Egypt’s army is recasting the country’s political drama, giving a popular general the starring role in a change with echoes of the past that could undermine democracy in the Arab world.Sponsored Ads
Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has emerged as a hero to many Egyptians after toppling Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and cracking down hard on his Muslim Brotherhood.
Within a week of Morsi’s ouster, the ubiquitous gas lines and power shortages in Egypt ended.
Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer, because production can only sustain half its needs.
This sudden turn of events started to take shape even before the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait promised Egypt $12 billion in cash and fuel aid.
Evidently, the change of economic conditions in Egypt is due to certain business and other interests deliberately victimizing Egyptians by artificially throttling gas and power access.
These interests were keen to foster hostility against the Morsi regime — a clever, if mean act of subversion.
The Egyptian press drew quick attention to these “miraculous” events. The new military-installed regime knows the value of controlling the flow of information and misinformation.
As a result of these machinations, Egypt may have more fuel available than most people, including the Morsi government, had believed.
Ethiopia’s construction of a giant hydro dam near the headwaters of the Nile has Egypt’s leaders talking military action
Today’s Egyptians are facing two overriding crises that threaten their national wellbeing.
The one that is getting all the world headlines involves the domestic unrest over the now former Islamist government; the other is a foreign threat to alter the flow of the country’s essential life force, the Nile River.
For millennia, Egypt, which gets very little rainfall, has been totally dependent on the water and the silt of the Nile to survive and feed a now fast-growing population of 85 million.
So critical is this flow of the Nile that any diminution upstream is seen as a threat to the country’s very existence. That’s why Cairo has long vowed some form of direct military action, if necessary, to stop Ethiopia building a giant hydroelectric dam along the headwaters of the Nile that flows through its northern highlands.
Starvation is the unstated subject of this week’s military coup. For the past several months, the bottom half of Egypt’s population has had little to eat besides government-subsidized bread, and now the bread supply is threatened by a shortage of imported wheat. Despite $8 billion of aid from Qatar and smidgens from Libya, Turkey, and others, Egypt is struggling to meet a financing gap of perhaps $20 billion a year, made worse by the collapse of its major cash earner — the tourist industry. Malnutrition is epidemic in the form of extreme protein deficiency in a country where 40% of the adult population is already “stunted” by poor diet, according to the World Food Program. It is not that hard to get 14 million people into the streets if there is nothing to eat at home.
Nearly half of Egyptians are illiterate. Seventy percent of them live on the land, yet the country imports half its food. Its only cash-earning industry, namely tourism, is in ruins. Sixty years of military dictatorship have left it with college graduates unfit for the world market, and a few t-shirt factories turning Asian polyester into cut-rate exports. It cannot feed itself and it cannot earn enough to feed itself, as I have explained in a series of recent articles. Someone has to subsidize them, or a lot of them will starve. Unlike Mexico, Egypt can’t ship its rural poor to industrial nations in the north.
The people get the kind of government they deserve. Now they get to pay the price.
Where is this wonderful life promised by Islam and sharia law? We don’t see it anywhere on the planet Earth. Instead, all we get are promises and more violence. In the case of Egypt, we get starvation.
Stop thinking about religion as this warm and fuzzy thing sitting out there in space somewhere. Instead, think of it in a practical manner. It should be a set of instructions that will lead to a better life for all. If it fails that objective, then what good is it? Is some god just wasting our time? And I think Islam fails in that regard because it never provides proof of anything. Where is this Islamic beacon on the hill that the world is clamoring to get into? However, Judaism and Christianity do satisfy that objective if the people actually follow the instructions. We do see the world clamoring to get into America, Europe and Australia. And Israel is head and shoulders above its neighbors and most of the world.
On Sunday, Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi will complete his first year in office. Instead of being an occasion to celebrate – he is the first elected president – many fear the anniversary will mark the beginning of the collapse of Egypt’s political system.
The opposition has called for mass protests against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to take place on the day. Although dissent and protest is a political right in a democracy, these protests could result in a coup against the democratic process, and could plunge Egypt into a cycle of violence and chaos.
Goldman contends that Egypt’s unfixable economy will inexorably turn it into a failed state. Notwithstanding the existence of an educated, urbanized, and sophisticated class, Egypt remains an essentially pre-modern society with a 45% literacy rate and a dysfunctional higher education system unable to produce a competent labor pool to meet the demands of a globalized economy.
Over the past decade, Cairo’s annual imports soared from $10 billion to $60 billion, mainly due to rising food prices. (Although over 70 percent of Egyptians are involved in farming, the country imports half of its food consumption). While these economic woes began on Mubarak’s watch, the collapse of tourism and other economic problems under the Muslim Brotherhood regime has accelerated Egypt’s economic decline.
Has Moscow finally got the message? Israel cannot and will not tolerate the deployment of Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in Syria. If Moscow will not deliver the system to President Bashar Assad’s regime before 2014, Israelis can breathe easier. Those missiles, which would threaten civil and military aircraft flying over Israel, could be a real game changer. Therefore, Israel is not bluffing even if it means a dangerous confrontation with the Russians. (Prior to the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Israel ignored the Egyptian Army’s surreptitious movement of Russian SAM anti-aircraft missiles into the Suez Canal zone in flagrant violation of the ‘cease-fire in place’. When the Egyptians later launched their surprise attack they had an aerial umbrella in place that protected their ground forces crossing the waterway. The IDF paid a heavy price in blood when those missiles wreaked havoc on Israeli jets trying to assist the vastly outnumbered IDF soldiers on the eastern side of the Canal.) Moreover, an S-300 system in Syria could threaten any future preventative Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons program as well as instigating both Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza to step up their attacks on the Jewish state.
I am amazed at the current U.S. debate over Syria. Those urging intervention may be driven by humanitarian good intentions, to end the fighting and ease suffering. But whatever they are proposing–no-fly zones, safe havens, direct supply of weapons to rebels, etc—have they actually considered how four highly visible, recent precedents turned out?
Afghanistan: There is no question but that after September 11, 2001, the United States had to invade Afghanistan, destroy the al-Qaida infrastructure there, and overthrow its Taliban partner. Yet today, twelve years later U.S. troops are still in Afghanistan! The delusion of rebuilding that country has predictably failed. About 2200 Americans have died, many of them killed by Afghan “allies.” The Afghan government is not exactly “grateful.” The Taliban is still strong. Again, that war was necessary but how worthwhile was it and how expensive and difficult has it been for the United States to extricate itself. Even after 4 and one-half years of Barack Obama U.S. soldiers are still there.
Egypt: U.S. intervention in Egypt overthrew an ally. Many Egyptians now see, despite the talk about democracy, that they are worse off. Talk about freedom quickly turned into domination by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist mobs. The economy is going down the drain. Christians are under siege; women’s rights are shrinking. Other than a free media it is hard to see what Egyptians got out of it. Certainly, this intervention was a strategic defeat for the United States.
“It gives us the sense that the Egyptians want to attack Israel,” claims International Assessment and Strategy Center Senior Fellow Richard Fisher, on an arms deal that will send North Korean Scud missile parts through China to Egypt.
The Hermit Kingdom and the Brotherhood | Washington Free Beacon
United States intelligence agencies recently uncovered a covert deal between North Korea and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government to ship Scud missile parts from North Korea through China to Egypt.
Intelligence reports from mid-November were circulated to senior officials in the State Department, Pentagon, and intelligence agencies. The shipment would be the first by the North Korean regime to the new Egyptian regime headed by Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president.
The problem with Egypt and many other Islamic nations is they are ignorant of what they are demanding, and are left ignorant by their own media and educational system.
The problem in Egypt is not Mubarak or Morsi, King Farouk or Nasser. It is the ignorance of Egyptians about basics of their beloved religious law that they say they want enshrined in their constitution. I recently asked several Egyptians if they are aware of the following laws in Sharia pertaining to the Muslim head of state:
- It is obligatory to obey the commands of the Caliph (Muslim head of state), even if he is unjust.
- A Caliph can hold office through seizure of power, meaning through force.
- A Caliph is exempt from charges of murder, adultery, robbery, theft, drinking and in some cases of rape.
From the laws above, Morsi has not done anything against Sharia, but not one of the Egyptians I spoke to was aware of any such laws, and that Morsi’s recent power grab was in perfect harmony with the Sharia. By now it seems apparent that Egyptians are intentionally ignorant about Sharia and do not even want to take the effort to learn the truth abut Sharia, in case they they might reject it – an act which would turn them into apostates, eligible for death. Remaining ignorant and in denial about the Sharia elephant in the room therefore seems the only option.