Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Jonathan Spyer on Egypt

(ht Barry Rubin)

What is currently taking place in Egypt is a military coup in all but name. The army – the force through which Mubarak, Sadat and Nasir governed – is mobilizing to end the one year rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. It remains to be seen whether Mohammed Morsi and his comrades will yield to this mobilization, or attempt to resist it.
If they attempt the latter, Egypt will stand before a situation analogous to that of Algeria in 1991, when the regime’s military sought to annul the election victory of the Islamist FIS movement. The result was a bloody civil war which in retrospect may be seen as the precursor of what is now taking place in Syria, and what may now lie ahead in Egypt.
If, on the other hand, the Brotherhood choose to acquiesce to the demands of the military, then President Morsi’s remark that this will represent the reversal of the 2011 revolution is entirely correct. What will transpire will be military rule, presumably with a few civilian figureheads placed on the mast to enable the west to pretend that it is something else.
In 2010, I wrote a book called ‘The Transforming Fire’ which contains the following sentence; “In the Middle East, it is the regimes or the Islamists; there is no third way.” I undertake the somewhat vulgar act of quoting myself not in order to demonstrate what a very clever boy indeed I’ve been, but rather to indicate that this basic fact of the presence of two serious contenders for power in the main countries of the Arabic speaking world has been obvious and apparent before the events of 2011, which are usually (though inaccurately) held to mark the advent of the historic processes currently being witnessed in the Middle East.