In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Egypt is rocking, a new Pharaoh rises

Posted by seumasach on November 24, 2012


24th November, 2012

Catching the tumult of a revolution on camera is virtually impossible — especially a revolution like the one Egypt which rolls on with no end in view. Another revolution in revolution is unfolding. The Chinese cameramen have caught some fantastic visuals as the banks of the Nile begin to heave again with seamless human passions. The Xinhua photo album is here.

Egypt is rocking. The country is being torn apart. The left has become the right. The Muslim Brotherhood, which championed the underdog has become the Establishment. And a New Left has appeared, comprising, paradoxically, the western style liberals and centrists, secularists and leftists — in fact, all else except the Islamists.
The issue is apparently the authoritarian streak that allegedly marks President Mohamed Morsi’s latest decree that makes him immune to the constitutional court as Egypt is about to embark on the momentous step to draw up a new constitution. The great fear is that the Islamists are hustling the silent majority to fall in line.
That danger exists, truly. Even a liberal like Mohammed ElBaradei has spoken out calling Morsi a ‘new Pharaoh’. But Morsi shows no remorse. He is a wily fox. who has outflanked the military and the vestiges of the Mubarak era by his latest performance over Gaza, demonstrating to Washington that he can serve the western interests in the region much more effectively and credibly than anyone else in Egypt.
The Gaza conflict has been turned into a first-rate political-diplomatic chess game by Morsi. He delivered a deal that brings relief to the US and Israel. But while the iron is still hot, he also struck to consolidate his grip on power by issuing the fateful decree, calculating that he now has nothing to fear from the pro-US military and security establishment.
For the Barack Obama administration, Morsi has become a God-sent gift: he is a legitimate, democratically elected leader who is prepared to subserve the US agenda. And, to boot it, he is an Islamist, too. Morsi’s example  as a covert collaborator encourages Washington to push for the Brothers taking over in Syria as well — and in Jordan, Inshah Allah.
Morsi has indeed done exceedingly well. he’s even wrapped up the $4.2 billion IMF rescue package for the Egyptian economy — with compliments from Obama, of course. Besides, he has in the kitty $2 billion each from Qatar and Turkey. Only the Saudis are keeping a wary distance.
But to consolidate, Morsi must first shake off this noisy challenge by the New Left. How he manages it remains to be seen. Will there be blood on his hands at the end of it all?
That leaves the Obama administration also with some anxious times ahead. Obama needs to make out once again which is the ‘right side of history’ in Egypt. Morsi is a prize catch — too rare to let go. On the other hand, if he decisively wins this round of the revolution in revolution on Tahrir, islamism will be unstoppably on the march in the region. And the irony is that Morsi will have smashed up irreparably the constituency that ought to have been the US’ ‘natural allies’ — liberals, centrists, secularists, etc.

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