“Chimps randomly throwing darts at the possible outcomes would have done almost as well as the experts.”
- Political Scientists Are Lousy Forecasters. (NYT) —-That’s because they don’t read WoJ.
The Dawn of the Zebiba Boyz
Egypt is a mess.
It has three times as many people as it can handle. it cannot count on any aid from the fabulously rich Arabs — and those rich Arabs of the Gulf, though they will do what they can to promote the spread of Islam, are not about to share their wealth. The greatest enemies of the idea of the world-wide caliphate are, in fact, the rich Arabs. But this is not yet understood by the poorer Arabs and Muslims. They keep thinking that all True Believers want that caliphate. What happens when they realize that the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Emiratis, the Qataris, have no intention of ever belonging to a grouping that would force them to share their wealth with Egypt, with Yemen, or still worse, with such non-Arab states as Pakistan and Bangladesh. That’s one reason the world-wide caliphate is an absurdity — but it’s not too early to start letting the poorer Muslims aware that the rich Muslims have no intention of helping them out, save with a few crumbs just to keep them quiet.
Egypt is overpopulated, and becoming more so every day. No matter who becomes president, that problem remains, and so does the greater problem that Ataturk tried to tackle: it is Islam itself that explains the political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral failures of Islamic states and societies, and explain the failures of Egypt. Can Islam be constrained? If so, it will take a military man, like Ataturk, or a group of strongmen, a junta of true believers in constraining Islam. Nasser, Naguib, and those other colonels were stuck on pan-Arabism. What Egypt needs is some Egypt-firsters, some sympathetic readers of Taha Hussein, some believers in Pharaonism, that is the notion that Egypt has nothing to gain, and a lot to lose, by counting on, by having much to do with, other Arab or Muslim countries. Through most of the 20th century, most Egyptians did not even think of themselves as Arabs, but as Egyptians. The transformation started under Nasser, and it can be undone, so that Egyptians will again think of themselves not as Arabs, but as Egyptians. It’s the military, with some intelligent secularists — the real and not the fake liberals, like “that Google guy” who so impressed Barack Obama, but who has turned out to be naive, and a simpleton, willing to take the side of the Ikhwan against the military.
The only side to take, for an Egyptian patriot, is that of the army, for at least the army does not believe in pan-Islam or, after three defeats (1956, 1967, 1973) in going to war again, and again losing, and this time losing, and for the third time, and therefore permanently, the Sinai. Whatever one says about the army, it knows that the Ikhwan will try to start trouble with Israel, will do what it can to start a war, because the members of the Muslim Brotherhood are not Egyptian Patriots, and not even pan-Arabists, like Nasser (as long as he was going to be the head of that movement, and after the 1967 defeat he had been so humiliated that that was no longer possible), but pan-Islamists. That is why one of the most important of the demands made by the army, one that has received not a single comment in the entire Western press, is that it be given the authority not to declare war, but to veto a declaration of war. That is to prevent the Muslims who take Islam to heart from stirring up trouble in the Sinai and Gaza, and then declaring war. Ahmed Shafiq, and Omar Soleiman, and others in the officer corps know exactly what they have to worry about. They don’t have to worry about Israel, as long as the Egyptian military keeps reasonable control of the Sinai Bedouin, and does what it can to isolate the Gazan Arabs.
Morsi the troglodyte — his outward aspect makes that clear –Â heads an organization, the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood, that consists of the primitives in Egypt, those who take Islam most to heart. They are not Egyptian patriots. They have bigger fish to fry. Today, Egypt, tomorrow the world will be made safe for the Muslim Brotherhood and Sharia.
There is no contest here. There is no choice.
You have to hope that the army, in what is announced in a few hours in Cairo, will have shown itself to have remained intelligently ruthless, intelligently patriotic, and will have ignored the crazed bleatingsÂ from the West and, especially, from Washington.