Out of Options in Egypt

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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Back during the early days of the Tahrir Square protests I wrote:

59 percent of Egyptian Muslims want democracy and 95 percent want Islam to play a large part in politics. 84 percent believe apostates should face the death penalty. That is what Egyptian democracy will look like. A unanimous majority that wants an Islamic state and a bare majority that wants democracy. Which one do you think will win out? A democratic majority of the country supports murdering people in the name of Islam. Mubarak’s government does not execute apostates or adulterers. But a democratic Egypt will. Why? Because it’s the will of the people.

Here we are almost a year later and we have gotten the democratic Egypt that anyone who understood the realities of the region should have expected. An Egyptian parliament divided between the Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a country divided between the Islamists who want to chop off heads now and the Islamists who think that it’s wiser to consolidate their power before chopping off heads.

The purpose of this article is not to berate the leftists and leftover neo-conservatives who supported the overthrow of Mubarak in the name of democracy. It’s a waste of breath and time. Ideologues who are committed to an ideology that explains the world in a way that seems moral and right do not stop what they are doing just because the consequences are disastrous.

Now they want us to intervene in Syria. Who else wants us to intervene in Syria? The Emir of Qatar, better known as the man behind Al Jazeera, which pushed the whole Arab Spring lie into an international myth to overthrow non-Islamist regimes across the region. The Emir is tipping his hand a little transparently by calling for troops to invade Syria instead of sitting back and letting his Al-Jazeera propagandists do the hard work of selling the West on an independent democracy movement, but the pro-democracy crowd isn’t paying attention.

They didn’t pay attention no matter how many times they were told that the Muslim Brotherhood was the dominant force behind the “pro-democracy uprising” and that they would be the beneficiaries if Mubarak were overthrown. It was all just noise to them. Democracy would conquer all and the same Twitter activists they were so chummy with would write the new constitution.

So here we are down the long road and Egyptian democracy wears a sword and a burqa. “I’ve got to hand it to the MB. They have played this revolution like a fiddle. And still do. Brilliant work.” That quote comes from Sandmonkey, one of the favorite activists of a lot of the bloggers and pundits endorsing the removal of Mubarak. There’s no more room for illusions. Supporting the removal of Mubarak was a mistake and it’s time to admit it and look at the available options.

Option 1. Pretend the Muslim Brotherhood or some wing of it is moderate. This is the approach on the left which is busy explaining that the Muslim Brotherhood is our best hope for restraining the Salafists and that the moderate Salafists are the best hope for restraining the extremist Salafists. These are the people who locked up with a tribe of cannibals would start dividing the cannibals into moderates and extremists, and feeding the moderates their own fingers to keep the extremists at bay.

Option 2. Pretend that the Brotherhood will comply with the democratic process long enough for Egyptian liberals to get their act together and start winning elections. Let’s call this strategy reading Locke to the cannibal tribe. And it comes from the same people who thought El Baradei would be ushering in a new age of democracy in Egypt right about now.

Option 3. Back the Egyptian military and support their use of whatever means necessary to stay in power and exercise absolute power. Not a pretty sentence I know. It means backing the people behind the virginity tests and plenty of things uglier than that. It means doing what we were doing all along, backing Arab dictators who sneer at human rights and rob the country blind. It’s also the only option on the table.

Now I don’t just mean it’s the only option on the table if you’re worried about the rise of Islamists and the transformation of Egypt into another Iran. I mean it’s the only option that actually exists.

You can support the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian military, or El Baradei and a magic troop of dancing democracy gnomes, and the end result will still be another dictatorship backed by a secret police that terrorizes dissidents and robs the country blind. That’s the only form of government that exists across the Muslim world.

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  • Yeshayahu Goldfeld

    I commiserate with the unfortunate inhabitants of Egypt in their insoluble economic plight and their complete political blindness.A hardcore group of discontented hatemongers and misfits -university lecturers,intellectuals, writers, lawyers , journalists and of course clergy -have propagated hatred towards the West and Jews and the whole of the population is incapacitated by rabid hatred towards Israel from taking any action to change their direct course to self destruction.

    • ziontruth

      Ah, the "tiny minority of extremists whose vocal character has overpowered the peaceful majority" canard again. Very PC, but not very truthful. It is the man in the street in Egypt who wanted this, who voted this, who wholeheartedly dreams of this and strives to make it true. The majority has spoken, and it is clear it wants to go the path of Islamic imperialism.

    • Philosopher

      I don't commiserate with the inhabitants of Egypt at all. To call them "unfortunate" is to assume that they had nothing to do with their situation. They had everything to do with it — and that includes the women. It even includes the Copts as they were just as willing to demonize the Jews before them as the Muslims were. In fact, they often led the Jew-hating movement.

      People create their situations and then cry that they are victims. The coming collapse of Egypt, and the utimate starvation of its people is something each and every Egyptian fully ensured — either by direct participation in the corruption, lawlessness and promulgation of hatred or just standing by and justifying it or not trying to change it. Islam needs to fail for the good of the world and future generations of Middle Easterners who cannot continue living with it. It isn't that their parents will be "sacrificed", it is that their parents will finally learn that all actions have consequences and that the blind hatred, violence and lies of Islam and their tribal culture must die out in exchange for something better to take its place.

  • Emilio Jaksetic

    I am puzzled why so many people seem to believe that democratic elections will guarantee results that they consider to be good, beneficial, or warranted. Even if an election is democratic in nature and conducted in a fair manner, the fair and democratic process of the election is factually and logically distinct and separate from what laws, policies, and practices the democratically elected government will enact, implement, and enforce. It should not be a surprise that, even if an election is democratic and fair, the political and legal consequences are likely to be very different depending on whether the democratically elected government acts on the basis of premises and beliefs that are (listed in alphabetical order with no ranking meant or implied) authoritarian, collectivist, communitarian, communist, conservative, constitutional, democratic, fascist, individualistic, liberal, libertarian, monarchical, religious, republican, secular, socialist, syndicalist, tribal, or some combination or mix of the above.

    Winston Churchill once aptly noted the limits of democracy: "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Here we are almost a year later and we have gotten the democratic Egypt that anyone who understood the realities of the region should have expected.

    Uhm…if some of you guys weren’t also blinded by false PC multicultural myths and misconceptions about Islam with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan, you'd understand that the realities of the region as is being realized today should have been expected.

    The purpose of this article is not to berate the leftists and leftover neo-conservatives

    Of which you are one of them with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, the so-called democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan in reality are Sharia states, and the only freedom allowed in either country is the freedom for Muslims to become more devout slaves of Allah. Western style democracy in the Islamic world is utterly impossible in the long run.

    The details don’t matter that much, except that the Islamists use some of that money they steal to finance terrorism against us and they’re usually more repressive than the secular or semi-secular alternative.

    That's absurd, terrorism is blasphemy in the Islamic world and a capital offense, and to the extent that Muslims are able to perpetrate violent jihad attacks in the West is a direct function of mass Muslim immigration to the West for the purpose of stealth demographic conquest to make Islam supreme, as non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad relative to violent jihad is an astronomically far greater threat to the peace, security, and freedom of the West. Indeed, without non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad, such as mass Muslim immigration to the West for the purpose of stealth demographic conquest, violent jihad in the West would be absolutely impossible. As zero Muslims living in the West as a fifth column would equal zero violent jihad attacks.

    We will run out of skyscrapers and children before they realize that Islam isn’t the answer to all their problems and ours.

    The solution is not very complicated, after we destroy the nuclear weapons programs and arsenals in Iran and Pakistan and ban and reverse mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage in the US, we need to seize and occupy the Mideast oilfields and confiscate the unearned oil wealth of the Saudis and the Gulf State Emirs, not because of greed mind you, but in self defense, as they are already using those resources and assets to wage a perpetual stealth global jihad against the West.

    Next, the Islamic world needs to be isolated from the West and since without the West it can't produce anything on its own other than mayhem, bloodshed, torture, and lots and lots of misery, it will inevitably devolve into abject poverty, where we should let them stew in their own Islamic paradises for a few generations until Islam as a force becomes discredited and destroyed.

    • Uncle Samuel

      Your last paragraph describes the only solution. If the UN were an honest organization, this tactic would already be done or underway.

    • PhillipGaley

      Yes! In a word, Conquest! The practical and beneficial answer is just not so distant and so difficult to discern, as our "leaders" : – )) such as Hillary and Co. : – )) make out: remove, dismantle, and otherwise, destroy the nuclear weapons programs and arsenals in Iran and Pakistan; seize the oilfields; ban and reverse mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage in the US, confiscate the unearned oil wealth of the Saudis and the Gulf State Emirs, and just as MacArthur did for the Japanese, not in any satisfaction of greed, rather, for the good of a people who are morally, spiritually, and physically decrepit and dependent, . . .

    • Jakareh

      You are completely right. Muslims have been waging aggressive war on us for 1,400 years. Their mass migration, facilitated by the most contemptible liberals infesting our society, is only the latest phase of war. We should do whatever is necessary to destroy their ability to harm us, and seizing their energy resources would be a supremely effective measure.

  • Uncle Samuel

    Yep – you nailed it: "dictatorship backed by a secret police that terrorizes dissidents and robs the country blind" To that I would add, robs the country poor – so that Western free nations have to come in with their Aid, medical and AIDS (spread by bisexual males) workers to help them when the usual politically-engendered famine, disease and civil war (genocides, muslim persecution of kafir) strikes.

  • WildJew

    Obama has adopted and is pursuing Bush's reckless policies with abandon. I expect this from a Muslim-born Marxist but not from a self-professed Christian conservative. Who in the conservative camp recognized or was willing to expose the dangerous seeds George W. Bush was sowing during his first or second term of office?

    One of Bush's advisers wrote the following last year:

    Egypt protests show George W. Bush was right about freedom in the Arab world
    By Elliott Abrams

    Saturday, January 29, 2011; 5:45 PM

  • Jerry

    The constant cry of the left, our state department, the neo-cons, etc – that democracy is the great event that is going to transform a society is a belief of deception because of their refusal to acknowledge the truth that enlightened the founding of the United States. It was not democracy but the understanding that every person had a God given right to follow their conscience in whom or what they wanted to worship. That the state had no right to impose a state sponsored religion. From the Babylonia & Persian empires, imperial Rome, The Holy Roman Empire, down to the Islamic states have only resulted in the most horrific abuses to humanity. The Islamics don’t want nor even entertain the possibility of a state without a enforced religion.

    What gave us the US light was not democracy but a restraint of the government from imposing religion – the very thing the Islamics state boldly they intend to do. How blind are our leaders?

  • nojizyatax

    Hitler was elected through the democratic process. Doesn't that say it all?

    • ziontruth

      Every Muslim-majority country as yet not under shariah rule is a Weimar Republic.

  • Jakareh

    A wise man has said that any democracy is only as good as the values that inform it. If those values are Islamic ones, then the democracy will only produce religious intolerance, oppression of women, tyrannical and incompetent rulers, and obscurantism.

    In any case, we should not pretend Muslims are or could be friends. They have been waging aggressive war on us for 1,400 years. Their mass migration, facilitated by the most contemptible liberals infesting our societies, is only the latest phase of that war. We should do whatever is necessary to destroy their ability to harm us, and seizing their energy resources would be a supremely effective measure.

    • nojizyatax

      I agree. Seize their energy assets and give them to the victims (India, etc.) as reparations for the victims.

  • http://nation-building.blogspot.com/ Wim

    There a considerable similarities between the MB and the communists of the past. Both were supported by dictatorships that wanted to export their ideology. Both evolved into a kind of "belief" that made it capable to survive under dictatorial regimes. And both were a danger to democracy when living under it.

    However, I don't believe the problem is Islam. The problem is Riad and the Gulf States who spend lots of money to export their ideology and have nowadays the Americans working as their errand boys in what is called the "Arab Spring". For all their defects the Iranians and the Syrians are much more modern.