Egyptian democracy

hucks

Your Message Here
This was the old rolling Arab spring slander gossip lies thread, but agreed. Come on Cramer, explain it all please.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
if no one else will I’ll have a crack at it. haven’t followed this as close as 2 yrs ago or Iran 09 but close enough to get gist I think.

been hashing my thoughts out w/a free minute here and there for last couple days. bit long, bear with:

so economy, not great to begin with, has completely gone to shit since the revolution. Huge increase in poverty, massive debt growth, govt burning through its cash reserves at speed of light, to the point where it can barely fulfill populace’s basic needs (food, water, energy), and that only via huge loans from places like Qatar and Turkey (and U.S.’s annual aid, of course). IMF offering loans but only, of course, on condition of imposing austerity, which would mean cutting food + energy subsidies, which no politician wants to do b/c 1) they’re wildly popular and 2) they’re the only thing keeping lot of people solvent. some of this mess not post-Mubarak govt’s fault, whole region still feeling economic fallout of Arab Spring – lack of investment and total drying up of tourism, latter of which hits Egypt especially hard – but still MB and opposition spent all their time arguing about who and how would govern and very little actually governing. not to say that poor Egyptians don’t also care about creeping sharia and the deep state and whatever else but important economic motivations inspiring huge mass unrest seem at odds with what various factions vying for power are talking about and doing.

the military is smart, knew all they had to was wait and whoever got into power would make a shambles of it sooner or later. even smarter, learned they don’t want the headache of actually ruling, so will put in a puppet government to do it for them. only chance to dismantle security apparatus was right away post-Mubarak, should have been 1st order of business but instead MB and Salafis and secular/left just wanted to argue w/each other. Now they’re fucked, they’ll never be rid of it. also, military has apparently infiltrated the new govt bureaucracy to considerable extent, making it even harder to dislodge.

I wonder if MB or Salafis - who btw hate each other as much if not more than they hate anyone else - are significantly armed. seems unlikely unless one of them makes common cause w/some faction of army. not a free for all like Syria. tho, who knows. think this current relative hands-off approach by military to MB/protests is a release valve for Islamist anger, as well as cleverly using legitimate popular anger as a cover for coup, to make it seem legitimate/non-violent. [UPDATE: well there goes hands off]

Feel like unfortunately pretty much all of what I said a year ago is/came true:

2 other points of note, both of which should also surprise no one: secular liberals + leftists have, after being such a driving force in the revolution, been thoroughly marginalized; the security apparatus of the Mubarak state are still well entrenched and will likely continue being so despite all other factions agreeing (possibly the only thing they agree on) that they are bad. oh yes and as mentioned Egyptian transitory politics are a total clusterfuck. neither a new military state or an Islamist takeover are entirely unlikely. I feel like my repetition of this idea is getting into carthago delenda est territory at this point, but again: to win a revolution is easier than, and don't matter if you can't, win the post-revolution. and the secular left/lib types Westerners like were always going to lose this one. your base can't be a million foreign fucking Twitter followers. social media revolutions are bullshit, especially once all those self-satisfied Westerners move on to the next Kony 2012 and leave you stuck in the shit by yourself. oh yes + Obama + his crew (+ anyone else who's mouth-serviced Arab Spring) left/are leaving those cats seriously in the lurch too. a new beginning indeed.

new military state, albeit through puppet civilian govt rather than directly, thwarts Islamist takeover. secular lib/left can get people onto the street and foreign media coverage but remains excluded from real power – at key moments it can tip the balance between the two big players but couldn’t face down either one on its own.

problem for U.S. and Israel same as always - who to support when there are no good options. bit embarrassing that we immediately cozied up to MB govt, which is now blowing up in our faces - U.S. ambassador big target of protests - but whoever comes in next we'll cozy up to them and they'll take it and won't step too far out of line, cos, you know, $$$ and military aid and etc. ultimately all we really give a shit about is stability and our security. al-Sisi is relatively young and vigorous, has U.S. ties, could easily be our strongman there for the next decade. Obama's Cairo speech, absurd bullshit at the time, grows more risible with every passing day.
 
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padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
if anyone else who really knows what they're talking about wants to step and tell me all the ways I'm wrong please do

my big question from all this: how much juice does the secular/lib/left really have? know I was a bit harsh on them above, but really they're pretty freaking impressive, especially compared to the opposition in other dictatorships (like, say, Russia). I just wonder if all they can do is mobilize protesters or if they have staying power. did organizers learn from '11 and spend the last year and a half starting grassroots networks like the MB and Salafis have? who is really behind Tamarod and how much influence does it actually have, given the Western media's tendency to overrate who it likes/identifies with?
 

crackerjack

Well-known member
Thanks for all that and I'm glad you added the 2nd comment. I'm pretty awestruck by the secular/lib/left's ability to mobilise and their sticking power, if not to move beyond that into actual govt or serious non-street organised opposition. My friend was out there recently, working with some independent Marxist media group, and said it was much as you describe in that respect – fabulous ability to diagnose what's wrong, non-existent programme for anything beyond that. She thinks ElBaradei's just an American stooge, but still the best hope in the current circumstances.

On the bright side, they've thrown down some serious markers for what people will and won't put up with. Main concern, beyond the econ ones you lay out, is an MB and/or Salafi return to violence. They may not have much by way of weaponry now, but can't imagine that being a major long-term obstacle if that's how enough of them decide to roll.
 

trza

Well-known member
If I am reading the tea leaves correctly, the secular left thinks the military is going to crack down on them after they deal with the Islamists.

The military government has appointed an economic team of super-technocrats, and have cash from friendly Arab regimes to pay the bills and slow the painful reforms. The cash from Saudi Arabia or Qatar may actually be American cash being funneled to the military, double secret type stuff. Every faction in Egypt accuses every other faction of being a pawn of the Americans, but the military has taken more aid than any other group over the years.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
I think that American military aid goes straight to the military. The Saudi money is Saudi money and has started to flow to the new administration following the removal of the Brotherhood. Before that it was mostly Qatari money donated by the former Emir who spent about a third of Qatar's capital reserves bankrolling the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt before he was, um, "moved aside". All the other GCC monarchs loathe them and would rather fund an Islamist-inflected military and even a secular-tinged National Coalition for Syria than rule by the Brotherhood. In contrast, the Obama administration bet the house on them and Ambassador Anne Patterson is viewed by many Egyptians and the military as a MB lackey.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
The cash from Saudi Arabia or Qatar may actually be American cash being funneled to the military

yeah I'm also skeptical of this. the GCC monarchies are lousy w/cash and (ex. Qatar) legitimately hate the MB, just as Turkey (or, Erdogan) and Qatar legitimately supported it.

we otoh don't care who's in charge so long as they're pliable to our interests, hence we embraced MB, and we'll embrace whoever comes out on top now. almost certainly the military whether directly or by proxy, tho I'm sure we'd even take the Salafists so long as they didn't like, immediately proclaim the caliphate and call for jihad. this kind of problem "I'll support whoever but for fuck's sake just pick someone and stick with em" is hardly new to American foreign policy.

@craner - I thought the new Qatari emir was as much of a fan of MB as his dad tho?
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Appalling news over the last week. Some estimates saying as many as 2000 murdered by security forces, MB promising more protests, Erdogan calling for the SC to meet.

How liberal can the liberal secular left be if they're willing to sit back and watch the massacre of their political opponents? How can anyone expect the MB to participate in any form of democratic process after this?
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Both very good questions, but the Muslim Brotherhood hostility to "democratic process" rather predates recent events.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
They didn't "pay" for the coup, the money came in after Morsi was deposed, in exactly the same way Qatari money ($8 billion) poured in once he was elected, thus bankrolling the MB and its own constitutional ambitions.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
They didn't "pay" for the coup, the money came in after Morsi was deposed, in exactly the same way Qatari money ($8 billion) poured in once he was elected, thus bankrolling the MB and its own constitutional ambitions.

Sure, I'd say it was a huge surprise to everyone. An unexpected gift.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Sure, I'd say it was a huge surprise to everyone. An unexpected gift.

Clearly not. But you are deliberately painting a lurid and fantastic picture of an innocent, self-sufficient and righteous Muslim Brotherhood being mercilessly overthrown in an army coup fully financed by wicked Gulf States and after they had joined the democratic process in good faith! That's not the full picture and I see your sympathy as misplaced, not for the people massacred yesterday but for the movement they support and for their leaders.
 
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