2013 August 14 Wednesday
Over 200 Dead In Egypt Clashes

The Muslim Brotherhood managed to kill at least 43 police. Possibly the death toll is much larger. The Muslim Brotherhood puts it at 2200 dead as the Egyptian military attacks public areas where the Muslim Brotherhood has set up camps.

The United States gives the Egyptian military $1.5 billion per year to stay peaceful with Israel. The US government has to pretend that the Egyptian military did not stage a coup against democratically elected president Morsi.

The Daily Mail has a large set of pictures from the Cairo street battles. I get the sense looking at the pictures that deaths in the thousands seem more likely.

So here is what I want to know: Is Egypt teetering on the edge of civil war? Or will the Egyptian military successfully suppress the Muslim Brotherhood?

My guess is that a year of Morsi rule has effectively split the secular off from Muslim Brotherhood and so the military has both its own resources plus support from a sizable fraction of the public. Before overthrowing Morsi the Egyptian military met with secular opposition leaders and plotted to create the conditions to justify Morsi's overthrow. This was a triumph of the Egyptian "deep state" which very likely sabotaged the Egyptian economy and reduced public safety services in order to create opposition to Morsi.

A Wall Street Journal piece in Egypt, written from an American elite perspective, totally misses the point.

The relationship between the U.S. and Egypt's military government is breaking down, diminishing Washington's influence as the country's leadership violently routs its opposition and narrowing the Obama administration's options.

Breaking down? The illusion is breaking down. US influence on Egypt has always been pretty limited. What should the American government expect the Egyptian military to do when its power is threatened? Follow Uncle Sam's instructions? Why, pray tell? The Turkish military held back and look what that got them: neutered by Islamists. The Egyptian military is going to act in its own interest. The Egyptian military Uncle Sam has to look the other way because the overriding goal governing US policy toward Egypti is to protect Israel. As long as the Egyptian military is going to remain in power and will not attack Israel the government of the United States has got to look the other way and pretend a coup is not a coup.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 August 14 10:57 PM 

Wolf-Dog said at August 15, 2013 5:27 PM:

Although it is probably true that the rivals of the Brotherhood sabotaged the Egyptian economy in order to generate some sympathy for the military coup, the Egyptian economy was already declining to the point that the nation was about to collapse.
Egypt only had a few months of money to import the fuel and food it needed, and nearly half the population already suffers from some degree of malnutrition.

Here is the trade deficit of Egypt:

As soon as the coup materialized, Saudi Arabia opened its coffers and instantly sent over $10 billion to Egypt in order to support the military government. Reason: The MB was determined to overthrow the Saudi monarchy and gain control of the oil. Saudi royal family was threatened by MB, and and favored this coup in Egypt.

The question is not if, but when the Saudi royal family will be overthrown by religious forces. There is already strict religious law in Egypt, but the national wealth is monopolized by the current ruling class, and currently the Saudi royal family is in favor of the US and EU, which will change when there is a revolution in Saudi Arabia. Thus, what happens in Egypt is irrelevant, but what happens in Saudi Arabia is very important.

Another factor is this: if the US cuts off military and economic aid to Egypt, an oil-hungry superpower might fill the void by arming and training Egypt to gain influence in the region. After all, during WW II, Nazi Germany made an alliance with various groups living in Iraq and Egypt (most notably the precursors to the Brotherhood in Egypt, to be exact) for the purpose of weakening the British presence in the Middle East. The same can be done by Asian superpowers if they feel threatened by the West.

Slumlord said at August 15, 2013 5:53 PM:

Islamic culture cannot produce a high powered economy. The Islamicists keep blaming everyone else but themselves. It's not like Afghanistan every had a history of innovation and real economic achievement.
I gotta admit, I love the show going on it Egypt. The intersection of Democracy and Islam ain't pretty. Did the U.S. seriously think that the Muslim Brotherhood was going to be all that tolerant and luvvy dubby when in power? The State Department really does have shit for brains.

Liberal democracy only works if there is a supporting culture which tolerates dissenting opinion. And, of course, Islam, especially the brotherhood variety, is extremely tolerant. /sarcasm off.

Vektor said at August 16, 2013 5:52 AM:

Where is Anderson Cooper when we need him!!!!!

Check it out said at August 16, 2013 4:36 PM:

Well, it really always about religion, isn't it? Ok. here's a great phrase I found in Google:




Sam said at August 17, 2013 8:55 PM:

Slumlord said :
"It's not like Afghanistan every had a history of innovation and real economic achievement."

You're wrong about this. They have the greatest dancing boys on the planet. If they could just learn to export these dancing boys skills they would dominate!

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