Are Egypt and Tunisia Headed for Counter-Islamist Revolutions?

Islamists climbed to power in Egypt and Tunisia on the backs of economic protests which were hijacked by liberal activists which were then hijacked by Islamists. The Islamists won elections, but the liberals are still trying to pull them down and there’s plenty of economic discontent for them to work with.

In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has resorted to Mubarak’s old tactics of using violent attacks against protesters, particularly female protesters. Unlike Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t care what anyone thinks of it, but the escalation of that violence may lead somewhere they don’t expect.

Tahrir Square is once again turning into a protest ground, this time for Anti-Brotherhood activists who were the players in the original revolution. The confrontations between liberal protesters and government thugs is playing out a lot like the way the old revolution did. And while the Muslim Brotherhood reaped the rewards of that revolution, Mubarak was not removed by an election and there’s no reason to think that the same thing cannot also happen to Morsi.

Abdel-Halim Qandil, a co-founder of Kefaya, the liberal group designated by Western governments and democracy groups to take power after Mubarak, is now talking about a second revolution.

“Brotherhood leaders act like blind elephants and do not realise the magnitude of the social and political anger that is growing on the streets. It is escalating into calls for a new revolution,” Qandil stated.

The key ingredient is public anger. And economic problems will go on providing that. And that is why it is more important than ever for Congress to block any and all aid to Egypt. Such aid only bails out the Muslim Brotherhood. American aid to Russia salvaged Bolshevik rule. Aid to Egypt, regardless of how civilian it might seem on paper, will help the Brotherhood stay in power.

The key, on our end, to bringing down the Brotherhood is denying them money. Qatar can pump in plenty of cash, but it can’t subsidize all of Egypt and all its other Islamist conflicts as well.

Meanwhile in Tunisia tensions are growing with television stations on strike and protests are picking up after the exposure of the closeness of the ties between the ruling Ennahda Islamists and the Salafist thugs enforcing Sharia with their fists.

Tunisia is the country where Islamists are likeliest to be overthrown. It is the place where they are most vulnerable. It’s where the Arab Spring began and a defeat there will be demoralizing for them and undermine their entire strategy of taking power by winning elections. If the political Islamists lose the democracy debate and turn back to open violence, all the prog pundits will warn that they told us so, but it will make it much harder for them to take power and the status quo of a decade ago will snap back.

Morsi has lost his first political fight, trying to control the justice system. Ennahda is beginning to slip in Tunisia. Counterrevolutions there are possible and if they succeed, then some of the damage of the Arab Spring will be undone.

  • Horace

    I don't think so. The "brothers" will wreak merciless vengeance on these unislamic liberal upstarts quicker than you can fall off a camels hump. They've already fulfilled their function. The lowest common denominator of Islamic life seems like what you have in Afghanistan. A few thousand righteous beheadings, crucifixions, stonings, amputations, murders, kidnappings and blasphemy arrests, bombings at infidel gathering places, funerals, public squares and markets, shootings etc. etc. and just general evil corruption should reestablish the peace. Submission. I hope I'm wrong. Of course if Obama isn't around to bankroll the brothers they might have a tougher time supressing their victims.

    • muslim

      "wreak merciless vengeance" what like the west have been dong for centuries?!

  • Coptic John

    I hope so as a Coptic, but I'm afraid it's just a hope …
    Muslims in Egypt went through an extensive and contrived radicalization by MB for more than 40 years, and all regimes bolstered them by permission like Al Sadat or by omission like Mubarak…
    I can estimate around 65% of them are radicals and extremists and fanatics, it means around 50 million, more than the half population of the whole country!
    So you can't expect those savages to give up their daydream of ruling Egypt while they have more than 50 million radicals behind them can you?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The question is how many of them can they get into the streets in defense of the regime and how quickly will the military seize an opportunity to "restore order" if the Brotherhood overreaches?

      • Coptic John

        They have a canny knack to get their fanatics into the street, so they can gather and assemble millions in just hours and they did that before last year on what we called Kandahar's Friday …
        About the military, it turned out that they have been infiltrated by MB and the recent minister of defence a MB's sympathizer and appointed by Morsi, so the military have been contained …

        • skfln

          May God continue to support them so we can all enjoy justice you elitist biggot.

    • muslim

      As a coptic have you really lost any of your freedoms, peace, equalities??? no you haven't, I know I live in Cairo. You are just an elitist Christian who refuses to live under islamic law. Suck it up buddy muslims have lived under secular law for centuries and have had to put up with all immoral and unjust behaviour for years, now you can live under the peace and justice of an islamic system no matter how much you love violence, hatred and immorality.

  • Fabio Juliano

    This will never work because unlike Hosni Mubarak and other secular rulers, the Islamists will not hesitate for even second to massacre every single one of the blaspheming apostates who dare question Islamic rule, and for good measure their friends and families as well. That's exactly what happened in Iran to those who resisted Khomeini's regime.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      They won't hesitate, but the military might. And if the situation tilts out of control, SCAF might take the opportunity to stage yet another coup.

      • SuicidePrevention

        I agree the US shouldn't be sending any aid to the Egyptian government. Furthermore, I see no reason to believe that the US can further its long-term interests by any intervention in the Islamic world._You make the case in another article today that the distinction between islamic radicals and moderates is elusive if not illusionary. So it follows that there are no potential allies for us to side with. In Egypt, as in Libya, as in Syria, as in Iraq, as in Saudi Arabia.

        • SuicidePrevention

          For example, take our exercise in regime change in Iraq. An Iraq still ruled by Saddam Hussein would be no worse for us (and possibly better) than the current Iraqi government installed by George W Bush at the cost of tens of thousands of US casualties and 1+ trillion dollars. If we had done nothing, it's possible that Iraq and Iran would be occupied with fighting each other, as they were in the 80's. And, an unopposed Taliban in Afghanistan would be a demonstration to the world of Sharia. In any case, nobody in our government, past, present or future is capable of calculating the long-term consequences of our interventions in the Islamic world. It seems our leaders going back many decades have acted out of ignorance, short-term political calculation, and unjustified confidence. Oh yeah, there's also oil.

    • Muslim

      "Will not hesitate for even second to massacre every single one of the blaspheming" sounds exactly like every single western ruler to me. "Unlike Hosni Mubarak" Egypt was world famous for torturing anyone who questioned Mubaaraks power even verbally. I know you hate islam but try and maintain some sense of truth and dignity son.

  • Deerknocker

    What is the purpose of extending aid to a nation that permits our embassy to be torched?

  • Panos

    Move to bring Zawahiri back to Egypt doesn’t bode well for Counter-Islamist Revolutions.

    Islamic Leader Praises Zawahiri, Calls For Shariah Law in Egypt

    Rifai Taha, the former president of Gamaa Islamiyya’s Shura council in Egypt, said that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri should be praised and called on Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to allow Zawahiri’s return to Egypt.

    • muslim

      The more muslim minds in power the more global justice we get, justice for all not just for the rich. How stupid are most people when they defend secularist governments whose promises only apply to elitists and suck ups. When was the last time Earth shared in peace and harmony, oh yes it was during islamic rule. The peace was only disturbed when elitists and Jewish bankers decided they wanted their monopoly back so they invented terrorism and today they label anyone who oppose them with the same name. Wake up people before your souls are lost for eternity.

  • Muslim

    I hope they bring the Noor party into power, there would be true justice and peace in the world. I can't wait for the world to be ruled under the beauty and justice of islaam again and for the people to see the truth of the unjust jewish capitalist system which has scorned the earth and benifitted a handful of elite individuals and their families. Allahu Akbar.