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Thread: Egypt's ElBaradei: Liberals 'decimated' in vote

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Egypt's ElBaradei: Liberals 'decimated' in vote

    Is it too late to say "ooops"?

    Egypt's ElBaradei: Liberals 'decimated' in vote
    APBy MARJORIE OLSTER and SARAH EL DEEB | AP 55 mins ago
    Egypt's ElBaradei: Liberals 'decimated' in vote - Yahoo! News

    CAIRO (AP) Egypt's top reformist leader said Sunday the liberal youth behind the country's uprising have been "decimated" in parliamentary elections dominated by Islamists and expressed concern about the rise of hard-line religious elements advocating extremist ideas such as banning women from driving.

    Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Prize laureate and possible presidential candidate, said he hopes moderate Islamists will rein in the extremists and send a reassuring message to the world that Egypt will not go down an ultraconservative religious path.

    "The youth feel let down. They don't feel that any of the revolution's goals have been achieved," ElBaradei told The Associated Press in an interview on the same day electoral authorities announced that Islamist parties captured an overwhelming majority of votes in the first round of elections last week. "They got decimated," he said, adding the youth failed to unify and form "one essential critical mass."

    The High Election Commission announced that the Islamic fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party garnered 36.6 percent of the 9.7 million valid ballots cast last week for party lists. The Nour Party, representing the more hard-line Salafi Islamists, captured 24.4 percent.

    The tallies offer only a partial indication of how the new parliament will look. There are still two more rounds of voting in 18 of the country's 27 provinces over the coming month and runoff elections on Monday and Tuesday to determine almost all of the seats allocated for individuals in the first round. But the grip of the Islamists over the next parliament appears set, particularly considering their popularity in provinces voting in the next rounds.

    ElBaradei said he thought the combined strength of the two top-placed Islamist blocs surprised everyone, probably even the winning parties themselves.

    "The outcome so far is not the greatest one," he said, summing up the mood of the country's educated elite as well as average Egyptians as "angst."

    The new parliament will be tasked, in theory, with selecting a 100-member panel to draft the new constitution. If Islamist parties dominate, more liberal forces worry the constitution will be greatly influenced by the religious perspective.

    In a move that angered the Islamist groups, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took control of the country after Mubarak's fall in February, has suggested that it will choose 80 of those members.

    ElBaradei said writing the constitution that respects human rights, dignity and freedom of expression should be based on a consensus among all the players, and not on a parliamentary majority.

    "In my view, it is all in the hands of SCAF right now," he said, hoping the ruling generals will help promote the consensus.

    However, ElBaradei was highly critical of the military rulers, saying they have "royally mismanaged" the transition period.

    He also raised concerns about statements by some Salafi elements questioning whether women should be banned from driving, as they are in Saudi Arabia, or branding the novels of Egypt's Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, as "prostitution."

    "I worry of course that some of the extreme stuff coming out from some of the Salafis ... when you hear that literature of somebody like Mahfouz is equal to prostitution, if you hear that we are still debating whether women are going to drive their cars, if we are still discussing whether democracy is against Shariah," or Islamic law, ElBaradei said.

    "These are of course sending shockwaves, statements like that. I think the Brotherhood in particular, and some of the Salafis, should send quickly messages of assurance both inside the country and outside the country to make sure that society continues to be cohesive to make sure that investment will come in."

    He said the statements "will have tremendous economic and political implications." Moderate Islamists need to "make clear that some of these voices ... are on the extreme fringes and they will not be the mainstream."

    The focus on safeguarding religious principles should be mindful of rampant poverty and illiteracy, not "about what people are going to dress, to drink," he said.

    Salafis are newcomers on Egypt's political scene. They long shunned the concept of democracy, saying it allows man's law to override God's. But they formed parties and entered politics after Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February, seeking to enshrine Islamic law in Egypt's new constitution.

    By contrast, the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and best organized political group, was officially banned under Mubarak but established a nationwide network of activists. After Mubarak's fall, the group's Freedom and Justice Party campaigned fiercely, their organization and name-recognition giving them a big advantage over newly formed liberal parties.

    ElBaradei said the Muslim Brotherhood's strong showing was not unexpected, given that Egypt is emerging from decades of brutal dictatorship that smothered civil society. He said one in every three Egyptians is illiterate and nearly half subsist in deep poverty.

    "It should not be a surprise people are voting with their gut. People lost their sense of identity with the state. They identify with religion," ElBaradei said.

    He said the Brotherhood has been working for many years providing basic needs for health care and other social services the government failed to deliver and they were well known throughout the country.

    In contrast, the liberal youth groups behind the uprising failed to form a cohesive, unified front. He said they only formed political parties two months ago.

    He predicted the Muslim Brotherhood will prefer to form an alliance with the liberals rather than the Salafis to get a majority in parliament. The liberal Egyptian Bloc which came in third with 13.4 percent of the votes could counterbalance hard-line elements.

    Nevertheless, ElBaradei agreed the first elections since Mubarak's fall were free and fair and said the massive turnout of about 60 percent lent it legitimacy.

    However, he said it will not produce a parliament that represents Egyptian society. ElBaradei said he expects few women, youths or Coptic Christians, a minority that constitutes about 10 percent of Egypt's 85 million citizens.

    The rise of the Islamists has also caused concern in the U.S. and Israel, which has a long-standing peace treaty with Egypt it fears might be in jeopardy. But ElBaradei said he does not foresee any radical changes in Egypt's foreign policy because the country still depends heavily on foreign assistance and cannot afford to isolate itself. Egypt is one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid.

    He said Egyptians are looking more to Turkey as a model for a moderate Islamist state rather than Saudi Arabia and its strict imposition of Islamic law.

    ElBaradei said Egypt has progressed since the revolution but the economy and law and order have deteriorated sharply.

    "We are now a freer country," he said. "People lost their sense of fear. ...We are empowered as a people."

    He said he is advising the liberal youth groups not to give up and to view this as a "long haul" process and to start preparing for the next elections, overcome their ideological differences and work together.

    "We'll have to keep fighting," he said, adding that "the revolution is still a work in progress."

    He predicted protesters will return to Cairo's Tahrir Square to keep pressing their demands.

    "If you have the second wave of the revolution, it will be an angry one," he said.

    (This version CORRECTS Corrects word to "perspective" instead of "perceptive" in 8th paragraph. AP Video.)
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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    Is it too late to say "ooops"?
    Nah, its too early

    In a move that angered the Islamist groups, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took control of the country after Mubarak's fall in February, has suggested that it will choose 80 of those members.
    But ElBaradei said he does not foresee any radical changes in Egypt's foreign policy because the country still depends heavily on foreign assistance and cannot afford to isolate itself. Egypt is one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid.

    He said Egyptians are looking more to Turkey as a model for a moderate Islamist state rather than Saudi Arabia and its strict imposition of Islamic law.
    You say oops if after the next elections whoever the ruling party happens to be refuses to step down if they lose. That would be five years from now.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 05 Dec 11, at 11:10.

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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Nah, its too early


    You say oops if after the next elections whoever the ruling party happens to be refuses to step down if they lose. That would be five years from now.
    The guys play the game of thrones.They're doing it for decades.They aren't quitters and don't give damn about democracy.In 5 years we won't debate the merits of alternating power in Egypt,we'll talk about un-fvcking the situation.

    The army isn't proposing anything.The generals are proposing and the ultimate card they have is the ability to shoot people.The only problem is their card is slipping.Troops won't shoot their families,thus the power the army has is waning.The islamists have a proven capability to march hundreds of thousands in the streets and they won't give their opponents for decades a chance to keep much of the old power.They'd be foolish to allow the generals and the elites a chance to recover.

    This will end with lots of blood.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    The guys play the game of thrones.They're doing it for decades.They aren't quitters and don't give damn about democracy.In 5 years we won't debate the merits of alternating power in Egypt,we'll talk about un-fvcking the situation.
    We ?

    What will the Egyptians themselves be doing about it. They've learnt they can overthrow a dictator. What could be more ressassuring than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    The army isn't proposing anything.The generals are proposing and the ultimate card they have is the ability to shoot people.The only problem is their card is slipping.Troops won't shoot their families,thus the power the army has is waning.The islamists have a proven capability to march hundreds of thousands in the streets and they won't give their opponents for decades a chance to keep much of the old power.They'd be foolish to allow the generals and the elites a chance to recover.

    This will end with lots of blood.
    Give examples of the bolded bit ie Islamists holding back opponents for decades.

    The only aura the Islamists have is when they are persecuted. How have the Islamists fared in Pakistan of all places. Religion alone isn't going to create jobs nor put food on the table. Egypt needs an administration that can enhance foreign investment, create jobs & grow their economy. Egypt's economy is one quarter the size of Turkey for similar population count. There is a lot of growth potential here

    Egypt does not produce enough oil so they're going to have to develop an open mind towards the long term. They will have to become pragmatic.

    If there are Islamists in power they will be just that, in name only.

    Nevertheless, ElBaradei agreed the first elections since Mubarak's fall were free and fair and said the massive turnout of about 60 percent lent it legitimacy.
    This is the most signficant sentence in troungs article.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 05 Dec 11, at 13:17.

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    There won't be a 5 years from now. There will be a big civil war due to economy going down the drain. This division and conquest for political leadership only works if the economy does not collapse.

    Egypt relied on tourism, Islamists in power tourism=dead from Europe etc... at least.
    Millions of people need food, money shortages and subsidies out the window, people riot out of necessity since the ability to survive is well gone...
    Capital flight, yes happening as we speak.
    Egypt's Economy Reels as Capital Flees - Businessweek
    The gross domestic product contracted an annual 4.2 percent in the quarter through March and grew only 1.8 percent in the fiscal year ended in June. Egypt’s benchmark stock index is down more than 44 percent this year, and the government is paying almost 15 percent to borrow for nine months on domestic markets.
    Doesn't matter who wins, there is no more room to monopolize and rob the populous the economy simply is imploding.
    Egypt may ask the International Monetary Fund for the $3 billion loan the country rejected earlier this year. Private banks are hurting. “The banking sector has been affected by the government’s borrowing needs, which overcrowds the money available to the private sector,” says Said Hirsh, Middle East economist at Capital Economics, the London-based consultant. A currency crisis, says Hirsh, has erupted as foreign investors flee the bond market. The central bank has had to spend nearly 40 percent of its reserves to keep the Egyptian pound at the current rate. “This is unsustainable,” Hirsh says.
    Tourism, valued at about $12 billion annually, dropped 35 percent in the first half. At least increased shipping drove earnings up 11.7 percent for the state-owned Suez Canal Authority, to $3.5 billion, in the first three quarters. Remittances, valued at about $8 billion annually, have flowed steadily from Egyptians working outside the country. Those abroad can see their families at home need help.
    Originally from Sochi, Russia.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyppok View Post
    There won't be a 5 years from now. There will be a big civil war due to economy going down the drain. This division and conquest for political leadership only works if the economy does not collapse.
    Ya mean like the 'civil war' in Greece whose economy is in the drain.

    Where are these rebels going to get weapons to wage this civil war btw ? knock over an army bunk. That is when the army will move in and straighten out the matter quickly, wont be pretty. Bad idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyppok View Post
    Egypt relied on tourism, Islamists in power tourism=dead from Europe etc... at least.
    Tourism is down right now because there is unrest due to lack of an adminstration. That situation isn't going to last for ever obviously.

    Its not clear to me why Islamists in power are going to discourage tourism. Would imagine they would face a lot of domestic opposition with that, if tourism is what Egypt relies on.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyppok View Post
    Millions of people need food, money shortages and subsidies out the window, people riot out of necessity since the ability to survive is well gone...
    Capital flight, yes happening as we speak.
    Egypt's Economy Reels as Capital Flees - Businessweek

    Doesn't matter who wins, there is no more room to monopolize and rob the populous the economy simply is imploding.
    This needs to tracked upto the general election and resultant effect after.

    There is theory i heard some time back and that is the Saudis wanted this experiment to fail and are throwing money at it with that aim in mind.

    Too early to call.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 05 Dec 11, at 23:45.

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    Contributor Aryajet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post

    This will end with lots of blood.
    MB and Salafies holding seats? Bad combination. No one kills muslims like muslims. Iraqi "shia death squad" comes to mind.

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    Contributor Aryajet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Give examples of the bolded bit ie Islamists holding back opponents for decades.
    Islamic republic of Iran, may be?

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    There's a fair chance that demographics would reveal the educated youth of Egypt to be many of the sons and daughters of the local through national elite. It can be fairly questioned just how committed they are to reaching into the nooks and crannies of Egyptian society and repeatedly delivering their message. Doing so will be necessary to combat an established conservative presence. Doing so, however, will be frustrating, difficult and dangerous.

    Grossly stereotypical and more than unfair but you can't lead from the driver's seat of a BMW. I have a hard time imagining from where they'll draw a legitimate source of political power. If it is upon these youth to whom El Baradai is pinning his hopes for Egypt's future, then he and others will likely be severely disappointed.
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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Its not clear to me why Islamists in power are going to discourage tourism. Would imagine they would face a lot of domestic opposition with that, if tourism is what Egypt relies on.
    Get your head out of the sand, who the hell is going to visit a place where you might get jailed for acting like a Westerner? No booze, beaches or broads...

    There is theory i heard some time back and that is the Saudis wanted this experiment to fail and are throwing money at it with that aim in mind.
    This is a Wahabi Winter.

    What will the Egyptians themselves be doing about it. They've learnt they can overthrow a dictator. What could be more ressassuring than that.
    Worked well for Iran thirty years ago...

    ==========
    There's a fair chance that demographics would reveal the educated youth of Egypt to be many of the sons and daughters of the local through national elite. It can be fairly questioned just how committed they are to reaching into the nooks and crannies of Egyptian society and repeatedly delivering their message. Doing so will be necessary to combat an established conservative presence. Doing so, however, will be frustrating, difficult and dangerous.
    Stop it! The media told me that they all wear skinny jeans and tweet just like us - no way could that merely be the children of the 1 percent...
    Last edited by troung; 12 Dec 11, at 21:51.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    I thought this was funny. Posted it for the sheer humor of watching the supporters dance around the fact they were totally wrong about the protesters and Egypt. Do these blockheads not realize the trendy liberals lost in a landslide? Seventy percent of the people utterly rejected living in the same millennium as them.

    The Despair of Egypt
    By Thanassis Cambanis
    The Despair of Egypt - Thanassis Cambanis - International - The Atlantic
    Dec 23 2011, 7:14 AM ET 4

    How the country's politicians, activists, elites, its sponsors in Washington, and most of all the military have failed it at a critical moment

    rage despair-body.jpg

    Reuters

    The state of the revolution in Egypt is today, for me and probably many others watching it closely, cause for rage and despair. The case for despair is obvious: the dumb, brute hydra of a regime has dialed up its violent answer to the popular request for justice and accountability, and has expanded its power. The matter of rage is more complicated: in Egypt, Tunisia, and other Arab countries, it was righteous anger -- forcefully but strategically deployed -- that brought fearsome police states to their knees. The outrages of Egypt's regime are still on shameless display. The only question is whether the fury they provoke will make a difference.

    When we see the Egyptian soldier enthusiastically stripping a female protester while another kicks her abdomen, rage is a natural response. So too when we see soldiers and their plainclothes henchman cheerfully chuck rocks and chairs from a fifth-floor roof, and in at least one case, piss down below on their fellow Egyptians peacefully protesting in front of parliament, drawn to the streets in part because of the dozens of their comrades already killed by the state. Most enraging of all is the self-righteous, imperious lying that accompanies the industrial-scale state abuse of its citizens. General Adel Emara hectored the Egyptian reporters who tried to question him about last week's outrages in Tahrir Square, including the blue bra sequence.

    Like the American generals in the early years of the Iraq occupation who complained that the nay-saying media was telling mean, inaccurate stories about their swimming success, Emara blamed the media. The Supreme Council for the Armed Forces was protecting the nation and the demonstrators downtown were spreading chaos. "The military council has always warned against the abuse of freedom," he said, apparently without irony. In statements this week, the military has incredibly claimed that the bands of hundreds or thousands of unarmed protesters are actually a plot to overthrow the state -- a grotesque reversal of the truth.

    The new prime minister, Kamal Ganzouri, blamed the "counter-revolution" and "foreign elements" for the demonstrations. He also promised no violence would be used against them, even as security forces shot more than a dozen people and beat hundreds of others. No shame here, but perhaps some ulterior plan to discredit protest entirely. An angry response might be the only one possible, the only way potentially to thwart this colossus. Remember the original protests a year ago in Tunisia and Egypt: people billed them as "Days of Rage."

    Why the violence against demonstrators, against women, against foreigners? Apparently the SCAF believes it can intimidate people into submission, that it can succeed where its authoritarian predecessor Hosni Mubarak failed. The death tolls of this year, and the arrest of 13,000 civilians brought before military trial, are measures of the repressive reflexes of the current military rulers. On November 19, police set upon a small group that had camped out on the edge of Tahrir Square, beating them and destroying their tents -- and sparking two weeks of street battles that left at least 40 dead and 2,000 wounded. More recently, on December 16 security forces attacked a follow-on protest in front of the parliament building and the ongoing fighting has killed at least 16 people and critically wounded hundreds.

    There are few plausible explanations for the recent spasms of violence against nonviolent demonstrators. It's hard to imagine why state security attacks civilians during periods of calm, sparking new protests and reinvigorating the revolutionary movement. Perhaps the military has a strategy designed to discredit protesters and revolutionary youth, allowing or even engineering street violence which they can then use in the state media to portray activists as hooligans. Or, perhaps, the police and common soldiers have developed such an intense hatred for the demonstrators -- who let us remember, succeeded at putting the security establishment on the defensive for the first time in 60 years -- that whenever they confront a protest their tempers flare and they lash out.

    There's also a theory that the police, and even some parts of the army, are simply in mutiny, disregarding the SCAF's orders. Some believe that the SCAF genuinely believes that all protesters are saboteurs, foreign agents, and traitors out to gut the Egyptian state. Some also suggest that the SCAF is simply incompetent, and that each sordid episode of protest, massacre, political agreement, and betrayal is an act in a bumbling melodrama starring a cast of senescent, befuddled generals, most of whom lived their glory days in military study abroad programs in Brezhnev's Moscow.

    Whether there's a plan or no plan, some of the results are becoming clear. The Muslim Brothers and the Salafis, who dominated the election results so far, have essentially supported the SCAF's vague schedule to transfer power to a civilian president by summer. Liberals have coalesced around a new demand for a president to be elected immediately and take over by February 11, the one-year anniversary of Mubarak's resignation. The SCAF has continued its divide and conquer tactics, undermining all dissent in public while meeting in private with politicians from all parties.

    All power still rests in the hands of the military, which has designed an incomprehensible transition process clearly engineered to exhaust any revolutionary or reformist movement. (Before Egypt can have a new government with full powers, the military believes there must be a referendum, two elections of three rounds each for a legislature, another referendum on a constitution, and then a presidential election. That doesn't include runoffs and do-overs.)

    Meanwhile there's a debate underway about who "lost" the revolution, as if the demonstrators and liberal Egyptians could have gotten it right and changed Egypt over the last 12 months. Steven Cook partly blames the protesters for "narcissism" and "navel-gazing," claiming they lost the opportunity to engage the public because they were too busy on Facebook and Twitter. Marc Lynch writes that the protesters have not captured the imagination of the wider public, though he (correctly) holds the SCAF responsible for bungling the transition so far.

    Perhaps the most depressing read this week is a dark and self-critical essay by the revolutionary, blogger, and failed parliamentary candidate Mahmoud Salem, better known by his blog pseudonym Sandmonkey. He now believes that he and his fellow revolutionaries blew a chance to connect with Egyptians during the brief, hopeful moment after Mubarak quit; that, Salem argues, is when people were willing to change. Now that moment of possibility has evaporated.

    One common thread runs through these writings, and through much of the critique of the uprising: that the revolutionaries never bothered to try to reach "the people." There is some truth to that claim. Some of the most talented organizers among the original January 25 revolutionaries quickly turned their focus to party politics. Their efforts might bear fruit within one or two election cycles -- five to ten years -- but theirs is a dreary and inside job of crafting party platforms, opening branch offices, and recruiting staff and members. Another crucial cadre of revolutionaries were radical by conviction; it was by design, and not by accident, that they invested their energy in street protests and in forging links with labor activists, in order to spread the revolution into the workforce. That's not to say that the remainder, who number at best a few thousand, didn't try to engage the Egyptian public; they've been trying, but they haven't been too successful. They go on television, they write newspaper columns, they hold press conferences. In August and September, they put on Revolutionary Youth Coalition road shows, where they went to towns and neighborhoods across Egypt to explain the goals of the protests. Even without a budget, however, they could have done that kind of outreach, in cafes and poor neighborhoods, every week since February 11; instead, much of their time was tied up in Tahrir protests whose utility made less and less sense even to sympathetic Egyptians.

    The revolutionary youth alone hold promise for Egypt's politics of accountability, rule of law, minority rights, and civilian control over the army -- the unpopular but important bulwarks of a more liberal order. It would be a mistake to focus too much on public opinion of the protests, or even the gatherings' size. What matters is their impact. The military, in fact, has set the parameters. Since February, they have scorned those who negotiate with them in good faith at polite meetings. The only concessions the generals have made -- including, last month, their agreement to schedule presidential elections a year and a half earlier than they'd originally wanted -- came as the result of violent protests in Tahrir Square. Perhaps the revolutionaries found it simple to flood Tahrir in response to every crisis; but it was the generals who taught them that protest was the only tool that actually worked.

    So when it comes to blame, save it for the military, the actor driving events and the sole authority responsible for Egypt. The act, now ragged, has the generals pretending to be reluctant rulers, eager to hand over the keys if only a responsible captain would materialize to steer the ship of state. The rest of the players in Egypt merit mere disappointment: the mediocre politicians; the Muslim Brothers who repeatedly passed up the opportunity to take a moral, national position rather than defend their narrow institutional self-interest; the activists who failed to weave a national culture movement in the aftermath of January 25; the Egyptian elites who didn't invest their money and influence in revolutionary causes; the civil servants and state institutions that slavishly serve whoever is in power; and Washington, which has utterly failed to persuade its billion-dollar welfare ward, the SCAF, to behave responsibly.

    Is Egypt's revolution dead, beguiled by its own hype, endlessly occupying and fighting over meaningless patches of pavement while the rest of the country forgets about their utopian aims? "Symbols are nice, but they don't solve anything," Mahmoud Salem writes. "There is a disconnect between the revolutionaries and the people. ... Our priorities are a civilian government, the end of corruption, the reform of the police, judiciary, state media and the military, while their priorities are living in peace and putting food on the table."

    Can persistent revolt eventually beget genuine revolution, like wind carving a valley through granite? I'm of two minds. The women's marches this week fill me with hope. With determination and creativity, Egyptian women flooded the streets to shame their oppressors and reclaim the righteous narrative fraudulently hijacked by the SCAF. "Egypt's women are a red line," they chanted, and for once, the SCAF issued a formal apology. But another recent encounter, a private one, fills me with despair. A man I've known for some time, who used to work in the tourist trade and whose financial well-being teeters precariously between Spartan and destitute, confided in me that he saw only one option to provide for his children in the new Egypt: to rob an armored truck. At first I thought he was kidding, but he was not. "Don't worry," he assured me. "I have a plan. No one will get hurt. The bank can afford to lose the money. I will be able to be strong again for my children."

    I hope I dissuaded him, but for my friend and presumably many like him, this year of political turbulence has been more terrifying than inspiring, for reasons only tenuously connected to the SCAF's abuses, the missed opportunity for a cultural revolution, or the birth of a new Arab politics. The junta's propaganda habitually describes critics as unpatriotic, counter-revolutionary, or "not Egyptian," eager to present a uniform mold of the "true Egyptian." On the contrary, however, the proud marching women and the marauding soldiers are all Egyptian, just like the perplexed revolutionaries and the would-be bank robber. All of them will be aboard for the voyage.
    ===========
    Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP sticks to SCAF roadmap
    The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists are accused of turning their back on the popular uprising by revolutionaries, but they continue to receive widespread popular support
    Sherif Tarek, Thursday 22 Dec 2011
    Muslim Brotherhood
    Supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood 'The Freedom and Justice Party' participate in a march in support of the party ahead of parliamentary elections, in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

    The latest statement issued by the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political party founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, concerning the latest series of clashes, has triggered a fresh wave of criticism against the Islamists, who once again appear to critics to be in agreement with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

    In the early hours of 16 December the military staged a crackdown on a three-week sit-in front of the Cabinet building in downtown Cairo. Several shocking human rights violations at the hands of military personnel towards demonstrators over the past few days were documented in videos and photographs that were broadly circulated on the internet, causing both local and international criticism of soldiers’ brutal treatment of Egyptian citizens.

    The revolutionary political forces, including the Revolution Youth Coalition, called on the ruling SCAF to immediately step down and hand over power to a civilian administration. According to these forces, civilian rule is necessary in order to stop the bloodshed and push towards the transition to a full-scale democratic system, an aim that seems increasingly out of reach under military rule.

    In the statement, published on 21 December on the Muslim Brotherhood’s English website, the FJP, in common with many parties and politicians, demanded an instant end to the violence and compensation for the families of martyrs and the injured. Additionally, the FJP calls on the SCAF to “identify the ‘hands’ that disrupt Egypt’s security and fuel crises,” referred to by Deputy Defence Minister Adel Emara during a press conference held on Monday.

    In the same statement, however, the Brotherhood party also rejected outright the widespread suggestions for the speaker-elect of the People’s Assembly to temporarily assume the role of president, or to bring forward the presidential elections to 25 January.

    The FJP statement points out that the eruption of protest coincides with the voting stages of the ongoing parliamentary elections, insinuating that there is intentional disruption of the electoral process. The statement makes it clear that there should be no disruption of the electoral process and that demands to bring foward presidential elections will not only fail to solve the current crisis, but also contravene “the requirements approved by all parties in the Constitutional Declaration – which provides for elections of the People’s Assembly, then the Shura Council [the upper house of parliament], drafting the new constitution, and finally the presidential elections.”

    In a flurry of activity on social networking sites, particularly Facebook and Twitter, some observers pointed out that the Constitutional Declaration actually stipulates the presidential elections should take place before drafting the constitution. Others reiterated the view that the Brotherhood are selfishly concerned about the ongoing parliamentary elections, in which they have amassed the largest amount of votes so far.

    Mohamed Salah, an expert on Islamist movements and head of Al-Hayat newspaper’s office in Egypt, said the FJP’s critics are indeed numerous, and yet, they are outnumbered by the Brotherhood’s followers, a fact from which the party derives sufficient power to declare its views without fear of significant rebuke.

    Salah told Ahram Online, “Of course the Freedom and Justice Party is eager to see the roadmap implemented, that would be in their best interest. From my perspective, a lot of people want that too, especially those whom we call the ‘couch party.’”

    The “couch party” is a term used to refer to those who are not politically active. Salah elaborates, “These couch party people are not necessarily supporters of SCAF, but they just want tensions to cool down and would love to see a little bit of stability. They believe what the Brotherhood is after and they do have faith in them.”

    With regard to the FJP’s electoral success so far, Salah says, “it was clear from the results of the [first two rounds of the] parliamentary elections that the Brotherhood’s popularity is vast. I would say they knew they would be slated by the anti-SCAF people for their statements, but many others trust them and would back them up.”

    Since March of this year, the Brotherhood and the SCAF appear to have had a behind-the-scenes deal or accommodation, from which both sides would benefit. That, at least, has been the conclusion drawn by many critics in the liberal and pro-democracy camp.

    Salafist contradictions

    The Salafist Al-Nour Party, the second biggest winners in the first two rounds of the parliamentary elections, has also been facing harsh criticism from the same political liberal current for some of their comments on the ongoing turmoil.

    Several scenes over the past few days, during which at least 14 have been killed and several hundred injured, would in theory be particularly provocative for Al-Nour Party. Among these incidents are the obscene assault that saw three military policemen part strip an unknown veiled young woman. They dragged her through the street and continued to kick and beat her viciously as her upper body was stripped to her undergarments.

    Other incidents that might be expected to inflame the Salafists include reports that medium-sized metal frames with verses of Quran emblazoned on them were among the furniture, rocks and missiles that military soldiers and other plain-clothed people were hurling from the top of the Cabinet buildings onto protesters below.

    Moreover, Emad Effat, a prominent Azhar cleric who had been supportive of the Cabinet sit-in, was shot dead at the protests on 16 December. There were allegations that he was shot from point blank, but Forensics Chief Ehsan Kamil Georgi announced on Wednesday the medical reports suggest that the bullets that had penetrated his body had been shot from distance by a “sophisticated” firearm.

    These incidents have not, however, elicited an enraged response from the Nour Party.

    In general, the reactions of the Nour Party towards the clashes have been relatively contradictory, with some cautiously condemning the SCAF for the violence, while others have directed their criticism towards the protesters, women in particular.

    “Those in Tahrir Square are not protesters, but a group of thugs who increase strife in the country, and the military council has to come down hard on them,” Abdel Karim Abou Gadida, one of the Salafist leaders in Marsa Matrouh Governorate, said in a press conference on Wednesday. “And how come some decent girl accepts to stay 20 days in the streets and sleep under tents around male youth?”

    On the same day, Nader Bakar, a prominent Nour Party spokesperson, told Al-Hayat TV during a live interview: “We deplore the beating and dragging of the protesters, these brutal excesses are disgraceful for sure.”

    Salah cites lack of experience as the main reason behind these contradictions. He suggests that because “Al-Nour Party is newly founded, its members do not have a lot of experience as politicians. That is why not all their statements are similar, unlike the Brotherhood whose spokespersons usually give the same stance every time, even without coordination.” He added, “and let’s not forget the media usually focus on the negative comments of the Salafists.”

    In the women’s protest march on Tuesday when thousands denounced military brutality against female demonstrators, many hit out at “those who pretend to be real Muslims and showed no sympathy for the female victims,” mainly referring to the Nour Party and the FJP.
    Last edited by troung; 24 Dec 11, at 06:47.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  12. #12
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Was the Arab Spring a Victory for Extremism?: Jeffrey Goldberg
    December 23, 2011, 8:23 PM EST

    By Jeffrey Goldberg

    Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- There was a time in Cairo, just a few months ago, when it was considered slightly outre to suggest that Egypt’s religious conservatives might take advantage of Hosni Mubarak’s demise to engineer their way into power.

    We were told that battalions of tweeting secularists were steering this revolution, and that the people of Egypt did not want sharia, or Islamic law, to govern their lives. They simply wanted freedom. This was Selma on the Nile.

    One night in a ragged, badly lit cafe just off the square, one of the revolution’s “Google kids” -- not an actual employee but someone who could plausibly be employed by Google - - explained to me how the Mubarak regime manipulated Western opinion. “They wanted you to believe that the only thing stopping the Muslim Brothers from taking over the whole country was them,” he said. “This is how they scared you. Then you gave them guns they used to kill us.”

    Both statements were true. Mubarak did invoke the specter of Islamism to Western visitors; a dozen years ago he told me, “My people expect a firm hand. If we don’t lead strongly, they will turn to the mosque for leadership.” And the regime’s thugs did deploy American weaponry against the demonstrators in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Egypt. This was America’s shame. It is also a shame -- a lesser shame, a shame of poor analysis--that the Arab Uprising went entirely unpredicted in Washington and elsewhere. To compound the shame, few people, even in the midst of the uprisings, forecast the rise of Islamist parties to power not only in Egypt but also in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, and coming soon, in Syria, when the Assad regime finally falls.

    Dignity and Respect

    In many ways the Arab Uprising -- or Arab Awakening, or Arab Spring; freedom means we can call it what we want -- should thrill the American soul. Millions of Arabs, their fear of torture and persecution finally conquered by anger at the regimes that oppressed them, rose up and, in countless acts of astonishing bravery, defeated or are attempting to defeat the despots and the massive secret police apparatuses under their command. The protesters sought dignity and respect and the freedom to choose their own path, and these are things that resonate with Americans. Then came a problem. It turns out Mubarak was right. The only thing standing between Egypt and the rise of fundamentalist Islam was … Mubarak. The path the Arab people seem to want, at least for the moment, is the path of Islam. The big news out of Cairo late this fall was not the Muslim Brotherhood’s triumph in parliamentary elections, even though the Brotherhood-affiliated party took 37 percent of the popular vote. The main news was made by the more extreme Nour Party, which is affiliated with Egypt’s Salafists. The Salafists, who believe that the world should be made over to look as it did during the time of the Prophet Muhammad, took almost 25 percent of the popular vote. In other words, the majority of voters in the Arab world’s most populous country chose either a party whose motto is “Islam is the Solution” or a party that believes that medieval Arabia is an appropriate state model. There have been two predictable Western responses to the rise of Islamism in Egypt and across the Arab world: panic and rationalization. Panic is self-explanatory: The Muslim Brotherhood and its more radical cousins are, generally speaking, anti-Western, anti-Semitic, hostile to Christians in their midst, and have a view of women that most Westerners find abhorrent. It is not difficult for creative minds to place the Muslim Brotherhood on a continuum that ends at al-Qaeda, even though al-Qaeda was created in part as a corrective to what Osama bin Laden & Co. viewed as the unforgivable moderation of the Brotherhood. The panic felt in some quarters is precisely what men such as Mubarak, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, and even the late-stage Muammar Qaddafi in Libya hoped to cultivate in their Western interlocutors.

    Rationalizing Fundamentalism

    The other predictable response among Westerners has been to rationalize the rise of Muslim fundamentalism by arguing that the Muslim Brothers and even the Salafists are not the bogeymen we think they are. Scratch a Muslim Brother, the argument goes, and you’ll find the Middle Eastern analog of a European Christian Democrat. This argument elides the misogyny and anti- Semitism of Islamists, not to mention their embrace of various baroque and pathetic conspiracy theories, including the notion that the attacks of 9/11 were plotted by the Mossad or the CIA. On the other hand, the Egyptian Brothers no longer have to look to Iran to see how Islamists govern; they can look, and are looking, to Turkey, where the ruling AKP party has come closest to maintaining a commitment to traditional Islam without turning its back on the West or completely cutting off the oxygen to liberal-minded secularists.

    A set of less predictable responses to the upheaval in the Middle East would include, at the outset, a strong dose of analytical humility. No one knows how these newly empowered Muslim political parties might govern. Never having governed before, the parties themselves don’t know. There are reasons for conditional anguish: The (now contracting) economy of Egypt can’t afford to be led by people who believe “Islam is the solution,” and it certainly can’t be brought into the 21st century by leaders who want to build a bridge to the 7th. But no one has yet offered compelling proof that the Brotherhood would break Egypt’s treaty obligations or press its views through violence.

    Another less predictable response might come in the form of fatalism: What will happen in the Middle East is going to happen. The crisis in the region this year was, indirectly, of America’s making: On the advice of the camp of cynics known as foreign policy realists, successive U.S. Administrations believed that the best American policy in the Middle East was to make alliance with the most amenable Arab despots, who would ensure stability. Well, stability turned out to be chimerical. The Arab masses, less interested in geopolitical stability than in dignity and free expression, have rebutted the realist argument.

    Military Hangs On

    All this assumes Egypt’s brutal military will actually cede power to elected parties. Either way, the outcomes won’t be determined by the U.S. The people of the Arab world are going to spend the next 10 (or 20 or 30) years deciding for themselves how they wish to be governed. It will often be messy and unpleasant, but in the end, once they complete their experiments in theocratic rule (or revert back to other forms of authoritarianism), I’m reasonably sure (as an American optimist, rather than as a fatalist) that they will turn to a type of liberal democracy informed by faith, but without the intolerance associated with fundamentalism.

    This is not to say the West must ignore the Arabs as they sort out the future. The U.S. still has the ability to shape certain outcomes -- the intervention in Libya is a case in point -- and protect those who need protecting. (The aggrieved Christians of Egypt spring to mind.) And the U.S. should work more assiduously to speed Assad’s downfall in Syria, which would leave America’s main nemesis in the Middle East--Iran--without an Arab friend. The uprisings offer opportunities for the U.S. None is greater than the chance to see the Arab world find its way to freedom, if we only have the patience and fortitude to watch as it detours through fundamentalism.

    (Jeffrey Goldberg is a Bloomberg View columnist and a national correspondent for the Atlantic. The opinions expressed are his own. This article appears in the Dec. 26 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.)

    --Editors: Romesh Ratnesar, Josh Tyrangiel

    To contact the writer of this article: Jeffrey Goldberg at goldberg.atlantic@gmail.com.

    To contact the editor responsible for this article: Timothy Lavin at tlavin1@bloomberg.net.
    Was the Arab Spring a Victory for Extremism?: Jeffrey Goldberg - Businessweek
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  13. #13
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Think of the MB as conservatives and the salafis as the extreme right.

    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    Get your head out of the sand
    Which part of 'Too early to call' did you not understand ?

    You do realise this election was for the constituent assembly and that they have yet to have a general election. Nobody has even seen what consitution they come up with but lets not let the little pesky details come in the way, eh.

    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    who the hell is going to visit a place where you might get jailed for acting like a Westerner? No booze, beaches or broads...
    Assuming this has been permitted upto now what makes you think its going to dissapear overnight. A bunch of mullahs that were banned by the military for decades is going to change all this ? heh.

    I will repeat it again, if tourism is important to Egypt they are not going to mess with it. They establish enclaves where this behaviour is tolerated. Its not a 100% washout is it.

    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    This is a Wahabi Winter.
    The Saudi idea was to buy votes through cheap meat & other assorted services. This is where the salafis got their numbers.

    Not heard your congress critters discussing scaling back aid to Egypt have you ? So what will ~$1 billion annual aid get you in exchange.

    That means western money vs saudi money. Egypt is too important to fail

    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    Worked well for Iran thirty years ago...
    Iranians have yet to unseat their dear leader unlike the Egyptians.

    troung, couple of things I want you to clarify as its unclear to me:
    - Do you believe the military will allow free & fair general elections in the future or will they put that off. Because then tourism remains the same as under Mubarak.

    - Whether you think the Islamists are going to turn Egypt into Saudi Arabia.

    Going by the military's behaviour it does not seem to matter whether one is liberal or Islamist. The army has been hammering everybody in the interests of law & order and there are several instances of going beyond.

  14. #14
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Which part of 'Too early to call' did you not understand ?
    What part of 'head in the sand' doesn't translate?

    Iranians have yet to unseat their dear leader unlike the Egyptians.
    They did (the Shah) and they have gotten the Mullahs, just like Egypt is on the way to get.

    Going by the military's behaviour it does not seem to matter whether one is liberal or Islamist. The army has been hammering everybody in the interests of law & order and there are several instances of going beyond.
    The Mullahs are sitting back because they have this in any election. Islamists represent the people of Egypt, not the tweeters.

    Assuming this has been permitted upto now what makes you think its going to dissapear overnight. A bunch of mullahs that were banned by the military for decades is going to change all this ? heh.
    The Egyptian public stands beside the Mullahs not the tweeters.

    Not heard your congress critters discussing scaling back aid to Egypt have you ? So what will ~$1 billion annual aid get you in exchange.
    That is aid for the armed forces, so unless they pull an Algeria the army will be run by the Mullahs.

    I will repeat it again, if tourism is important to Egypt they are not going to mess with it. They establish enclaves where this behaviour is tolerated. Its not a 100% washout is it.
    No they probably won't as they secure power. And who would wish to go somewhere where the issue is more then likely in doubt at best?
    ==========
    People might finally learn why we didn't want people from this part of the world to vote.

    ===========
    Egypt: Islamists consolidate gains in 2nd round of parliamentary elections

    By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, December 24, 9:46 AM
    Egypt: Islamists consolidate gains in 2nd round of parliamentary elections - The Washington Post
    CAIRO — Islamist parties have consolidated earlier gains in Egypt’s multistage parliamentary elections, winning nearly 70 percent of the seats determined so far, according to results announced Saturday.

    Election commission chief Abdel-Moez Ibrahim announced results from the second round of three rounds, which was held Dec. 14-15, followed by a run-off this week. The second round was held in nine provinces, and Ibrahim said turnout reached 65 percent.

    Based on the results he gave, the Muslim Brotherhood says it won around 86 of estimated 180 seats up for grabs in the round, or 47 percent.

    The Al-Nour Party, the political arm of the ultraconservative Salafi movement, won around 20 percent of the vote.

    The secular and liberal forces that largely drove Egypt’s uprising against former leader Hosni Mubarak were trounced, failing to turn their achievement into a victory at the polls. The secular alliance of Egyptian Bloc and youth Revolution Continues won less than 10 percent of the seats.

    The results mirror those from the first round of voting, held in late November, when the two blocs together won nearly 70 percent.

    A third round of voting is to be held Jan. 3-4. It is not expected to alter the result and could strengthen the Islamists’ hand.

    The exact numbers of seats won by each group is not immediately known because of the complicated voting system Egypt is using. Some seats are determined by a direct competition between candidates, while others are divvied out in proportion to each party’s percentage of votes. The commission is to announce the actual numbers of seats at the end of the entire vote.

    The commission on Saturday also suspended announcement of results for few seats because of lawsuits filed by candidates citing irregularities.

    The election is the first since Mubarak’s Feb. 11 ouster and is the freest in Egypt’s modern history. The 498-seat People’s Assembly, the parliament’s lower house, will be tasked, in theory, with forming a 100-member assembly to draft a new constitution.

    But its actual role remains unclear. The military council that has ruled since Mubarak’s fall says the parliament will not be representative of all of Egypt, and should not have sole power over the drafting of the constitution. Last week, the military appointed a 30-member council to oversee the process.

    Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    Last edited by troung; 24 Dec 11, at 17:00.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  15. #15
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    People might finally learn why we didn't want people from this part of the world to vote.

    ===========

    Looking at what the rest of us put in office I'd say we need to cul the herd ourselves.Voting is great,but is also the great equalizer between idiots and not so idiots.That's not so great.

    Dude,let DE be the eternal optimist.I don't think he's wrong about tourism and such in the short run.However the Christians there are likely toast and the Egyptians will play a big part in the future Ragnarok.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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