Rubin Reports: How Egypt’s Presidential Election Will Change the Middle East and the World (JEWISH PRESS) By: Barry Rubin 05/01/12)
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What might well be the most significant election in Middle East
history is about to transpire, yet the situation and its implications
are simply not understood abroad. On May 23-24, with a probable run-
off on Jun 16-17, the most important country in the Arabic-speaking
world is almost certainly going to choose a revolutionary
transformation that will ensure continuous earthquakes of war,
suffering, and instability for decades to come.
Of the dozen candidates only three are important and the question is
which of them will end up in the run-off:
–Muhammad Mursi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice
–Abdel Moneim Aboul Fatouh, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader who
resigned to run for president.
–Amr Musa, a radical nationalist who combines being an anti-American,
anti-Israel demagogue with some real experience in government and
some sense of realism and restraint. He has proclaimed the Egypt-
Israel peace treaty to be dead. If you don’t have a peace treaty that
means you are in a state of [three letter word being with "w" and
ending with "r"]. There are also, among the more serious of the also-
rans, a leftist, an old regime supporter, three liberals, and another
Islamist. The mainstream Western view of the election is bizarre and
very damaging. In this fantasy, Aboul Fatouh is portrayed as the
liberal candidate. If he wins, everything will be just fine and
dandy. You can go back to sleep.
What evidence is adduced for this picture? Basically, none. The idea
is that his moderation was proven because he defied the Brotherhood
to run for office. Yet the reality is the exact opposite. The
Brotherhood refused to run a candidate at a time when it was
following a cautious strategy, wanting to show that it wasn’t seeking
total power and could co-habit—at least for five years—with a non-
By declaring his candidacy, Aboul Fatouh was in fact taking a more
radical approach. Later, when the Brotherhood felt more confident
after winning almost half the parliamentary seats it became more
Most important of all, Aboul Fatouh is the candidate endorsed by
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Qatar-based anti-American, anti-Semitic
hardliner. Qaradawi would never endorse anyone who was
actually “moderate” much less “liberal.”
There are three factors likely to determine the outcome of the first
–What proportion of Muslim Brotherhood (parliamentary) voters will
support Mursi? Perhaps a quarter or more of the Brotherhood voters
backed the group not so much because they wanted an Islamic state but
because they thought the Brotherhood was more honest, would govern
better, and so on. Will they stick with the Brotherhood for the
presidency or will they go for Aboul Fatouh or even Musa?
–Having no candidate of their own, who will the Salafi support? Since
their goal is to provide a more radical alternative to the
Brotherhood, some —but not all— of the leaders will probably go for
Aboul Fatouh. But what about their voters, who have almost no
organizational loyalty—in contrast to the Brotherhood voters—and will
presumably support the man they see as the one with the most radical
Islamist vision? Few of these people will back Musa.
—Who will support Musa? There is no nationalist bloc in Egypt today.
Might Musa emerge as the secularist candidate uniting those voters
(only 25 percent we should remember) who don’t want Islamism? No. The
Christians and liberals don’t look at Musa as their man and will
probably split their vote among three competing liberal candidates
who don’t have a chance.
The result may well be an Islamist versus Islamist run-off. In any
event, it is likely that by the end of the year Egypt will have an
Islamist president, parliament, and Constitution. Laws will be
drastically altered, women’s rights will disappear, and Hamas would
be backed up if it attacked Israel.
Once in power, an Islamist government would eventually appoint
similar people to run the military, the religious establishment, the
schools, and the courts. Those who don’t like it will head for the
West in droves.
The alliance with America would be over, whatever cosmetic pretense
of friendship remained and despite however much money the Obama
Administration pumped in. And the whole region will be sent a signal
that this is the era of revolutionary Islamism and jihad at a time
when America is weak or even—as many moderate Arabs believe—siding
with the Islamists.
In the West, no one in power is prepared for this revolution, an
upheaval that will rival or exceed the 1979 one in Iran for its
impact. (© 2012 JewishPress. 05/01/12)
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