Beyond the Cusp

November 29, 2011

Egypt and the Coming Power Struggle in the Middle East

By the time this article is posted the first stage of the three stage election process to choose a new Egyptian Parliament will have been counted. Should everything proceed as predicted by the United States State Department the moderate Muslim Brotherhood will have won a sizeable plurality of the seats if not an outright majority of the seats decided. The State Department of the United States, as well as the now retired Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, had stated that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was a multifaceted secular organization which had eschewed violence and would be a positive force in guiding Egypt into the future. The real problem is that we are more likely to witness the extremist Muslim Brotherhood which will take the elections by storm and steer Egypt’s future to include Sharia Law, an abrogated peace treaty with Israel, an Islamist-centric foreign policy, anti-American leanings and a likely bid to become the Sunni Muslim lead directly competing with Iran in an effort to establish a Caliphate.

In the bid to form the new Caliphate around Egyptian leadership will not preclude cooperation between Egypt and the Shiite state of Iran, who also has declared their intent to be the leader of the Muslim world. We can also expect more cooperation between Egypt and Turkey who are also bidding to lead the predicted coming Caliphate siting the past glory of the Ottoman Caliphate as proof of their rightful place in the lead. Despite initial cooperation between Iran and Turkey, the two competitors for leadership of Islam have been moving further apart which reached a pinnacle recently with Iran threatening Turkey should Turkey act on their threats to intervene to end the violence in Syria by removing President Bashir Assad. Just as the Islamist leaders in Iran and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been issuing a near constant stream of threats and saber-rattling towards Israel, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have issued similar threats and made promises to support the armed struggle of Hamas and the Palestinian people against Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood which will be taking the lead in Egypt is also well entrenched and poised to take the lead in Syria should Assad be removed from power. Such an eventuality would once again tie Egypt and Syria in close cooperation in their threats and potential violence against Israel just as was the case from 1958 and existed until 1961 under the title of the United Arab Republic (UAR). The closeness between the two allies, Egypt and Syria, kept their relations even after they went their separate directions after the dissolution of the UAR such that both countries coordinated their attacks upon Israel in both 1967 and 1973 Arab Israeli Wars. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

As the Arab Spring continues to actually prove to be an Arab Winter (a phrase used first here on BTC in the article The End of Hope in the Arab Spring on May 20, 2011, which is fast becoming a popular term) we will see once and for all exactly how compatible Islam can be with the ideals of democratic governance. The first proof that this pair is incompatible came back in 1979 in Iran with the rise to power by the Ayatollahs, and has recently been reinforced by the election of Islamists in Tunisia and the coming elections that will result from the Arab Winter. Even the Turkish system which had held much promise as their Constitution appeared to have checks in place that would prevent a religious takeover control of the ropes of power finally succumbed to Islamists as the United States and the European Union prevented the Turkish military from performing their constitutional duty to remove any government that was approaching the implementation of religious rule. Now Turkey has been ruled by Erdogan and his Islamist party which has slowly but inevitably been moving Turkey away from secularist governance towards Islamist rule, possibly even full Sharia is in their future. In the recent past Lebanon fell and power has been taken over by Hezballah replacing their secularist government with an Iranian proxy government. Also along this line was the insistence by United States President Bush and his advisors forcing Israel to allow Hamas to participate in the Palestinian election, which Hamas won easily.

The root of the problem has been the insistence on democracy as the wondrous fix for all ills in a society. This is a fallacy which must be exposed. Democracy is only a tool for choosing governance which represents the will of the majority and nothing more. The old adage that democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding on what’s for dinner is all too accurate and so very true. As stated above, democracy is not the answer to the problems in the Middle East with Islamist rule. Since the people are convinced that Islam and Sharia are the answer for all of life’s and societies’ problems, the only result from democracy in these societies will be the rise of Islamic Sharia, not the ideals of Western societies. Even should we attempt to implement the rule of law, the result will be Sharia Law, nothing else. The reason trying to impose Western rule in the Muslim world can only end in failure is due to the root of the philosophies in the two societies. The Western world has been based on Judeo/Christian philosophy which teaches acceptance of those different than oneself since the Reformation. The Islamic world remains under a supremacist philosophy that does not teach acceptance but rather demands the complete surrender of all. If we wish to understand the guiding ethos of the Islamic world, one simply needs to study pre-Reformation Christianity. Even after the Reformation there were many instances of barbarity and intolerance practiced within the Christian world all the way into the twentieth century. Much of the resultant violence in the Christian world was committed against the rules of tolerance being taught by Christian philosophy yet we expect just by implementing democracy into the Islamic world to cause a massive cultural transformation simply because they are allowed to choose which Islamists they want to rule over them. We need to remember that the Christian world, though not Christianity itself, elected such luminaries as Mussolini, Franco, and Hitler within the past century. There are places where one could easily question the qualities of elected people within what we claim is the most enlightened of our society yet we are shocked when similar people with the same shortcomings in what is considered less civil societies. Perhaps we should look in the mirror more and make sure we practice what we preach. We would do well in making sure we live the example we wish to have others emulate and after we have proven that what we do is the same as what we say we can expect the same of others. Simply put, Live it, then Preach it; and if we do good we can demand good. But until we live up to the standards we wish to apply and we show we understand that it is not democracy which makes our society great, it is our accepting respect for all people which makes us great. Democracy is a tool to an end, not the end itself.

Beyond the Cusp

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