The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Egyptians Increasingly Receptive to Military Rule

tahrir-june2013

With at least nine people dead in Egypt after massive protests demanding Mohamed Morsi’s ouster as President, a victor is emerging over the overreaching, incompetent, bigoted and undemocratic Islamist government. Hint: it’s not the idealistic liberals that the Western media continues to overwhelmingly focus on.

The FT does some sentiment analysis from Cairo:

The national mood concerning the army has shifted since Mr Morsi outmanoeuvred senior officers and drew the military out of overt politics in the months after his 2012 election. When Mr Mubarak’s armed forces dispatched fighter jets over Tahrir Square in the 2011 uprising, protesters howled in outrage. When the army flew four military helicopters over the square on Sunday, the crowds cheered in support.

Despite the armed forces’ abuses and mistakes, many Egyptians now say they would prefer military rule to the domination of the Muslim Brotherhood and its more hardline Islamist allies.

The liberals are too weak to take power or to rule on their own. The Muslim Brotherhood had the potential to rule, but economic failure and instability—some of which was no doubt caused by old regime loyalists sabotaging the government from within the bureaucracy—has undermined it and weakened its appeal, perhaps fatally.

This thing certainly isn’t over yet, but the opportunity for the army and its allies in the pre-revolutionary state to reclaim their roles as the arbiters of Egypt’s destiny is coming clearly into view.

UPDATE: General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian army, issued an ultimatum to the government of President Morsi to “meet the people’s demands” in the next 48 hours—this is the “last chance” for the government and the opposition to reach an agreement, Sisi said on Egyptian state television.

[Egyptians protesting yesterday in Cairo, photo courtesy Getty Images.]

Published on July 1, 2013 8:35 am
  • Pete

    Egypt is in turmoil, right?

    And the root of the discontent is economic. Right?

    But if the opposition takes over, will things get better? No.

    Now imagine what Egypt would be like if the massive welfare payments it receives from the U.S. was to stop.

    So what does it say for a society that exists on the hairy edge only with welfare? Is such a society viable. I don’t want to sound Darwinian, but maybe ……

    • Corlyss

      “So what does it say for a society that exists on the hairy edge only with welfare? Is such a society viable.”
      A warning for many more than Egypt.

  • Jim__L

    If you give up (or are forced to give up on) peaceful means, the people who are best at violence will win.

  • Jeffrey Robert Cox

    WRM, I think you misunderstand the situation. The Muslim Brotherhood rule of Egypt is not failing because of saboteurs from the driver regime. It is failing because, whether the Muslim Brotherhood is ruling or not, the Muslim Brotherhood is still the Muslim Brotherhood.