How has the economic situation made the Brotherhood more moderate? Presumably because it needs to be so in order to keep Western aid and investment flowing. But both of these factors will be insufficient to help Egypt avoid a crack-up. Then comes the time for demagoguery. Moreover, the bottom line here is to claim that the Brotherhood can be bought off. Like Iran’s regime, Syria’s regime, Saddam Hussein, and others were bought off?
–If the generals try to limit or keep the Muslim Brotherhood out of power they will become less popular. Well, maybe that is so. But popularity isn’t the most important thing in the region. That’s an American obsession, not one from Arab politics.
–The United States doesn’t like the military’s policy and will punish the army (cutting off aid?) if it doesn’t surrender. That’s a terrible policy. Talk about empowering your enemies and bashing your friends! Why should the United States be the new patron of the most dangerously anti-American group in the world? I know. Because the Obama Administration believes that will make the Brotherhood more moderate. Yet even the Obama Administration has seen that this tactic didn’t work with Iran, Syria, Hamas, or Hizballah. Why should it work this time?
Then there are two extremely important points the editorial doesn’t tell you, and you won’t see in many places:
First, let’s remember that the parliamentary election was not invalidated by the army but by the Egyptian courts. Judges have been among the most courageous dissidents in Egypt. Many of them spoke out against the Mubarak regime and they are not the clients of the army but an independent force in their own right. So if you want to exalt the rule of law, you should support the military in trying to enforce a legally binding decision by two Egyptian courts.
Second, the left and liberal forces are largely boycotting the attempt to revive the parliament illegally because they fear the Muslim Brotherhood’s monopoly on power. Have you noticed that moderate support for anti-army demonstrations has dwindled away now? It is the Brotherhood that is going up against the armed forces, though leaving the door open for a deal.
PS: The head of Israel’s military intelligence has said that Israel’s army has stopped a dozen attempted cross-border attacks in Sinai. This is of extraordinary significance since it shows a full-scale offensive is underway and not just the two attacks previously implemented.
PPS: So ridiculous is the coverage in the mainstream media that we are now told by the New York Times and by the Atlantic that Arab liberals jeered Clinton because American conservatives told them to do so! Apparently, the Egyptian reformers are too stupid to figure out for themselves that Obama is their good buddy.Barry Rubin
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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