Sunday, December 9, 2012

Business (not) as Usual in Egypt

Egypt hasn't been "stable" since around February of 2011, when quit a few folks in the Middle East decided that they were fed up with stability. I can't say that I blame them:
The new(ish) Egyptian president seems to be trying to return the sort of stability Mubarak enjoyed. Some folks in Egypt may have thought it was a good idea. Quite a few didn't. (November 23, 2012)

So far, several Egyptians have been killed, President Morsi either left his office in a hurry, or he didn't, and Egypt is missing a political party headquarters.

One more thing, President Morsi changed his mind about stability. Sort of. Maybe.

"Safeguarding the Revolution"

"Egypt crisis: President Morsi annuls decree"
BBC News (December 9, 2012)

"Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has annulled a decree he issued last month that hugely expanded his powers and sparked angry protests, officials say.

"However, a news conference in Cairo was told that a controversial referendum on a draft constitution would still go ahead as planned on 15 December.

"Mr Morsi's critics have accused him of acting like a dictator, but he says he is safeguarding the revolution...."
I take what I read in the news with a grain of salt: or two; or an entire salt lick. When someone's political opponents or "critics" say that an official is acting like a dictator, all I can be sure of is that they don't like what the official is doing.

In Mr. Morsi's case, though, there seemed to be more than 'politics as usual' going on. His new rules:
  • Keep judges from
    • Reviewing Mr. Morsi's decisions
    • Interfering with a committee that Mr. Morsi's party is running
  • Say that only Mr. Morsi can change the rules
Maybe President Morsi really is "safeguarding the revolution." I think it's reasonable, though, to wonder whose revolution is being safeguarded.

"Not Legally Possible?" Maybe

"...'The constitutional decree is annulled from this moment,' said Selim al-Awa, an Islamist politician acting as a spokesman for a meeting Mr Morsi held with political and public figures on Saturday.

"But he said the referendum on a new constitution would go ahead because it was not legally possible for the president to postpone it.

"The meeting had been boycotted by the main opposition leaders who had earlier called for their supporters to step up their protests.

"They want both the decree and the referendum cancelled...."
(BBC News)
My hat's off to the current Egyptian administration, if they're really going ahead with a dubious referendum because Egyptian law says they have to. I think some laws are stupid: but I also think that stupid laws should be changed, not ignored.

In some ways, I'm more concerned about folks who think it's okay for leaders to break the law, than I am about other folks who think it's okay to fly airliners into office buildings. It's not much of a choice: but at least the suicide pilots are generally an external threat.

"Reactionary Figures," Protests, and an Incendiary Statement

"...The president's supporters say the judiciary is made up of reactionary figures from the old regime of strongman Hosni Mubarak.

"But his opponents have mounted almost continuous protests since the decree was passed.

"They are also furious over the drafting of the new constitution because they see the process as being dominated by Mr Morsi's Islamist allies.

"Several people have been killed in the recent spate of anti-government protests, and the presidential palace has come under attack.

"The Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement to which Mr Morsi belongs, were set on fire."
(BBC News)
I don't think the Muslim Brotherhood are 'good guys.' I don't think they're 'bad guys,' either.

I'm dubious about folks who act as if they think God follows their policies and preferences: and folks like that aren't always 'those people over there.'

When I was growing up, some radio preachers seemed to think that Jesus was an American, and that's not quite another topic.

I do think that Egyptians are no more uniform in their views and beliefs, than Americans. Dead Egyptians, arson with a political target, and continued protests seem to back up that view.

As for those "reactionary figures?" Maybe Mubarak's old pals really are behind at least some of the trouble in Egypt. Or maybe not.

Blaming a hated, and comfortably distant, foe is an old trick. America's old establishment had the communist threat, today's lot have vast right-wing conspiracies, and that's yet another topic.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.