Monday, July 08, 2013

The Egyptian Army is not an instrument of either reform or democracy

The Egyptian Army is not a democratic institution despite its recent pretensions.  One only needs to recall following the ouster of Mubarak for a reminder of how quickly the Army's penchant for autocracy surfaces.  Today's slaughter of scores of apparently innocent civilian protesters underlines the urgency of getting the generals out of the Presidential palace.

Before the situation in Egypt slides further into mayhem, the USG, and not least Obama, needs to grasp that pretending what has happened was not a coup d'état only encourages the generals.  The beginning of an effective policy response is using the word c-o-u-p.  This will oblige the US to suspend military aid and strengthen leverage for moving quickly to a government of national reconciliation.  Now, more than ever, insuring the participation of the MB in such a government is urgent.

The most thuggish institution in Egypt is the police, which has resisted successfully recent attempts at reform.   unless there is an effective establishment of an effective civilian transitional leadership, the police, with the Army's sufferance if not collusion, will return to the business as usual that they know best, namely beating, abusing and arresting anyone who deems to challenge their reign.  

The situation in Egypt threatens to unravel disastrously and compelling US interests demand a firm and unmistakable commitment to inclusive civilian rule in Egypt.  Dawdling only amplifies the long-range risks for the US.

Perceptive OPED by Khaled Abou el-Fadl, "Perils of a People's Coup."

[Also see the concise analysis of Prof. Yoram Meital, a serious student of Egypt, and Sarah Carr's powerful reflection, "On Sheep and Infidels".]

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