Middle East: From Bad to Brotherhood

Obama green-lighting Muslim Brotherhood participation in Egyptian government LA Times

An estimated one million people are protesting in Egypt, 250,000 in Cairo square. Thousands are fleeing as foreign countries step up  evacuations.

Egypt Going From Bad to Brotherhood (Atlas)

Same song and dance:

Those who believe they are commanded to kill and die for Allah will win:

Perhaps the most significant tensions among them are between young secular activists and the Muslim Brotherhood, which wants to form a state governed by Islamic law. The more secular are deeply suspicious the Brotherhood aims to co-opt what they contend is a spontaneous, popular movement. American officials have suggested they have similar fears.

The “more secular” will not stand and fight for their beliefs, they are secular because they want to live. The soldiers of Allah are prepared to kill and die to make profit Moe’s religion dominant. Egypt is cooked. You can stick a fork in it.

Jordan’s Plucky Little King Feels the Heat:

Now Jordan’s government falls in the great Arab revolt (Andrew Bolt)

Now it’s Jordan’s turn:

KING Abdullah II of Jordan has sacked the government after weeks of protests, but his choice of replacement premier failed to satisfy the powerful Islamist opposition’s demands for reform.

The king overnight named Maruf Bakhit, 64, to replace Samir Rifai, 43, with orders to carry out “true political reforms,” the palace said, but the Islamists criticised the choice, saying he is not a reformist…

The Islamists have long charged that the 2007 election was rigged after only six of the IAF’s 22 candidates were victorious that year, a tally sharply down on the 17 seats the group won in the previous polls in 2003.

Loyalists of the king again won a landslide in new elections last November after the IAF boycotted the poll in protest at constituency boundaries they said under-represented their urban strongholds.

You see the price to pay for suppressing democracy, even if to keep out Islamists. It just makes Islamists seem like democrats, and makes democrats feel like Islamists.

Meanwhile, the revolt in Egypt isn’t going away, and for now still seems to have the educated middle classes at its head and the Islamists under control:

Cairo’s Tahrir Square drew the largest crowd yet in eight days of demonstrations—and also the most diverse.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered to demand an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The army cleared the way for greater attendance, replacing the hated police as the main security force and declaring ahead of time that it wouldn’t use force.

In contrast to earlier protests made up mainly of young men, the crowd Tuesday featured a large number of women, some of them leading chants. Whole families were also in attendance, as was Egypt’s upper crust…

The crowd displayed a swelling sense of nationalism, amplified by groups of volunteers offering water and snacks to the demonstrators… When the time for noon prayers arrived, the chanting faded to a murmur, and the crowd kneeled together, forming a giant wave in yet another sign of unity. The move didn’t take on particularly religious overtones, and there was no chanting of Islamist slogans. It was just time to pray, and everyone paused together.

It is big:

Al-Jazeera TV estimated the crowd in the square at close to the 1 million organizers had called for. Soldiers ringed the square — Tahrir, which translates to “Liberation” and honors the 1952 revolution that forced the adbication of King Faruk — but let protesters pass after checking them for IDs and weapons.

But Mubarak needs to be shuffled out fast before this truly gets out of hand:

FRIDAY is set as D-Day – departure day – for Egypt’s embattled President, Hosni Mubarak, Mohamed ElBaradei, who is emerging as a leader of anti-regime protests, declared last night…
“What I have heard (from protesters) is that they want this to end, if not today, then by Friday maximum,” he said, adding that Egyptians have marked Friday as “Departure Day”…

At least 300 people have died in eight days of protests, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said last night…

In an unexpected move, Turkey, which also has a history of military influence in national affairs, called on Mr Mubarak to meet his people’s “desire for change”.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described his appeal to the Egyptian leader as “very sincere advice, a very sincere warning”. “Hear the cry of the people and their extremely humane demands . . . Meet the people’s desire for change without hesitation,” Mr Erdogan said.

Daniel Pipes predicts the military, not the Islamists, will come out on top:

Tunisia’s experience bears close examination for a pattern that may be repeated elsewhere. The military leadership there apparently concluded that its strongman, Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, had become too high maintenance – especially with his wife’s family’s flamboyant corruption – to maintain in power, so it ousted him and, for good measure, put out an international arrest warrant for him and his family.

That done, nearly the entire remaining old guard is still in power, with the top military man, chief of staff Rachid Ammar, apparently having replaced Ben Ali as the country’s powerbroker….

This scenario could be repeated elsewhere, especially in Egypt, where soldiers have dominated the government since 1952 and intend to maintain their power against the Muslim Brothers they have suppressed since 1954. Hosni Mubarak’s appointment of Omar Suleiman terminates the Mubarak family’s dynastic pretensions and raises the prospect of Mubarak resigning in favour of direct military rule… Heavy-handed rule will lighten somewhat in Egypt and elsewhere but the militaries will remain the ultimate powerbrokers.


Mubarak says he won’t stand in the next election and will go by September. I doubt that will be quick enough.