In fact, Clinton, on June 21m denounced the military’s attempt to curtail the powers of the Muslim Brotherhood as “clearly troubling,” adding, “The military has to assume an appropriate role which is not to interfere with, dominate or try to subvert the constitutional authority.” In the Egyptian frame of reference, that’s a vote for the Muslim Brotherhood.
In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood has been preparing for “dual power” — as Lenin described the balance between the Bolsheviks and the democratically elected Kerensky government in the months leading to the November 1917 revolution — for most of the past year. Last month I reported (“The horror and the pita,” Asia Times, May 1):
The first Islamist equivalent of workers’ soviets, or “revolutionary committees,” were formed to discipline bakeries and propane sellers who “charge more than the price prescribed by law,” the Federation of Egyptian Radio and Television reported on May 3, 2011. These committees formed under the aegis of the Ministry of Solidarity and Social Justice. What has already emerged in Egypt, to use Leninist terminology, is a situation of dual power. The military government remains in command, but critical economic functions already are in the hands of Islamist parties. The Ministry of Solidarity and Social Justice began forming “revolutionary committees” to mete out street justice to bakeries, propane dealers and street vendors who “charge more than the price prescribed by law”, the Federation of Egyptian Radio and Television reported on May 3, 2011. The Solidarity ministry declared that “Gangsters are in control of bread and butane prices” and “people’s committees” would be formed to combat them.
Egypt has a real army, unlike the Fatah bully-boys whom Hamas gunmen kneecapped and pitched from rooftops during the 2007 Gaza coup. And unlike Hamas, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has no military wing or any hope of standing up to the Egyptian army in a real fight. But with half the Egyptian population barely (and not always) able to maintain minimum caloric consumption, the Muslim Brotherhood’s hold on the street will be hard to dislodge, and a long and bitter, and perhaps bloody, struggle for power is the probable outcome. And the result of yet another experiment in Arab democracy will be yet another monster. Baron von Frankenstein, call your office.