All Sorts of Things

Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.

Egypt: History Repeats Itself Amid Potential for a New Al-Qaida

The Egyptian military’s recent overthrow of the country’s popularly elected government – generally known as a coup – is nothing new for the Middle East. Unsurprisingly, it poses multiple scenarios for the country and region, and a number of them have been discussed in the media.

However, the most likely and dangerous outcome has not been reported: The potential for the rise of a new Al-Qaida (AQ) from the ashes of Egypt’s democracy movement.

History has shown that once you give a people a taste of freedom, it’s quite difficult to repress them again. It can be done, of course, but not without a lot of blood being shed and lives being lost. The Egyptian military seems to know this and has been particularly brutal and carefree with its bullets.

Consequently, the country has seen its streets filled with dead bodies of innocent civilians.

Whether the military will succeed in closing the lid on the Egyptians’ desire for freedom remains to be seen. Any failure, though, won’t be because of a lack of support because countries with a variety of differing agendas are condoning the military’s actions. These unlikely allies are Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States.

Speaking of the United States, Washington and the country’s citizens are living in an alternative universe where they have influence in Egypt. The truth is the US has neither the money nor military resources to counter the influence of other nations: Saudi Arabia’s donation of over $10 billion dwarfs the US’ $1.2 billion annual aid and removes any possibility of Egyptian generals listening to the demands of the Americans.

Secondly, since Israel supports the Egyptian military, the possibility that the US will do anything against the armed forces is non-existent. My point here is that the US is a minor player is this drama and that won’t change regardless of what the American people want or demand.

The two countries with the biggest influence in Egypt are Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Both aren’t big fans of democracy and Islamist parties, so their support for the military makes complete sense. Plus, they have the financial resources to support the devastated Egyptian economy, which explains their influence with Egyptian power-players.

Given the long-term relationship between Jerusalem and the Egyptian armed forces, it’s easy to understand why Israel is not a big fan of its neighbor’s democratic forces. While it does not have the fiscal resources, its influence with the US makes it a valuable ally for the military.

The problem – and what these countries perhaps don’t realize – is that it was just this kind of repression that radicalized Ayman Al-Zawahiri – the co-founder of AQ.

What concerns me is what this current crackdown will bring and whether it will have profound impacts on the world in the future.

I am as anti-religious as an average agnostic but the fact is that President Mursi was democratically elected and overthrowing his government because of the unpopularity of his policies and actions runs counter to every principle the US and Israel purportedly support.

Some could argue that the military has thrown the baby out with the bathwater and that they should have just thrown out the baby (Musri) but kept the bathwater (democracy).

Now, there is no baby or bathwater and the country is left with stern nannies looking for something to discipline.

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This entry was posted on August 24, 2013 by in International Affairs and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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