Friday, August 16, 2013
Egypt today is on the brink of civil war. The revolution that began 2 years ago with so much hope now ends in horror.
The Egyptian regime admits to over 600 deaths nationwide in a brutal crackdown on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood activists claim that number is around 2000. The truth is probably somewhere between those 2 numbers. In either case there was a catastrophic loss of life. This bloodshed almost certainly puts an end to any hope of a negotiated settlement. Once blood is spilled, passions of fury and vengeance are unleashed and all bets are off.
Egypt's Coptic Christians find themselves in the middle with angry mobs setting fire to churches, monasteries, and schools in cities throughout Egypt.
None of the main factions in this struggle could be described as liberal or democratic. The Egyptian military is determined to cling to the privileged status it has enjoyed since the days of Nasser. It will do nothing to loosen its hold on Egypt's government, and is determined to remain the final arbiter in all political matters. The Muslim Brotherhood wants to transform Egypt into a theocratic state, not a liberal or democratic one. It will use democratic means, if necessary, to achieve anti-democratic ends. Their loyalty is less to Egypt in particular and more to a kind of pan-Islamic nationalism, to Sayid Qutb's vision of a restored universal caliphate.
Egypt's liberals, in their struggles with the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamism and former president Mohammed Morsi's increasingly autocratic rule threw in their lot with the Egyptian military. Mohammed El Baradei's resignation from the vice presidency in the wake of Wednesday's massacre indicates a lot of second thoughts and some remorse over expecting something so undemocratic as the military to champion democratic and liberal causes.
Now, Egypt is going through a paroxysm of bloodshed that may well end in some worse kind of autocratic rule, either in another military dictatorship or an Islamist theocratic state.
Posted by Counterlight at Friday, August 16, 2013