Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Morning After in Tahrir Square

Former President Morsi's regime had become inherently unstable: something had to give, and it did. He had no plans or ability to address the critical fuel shortages which hit all Egyptians every day, whether they voted for Morsi or not.

Robert Springborg, writing in Forbes in 2012, notes the uneasy marriage of convenience between the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian rulers which he says dates back to King Faruq.  Morsi's barely credible 51% popular majority was mistakenly interpreted as license to set himself up as the next dictator.

In November 2012, he unilaterally gave the President's office broader powers while simultaneously declaring that Egypt's judicial branch could not challenge his decisions.  The U.S. and our European allies accepted these moves passively, which was another diplomatic faux pas. Because of our intoxication with the word "election," that meant President Morsi needed to be given some room.  

He also saw Egypt as returning to its former glory days as a leader in the Arab world, 
"Khalil el-Anani, an Egyptian expert on Islamist groups, called the move "Morsi's endorsement of jihad in Syria" and warned it was "a strategic mistake that will create a new Afghanistan in the Middle East. ..."He is pushing Egypt into a sectarian war in which we have no interest."

The best thing that could be done for the economy?  Charge someone--perhaps an economic council chaired by the military and populated by representatives of major political groups, private sector representatives and Egyptian technocrats--with getting Egyptian consumers supplied with fuel on a reliable, transparent and sustainable basis.  If that could be done, and it should, then the long-suffering populace might be able to better stomach another round of parliamentary and Presidential elections.  

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