Egyptian President Mohamed Mosri, already clothed with immense legislative and executive powers (and yes, Lincoln inspired that line), has now usurped judicial powers in what opposition figures are referring to as a coup. Of course Mosri claims that his assumption of these powers is merely temporary. Of course he claims that he is only doing so to “protect the revolution” and secure democracy.
How many times have we heard that before? How many times has it turned out to be true?
Mubarek, whom Mosri replaced (and whom he is now retrying) was a corrupt, autocratic bastard. It’s too soon to tell whether Mosri will be, as virtually all of his ilk eventually become, corrupt. But it is not too soon to tell that he is an autocratic bastard, and an Islamist one as well. All in all, Islamist trumps corrupt. Easily.
So the title of this post isn’t quite right. Mosri isn’t exactly the same as Mubarek. And the crucial difference-his Islamism-makes him a far more dangerous figure.
The timing of this is telling. Very telling.
Mosri made his move within hours of his brokering of a cease fire in Gaza. He received fulsome-sick-making, actually-praise from Obama and Hillary Clinton for his role there. For his peacemaking role, he was lionized.
And more to the point-he was also immunized. Immunized from criticism of his power grab. How could Obama possibly criticize him or take measures to oppose him in response to his putsch after having praised him to the heavens just hours before?
Not for the first time on the international stage, Obama was not a player. He was played.
I wonder if he realizes that. I sort of doubt it. Speaking of immunized, he seems immune to recognizing his errors.
One more thing about the timing. Mosri no doubt has been contemplating this for some time: the judiciary has represented the only check on his power. But he no doubt had to tread carefully, given Egypt’s fraught economic condition (especially regarding its parlous food situation) and resultant dependence on American aid.
Perhaps Mosri just acted opportunistically, seizing the chance to execute his coup when circumstances tied American hands.
But perhaps-and this is just an observation that is consistent with the data, but not proved or likely even provable-there’s something more than that. Perhaps Mosri is like the arsonist who makes himself a hero by rescuing children from the building he set alight. He goads Hamas into action, or at the least, signals to them that he will support them in an attack on Israel. Hamas takes the bait, and Mosri offers his, er, good offices to a desperate US to broker a settlement. He then banks US goodwill for getting Obama out of the difficult political problem of supporting Israel, which is very popular in most of the US and very unpopular everywhere else, and among Obama’s prog constituency. Goodwill in the bank, Mosri makes his move.
In any event, Obama is no doubt breathing a sigh of relief that the situation in Gaza has cooled down. But this is only a respite. An Islamist who is fundamentally (or should that be “fundamentalist-ically”?) opposed to the US is consolidating dictatorial powers in the largest Arab nation, and can exert tremendous leverage on the US via his ability to regulate-or not-the conflict in Gaza. Mosri has Obama by the balls, and can squeeze at will.
Apropos the Who song that inspired the title: I tip my hat to the new (Egyptian) constitution; take a vow for the new revolution . . . . I get on my knees and pray, we won’t get fooled again.
But my prayers will not be answered, almost surely. Obama will get fooled again. And again and again.
A programming note. Wordpress informs me that this is SWP post #2000. Hard to believe. The blog started in January, 2006, so that works out to about 6 posts/week. (It seems I take off the seventh day too :-P). I am writing this from Eltville am Rhein, Germany, which is kind of appropriate I guess since I’ve posted from 15 countries on four continents. (This also represents the completion of my Axis Tour 2012: I was in Italy in June and Japan earlier this month.)
I owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have read SWP over the years. I am continuously humbled by your attention. The blog has gone in directions I had never anticipated when I started it. It has had an influence, in a small way, particularly on arcane matters related to financial regulation, a subject I arguably at least know something about. But the posts on Russia and politics-subjects I did not intend to address when I started SWP, and which some would claim I arguably know nothing about-have attracted the most interest and comment. I value all the comments, and appreciate all the commenters-even those who bust my ass on a continual basis. I truly miss people when they disappear from the comments.
This blog has evolved into an interesting micro-community uniting disparate people from around the world with somewhat overlapping interests, and whose interests overlap my rather diverse and idiosyncratic ones in some way. It has changed my life in ways I had never expected. I hope it has added something to yours.
And to close, a musical interlude (complete with my role model, Keith Moon!):