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The PJ Tatler

Bryan Preston


August 15, 2013 - 7:21 am

President Obama will interrupt his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to deliver a public statement on the rising violence in Egypt. What he’ll say or how effective it can possibly be is not at all clear. He and his administration seem to be viewing Egypt’s struggle as if it’s essentially American in character — just sit down at the table, talk it out, and all will be well. That doesn’t even always work well here, as Planned Parenthood protesters proved in Texas earlier this summer, and NARAL supporters proved yesterday. But the essentially American fight over abortion didn’t and never threatened to turn into a running war in the streets. It’s a different thing entirely to what we’re seeing in Egypt.

In Egypt, they do have a running war in the streets. It’s a war for the soul and direction of the country. The Daily Mail captured a horrifying scene in which Muslim Brotherhood supporters tossed an armored police truck off a bridge. About 50 police are among the dead as the violence continues to escalate.

The low-grade civil war in Egypt is entirely alien to the American experience. It’s tribal, it’s sectarian, it’s fundamentalist Islam versus the secular military. It has very little to do with the United States, yet the Obama administration has managed to look silly and impotent while alienating all sides. It helped oust secular Mubarak, said little about Muslim supremacist Morsi, and now just deplores violence because it can’t seem to figure out what else to say or do.

The Obama administration helped unleash this madness with its support of the so-called “Arab Spring.” It was obvious at the time that the Egypt lacks the institutions and history to transition smoothly to democracy. In its first election, Egypt elected the undemocratic Muslim Brotherhood, which promptly went about enshrining anti-democratic sharia law — and its own extremist ideology — into the fabric of Egyptian life. Backlash against that wasn’t inevitable, but now that it’s happened, it’s fierce. The military is fighting for stability and its own power, some Egyptians are genuinely fighting for freedom both from military and Islamist rule, and the Muslim Brotherhood are fighting to exterminate Christians and to further the Islamist revolution.

It may be that the violence just has to play itself out, and one side has to defeat the other.

Update: In an audio statement, Obama “strongly condemned” actions taken by the interim government, and announced that the US is canceling a joint military exercise with the Egyptian military. Great move — let’s isolate Egypt and send it running into the arms of Russia and China, or Iran, depending on which side wins.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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"It was obvious at the time that the Egypt lacks the institutions and history to transition smoothly to democracy."

Well, there's a lot of complexity there. We in the West keep putting this in the context of the MB and religion, and there was definitely that element, but the 13 million of the 26 million Egyptians who voted for Morsi knew who the MB was, and half turned away from him within a year.

The reasons for that are complex, but in a nutshell Egyptians saw Morsi as more concerned with institutionalizing the MB outside of institutions controlled by the vote than he was with jobs, bread and justice; it was just a different version of Mubarak - the rich stay rich, the poor stay poor.

Both the fall of Morsi and the failure of the economy are tied to the fact that all roads lead to Cairo. It is relatively simple to take over a country along a river, and similarly, there is no complexity to the economy that can hide the fact there are too many people on that river.

The true failure here is twofold: one is that the MB thought more of their own minority rule than they did of Egypt and worse, it is the MB street protesters who for the first time introduced guns away from sensitive areas like the Ministry of Defense, where security forces had used birdshot against besieging rock-throwing protesters.

Once the MB sit-ins used guns as an exclamation point to the resolve of their sit-ins, all hell broke loose. Even worse, scores of police stations and churches have been attacked and now Egypt is on full lock-down. The MB should've accepted Morsi's removal - they simply had no popular mandate to not do so - and could've licked their wounds, and lived to fight for votes another day.

Now who knows what'll happen. The army will come down hard on any further acts of terrorism by the MB and their supporters. The salafis have been noticeably silent. Even they aren't so stupid as the MB.
1 year ago
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I would expect we'll see Chinese or perhaps Indian troops occupying and securing the Suez canal zone. They have a deep economic interest in seeing the canal stay open and operating.
1 year ago
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