To the casual observer, Egypt appears in a mess these days. It certainly is fair to say that Egypt is in crisis-mode since President Morsi was forcefully removed by the military.
Some people want to call it a coup but others react vociferously to anyone questioning his overthrow.
From a former Facebook friend (an Egyptian-American living in the U.S.) who unfriended me for disagreeing with him:
33 million individuals went on the streets and squares all over Egypt major cities to get rid of the terrorist regime. MB is a terrorist regime known for their criminal acts and millions that did not come out but support. The Majority of peoples in Egypt request to step down and the Army support the majority….Got the message? IT IS A REVOLUTION WHETHER YOU AGREE OR NOT. THE LAST WORD FOR THE PEOPLE NOT FOR THE TERRORIST
Another Facebook friend, an Egyptian living in Cairo, did not support Morsi but believes the 2012 election was fair and he should be given the opportunity to complete his term in office. She values the rule of law.
A third Facebook friend, an Egyptian studying in the U.S. as a Fulbright scholar with plans to return to his country next year, told me he supports Morsi and is upset that the military removed him. What type of ‘democracy’ is this when a lawfully elected President can be forcefully removed?
As an American observing these events from afar, the ONLY thing I know for sure is that there is much disagreement about what happened last week in Egypt and what should happen moving forward.
Here’s what I suspect:
- President Morsi made many mistakes during his short 12-months in office and was incapable of governing for all Egyptians. He wanted to transform Egypt into an Islamist nation, and he thought that he was immune from the will of the people after election day. He had opportunities to correct his course and save his presidency, but he was stubborn and refused.
- The military has always been in charge in Egypt. They were in charge during Mubarak’s 30-year reign. They were in charge after Morsi was elected. They are in charge today. I have heard that the Egyptian military accounts for 40% of the nation’s economy because they are so heavily involved in the private sector. The 2011 “revolution” did not bring democracy to Egypt. The 2013 coup will not bring democracy either.
- Egyptians are suffering. Their economy has nose-dived, unemployment has sky-rocketed, tourism has dried up, and the basics (food and fuel) are in short supply. People who are hurting as much as Egyptians are hurting can’t be expected to sit at home quietly and “suck it up.” I suspect that many Egyptians on the streets this month who were demanding Morsi’s removal were desperately pleading for jobs and stability rather than fearing an Islamist nation.
- Regional and international interests played a role in the Egyptian coup. The U.S. doesn’t want to call it a coup because then it wouldn’t be allowed by law to send the F-16s and $$ to Egypt. Turkey denounced the coup and demanded that Morsi be returned to power. Syria’s Assad seemed pleased with the coup. Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia promised to send LOTS of $$ to the new interim government in Egypt, signaling their approval of the coup. Even Qatar’s new leader showed his support for the coup. No doubt, Israel is happy that the Muslim Brotherhood has been ousted.
- Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority, congratulated Egyptians and urged Palestinians in Gaza to follow their example by ousting Hamas from the Gaza Strip.
- The Muslim Brotherhood will be persecuted and worse in Egypt and in the Gulf States for the foreseeable future.
- Many Palestinians inside and outside of Gaza are caught because of the Rafah border closing. Medical patients can’t travel to get medical attention; students can’t travel to their universities; pilgrims can’t travel to Mecca; and many can’t return to their families in Gaza.
Who are the winners? Losers?
I think the clear winner is the Egyptian military – no doubt about it.
The clear loser is the Muslim Brotherhood. And I might add democracy.
Between those two extremes are the millions of Egyptians. It’s too soon to tell but I fear the worse.