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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Egypt: Out of the Frying Pan into the Frying Pan

The military-civilian governors of Egypt are the same people who have always run the country. They have not done a great job.
The new rulers are the same people who have always run Egypt.

The new rulers are the same people who have always run Egypt.

Finally, there is the “moderate opposition” which will become restive under the return of the traditional elite. There are a lot of people who are celebrating today and will be protesting tomorrow. I want to be very clear that there are millions of good people who want better lives for their families and one should sympathize with their democratic aspirations.

But the truth is that their leaders are incompetent, the quarrels among the groups will reemerge, and some of these groups are undemocratic or anti-democratic.  An Egypt led by Muhammad al-Baradei, the spokesman of the opposition and a candidate for its leadership, would not be a better place than one led by a technocratic candidate of the military. His mismanagement of the International Atomic Energy Agency and favoring Iran was obvious.

It all reminds me of an article written by a Western newspaper correspondent about the Balkans in August 1940. Nazi Germany had just given its ally, Hungary, the Romanian-ruled territory of Transylvania.  He asked an old Jewish man living there what he thought about it. “The best thing that could happen,” he said, “would be that the Romanians left and the Hungarians never arrived.”

Meanwhile, Obama’s favorite Middle East leader, Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, shows how much he favors the anti-American Muslim Brotherhood. Erdogan’s EU minister said, “One Mursi will go, a thousand Mursi’s will come in Egypt’

It is understandable that the Turkish Islamists are uncomfortable about that kind of coup since it was once done against their predecessors. But the line should be drawn for U.S. policy: those who favor Islamist radicalism whether in Afghanistan, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, or Hamas and Hizballah are enemies of the United States. Those who oppose it are at least potential allies.

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


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