Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Big Trouble in Egypt: Part II

We swear to God to sacrifice with our blood for Egypt and its people against any terrorist, extremist, or ignoramus.
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

I am prepared to sacrifice my blood for the sake of the security and stability of this homeland.
Mohammed Morsi, President of Egypt.

Odds are before this is all over a lot of people will be sacrificing their blood. That is what happens when you teeter on the brink of a civil war.

Right now in Egypt the situation is, as they say, fluid.

A live NBC feed from Tahrir Square in Cairo shows tens of thousands of flag waving Egyptians, occasional fireworks and street fires and the evening sky spiked with green hand held laser beams. Chants and widespread cheering can be heard as well as what could be either more fireworks, or gunfire.

An unnamed Morsi advisor has been quoted as saying a military coup is underway, that tanks are on the move outside the city and communications with the president have been cut off. There are also reports that some of the leadership of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested.

NBC is also saying that a few hour before the deadline set by al-Sisi a couple of days ago, a number of civilian political leaders were called in to confer with a group of senior military officers. Can you say interim government? Earlier the opposition Dustour Party had appealed to the army to protect the citizenry, "after Morsi lost his mind and incited bloodshed of Egyptians."

Yes, it appears the first democratically elected president in the 5,000 plus year history of Egypt is a dead duck.

This won't end well for many. Morsi supporters were in the streets also the other day. In fact estimates put their number at 100,000. Chances are more than a few of them aren't going to take a coup sitting down. Violence looms over the entire country like the biblical angel of death.

Morsi has claimed the demonstrations and opposition are being driven by supporters of the ousted Hosni Mubarak. He maintains these shadowy conspirators have done everything they could to sabotage his regime. He might even of had a point, however he didn't help himself when he began to consolidate presidential power in a way that looked suspiciously like Mubarak himself. As one opposition leader said, "We see Mubarak's face in Morsi."

The truth is during the single year of his leadership what the average Egyptian saw was an economy coming unglued, wide spread power outages, and hard line Islamists beginning to move a secular Egypt toward a theocracy. Violence against the Coptic Christian minority was on the rise and it appeared Morsi was turning a blind eye, not only to their situation, but to the arrest and detention of just about anyone who opposed him. When Morsi supporters began to say things like the opposition is, "waging a war against Islam," fears that the nation was on the verge of being taken over by crazed fundamentalists were confirmed.

So this particular experiment in democracy didn't do so hot. And make no mistake, that is exactly what it was. The man was voted into office by a clear majority only a year ago in an election that was far less corrupt than the last one down in Florida. Unfortunately he apparently didn't have a clue when it came to actually running a modern nation and was determined to make sure he and his supporters were going to be in power no matter what. Indeed, all that democracy stuff is fine and good until it limits what you can do and how long you can stay.

So Morsi is probably gone by now. We don't know if he had to sacrifice his blood, or not. However, he did sacrifice his office and the political clout of the Muslim Brotherhood. You can bet if the military is running things that entire organization will collectively become persona non grata in a hurry. Whether they arm themselves and go all tamarod is still very much in question, but don't be surprised if we start reading about an epidemic of IED explosions in popular locales soon.

Such is the nature of modern revolutions and civil wars. In the twenty first century everyone is a combatant and if you aren't with me, you're a legitimate target and fair game.

Just ask them in Syria.


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