Thursday, January 23, 2014


In Egypt there are two main forces in conflict, the pro-Morsi Muslim Brotherhood and the Army supported by a large proportion of the secular and anti-Islamist population. Among the latter is the group called Tamarod, which is a faction of young, dedicated anti-Islamists who support democracy, but failing that, prefer to see the Army take power rather than the MB. Alhough there are many anti-Islamists in the Muslim world, they rarely come out and say that publicly for fear of being attacked and murdered. The conditions in Egypt right now are ripe for the organization of this anti-Islamist group.

Egypt recently had its referendum on the new constitution, introduced under the interim military government of Gen. Al-Sisi. Of those voting, about 98% supported the constitution, but the main opposition, namely the MB boycotted the vote. Nevertheless the turnout was greater (ca. 38%) than the turnout for the constitution introduced by Pres. Morsi when he was in power (29%) when the vote was boycotted by the secular forces. From this we can judge that while the majority did not participate, of those voting, more support this anti-Islamist constitution than oppose it.

What is the signifcance of the Tamarod movement in Egypt and elsewhere? Currently, having largely defeated the forces of the MB in Egypt itself, the Egyptian Army is continuing its crackdown on the terrorists in Sinai. Many have been killed on both sides, but the tunnels into Gaza have been closed and the border crossing into Gaza at Rafah has been open only spasmodically. There are reports that in order to bring Sinai under control, the Egyptian military government intends to try to bring down the Hamas government in Gaza. This government took power in a bloody coup in 2007 when they murdered many Fatah supporters. It is rumored that the Egyptian government is allying itself with Fatah against Hamas, and intends to take direct action against Hamas in Gaza. This is certainly in Israel's interest, since while Hamas is considered responsible for the periodic rocket attacks on southern Israel, Fatah at least seems more inclined to stop overt military attacks and terrorism.

It now appears that a parallel Palestinian Tamarod movement is starting in Gaza against Hamas. If that is true it is indeed good news, since the Palestinians have long been known for their tendency to tolerate the most extreme elements against Israel, even when this is against their own interests. The more Hamas takes a hard line against Israel, the more there are attacks and counter-attacks and the worse the situation of the Arabs in Gaza become. A Tamarod movement supported by the Egyptian government could make a difference and help to bring the Hamas government in Gaza down.


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