Saturday, July 27, 2013

Egypt in Death Spiral?

First, it was the democratically elected government of Mursi which overreached in pushing non-secular constitution, failed to protect minorities (Coptic Christians) and undertook irresponsible, negligent management of Egyptian Economy. Mursi got thrown by a combination of Army and Liberals. Now Army is overreaching by killing Muslim Brotherhood folks point blank, in falsely accusing Brotherhood of Terrorism and attempting to implicate Mursi in politically motivated accusations. Army is undertaking such a sever suppression of Brotherhood so as to push Brotherhood to Terrorism; then Army can start the war to undertake Assad style genocide in wiping out Brotherhood.

Let us be clear of one thing - there might have been bit of 'moral credibility' for the General Sisi's coup; but there was no mandate. Any attempt to pretend the mandate by whipping up crowds in Public Squares is a myopic vision of governance. All of this is pushing Egypt in a full blown death spiral. Succession of overreaching regime after regime is unlikely to hold together a structurally weak Economy. Egyptian Economy is a rump collection of subsistence farming, tourism as the important source of foreign currency which is completely devastated by the ongoing unrest (the other major source of income is Suez Canal), no natural resources to benefit from and no worthwhile manufacturing or service industry base. This is all on top of exploding population with extra-ordinary high rate of unemployment among youth - the Egyptian youth most ill suited for today's global job market. Meanwhile the Army continues to suck unusual amounts of resources from the system. This is a recipe for the complete destruction of Egyptian nation state.

Can anything be done? Those Arab donors like Sudi Arabia ($8 Billions to Sisi's regime) and Kuwait (another $4 Billions) are unlikely to tell Army to go easy as those countries themselves do not have any sterling history of Open Societies. EU and European nations can tell few things here and there. But may be Obama Administration would indeed need to do some 'baby sitting' here by telling Army right things and applying whatever pressure points at its disposal. Israel will be all 'glee' in seeing back familiar faces of Egyptian Army in the saddle with 'slaughtering of Brotherhood' as a kind of 'cherry topping'. But Sec. Kerry needs to ignore any interests of Israel in much harsher suppression of Brotherhood. Kerry Critics like Goldberg are right about one thing though - stabilizing Egypt, influencing Syrian conflict and engaging with Iran; all possibly have higher priorities than a photo-op of Bibi and Abu Mazen. Bottom line - it is much in interests of America that Obama Administration and Western Governments in general do as much as possible to contain 'exploding Egypt' and help Egypt in the right direction. Another failed / broken state, that too 3 millennium old nation state of Egypt - the largest Arab State at most critical place geographically; all that looks really scary. "Unraveling of Egypt during Obama Years" - that would not be any pleasing legacy to read. Obama Administration needs to be creative here and needs to get deeply engaged with many critical players. Both Army and Liberal forces (who desperately need to unite politically under one cohesive political force; else National Government for a limited time is another choice); will be more receptive to American advises than Brotherhood or Naur Party. Idea is whatever leverage and communication channels available; Obama Administration needs to use those in halting Egypt's descend.

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