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May 5, 2015 / 16 Iyar, 5775
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Rubin Reports: Egypt’s Presidential Election – Moderate Establishment vs. Totalitarian Revolutionaries

Egyptian Presidential candidate Ahmad Shafiq

Egyptian Presidential candidate Ahmad Shafiq
Photo Credit: Screenshot

The idea that total control of the government by the Brotherhood will moderate that group could not be more foolish. We have already seen over the last year how successes make the Islamists more extreme and intolerant.

Meanwhile, the liberal reformers become even more irrelevant as they condemn both sides or, in some cases, might even prefer the “pro-revolution” Brotherhood against the hated “military and establishment-backed” Shafiq. That seems to be the view of Western governments, media, and “experts,” too, even though they are gradually becoming more frightened of the Islamists.

Now, as cracked as this seems, the left-wing party, al-Nour, has endorsed the Brotherhood candidate for president! Why? Because they agree on hating America, Israel, the army, and the old regime. By the way, al-Nour’s leadership was among the “Facebook kids” who began the revolution in January 2011. They were allied with the Brotherhood then, too.

Of course, even if Shafiq wins, the Islamist-dominated parliament will really rule the country. Moreover, as we saw with violent attacks and arson at four of Shafiq’s election offices, there will be lots of violence from Salafists and possibly Brotherhood people. Christians, women who exercise certain rights and secularists will be attacked and at times killed.

The only way out would be a Shafiq-army alliance, giving the president — who has no political party and no organized base of support in parliament — some muscle. Following a period of massive violence, chaos, and economic catastrophe, that might eventually lead Egypt back to the kind of military regime that governed between 1952 and 2011, albeit with far more personal freedom and (possibly fixed) elections. Like it or not, that may well be the best possible option.

But first we have to see who is going to be Egypt’s president.

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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