). According to the Egyptian daily, the drop is due to much larger domestic purchases of cotton by local textile companies:

Egyptian textile companies bought 415.8 thousand metric quintals of the local cotton in the period September-November 2012, a whopping increase of 326 percent compared with the corresponding quarter a year before.

That makes no sense, because Egyptian textile exports also fell by a big margin.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Don't count on the current leadership to put much stock in that. At least one Muslim Brotherhood cleric has called for the destruction of the pyramids and other antiquities because they aren't Islamic. It would be interesting to see if the world will react any more strongly to such action than it did to the Taliban's destruction of those Buddha statues in Afghanistan.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The only practical assistance the US has provided to the Morsi government took the form of a shipment of 140,000 teargas canisters."

On top of that, the US has provided UNpractical assistance in the form of Abrams tanks and F-16 fighter jets (12 already provided this year, with 8 more expected). It's hard to fathom the thinking behind this when they could have better used some good old American wheat. The one consolation, I suppose, is that if/when Egypt tries to field these weapons in a war with Israel they won't have the fuel to operate them for long.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
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It is a delicate balance giving Muslim countries enough arms to keep the people down and the dictators in power; but not enough to cause too much external trouble.
Can you eat tear gas? What happens after the Bros. gas em, they still need food right?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Even if we sent them food aid instead of tear gas, none of it would reach the Christians unless they paid high prices for it to some muslim.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ah Yes, the MB in charge of Egypt. To hell with Mubarak, let's get rid of him and run this place ourselves, we can do a perfect job with Obama helping us..... And now the reality comes walking in the door and starvation is in the streets and it will get worse... Bring on the riots and murder. At least if they are killing each other, they are leaving their neighbors alone. Such a civilized bunch these people are.... I wonder if they like eating sand!
And we have the MB all over our country attempting to dismantle our government..... We will find their finger prints in the Boston Bombing.... you can bet on it...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, when the government is in charge of fuel AND food it's no wonder it has fallen apart. But that's a lesson they just never learn in tribal lands I guess.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Egypt's only salvation will lie with her archeological treasures. Millions of Europeans and more than a few Americans make the journey over there every year. I have to believe the volume is off significantly since the revolution. They must improve security and perceived stability in the country and revive that industry or they will starve.

The ruins there are fantastic, in size and scope more and better than anything else I have seen. If you haven't been that and if you have any interest in the ancient world, it should be on your bucket list. Perhaps one day it will again be possible to travel to Egypt and the Middle-east without risk of violence.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Don't count on the current leadership to put much stock in that. At least one Muslim Brotherhood cleric has called for the destruction of the pyramids and other antiquities because they aren't Islamic. It would be interesting to see if the world will react any more strongly to such action than it did to the Taliban's destruction of those Buddha statues in Afghanistan.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The only practical assistance the US has provided to the Morsi government took the form of a shipment of 140,000 teargas canisters."

On top of that, the US has provided UNpractical assistance in the form of Abrams tanks and F-16 fighter jets (12 already provided this year, with 8 more expected). It's hard to fathom the thinking behind this when they could have better used some good old American wheat. The one consolation, I suppose, is that if/when Egypt tries to field these weapons in a war with Israel they won't have the fuel to operate them for long.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I suppose, is that if/when Egypt tries to field these weapons in a war with Israel they won't have the fuel to operate them for long".
Hey,Ya, just like the "battle of the bulge" were Adolf ran out of gas.Good thinkin. And consider that Now Israel has that Huge gas field right of the coast so gas won't be an issue for them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"And consider that Now Israel has that Huge gas field right of the coast so gas won't be an issue for them. "

The gas fields off the Israeli coast are natural gas, not gasoline. I'm not aware of any tanks or other weapons that run on natural gas and I don't think you can convert natural gas to gasoline.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not that it matters much, but the correct name of the port in Suez that you mention in the last paragraph is Adabiya, and not Abadeya. It's spelled incorrectly already in the original article of the Egypt Independent that you quote. Must have been translated from Arabic by a dyslexic. Perhaps the proverbial dyslexic Agnostic insomniac who spends all night awake in bed wondering if there is a Dog.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There probably isn't a definitive English spelling of any Arabic words. There seem to be several alternative transliteration schemes, which is why you see "Koran, Quran, Qu'ran" or "Gaddafi, Qaddafi, Khadaffi" depending on which of those schemes is in use by that particular writer. I expect Adabiya and Abadeya are just another example of the same phenomenon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Lysdexia a thing awful is.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's 'on the one hand, this,' and on the other hand, 'that.' The lesson of the past 10 years is that an outsider can't change a culture, and a culture is what determines the economy.

What will the Muslim Bros do (aside from running away), and will Egypt learn the right lesson: this is your own culture, Egypt and live with it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another lesson they should learn is stop having so many kids. The Egyptian population has just shy of doubled since 1980 and has increased 11 million just between 2000 and 2008. All of those new mouths to feed combined with an economy that isn't growing to pace means unemployment and poverty, not to mention a population far beyond what the land can support. That last might not be an issue IF the country had sufficient exports to buy food to make up the balance, but Egypt doesn't.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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