The West and Israel are the real winners from Egypt’s turmoil, writes Roshan Muhammed Salih.
I’ve been in Egypt for 10 days now and have attended many pro-army and pro-Morsi events and demonstrations. I have also spoken to a number of activists and analysts from all sides of the political spectrum as well as the unaligned.
So while I don’t pretend to be an expert on Egypt or to understand the complexities of the issues facing the country, I do think I can draw some broad conclusions from my recent experience in the country. And I draw those conclusions with the important caveat that I could be wrong!
Firstly, I am as sure as I can be that the Muslim Brotherhood will not return to power for a number of years at the very least and probably a lot more than that.
They have the support of around 20 per cent of the population and the sympathy of more pro-democracy activists who feel that the military has just launched a coup and set back the democratic process.
However, the ikhwaan are also widely perceived to have failed during their one year in power, especially when it comes to the economy and working with other political factions. And because of this they now have the army, the security services, the political parties, the media and wide swathes of public opinion against them.
Therefore, the street politics that the Muslim Brotherhood is now playing by mobilizing supporters in their strongholds around the country and occasionally in central Cairo is little more than a bargaining chip which will secure concessions by the new regime. But it will not bring Morsi back to power.
As for the Tamorrud movement and the National Salvation Front which launched the unprecedented street protests that led to the toppling of Morsi, I frankly don’t envy them the power they’ve now got. Egypt’s problems are so intractable that power seems like a poisoned chalice at the moment.
They also seem very divided and only have an intense hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood (which they disseminate through their wacky media channels) in common. Moreover, secular liberals seem to have become fascists in Egypt recently through their flirtation with the military and one day they may well live to regret this alliance.
Meanwhile, the army – as we all know – are the real power brokers in Egypt. They are said to control 40 per cent of the economy and they get huge amounts in aid from the US to keep the oil flowing through the Suez Canal and the Israeli borders safe.
In my opinion, they do not really want to rule the country directly and will only intervene if their interests are threatened or if the civilian ruler cannot keep the peace – which Morsi couldn’t. And already we see worrying signs that the army is doing Israel’s work for free by eliminating “militants” in Sinai and destroying the tunnels into Gaza.
However, the army remains a strong national institution and at a time when the West and Israel seem intent on weakening or destroying Arab armies one by one, it is in Egypt’s best interests that the army remains strong.
West and Israel
And of course I cannot finish this analysis without mentioning the real masters of the region.
Personally I do not believe the conspiracy theories about the West and Israel ordering the Egyptian army to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, I think this move took them by surprise.
The fact is that the Muslim Brotherhood in no way posed any short-term threat to Israel or western imperialism. They proved this by establishing a working relationship with Washington and by giving the Palestinians no practical support whatsoever. So why would the West and Israel want to get rid of them?
No, all they care about is that Egypt remains divided, weak and chaotic so that it is too preoccupied by its own issues to really fight international and regional imperialism. So they must be laughing at the moment.