Sunday, August 18, 2013

Slaughtering Brotherhood

That is what Egyptian General el-Sisi is up to. Now joins the interim Cabinet in dissolving Muslim Brotherhood itself. Even though the associated political party of Brotherhood is allowed, it will be hobbled because its most consequential Brotherhood leadership will be behind bars. At that point, the path may look like Syria - continued deaths every day - but Egypt would have essentially settled in Hosni Mubarak era status-quo: the most popular political force in the country underground.

The question is whether the militant factions of Brotherhood would want to take Egypt Syrian way - open civil war. It is possible, but I believe Egyptian Army is more organized and structured to quell any such armed uprising, obviously at much more blood cost. 

The other question is whether Army and intrim government creates enough 'political space fast enough' so as non-Brotherhood political forces - mainly Liberals and including ultra-right parties like Naur Party - claim some political vacuum created by displacement of Brotherhood. 

These are the two important questions foreign governments would have to hazard their guesses about. If Obama Administration heeds to advises both on right and left in cutting military aid and relationship with Egyptian Army; Administration will have to have plans to face:
- slightly higher chances of Egyptian Army succeeding slaughtering Brotherhood followed by new claimants to the political power (say Liberal and non-Brotherhood political forces) while not turning Egypt into an Islamist state (i.e. retaining its secular character).
- Egyptian Army going out of USA and NATO sphere of influence and start siding with Putin's Russian.  Clearly Putin will not leave any stones un-turned in luring back Egypt to Russian sphere of influence as like Nasserite Egypt was. 
- Finally, the coalition of Egypt, Russia and Iran would prop up Assad regime in Syria, would continue to pull wedge between Saudi Arabia and rest of the Islamic countries in the region, keep stretching Turkey in their direction as well; all essentially detrimental to Israel. All this may sound far-fetched, but seeds of such potential realignment will be sowed if Obama Administration and Western Nations turn their backs suddenly on Egyptian Army and Egypt overall. During these tumultous times in Middle-East; there are two principle interests America needs to serve in that region - Israeli security and Saudi Alliance. None of that is going to get served if in the fit of 'moralistic thinking' Obama Administration and West decides to cut loose with Egyptian Army. 

There is no sugar coating here - the proportion of human right abuse by Egyptian Army is unprecedented even from brutal standards of Egyptian history. But Brotherhood failed miserably when in power - it did not attempt to solve economic problems of common people and up above showed tremendous interest in usurping power and changing Egypt from whatever secular state it has been to an Islamist State. One can imagine when even an Islamic Theocracy like Saudi Arabia does not see any value in Islamization Project of Brotherhood in Egypt. 

Obama Administration, Western States and other world organization should collectively do as much as possible to reduce the ongoing violence and human rights abuse in Egypt; by pressuring Egyptian Army. But from there to push Egyptian Army in Russian bear's hands / embrace of Iran to create issues for Israel; that may be too much un-raveling. Sec. Kerry needs some breathing space of a year or so to push forward at least some partial peace arrangements between Israel and Palestinians. Regardless of many experts questioning prioritizing Israel-Palestinian conflict over other flash points in the region; reality is hardly in any other conflicts America or external powers can change situation on ground whereas Israel-Palestinian conflict - arguably the hardest - at lest provides an opportunity to USA principally to exhibit some chops; all to be en-cashed in other intractable problems of the region. 

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