Thursday, December 1, 2011

Winners and Losers in Egypt

The results from the first round of the Egyptian elections are coming in, and the news is not good.

It is not good for the liberal youth that spearheaded the revolution. It is not good for America. It is not good for Israel. It is certainly not good for anyone who had harbored the illusion that Egypt was becoming more democratic and more capitalistic.

The New York Times reports this morning:

“The party formed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s mainstream Islamist group, appeared to have taken about 40 percent of the vote, as expected. But a big surprise was the strong showing of ultraconservative Islamists, called Salafis, many of whom see most popular entertainment as sinful and reject women’s participation in voting or public life.

“Analysts in the state-run news media said early returns indicated that Salafi groups could take as much as a quarter of the vote, giving the two groups of Islamists combined control of nearly 65 percent of the parliamentary seats.

“That victory came at the expense of the liberal parties and youth activists who set off the revolution, affirming their fears that they would be unable to compete with Islamists who emerged from the Mubarak years organized and with an established following. Poorly organized and internally divided, the liberal parties could not compete with Islamists disciplined by decades as the sole opposition to Mr. Mubarak. ’We were washed out,’ said Shady el-Ghazaly Harb, one of the most politically active of the group.”

Two more rounds of voting will take place, in areas outside of the large cities. These will most likely give more power to Islamist factions.

The next time you hear people cheering the overthrow of the tyrant, remember Egypt. No rule in human history that says that change is always for the better.

Keep in mind that when foreign policy is run by people lacking experience they tend to ignore realities in favor of fictional narratives. Now, the Revolution has come to Egypt, as it has come to Libya and Tunisia, and we have just discovered that it is not our friend.

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