Sunday, August 12, 2012

Egypt: There Goes the Army; There Goes the Free Media

By Barry Rubin

So can you write “Arab Spring,” "free elections," "democracy in Egypt," and such things 100 times? This just might be somewhat in contradiction to the fact that:

Muslim Brotherhood President al-Mursi has just removed the commanding generals of the Egyptian military. Does he have a right to do this? Who knows. There's no constitution but they have two choices: fight or surrender. I fear they will surrender. That means all we were told about not having to worry because the generals would restrain the Brotherhood was false. Moreover, the idea that the army, and hence the government, may fear to act lest they lose U.S. aid will also be false. Mursi has also removed a constitutional decree regarding parliament. He is now the democratically elected dictator of Egypt.

Behind the scenes note: Would Mursi dared have done this if he thought Obama would come down on him like a ton of bricks? Would the army give up if they thought America was behind it? No on both counts.

Muslim Brotherhood President al-Mursi has also  just named the editors of the top Egyptian newspaper and other media outlets. They are state-owned, you know, and there are a half-dozen good little independent newspapers.
But one of them, al-Destour (ironically meaning "The Constitution"),  has just had a full issue seized on charges of “fueling sedition” and “harming the president through phrases and wording punishable by law.” We know this through a report in the Middle East News Agency, the state-owned monopoly.

And what was the inflammatory report? That the Brotherhood was going to seize power and that liberals and the army should join together to stop the country from being turned into an Islamist regime.

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