January 31, 2011

"4 Reasons Why Egypt’s Revolution Is Not Islamic."

By Haroon Moghul:
1) The political Islamism that ended up triumphing in Iran was a much more authoritarian interpretation of Islam....

2) Iran’s Islamist opposition to the Shah was shaped by the peculiarities of Shi’a Islam and Iranian history....

3) People who study Iran know how vexed the relationship is, and has been, between Persian cultural identity and Islam. While many Iranians before the revolution were religious in a non-political way, the country’s elite tended to see Islam and Persianness as mutually incompatible. On the other hand, Egypt is a proudly Arab society... which has never seen Islam as incompatible with their specific ethnic and national project....

4) Egypt’s revolution doesn’t have to be Islamic because Islam isn’t at the heart of the problem on the ground.... Egypt’s society is a deeply Muslim one, and the very success of this non-political religious project has negated the need for a confrontational Islam. Egyptians know their religious identity is not under threat....

As an aside, I might also add that Muslim societies often have flourishing religious institutions and practices, organic and varied. But in the case of Iran, the regime paradoxically undermined that popular and organic religiosity when they sought to enforce faith through the state. This is an argument for keeping religion and politics separate in the Muslim world: in the interest of defending both from the negative effects of the other....
Interesting. I hope it's true. That last insight — valuing the separation of religion and politics  to defend each from the negative effects of the other — has been fundamental to the separation of religion and government in American history. (Read James Madison, Roger Williams, and all the rest.)

98 comments:

tim maguire said...

If Iran were the only example we have to work with, he might be on to something. But as things stand, his Iran focus is too narrow and ignores the existing and budding theocracies throughout the Middle East.

Joe said...

The Crypto Jew)



Yes, Please ignore the Muslim Brotherhood…really they are only Lutherans, with Keffiyas….

El Presidente said...

This should probably be titled "Why Egypt Won't have an Iranian Revolution." It isn't surprising the Egypt won't have an Iranian revolution by the parallels are there none the less. An Islamic Revolution in Egypt will be fundamentally Egyptian but it will be an Islamic Regime nonetheless.

While the Muslim Brotherhood is not fundamentally a Khomeinist organization their links to Iran as well as their dedication to a Islamist Government are undeniable. If Moghul is looking at a post-enlightenment style religion in the Sunni branch, the Muslim Brotherhood is not the place to start.

Egypt is a proudly Egyptian society. Much like Iran hearkens back to a great pre-Islamic culture the Egyptians are linked to THE pre-Islamic culture. The Egyptian pride in the Pharaohs and the Kingdom of the Nile matches the cultural pride of any country.

Forty years ago Egypt's revolution was not Islamic but in the days since Nasser fundamentalist Islam has grown by leads and bounds. While When Nasser took power fundamentalism was confined to the lowest classes it is now well entrenched in the middle class and many portions of the ruling class have a wary eye on fundamentalism but are looking to co-opt it to cement their hold on power.

The Khomeini government ruthlessly repressed and destroyed the organic and varied religious institutions of Iran. They waited until they took power to do so. The Muslim Brotherhood has been systematically attacking the Coptic Christians for years with murder and forced conversions. Thinking that an Islamic government in Egypt will somehow be more restrained than that of the Iranian Government is wishful thinking, at best.

ricpic said...

Of course there are differences between Iran and Egypt. That doesn't change the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood, should it take power in Egypt, would impose a similar harsh theocracy to the one that exists in Iran.

E.M. Davis said...

Man, Roger Williams can really tickle the ivories, too.

F said...

The example of Iran is not only off the mark, it is WAY off the mark. And he admits that in his history: Iran's Persianness has more to do with their revolution than Islam. What is happening in Egypt has little to no relationship with the Iranian revolution. Egypt has finally reached the breaking point with Mubarak, likely because of food, but events will be taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood because that is their nature. Taking a page from Rahm Emanuel: why was a disaster? And once in power they will kill Copts, Jews and anyone else who does not acknowledge that the only god is Allah. Anything less than this is wishful thinking.

E.M. Davis said...

He does 12-hour concerts at the age of 86!!!

I wonder if part of that 12 hours is a nap.

Scott M said...

I would like to think Trump has a point when he says he's optimistic that a domino effect in the Middle East would spell the end of OPEC. That would be nice. He's also thinking about a possible presidential bid in 2012. Not so nice.

PaulV said...

I blame gasohol requirements for inflation of food prices. Often a minority gains control in a revolution through brutality-Bolshevviks

WV: blessen
May God blessen the Coptics in time of danger

Fred4Pres said...

I agree Egypt is very different country than Iran. But do not kid yourself, if the Muslim Brotherhood took over their goal is to make Egypt a Calphanate State under Sharia. They are only one force in Egypt.

Maguro said...

He's overthinking things a bit here. There's no need to analyze the differences between the Egyptian and Iranian interpretations of Islam at a micro level.

You can even take Islam out of the picture entirely. The Muslim Brotherhood is likely to prevail for the same reasons that the Bolsheviks ultimately prevailed in Russia - because they're by far the most organized, ruthless faction out there. Groups with those characteristics have a very strong track record of coming out on top in chaotic, revolutionary situations.

Tibore said...

"Egypt’s society is a deeply Muslim one, and the very success of this non-political religious project has negated the need for a confrontational Islam. Egyptians know their religious identity is not under threat..."

That's true, but that has the unfortunate characteristic of being potentially misleading. It's true that in the context of comparing Egypt's events to the Iranian ones from the '70s, Egypt's protests are not Islamic in nature. The Iranian revolution was overthrowing a government notably secular which was creating a society that was notably secular. In Egypt, the Islamic nature of the society is already a given.

But, it would be a mistake to conclude from that that there's no danger of Egypt's current issues leading to a more hardlined, Islamic and confrontational government. On the contrary, that is frighteningly probable. Recall that the main reason Egypt's government is so authoritarian and oppresive to begin with is to deal with the challenge posed by the Muslim Brotherhood. They may be officially banned in Egypt, but pretending that this ban actually eradicates their influence is gullible. The fact remains that, despite their exhortations of noninvolvement, and despite flacks like Jimmy Carter saying they're not involved, they remain a strong influence. And not officially participating as a group doesn't mean their principles aren't held by the protestors. The Democratic party's principles and goals were totally the spirit of the MoveOn group, but that party didn't have to actually, formally join them to influence them. It's the same thing in Egypt.

People - most notably those historically-selective minded professionals in the mass media- have to remember that history can inform us. There were many people in Cuba decades ago who participated in the overthrow of Batista but were otherwise not Communist nor would've cared for the way things eventually ended up in Cuba. That didn't stop them from helping Castro seize power, and unfortunately for a lot of those people, it ended up being a betrayal of an otherwise laudable intent: Overthrow a dictator. We saw that in Iran as well: How many people involved were simply fed up with the Shah's secret police? Too many, unfortunately, but the radical element still took charge over them. The question is, will the West's government realize that we're seeing similar things in Egypt as well? Rip on El Baradei all you want and I'll join in, but he's hardly a Khomeni type. However, is he the "useful fool" for the more hardlined people in the background? Combine the mostly benign face of him, opposition leaders, and protesting students with the knowledge I gave above of the MB's influence on society. Add that to what Michael Totten pointed out: Nearly half of Egyptians polled view Hamas favorably. 30 percent view Hizballah that way. 20 percent view Al Qaeda well. And see what the equation leads to.

It's possible that these protests will liberalize, as opposed to harden, Egypt's government. There are dynamics within that we are simply not privy to. But, that would be a first for that region, and a definite deviation away from their population dynamics.

The Drill SGT said...

When I read his bullet points, my summary would be:

Egypt's Islamic Revultion isn't an Iranian one.

To which I'd answer so what, it's still Islamic. Just like Hamas is Sunni, Islamic, militant, an enemy of us and Israel, yet though it takes money from Iran, isn't Iranian.

He's walking through raindrops, praying not to get wet

Hagar said...

A minor point: Yahweh, God, and Allah are all the same deity; the argument is about who is, or is not, a prophet, and if so, of what rank.

Quayle said...

It seems to turn on the Army. If the Muslim Brotherhood have a strong presence in the Army that can be aligned, then it will be difficult to stop them.

But if the Army chooses to remain secular, then the Muslim Brotherhood may not have a chance. Egypt has proven themselves very good at jailing the Muslim Brotherhood members, and it is not clear to me if the public has been resenting that fact or not.

Paddy O said...

The difference between Iran and Egypt, though, is the internet and the general trend against authoritarian rule. Iran's movement happened when authoritarians of one kind or another were really the global trend. When the people have access to understanding freedom and what is possible in free societies, there's a lot less interest in replacing one authoritarian with another. Given what I hear about young people in Iran, even Iran would do things much differently.

There is also the very historic Coptic church in Egypt, which has a strong though small presence. Egypt was, essentially, one of the key birthplaces of Christian theology after all.

They're also a lot more closer to the West in terms of geography and history. So, isolation can't be successfully pursued, especially with the Suez canal. Any authoritarian attempts will be strongly opposed by major powers, so Egypt will never be left to simply stew.

I suspect we're going to see something a lot more like Lebanon than Iran. Conflicting senses of identity that makes for internal and external problems, but not consistent ones.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

A minor point: Yahweh, God, and Allah are all the same deity; the argument is about who is, or is not, a prophet, and if so, of what rank.

It’s a bit more than that….Jews, Christians, and Muslims differ about the nature of the this world versus the next, and the role of Yhwh/Jesus/Islam in this world…That’s like saying, Canadian, Australian Rules, and US Football are ALL football…it may true, as far as it goes, but you won’t see the leagues merging any time soon.

Big Mike said...

I hope he's right. I fear he's wrong.

Hagar said...

Not to mention rugby and soccer, but the rules for all these leagues are established by men, not God.

Lincolntf said...

If the current scuttlebutt re: the Muslim Brotherhood and El Baradei joining together to become the "opposition party" is correct, then this author just wasted a bunch of pixels.
The necessary "unifying messsage" will revolve not around freedom or economics, but a hatred of the West.

Maguro said...

El Baradei = Kerensky.

PatCA said...

Yet the majority of Egyptians in a recent poll favored death for adulterers, hands chopped off for robbers, are anti-Israel.

So what does it matter if they call it the Islamic Republic or the Arab Republic?

I'm a pessimist, tho, FWIW.

William said...

Future events will unfold according to their own logic and will be comprehensible only in hindsight. Egypt will not end up like Iran. But this is not to say that there are not worse possibilities. An anti-Candide stance is always prescient in the Islamic world. Everything happens for the worst in that worst of all possible worlds.....Communism had less popular support than the Muslim Brotherhood and yet a great many countries ended up Communist. All the horror stories that came out of Russia and China never caused western Marxists to doubt their faith. Why would anyone expect Muslim intellectuals to be inhibited by the example of Iran?

Bender said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

When that "freedom-loving" crowd, who only wants democratic rule, includes in their protests only one voice -- ONE VOICE -- of opposition to the killing of Christians and the bombing of churches in Egypt, then you can proceed to tell me that Islamic extremists will not assume power in Egypt.

A few weeks ago, when after multiple attacks against Christians, Pope Benedict said in an address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, "In Egypt too, in Alexandria, terrorism brutally struck Christians as they prayed in church. This succession of attacks is yet another sign of the urgent need for the governments of the region to adopt, in spite of difficulties and dangers, effective measures for the protection of religious minorities."

Did Egyptians stand up then and agree about the need for the protection of religious freedom?

No, the Egyptian government recalled its ambassador to the Vatican in protest, Islamic schools suspended their participation in inter-religious dialogue with the Vatican, and various imams blasted the Pope's remarks.

There is your desire for a "free" Egypt.

SteveR said...

What could go wrong?

edutcher said...

His lips to God's (or Allah's) ears.

The point Sarge makes about the Sunna/Shia thing may be vital. Both Iran, during the days of the Shah, and Egypt were/are very secular and Westernized, but the Shia have always been far more fanatical, due to their persecution over the centuries. there's also the incomparable bungling of Jimmy cater to throw in the mix.

The other issue is that the Muslim Brotherhood has been in business since 1928. When Rommel was bearing down on Alexandria, it was the MB standing by the side of the road yelling, "Come on, Erwin". They are known as fighters for Egypt's sovereignty. That gives them some street cred.

Carol said...

Short version: Moderates start wars; radicals finish them.

edutcher said...

That should be Carter, not cater

Paddy O said...

Bender, there was the story about Muslims serving as human shields for the Coptic Christmas Mass.

craig said...

"Egypt is a proudly Arab society..."

It was not always thus. Before the Islamic conquests, Egypt was Christian and Coptic, not Arab. North Africa was Christian and some mix of Berber, Roman, and Carthaginian, but not Arab. It bugs me to see this amnesia about the civilizations that existed and flourished before Arabs erased them from historical memory.

traditionalguy said...

The trigger for every revolution is when people are starved and see no way out. The Islamic memorized Koran will then offer a way out...Kill the Infidel to please allah. God is literally ALL they have. Mubarak needs to feed his people quick.

David said...

One thing is clear. Americans don't know shit about Egypt. This is particularly apparent for newscasters and talking head experts.

Revenant said...

A minor point: Yahweh, God, and Allah are all the same deity; the argument is about who is, or is not, a prophet, and if so, of what rank.

There's also considerable disagreement over what that deity wants.

David said...

Maguro said...
"El Baradei = Kerensky."

How many blogs are there where the commentors bring up Kerensky parallels?

Bender said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

Human disagreements.

Revenant said...

"Egypt is a proudly Arab society..."

It was not always thus. Before the Islamic conquests, Egypt was Christian and Coptic, not Arab.

Egypt was Coptic and Christian for around 600 years and has been Arab and Muslim for 1400.

Bender said...

4 Reasons Why Egypt’s Revolution Is Not Islamic

1. Because there are no Muslims who are Islamists seeking Islamic domination of the world. Period. No more analysis or explanation necessary. It is only you anti-Muslim bigots who claim that every Muslim is a terrorist who think that this could turn radical Islamist, when actually ALL Muslims everywhere are completely respectful of human rights. Islam means peace.

2. Because we want it so much to be so that we will pluck out our eyes and cover our ears to avoid considering anything to the contrary.

3. Because we have a knee-jerk response to automatically oppose and contradict anything that those evil stupid conservatives and neo-cons say, and they warn that such a thing might be possible.

4. Because we are lying. We are part of that Islamist power grab and it is one of our tactics to insist how peaceful we are.

edutcher said...

Revenant said...

"Egypt is a proudly Arab society..."

It was not always thus. Before the Islamic conquests, Egypt was Christian and Coptic, not Arab.

Egypt was Coptic and Christian for around 600 years and has been Arab and Muslim for 1400.


I had the occasion to make the acquaintance of a delightful Egyptian lady some years back - blonde, blue eyed, fair skinned, obviously a Ptolemy - who, when I said, "Oh, you're an Arab lady", replied, "No, I am Egyptian. The Arabs invaded Egypt. The Arabs are barbarians. I am not Arab. I am Egyptian".

G Joubert said...

Egypt may be different, but a power vacuum is in the process of being created, and in politics power invades a vacuum. Who is positioned with power to invade this vacuum? Some of the options look alot like Iran circa 1979.

Bender said...

My mistake Paddy.

A relative handful of Muslim Egyptians acted -- weeks ago -- to show support for the targeted Christians. Not the people in the streets now, I've seen no support now, but they did make a demonstration of support on one past occasion.

phx said...

Manal Hassan just tweeted this:
"@BarackObama the 80 million Egyptian dont exist to make sure the borders r stable. we have a life with aspirations, so plz treat us as humans."

That's the problem for the United States, no matter what the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood is or isn't. It's clearly NOT a Muslim Brotherhood revolution (the first few days they told their people to avoid the demonstrations) - yet. If the USA responds to this completely negatively, then we're seen as dehumanizing the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people.

Boehner understands the dilemmas facing the USA very clearly I think, which is why the GOP is cautiously supporting the administration.

And I believe there are Egyptian revolutionaries who understand and even sympathize with our dilemma, even if they're pissed at us. We need to reach out to those moderate Arabs before their anger with us becomes implacable.

Moderate Muslims have taken a beating, partly deserved, for their response to what the radicals have done in the name of Islam. I think they've more or less taken our criticism and anger with some good grace because they know it was partly deserved. Maybe though, it's time for the "American Street" to show a little understanding and solidarity with the Arab Street.

JAL said...

OK. So Egypt is not Iran.

So what? Did anyone say it was?

The Muslim Brotherhood is an opportunistic infection and the result is like MRSA -- Sharia for all. Very difficult to eradicate in most, deadly in an unhealthy body.

Hezbollah?

Hamas?

Al Qaeda?

Wahhabism?

Maguro said...

How many blogs are there where the commentors bring up Kerensky parallels?

I realize it's not an original thought, but sometimes the obvious interpretation turns out to be correct.

Ironclad said...

The group that is most committed and brutal will triumph in this case. That is the way of the middle east. Saddam, Assad, the Clerics in Iran have no qualms about shooting, imprisoning or making life unbearable - and the people know it.

In the case of Eqypt now - everyone is waiting for the strong man to emerge. Be it Mubarak and the generals, a coup of colonels, or a Muslim Brotherhood group, someone will seize control and establish order by breaking heads. A Lebanon situation would be unlikely since that would require formation of militias to "enforce" the power of their group (and the army in Egypt is strong enough to crush them).

If the Muslim Brotherhood takes over, you will have a Salafist organization running the place, which would be much worse than Iran. But I doubt that they could stay in power long - since most of their funding sources would quickly dry up. (US and Europe and the gulf states).

When an Egyptian leader emerges that will confront the real issues of that country - overpopulation and abysmal education, then I will believe there might be progress. As of now - it's all smoke and mirrors.

Cedarford said...

PaulV said...
I blame gasohol requirements for inflation of food prices.
==========================
1. Blame overpopulation. Egypt's population has tripled since the 60s, and high breeding rates are common in Muslim societies. As is the case in Muslim and Christian Africa, Haiti, and Catholic Latin America. We have squeezed all the benefit we can out of the Green Revolution - now it is Malthus's turn and time for mass species extinctions as wildlife areas are wiped out for food and crops.

2. Not all countries are as lucky as Mexico, able to dump it's suplus, least wanted people into the USA at Will.

3. Too many Catholic and Muslim countries have outstripped the ability to feed themselves by population explosion. There are just a dozen or so countries with large agricultural surpluses they depend on. Last summers phenomenal drought in Russia-Ukraine caused huge wheat/buckwheat/sorghum/barley shortfalls. Russia banned exports. Flooding in Australia made stockpiles erode further.

4. Thanks to Free Trade, China now has the ex-American industries and the ex-American cash to buy what food it wants. China is sucking up all the grain surplus it can lay hands on and is storing it.

5. If Obama gets his 2.00 a gallon oil price hike to help his beloved solar and wind energy biz - that translates into inflation and among other things, even higher global food prices.

6. Egypt is just the 1st. Many more overbred lands are going into food crisis, inc. many US "allies". We lack the money to help them unless China loans us the money. China won't help them on their own dime..

Anthony said...

One thing I haven't seen at all in any of these analyses is the role that tourism is going to play in any outcome. Egypt gets a LOT (the majority, I believe) of its wealth from the tourism trade. I don't believe the military is going to allow an Islamist regime to assume control as they know that will nearly entirely cut off the spigot of tourism dollars.

edutcher said...

Anthony said...

One thing I haven't seen at all in any of these analyses is the role that tourism is going to play in any outcome. Egypt gets a LOT (the majority, I believe) of its wealth from the tourism trade. I don't believe the military is going to allow an Islamist regime to assume control as they know that will nearly entirely cut off the spigot of tourism dollars.

The big reason Mubarak ran most of the Muslim Brotherhood crazies (including a certain Dr al-Zawahiri) out of Egypt was because they were killing tourists. This was about 15 years ago and included a very splashy attack at the Pyramids that killed 5.

So, you're right. It's a very big deal.

The Crack Emcee said...

The problem for the United States is Obama. Under Bush it was clear where we stood - for freedom and against Mubarak - but, with the Bower-In-Chief, no one's sure where we stand. Not even us, since we never know what this bozo will do. (The fact that "the world" wanted Obama in office only reinforces how cockamamy it all is.)

Nothing about this says "Islamic Revolution" in the Iranian model. We shouldn't be acting like that's a risk anyway - or saying shit about Christianity now:

We're finally changing the Middle East - and that means we have bigger fish to fry.

phx said...

@ Crack Emcee: No, I respectfully disagree, the problem for us vis a vis Egypt is not Obama. It is true that he probably faltered in the early hours of the revolution with all that "Egypt is stable" talk. But in fact, reliable polls (from BBC for example) of Egyptians show that positives towards USA went way up after Obama was elected. If Bush were still in office fuhgeddaboudit - whoever took control in Egypt would be unrelievedly hostile to the USA.

The problem with Bush's policy towards democratizing the ME wasn't the theory so much as the execution - like invading Iraq at precisely the moment we should have kept our focus on Al Qaida.

It's fair to say "no one's sure where we stand" but that probably has more to do with the fact that the table holding our realpolitik policy has been almost completely upended, and no one has a clue yet where everything will land. I know many Americans want to demagogue these events, but now is the time for us to settle back, acknowledge that Mubarek's fate is for Egyptians to decide and not us, and wait to see how it unfolds.

traditionalguy said...

Crack...We may not get to chose which fish we fry next unless we can put hooks into their jaws and drag them around. Egypt has been the rock of mid-east stability with a 30 year peace pact, yet Egypt is being drug around by something new and as yet of uncertain outcome. The USA's actions may now be irrelevant.

madAsHell said...

I read the 4 reasons....and all I see is academic jibberish.

There is one reason. They have no oil. They depend on tourism. If you start cutting the throats of French, and German tourists, then...well, you figure it out.

CIA world factbook:
occupation by sector
agriculture: 32%
industry: 17%
services: 51% (2001 est.)

Yes, I am equating services with hotels, restaurants and taxi's.

phx said...

Al Arabiya is reporting that the VP will shortly make an important announcement. Given the Egy Army has announced that it will not fire on the protesters and that it recognizes the aspirations of "the honorable people," this could be the end for Mubarak. Some answers will come swiftly after that.

mun said...

Islam means to impose shariah law throughout the world. Al Queda's method is military force. Muslim Brotherhood's method is subversion. The methods are different but the goals are the same. Also, Bin Laden's cohort is Zarquari who came from the muslim brotherhood, so they are interchangeable. The entire thrust of Islam is to subvert the west. Islam is both political and a religion.

Methadras said...

Hagar said...

A minor point: Yahweh, God, and Allah are all the same deity; the argument is about who is, or is not, a prophet, and if so, of what rank.


Wrong. Allah is not God, the God of Abraham, the father of Christ. Allah is their moon god. Do not be fooled.

Methadras said...

David said...

One thing is clear. Americans don't know shit about Egypt. This is particularly apparent for newscasters and talking head experts.


Of course they don't as long as they get their information from the MSM which is as stupid as they come. In all honesty, Al Jeezera right now is the only news agency that is remotely telling the truth about what is going on. Believe it or not.

Methadras said...

phx said...

The problem with Bush's policy towards democratizing the ME wasn't the theory so much as the execution - like invading Iraq at precisely the moment we should have kept our focus on Al Qaida.


Then you simply do not understand the strategic and political importance of why Iraq had to be culled the way it was and from that misunderstanding, it's easy to see why you are completely misinformed on the subject. It's one thing to not like Bush, but in that vein of your dislike, you can't see the strategy involved is the great mistake that is made.

Methadras said...

traditionalguy said...

The USA's actions may now be irrelevant.


They always where outside of the billion dollar american tax payer infusion per year that this country got with little to no return outside of maintaining the pact between them and israel.

Roger J. said...

edutcher--enjoyed your anecdote and understand where you are coming from--the lady in question, however, was obviously not semetic and decended from Alexander's macedonians , not unlike cleopatra, who were most likely decended from the macedonians who were johnny come latelies to the lets invade egypt party.

phx said...

Yes, Bush's secret strategery which will sooner or later bare fruit for the United States Middle East policy.

Blue@9 said...

I think that a lot is uncertain right now.

Would a new gov't, if led by the Muslim Brotherhood, result in a Muslim theocracy? Not sure. Egypt has a long history of religious pluralism that is probably not going away any time soon.

It's also not certain that the MB would hold any hegemonic position in a future gov't. They've long been the face of opposition in Egypt, but they're not at the head these protests.

But then again it could end up like Iran-- a general protest that gets co-opted by the most hardline elements in the end. But who knows? All we can do is break out the popcorn and see what actually happens.

jimspice said...

Anthony said: "Egypt gets a LOT (the majority, I believe) of its wealth from the tourism trade."

Or 11%: http://reut.rs/egypt-tourism.

The Crack Emcee said...

phx,

I respectfully disagree,...

And so do I - Methadras has got it:

If you didn't understand the Iraq strategy then you probably don't get how this is going down (I love the idea of Bush snookering Obama into doing his bidding - again - making Obi an even bigger jackass than when he was declaring he was going to undo so much. Right. Who's the "idiot" again, Democrats?)

Tg,

We can't - and shouldn't - assume to control what happens, since it's not our country, but this is our work (with Bush's fingerprints all over it) and we should speak up now to help direct the action. They got the supposed agent of "change" they wanted in the White House. If he's smart (big if) he'll start acting like it, snatching the opportunity from the regional players and keeping it with the people.

Bush is laughing now. I'd like to see him smile. Obama can do that, plus give himself (and the country) a win, but he can't do it by being cautious and waiting to see what happens. He's got to be bold - get out in front of events before they happen - and before they take a possibly negative turn. But, no matter what he does, don't be fooled:

This is an American moment.

edutcher said...

Roger J. said...

edutcher--enjoyed your anecdote and understand where you are coming from--the lady in question, however, was obviously not semetic and decended from Alexander's macedonians , not unlike cleopatra, who were most likely decended from the macedonians who were johnny come latelies to the lets invade egypt party.

As I said, obviously a Ptolemy.

Clay-ipso Facto said...

Wherever they're headed, it's interesting to read how they got to this point from someone who lived there:

Much needed reforms to the state were avoided through reliance on aid, grants, debt forgiveness and US inclination to look the other way. The civil service was not stream lined... All the while, corruption stifled the growth of small business (the backbone of a successful economy, corroded the state's ability to educate its younger generation or even keep its citizen's safe...

Sound like anyplace else you know?

Methadras said...

phx said...

Yes, Bush's secret strategery which will sooner or later bare fruit for the United States Middle East policy.


Yes, the typical snark of a misinformed troglodyte. There was nothing secret about what Bush did in invading Iraq. Well, of course unless you factor the secret negotiations with Libya to give up their WMD program which resulted in Libya having their sanctions lifted and let back into the folds of a global economy. Oddly they and Iraq are not seeing the types of disruptions that are being seen by Tunisia, Eqypt, Jordan, and soon Morocco, and I suspect Yemen is next. Isn't revolution fun?

phx said...

@Crack Emcee:
The idea that this is thanks to Bush strikes me as the right-wing equivalent of "It's Bush's fault." I'm not sayin' Bush's idea of democracy spreading through the Middle East was a bad idea, I'm saying he threw away a lot of what America could do to help that by invading Iraq.

I supported him when he did that. But like everyone else I saw how utterly the Iraqi invasion failed. You can say "It didn't fail" and fine then - we should stop discussing it b/c we will NEVER understand one another if that's what you think. But now we're just trying to make the best of the disaster that we can and hopefully find a win somewhere at the end of the road, no thanks to the neocons.

The question to me is why did it fail? Either the idea of invading and setting up a free democratic Iraq which would stand as a bastion or shining-star-on-the-hill for the people of the Middle East, was flawed itself, or its execution was, or both.

Certainly, the execution with that entire cowboy "we're the only big guys left standing on the block so it's our way or the highway" type of BS was as artless as it gets, and earned us a lot of enemies not just in the Middle East (and there not just al Qaida types but Arab moderates) but across the board, all over the world. Yes, there's always been resentment and jealousy of America, and that garden variety vitriol doesn't bother me, but Bush's policies created something worse.

We agree on this (I think) - Egypt could be a great thing. Still, though I'm not one to say this is a wikileaks or twitter revolution, I think a better case can be made for that than that this is somehow Bush's doing because he once had a vision of democracy spreading throughout the ME.

And it's not an American moment yet; I don't underestimate the capacity of any of our leaders, Repubs or Dems, to screw up foreign policy - Obama's not immune. But if it is going to be an American moment we're probably going to need the more thoughtful and cautious touch of an Obama than someone like Bush, who just did not have a way with the ladies, so to speak.

Revenant said...

when I said, "Oh, you're an Arab lady", replied, "No, I am Egyptian. The Arabs invaded Egypt. The Arabs are barbarians. I am not Arab. I am Egyptian".

Here in Southern California you occasionally run into Hispanic people who claim that California, Texas, et al, are really Mexican and not American at all. Heck, when I lived in the South I occasionally met people who insisted the Confederacy hadn't really lost.

So I'm familiar with the mindset. It is just a very SILLY mindset. At some point on has to accept the fact that one's ancestors lost the fight, and move on.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I'm sure glad that Maguro showed up to remind us that a useful point of comparison/contrast isn't the Iranian Revolution, but the Bolshevik Revolution.

I'm pretty sure that the communists invented Islam, in fact.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Barack Obama wrote the Koran himself.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Read the founding fathers? Are you kidding?! They're just supposed to be read for the sake of finding the right bumper sticker slogan.

Hagar said...

edutcher,
My father was offered a job as a pilot in the Suez Canal. If he had taken it, my sister and I might have grown up to be Egyptians.

Juba Doobai! said...

Taqqiyah.

Juba Doobai! said...

"A minor point: Yahweh, God, and Allah are all the same deity;..."

This is patently false. Yahweh and God are the same person. Allah is an old moon god of pagan origin. If Allah were the same as Yahweh and God, that is the same as saying God is a liar because what Allah teaches contradicts everything that Yahweh God does.

Maguro said...

Allah just means God in Arabic. Arabic speaking Christians also use the word Allah to refer to God.

Methadras said...

Revenant said...

Here in Southern California you occasionally run into Hispanic people who claim that California, Texas, et al, are really Mexican and not American at all.


And what do you do to remind these Aztlanistas that they are wrong?

Methadras said...

Maguro said...

Allah just means God in Arabic. Arabic speaking Christians also use the word Allah to refer to God.


Yes, we understand that, but Allah is not God in the biblical sense. The fact that Arab Christians say the same thing, still doesn't make it true. They are ignorant of facts and the ones that aren't hide it for that fact alone.

The Crack Emcee said...

phx,

The idea that this is thanks to Bush strikes me as the right-wing equivalent of "It's Bush's fault."

Like everyone else I saw how utterly the Iraqi invasion failed. You can say "It didn't fail" and fine then - we should stop discussing it b/c we will NEVER understand one another if that's what you think.


Then we might as well stop because - "like everyone else" - you're a naive crybaby, unwilling to see the obvious just because it didn't go exactly as planned (what war ever did?) and was harder than we thought. Boo-fucking-hoo. If you want to look to who "lost" the war (your word) then put the blame where it belongs and look to the liberals who gave aid a comfort to the enemy by dissing us throughout the whole thing - just as some are going weak in the knees over this and not rooting for us now.

Bush made everything clear - including his opposition to Mubarak, who he loathed - so to say my claim was the same as saying "It's Bush's fault." is bullshit. He had the revolution's leader here, in secret, giving him the help he needed. To deny that is to lie about what's happened since. The plan was clear.

Look, I'm not in a good mood so I'ma stop, but your type of anti-American bullshit is exactly why we seem so weak these days. You don't like "my way or the highway" for people's freedom? Fine:

In this dangerous world, you go find somewhere else - or some other way - to get it.

Like I always say, I'm surrounded by idiots.

JAL said...

I saw saw clips of Christiane Amanpour in Egypt doing some on the street interviews.

The couple of guys that made the cut were quite clear that this is "not an Islamist" revolution.

It was a bit encouraging.

One confronted Amanpour about how the American media is trying to make this an Islamist revolution.

There were also women interviewed (a change form the pictures which just seem to be men): One was in traditional garb, one in more western clothes who spoke of wanting freedom.

It certainly will be interesting.

JAL said...

Like everyone else I saw how utterly the Iraqi invasion failed.

You on drugs?

Revenant said...

I supported him when he did that. But like everyone else I saw how utterly the Iraqi invasion failed.

I'm curious what you would consider "success". Are you just trying to say it wasn't worth the cost?

phx said...

@Revenant: The invasion succeeded - in driving Sadam from power. IMO the cost was probably more than it should have been given Bush's impatience - really open disdain - for working with potential allies.

At least two things made it a failure IMO: 1) the amazing loss of prestige we suffered, which continues to harm our country, and 2)the suffering Iraq went through from the sectarian divide and the influence of AQinIraq, which both came about as a result of the invasion and which were apparently unforeseen by our strategic planners.

That's not including our loss of treasure. I'm just sorry we gained so little for it, I had expected more.

There was no massive applause for our efforts, and there never will be. I don't think most people in the world would want to be liberated that way, unless maybe the North Koreans.

As I said, I supported the second gulf war, it sounded like a great theory and I'm not a friend of tyrants. I was hoping it would work, that it would be a catalyst for democrats in the ME. Instead, it was clearly a nightmare for the USA and for Iraq. It didn't have to be that bad.

phx said...

Oh, and the third critical failure of Desert Storm: after all these years nobody wants to be like Iraq. Not Egypt, not Tunisia, not Iran, not Sudan.

Revenant said...

At least two things made it a failure IMO

I didn't ask what you think made it a failure. I asked what would have made it a success. What was it that we tried to do, but did not succeed in doing?

Fen said...

Yes, Bush's secret strategery which will sooner or later bare fruit for the United States Middle East policy.

Bear fruit, not bare. If you're going to imply Bush is an idiot...

Scott M said...

Oh, and the third critical failure of Desert Storm: after all these years nobody wants to be like Iraq. Not Egypt, not Tunisia, not Iran, not Sudan.

Desert Storm? You mean the war fought 20 years ago? THAT Desert Storm?

phx said...

@Revenant: I was pretty candid in laying out why the Invasion of Iraq was a failure (in spite of typos, always a problem esp. after midnight). That was my claim and that’s what I tried to do. It should be fairly easy to make inferences about what success would look like to me – although given the actualities a hypothetical “success” of Bush's invasion is difficult for me to imagine at this point.

But elements of success might have included fewer civilian casualties; weakening rather than strengthening AlQ's hand; better short-term and long-term prospects for democracy in Iraq; Iraq as an enviable model for moderates and democrats in the region; greater prestige and good will for the USA from the ME and the world. Throw in discovery of all those troves of WMD. Vindication of the Bush Doctrine.

The Crack Emcee said...

I looove this:

I'm just sorry we gained so little for it, I had expected more.

Because (another line I looove) "like everyone else" we know we went there to "get" something - not to make something happen - which, even as you're watching it happen, you deny is happening.

I've got to sit down:

Talking to guys like you is dizzying.

The Crack Emcee said...

Elements of success might have included fewer civilian casualties

It's called "war" - people get killed in "war" - and we don't send our killers anywhere not to kill. What kind of idiot are you?

Weakening rather than strengthening AlQ's hand

Because "like everyone else" we can all see how strong they are since Bush fought them, right?

Better short-term and long-term prospects for democracy in Iraq

Ah, you wanted us to control them, did you?

Iraq as an enviable model for moderates and democrats in the region

And you want it overnight, do you? Quite reasonable.

Greater prestige and good will for the USA from the ME and the world.

Oh, man, you're into a comedy routine now.

Throw in discovery of all those troves of WMD.

And you don't follow the news.

Vindication of the Bush Doctrine.

You're watching the Bush Doctrine in action, you doofus.

How do we survive with this level of idiocy, always aligned against ourselves, in this country? It's incredible.

Revenant said...

It should be fairly easy to make inferences about what success would look like to me

But the things you cite are (1) our supposed loss of prestige (whatever that means) and (2) the sectarian violence in Iraq.

The thing is, we didn't go to war to enhance our prestige or prevent sectarian violence in Iraq. By your logic you could deem our participation in WW2 a failure because it strengthened the Soviet Union and killed millions of civilians.

phx said...

Number of names you called me: a lot
Number of names I called you: none
Amount of respect I accorded you: Absolute respect
Amount of respect you accorded me: none.

My bad. I commented on something you said, thinking it might lead to an interesting discussion. It didn't.

I don't mind when people get passionate and sometimes carried away. But I'm not interested in arguing politics with crazy or really immature people.

phx said...

@Revenant: The above was not to you. I haven't read your post yet, thanks.

phx said...

@Revenant: Yes someone could argue that our participation in WW2 was a failure for these reasons. I wouldn't argue that (if the Soviet Union had gone on to kill us though, you're damn right I'd argue it!).
I do think al Qaida was strengthened by the invasion (I'm open to counterarguments), and the civilian (and American) casualties were too much to BEAR, (particularly if we can include effects on the social fabric, infrastructure, mental health as well as killed, wounded, missing). And even if we met all our STATED objectives (and we didn't) it still would be a failure.
Maybe someone could call it a pyrrhic victory at best? And IF we agreed to that, I suppose some might say, yeah will it's still a victory.

The Crack Emcee said...

phx,

Number of names you called me: a lot
Number of names I called you: none
Amount of respect I accorded you: Absolute respect
Amount of respect you accorded me: none.

My bad.


Well, at least we can agree on something! When you can pull your anti-American favoritism out your ass, we can talk, but - until then - yea, keep that shit to yourself because it don't get no play here. There are legit criticisms to the Bush Doctrine, but "we lost" ain't one of them.

And - I'll remind you - YOU are the one who stated, if I didn't agree with that wrong-headed conclusion, it was pointless to go on. I merely ran with it from there, you passive-aggressive milquetoast asshole.

phx said...

Yeah. You know what? I'm gonna go with REALLY immature...

abeer ahmed said...

For the latest news visit us on cnn.com
http://whois.domaintasks.com/cnn.com

FIFA-Viruts said...

I hope it's true. That's good for all. You are lovely.
Myter och faktaoak airport