Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Egypt in chaos

The big question of the moment in the Arab world is whether or not Egypt is following Syria down the path to civil war and ruin.  The stage is set for a clash between the Egyptian Army and the regime of Pres. Morsi, since the riots in Egypt have left Morsi with only his Muslim Broitherhood party supporting him and the Army is supporting the people and have given Morsi a 48 hr ultimatum to negotiate a power sharing agreement with the leaders of the insurrection.  However, this is opposite to the situation in Syria, where the Army has always been an integral part of the Assad regime and has staunchly supported the regime in its civil war against the people.  In Syria the people have revolted because the Assad regime is an absolute dictatorship that refused to share power, while in Egypt, Pres Morsi was elected after the overthrow of the dictator Mubarak.  But, Morsi has done nothing for the Egyptian economy and people, rather he has consolidated power on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood. 
Although the situations are different, the same outcome may result, civil war and chaos.  In Egypt as in Syria there is no experience with democracy and power blocs tend to simply fight it out. Thus in Egypt the two armed elements are the Army and the MB, that might end up fighting each other, with the people supporting the Army, although the MB is a force to be reckoned with. In both Syria and Egypt, the interests that bind the Army and the parties involved in the conflict together are stronger than those that tie Egypt or Syria together as national entities. 
Egypt with its over 80 million people is a country in economic meltdown.  People are hungry and there is no relief ins sight, no evidence that Morsi can deliver on anything but holding onto power.  The Egyptian Army has significant economic interests that its generals want to protect, and they think the best way of doing this is to support the people againt Morsi.  Of course, this has nothing whatsoever to do with Israel, and anyone who thinks the Palestinian situation is the root cause of this confict is on another planet.  This disengagement from the Palestinian cause and engagement with he reality of Egyptian's survival has been a long time coming. After the great victory of 1973 (in their eyes), when the Egyptian Army crossed the Suez canal and defeated the Israeli forces at first, the crowds in Cairo chanted to Pres. Sadat "hero of the crossing, where is our breakfast?"   In effect, they are still chanting this mantra.


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