Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On Egypt’s Troubles

I saw the first fully-truthful news story about the troubles in Egypt in the Wednesday 8-21-13 Waco “Trib”,  on page 6a,  sort-of hidden on the backside of section A.  That’s the first time I have seen this truth printed,  and I have not yet seen it anywhere on television or the internet. 

Update 9-11-13:  With the Syrian situation breaking toward a possible divestment of chemical weapons,  brokered by Russia,  I have begun to see some hints of the real truth showing up in a few of the TV news stories. 

Kudos to the “Trib” for running it.  This was an Associated Press story from Cairo,  written by one Hamza Hendawi,  obviously a local.  It is brief,  but contains all the information previously seen only as unconnected tidbits,  here and there. 
Morsi is Muslim Brotherhood to his core,  and was in prison as such,  when the revolution that overthrew Mubarak occurred.  The story brings up the connection between Morsi and Iran’s proxy army Hamas,  a connection that allowed his escape. 
The Muslim Brotherhood is a rather extreme-fundamental Islamist group,  not unlike the Taliban and some others.  It has been the “mother ship” for many of these other Islamist organizations,  according to the story.  These people are quite intolerant of personal freedom.
Morsi got elected Egypt’s president,  mainly because he was “not-Mubarak”.  The people passed-over his opponent in their first free election,  because of his taint of prior public service under Mubarak.  Morsi created,  by his presidential appointments,  a network of Muslim Brotherhood figures who would go along with the Brotherhood agenda:  to take over control and establish a strict religious dictatorship.
This group even modified the new constitution to aid their takeover,  and put that up for public approval.  As it became apparent that Egypt was headed for a fundamentalist dictatorship,  public opposition mounted.  When this became widespread massive public demonstrations,  Morsi’s government responded (not surprisingly) with violence. 
That’s when the Egyptian army stepped in,  on the side of the people,  and removed Morsi in a quick coup.  There have been very violent pro-Morsi demonstrations ever since,  but the anti-Morsi turnout has actually been larger (something not often reported). 

Yeah,  it was a coup.  Yeah,  the army is in control,  and has responded in-kind with violence,  to that violence perpetrated by the Morsi supporters.  We have yet to see the army stage a free election,  but I think they eventually will,  and the Egyptian people will be the better for it.  The army saved them from a harsh religious dictatorship that would have resembled the Taliban government in Afghanistan. 
According to the article,  the thinking in Egypt is that the Muslim Brotherhood is finished.  Either they ally themselves with Al Qaeda-like terrorists,  or else they go into hiding for a very long time.   It looks to Mr. Hendawi (and to me) like the new government,  whatever it turns out to be,  will have no place for the Muslim Brotherhood.  And that’s a good thing.

Here’s my take on it:  what you have really witnessed in Egypt is a cultural civil war between those wanting a religious dictatorship,  and those opposed to it.  Those two groups will temporarily ally,  in order to overthrow secular dictators (or foreigners -- update 9-11-13).  That throwing out dictators and having a civil war afterward is what the so-called “Arab spring” is really all about. 
Generalizing,  you have witnessed this same civil warfare in Iraq (it’s still going on,  even though we left),  Afghanistan,  Pakistan,  Libya,  and several other Middle Eastern countries.  It really doesn't matter whether you call them Al Qaeda,  Taliban,  or a whole host of other names,  it's always between those who want a religious dictatorship vs those who do not.  ---  9-11-13 update. 

Syria is still trying to get rid of a secular dictator (Assad).  We dallied around too long,  before deciding to help them.  Now,  the Syrian opposition has swelled with extremist foreign fighters,   who will start its cultural civil war as soon as Assad is overthrown.  They are already beginning to attack their opposition brethren who do not share their wish for an Islamist dictatorship.
Iran had its revolutionary overthrow of a dictator (the Shah,  that we put there,  which is why they hate us) long ago.  Their cultural civil war never erupted at that time,  they just went straight for the religious dictator (Ayatollah Khomeini) because he was “not-the-Shah”.  There was a hint of a revolt against the religious dictatorship recently,  but it aborted (we failed to help them). 

The bad news is that the fraction of local populations who want extremist religious dictatorships is so high.  The good news is that they are still minorities in some important places,  like Egypt.  I wish our State Department and our CIA understood this fact-of-life better.  Our track record dealing with this region over the last half a century is very poor. 

Update 9-24-13:  Recent AP news stories have described the dismantling of the Muslim Brotherhood's support network.  This was a network of needed social services not provided by others,  which then served as a "fundamentalist pulpit" from which to recruit extremists. 

It would appear that in Egypt the civil war is being won by those who do not want a religious dictatorship.  The question now is will they learn the lesson of the needed services?  If not,  those who want a religious dictatorship will just slowly rise again. 

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