Relax About Egypt
With Muhammad Mursi winning the Egyptian presidential election, I’m sure many in national security circles are worried. Mursi is an islamist and member of the radical Muslim Brotherhood who aren’t the best of parties when it comes to discussing Middle East peace. James Lewis of The American Thinker stated that he feels that this new election is part of the new Iron Curtain between the West and Islamic states adhering to Sharia law. He wrote in the June 24th edition that “today an invisible but very harsh Iron Curtain is dropping over a billion people of Islamistan — the nation-states ruled by Islamic law, Shari’ah, to one degree or another… After Obama and Jimmy Carter surrendered modern nations like Iran, Turkey and Egypt to reactionary throwbacks, we are now looking at decades of another Iron Curtain, this time enforced by nuclear weapons in the hands of martyrdom fanatics. Good luck.” However, we should take this slowly.
In fact, as Jeff Martini of Foreign Affairs wrote on June 21st, the military has put in place measure to ensure it will have significant power within the government. As Martini noted:
The first salvo was the re-imposition of martial law on June 13. Then, just as the polls were closing on June 17, the generals issued a supplemental constitutional declaration that granted them legislative authority and reinforced their role in the drafting of a permanent constitution. Not to be reined in, the brass also exempted itself from civilian oversight, giving itself the right to appoint and promote its own leadership, manage its own economic projects, and conclude arms deals. Finally, on June 18, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi announced the reestablishment of a national defense council, which puts the generals firmly in charge of Egypt’s national security policy.
Mursi could be sworn in and go through a peaceful transition in the post-Mubarak Egypt or, as Martini continues, lead a popular effort to unseat the council. Luckily, both choices will yield no benefits for the Brotherhood. In fact, “should Mursi take the oath of office as planned, it is unclear what authority he would actually have. The Egyptian military has already said that there will be no new parliamentary elections until a permanent constitution is drafted. The generals refuse to commit to a firm timeline, saying only that they hope to have a new constitution within four and a half months and a new parliament seated before the end of 2012. Thus, during that time, and “operating in the absence of a permanent constitution and without a legislature, Mursi would have no authority to carry out the program of Islamic “renaissance” on which he ran, nor would he have any institutional allies. The ruling generals and the judiciary have shown no interest in Islamist-led change.”
It’s still not a done deal.