November 23rd, 2012

Morsi grabs more power in Egypt

No surprise whatsoever here:

Egypt’s president on Thursday issued constitutional amendments that placed him above judicial oversight and ordered the retrial of Hosni Mubarak for the killing of protesters in last year’s uprising.

Mohammed Morsi also decreed immunity for the Islamist-dominated panel drafting a new constitution from any possible court decisions to dissolve it, a threat that had been hanging over the controversial assembly.

Liberal and Christian members withdrew from the assembly during the past week to protest what they say is the hijacking of the process by Morsi’s allies, who they saw are trying to push through a document that will have an Islamist slant marginalizing women and minority Christians and infringing on personal liberties. Several courts have been looking into cases demanding the dissolution of the panel.

The Egyptian leader also decreed that all decisions he has made since taking office in June and until a new constitution is adopted and a new parliament is elected — which is not expected before next spring — are not subject to appeal in court or by any other authority. He also barred any court from dissolving the Islamist-led upper house of parliament, a largely toothless body that has also faced court cases.

The moves effectively remove any oversight on Morsi, the longtime Muslim Brotherhood figure who became Egypt’s first freely elected president last summer after the Feb. 11, 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak. They come as Morsi is riding high on lavish praise from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for mediating an end to eight days of fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

I said “no surprise whatsoever,” and I meant it. Here’s an excerpt from my very first post written at the beginning of the Egyptian rebellion against Mubarak:

I have been concerned from the start about the possible influence and popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood, a currently-banned Islamist fundamentalist group that has its roots in Egypt in the earlier part of the twentieth century…

The Egyptian people are protesting in favor of democracy. As a person who remembers the turmoil of the Iranian revolution of 1979—the different groups temporarily united for the Shah’s overthrow and then jockeying for position (vainly) against the fundamentalist Islamists who quickly established their dominance—I have to say the situation makes me nervous.

I went on to write post after post about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the fact that it was a distinct possibility that they would end up the winners there (see this, for example). And believe me, I’m not trumpeting my great brilliance or unusual insight. It didn’t take either to see the writing on the wall.

Anyone who is surprised by today’s news—which may or may not include members of the Obama administration—is either a fool or a liar, or perhaps both.

27 Responses to “Morsi grabs more power in Egypt”

  1. JH Says:

    There is much difference between the two examples that you stated.
    While in Egypt the existence of Islamite in early days was not noticeable also not visible then later brotherhood party came on the table. However the election finished with them.

    In Iraq prior to 1979 Lunatic Khamenei full the street of Iraq with his Audio cassettes also millions support/follow him inside Iraq which push Shah Iran to ink a deal with tyrant Saddam to lift his hand of supports the Kurdish rebels in north Iraq in exchange expel Khamenei from Najaf/Iraq, as it was good base for him to direct the different groups for the Shah’s overthrow.
    But let not forgot the moment when US ambassador asked Iran’s Shah to take-off from Tehran in same time millions were welcomed the lunatic Khamenei, adding that US refused to give Shah Iran Visa to inter USA!….

  2. JH Says:

    Ooops apologies miss writing Iraq instead Iran
    here the correct one

    There is much difference between the two examples that you stated.
    While in Egypt the existence of Islamite in early days was not noticeable also not visible then later brotherhood party came on the table. However the election finished with them.

    In Iran prior to 1979 Lunatic Khamenei full the street of Iran with his Audio cassettes also millions support/follow him inside Iran which push Shah Iran to ink a deal with tyrant Saddam to lift his hand of supports the Kurdish rebels in north Iraq in exchange expel Khamenei from Najaf/Iraq, as it was good base for him to direct the different groups for the Shah’s overthrow.

    But let not forgot the moment when US ambassador asked Iran’s Shah to take-off from Tehran in same time millions were welcomed the lunatic Khamenei, adding that US refused to give Shah Iran Visa to inter USA!….

  3. Steve Says:

    Arab spring = Islamist fascism. Remember how the left was so opposed to nation building in Iraq because it was unrealistic to think countries in the middle east could be turned democratic? These same dunces did not question the overthrow of current regimes and embraced the change as a liberation movement. How hypocritical and out of touch with reality.

  4. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I believed the same as you, neo. The portents were not good for the revolution to extablish secular governmment, much less a democracy in Egypt, Libya, or now, Syria.

    In my heart I wanted to believe the opposite, because that would be a path to possible peace in the ME. But the realities were too overwhelming to become invested in the Arab Spring as anything but a path to more Islamism amd sharia.

    The utopian view is that there are hundreds of millions of Muslims longing for democracy. No, they are longing for a better life, better prospects, and freedom from want. They are propagandized by their imams to believe that only Islam coupled with strict sharia in its purest form can provide that. Those are the facts on the ground that we see and the Obamites are unwilling to accept. It is to weep.

  5. Mr. Frank Says:

    Egypt imports half its food and tourism has crashed. Their military is propped up by the U.S. It’s a good thing that the Brotherhood in Egypt has exposed themselves before Egypt could do much damage. We can pull the plug any time.

  6. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “The Egyptian people are protesting in favor of democracy.”

    I don’t think so. 84% of Egyptians support the death penalty for apostasy. No support for individual freedom there.

    And despite Iran’s hard-line Shi’ite affiliation, 62% of Egyptians say that “Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are friends of Egypt,”. In addition, 65% express a desire to restore diplomatic relations with Iran, and 61% support the Iranian nuclear program. 77 percent agree that “The peace treaty with Israel is no longer useful and should be dissolved.”

    The only way that Obama is going to pull Egypt’s aid is if he’s forced too. Should that occur, there’s an excellent possibility that an alliance of Sunni nations will provide aid or Qatar, the world’s richest country will step in to fill the shortage.

    “Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal maintains a residence in Qatar, while the Taliban opened their first representation in a foreign country in its capital, Doha.”

    Qatar’s emir, who is slowly ‘buying up’ Europe @ 10 billion per year has “vowed to “spare no effort” to spread the teachings of Wahhabi Islam across “the whole world”.

  7. blert Says:


    The number one booster of Wahhabism is KSA. — and its monarchs.

    The latest tally has their support up past $ 200,000,000,000 and still climbing.

    It was Saudi money that indoctrinated Barry Soetoro in Indonesia — it was a Wahhabist institution.

    And, yes, Barry speaks fluent Arabic. The MSM down plays that.

    (Apparently, spoken Arabic is not too tough to learn. Most of it revolves around islamic cant, which Barry has down pat.)

  8. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    I did not mean to imply that the Saudi’s lacked for support of Wahhabism. I could easily see them providing ‘humanitarian’ aid to Egypt in some soon to be future scenario. Qatar is just a possible leading candidate to provide any future shortage of aid to Egypt.

    By chance, do you have a link to Barry’s Indonesian Wahhabist institution?

  9. waltj Says:

    Oh, what a shock! A Muslim extremist attempting to crush all dissent under his boot heel. If this surprises you, I have some great desert land in south Florida that I’d like to sell.

    Blert, I agree that KSA and its Wahhabism are big problems to us, which we have not been able to combat effectively. But this was a problem before 0bama ever took office, and probably will be long after he leaves. Further, some of what you are saying about 0bama, whom I detest, appears to be inaccurate. The only religious school 0bama went to in Indonesia was (is) a Catholic one, St. Francis of Assisi, before attending a public school (SDN Menteng 1, or Sekolah Dasar Negeri, for the full Indonesian rendering of “public elementary school”). This latter school is still in operation, less than a mile from my apartment in Jakarta. The Menteng neighborhood where the school is located is upscale, the adjacent Menteng Dalam area (“Inner Menteng”) where he actually lived is far more modest.

    I don’t know where you heard that spoken Arabic is an easy language to learn. It isn’t. Sure, you can learn easily enough how to direct the taxi driver to your hotel, or tell the shwarma seller you don’t want onions on your sandwich, but actually communicating in Arabic is a lot harder than that, and it isn’t based on Quranic chanting. Modern Arabic vernacular has evolved very differently than the Arabic of the Quran, which is stuck in a 7th Century time warp, and many native speakers of Arabic find the Quran a very tough read. It would be like us trying to read Beowulf in the original.

    Whether 0bama speaks Arabic or not, it’s a sure bet he didn’t pick it up just by living in Indonesia. Very few Indonesians speak Arabic at all, much less fluently, and most Indonesian Muslims have no idea what their prayers mean unless they have an Indonesian translation handy. The Indonesian language, which I do speak fluently, was created in the 1920s as a source of unity by nationalists seeking independence from the Dutch. It does contain many words of Arabic origin, as well as many from Javanese, Sundanese, Dutch, Portuguese, English, Chinese, and Persian roots, but its true basis is Malay, the common trade language of the archipelago, which in turn hearkens back to Sanskrit. So Indonesia is not the place to go if you want to be immersed in the Arabic language.

  10. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    Thank you for the insightful Indonesian information.

    Unfortunately, Morsi is not just another extremist strong man. The Muslim Brotherhood gaining control of Egypt and the ‘arab spring’ across the region, portends far more consequence than the rise of another strong man.

  11. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Excuse me, but am I the only one finding this amusing? As glorious leader said in his Cairo speech, no nation has the right to impose democracy on another nation.

  12. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Prof. Barry Rubin quotes the NYT:“Mr. Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence. He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology. Most important, Mr. Obama told aides that he considered Mr. Morsi a straight shooter who delivered on what he promised and did not promise what he could not deliver.

    “The thing that appealed to the president was how practical the conversations were — here’s the state of play, here are the issues we’re concerned about,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. “This was somebody focused on solving problems.”

  13. sergey Says:

    The most striking feature of Arab culture in general is the absence of ability to compromise. Arabs always see power struggle as zero-sum game, so any advantage of one party is the loss to another party. That is why all agreements in this culture are fragile and become broken as soon as relative powers of the parties shifts so one of them can hope to gain advantage in breaking them. There never can be any stability except one imposed by absolute hegemony of a ruler. The only choice in such setting is between anarchy and tyranny. Because of this I never believed in Arab democracy, which always suppose acceptance of compromise and dealing in good faith.

  14. sergey Says:

    There is not enough humanitarian aid money in the world to feed 80 mln people who need to buy a half of their food abroad and can not produce anything for export. Their current budget deficit is $1.5 billion a month. Even Qatar emir is not as wealthy, and he will probably support Salafi (aka Wahhaby) faction, not Muslim Brotherhood, a rival faction. Egypt is a basket case.

  15. sergey Says:

    Neo, there is more close analogy of today Egypt than Khomeini power grab in Iran: Hitler’s power grab in Germany, and Wilson’s policy of accommodation to it with all excuses found by his administration so alike to Obama’s support of Mursi. Islam is very alike National Socialism, and Brotherhood policy closely imitate that of NASDAP.

  16. Old Rebel Says:

    Strange. I don’t recall you rejecting W’s call to revolutionary action:

    “By our efforts we have lit a fire as well, a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power; it burns those who fight its progress. And one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.”

    When paleoconservatives – that is, real conservatives, as opposed to the Trotskyist neoconservatives – pointed out that Western standards of liberty can only be nurtured within the context of Western culture, and that meddling in countries that have no democratic traditions can only lead to anarchy and dictatorship, we were condemned as “racist,” “xenophobic,” blah-blah.

    Now that our predictions have been validated by events, they are suddenly “obvious.”

    Welcome to reality, Neocons.

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    Old Rebel: actually, you don’t recall my original position when the Iraq War began because I didn’t start blogging till long afterward.

    But I’ve written a great deal about Iraq since, and the situation there was extremely different from that in Libya or Egypt. A good summary of my position on Iraq can be found in this post.

    I would add that Saddam Hussein cannot be compared to Mubarak or Qaddafi in terms of aggression to his neighbors and violence to his own people, as well as his attitude and position towards the US. But those were not the reasons for the war (read the post for my summary of the reasons).

    More of my previous reflections on these and closely related subjects (including what neocons think) can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

    You—like many—prefer to misrepresent the views of most neocons and then to fight that straw man. I agree, actually, that some neocons have been way too naive. I have not been one of them, nor have many other neocons.

  18. ziontruth Says:

    “When paleoconservatives – that is, real conservatives, as opposed to the Trotskyist neoconservatives…”

    Yeah, yeah, sure… just, when they open their mouths about how “America’s policies are making Muslims hate her,” instead of internalizing the lesson of the Danish Cartoons Riots, that Muslims are adherents of an imperialist ideology that wants to force itself on all of humanity, and that’s the only real reason behind their hate, you realize paleoconservatives are no different than your run-on-the-mill Marxist on Common Dreams in blaming their own country for Islamic aggression against it.

    I’m an isolationist myself, and a true one at that. You, paleocons, are no isolationists, only appeasers of Islamic imperialist aggression pretending to be such. Exactly like the Leftists you think yourselves the opposite of. Neoconservatism is naive folly, but paleocon and Marxist appeasement of Islam is no better.

  19. JH Says:

    Remember how the left was so opposed to nation building in Iraq because it was unrealistic to think countries in the Middle East could be turned democratic?

    Your blame on lefties for nation building is luck of understanding what went wrong in Iraq.
    You are missing many elements why US failed in her efforts of nation building in Iraq.
    After US invasion, Iraq became power vacuum, all his neighbours took the opportunities to do their homework, while US busy arranging her homework those neighbours they run faster to stop nation building and democratization of Iraq, that was lost opportunity for US to put it an example in ME like what US done in Germany, many element that Iraqis had have can make them capable to hold and inspire US project in ME sadly that opportunity lost.
    here that lost was share responsibilities, the neighbours who fought for their survival, as a democratic Iraq means in the region the end of those corrupted hard fist regimes, the walk-Cake was seduced each one to run for his own share to grab.
    The other part was Paul Bremer incompetent administration, who selected those Iraqi looser folks from Galabi, Ja’afri with others who don’t have such support and love from mainstream Iraqis, his ethnic division CPA made harder to implement any nation building principles ignoring many Iraqi voices from many Iraqi wise men to change his course to boost the nation building instead he move closer to those corrupt dishonest and lunatic folks who are clear by now they are Iran folks than Iraq.
    Iraq was opened to all terrorist from around the world, Saudi regime sent those diehard terrorists to Iraq, the regime found it’s an opportunity to get rid of them as they are danger their fist, Iran, Kuwaitis, Jordan, Libya, and Morocco the follow was vast for different reasons.
    So Iraq became all sort a land of terrorists, which US lost its direction for nation Building and democratic Iraq fighting those bunch of all sort of diehard terrorists.

    It was lost of opportunity in the needs now US need to come back to clean the miss aftermath…..

  20. Gary Rosen Says:

    “Trotskyist neoconservatives”

    You left out “hook-nosed wire-pulling Zionist cosmopolitans”.

  21. waltj Says:

    Geoff B, you’ll get no argument from me that the ascendancy of Morsi and the MB portend far worse for us (and for their own citizens) than would another tinpot dictator concerned only about looting the national treasury. No, these guys believe the Islamic b.s. that they preach. And that’s bad news for the United States, Israel, and the West.

    Old Rebel, I never considered myself a neocon per se, and some of us who had lived in Third World cesspools were more than just a little apprehensive at what knocking off the dictators would unleash, and said so. But the alternative–propping them up indefinitely–had also become untenable, especially post-9/11. And Sergey is right, Arab culture, and others, view power as a zero-sum game, and compromise as weakness. What’s the answer? Supporting tyrants loathed by their own people may work in the short term, but all tyrants fall eventually. Knuckling under to Muslim extremists doesn’t do much for us either, and only ensures that the extremists will raise their demands. Arab “liberals”, for lack of a better word, tend to be more comfortable in Paris or New York than in the villages or slums of their own countries and have no “street cred” with their own people. Brother, if you have ideas that would work, I think we’d love to hear them. And maybe somebody at Foggy Bottom or at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue would listen, too, although I’m doubtful on that score.

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    Gary Rosen: no, he didn’t leave it out. That’s what “Trotskyist neoconservatives” means, don’t you know.

  23. Gary Rosen Says:

    Of course, neo, I was being sarcastic (or is it ironic, I always get confused). Ironically sarcastic?

  24. Gary Rosen Says:

    On the subject of this particular “dog whistle”: while there are a lot of Pat Buchanan types out there who use “neocon” as a sub rosa antisemitic slur, there are also many people who use the word disparagingly without any antisemitic intent. “Trotskyist” is a dead giveaway, though.

  25. Eric Says:


    The reason for Obama’s foreign policy failure is simple.

    Obama’s foreign policy ends are carried over from Bush’s foreign policy ends, while the Bush foreign policy MEANS that have been loudly rejected and derided by the Obama administration were the logically necessary applications to achieve Bush’s foreign policy ends.

    So, Obama’s foreign policy has been fatally handicapped by depriving it of the means that are logically necessary to carry out Obama’s foreign policy successfully.

    When challenged on this contradiction, the Democrats will reply with some version of, ‘Well, you don’t want another Iraq, do you?’. Period, no more discussion.

    And that’s why Obama’s foreign policy record is such a mess. His administration dogmatically and reflexively avoids the appearance of an Iraq mission or ‘Bush doctrine, when that is what is logically necessary to carry out Obama’s foreign policy.

  26. Old Rebel Says:

    “Old Rebel: actually, you don’t recall my original position when the Iraq War began because I didn’t start blogging till long afterward.”

    nn: You’re not paying attention. Here’s what I wrote: “I don’t recall you rejecting W’s call to revolutionary action.” I provided a link to that call to global revolution. It’s from W the Conqueror’s second inaugural.

    So I ask again: Why didn’t you renounce the Neocon regime’s call to global democratic revolution if you now claim to not supporting it now that it’s an obvious disaster?

    And, to nn and Gary Rosen: Accusing your opponent of “racism” and “anti-Semitism” is a tired, old leftist dodge. If your ignorance of the Trotskyite roots of Neoconservatism is real, however, that can be cured. Click on the following link and do your own research to verify this analysis:

  27. neo-neocon Says:

    Old Rebel: I have written many many articles over the years on what my position is, all under the category “neocons.” Read them and you’ll see what it is I support and don’t support.

    My position has been quite consistent over the years, and I will summarize and simplify it by saying that I have never supported the US forcibly toppling dictators around the world in order to advance democracy (nor do a lot of neocons, although some come close to that). I reluctantly supported the war in Iraq because of the particular danger Saddam Hussein appeared to represent in terms of aggressiveness and WMDs (or intent to make WMDs), and I always believed the reconstruction would be long and hard and very risky, and would require a great deal of us. No way that could be done often.

    I did (and still do) support encouraging by non-violent (and sometimes clandestine) means the growth of forces that favor secular non-leftist democracy in those countries. That is a huge and difficult task, one that might not succeed, because the mindset of many in the region are very strongly against it. One of the very worst things to do is what Obama did: to encourage the toppling of dictators friendly to us and just let the chips fall where they may, and/or to arm and support the forces of Islamicist theocracy. Most of these countries are at the point where “democracy” will be a sham, as it was in Iran after the Shah fell.

    This is a post that summarizes some of my positions on Iraq, and how they relate to the whole question of democracy in the Middle East. It was written in 2007, and today I would put even more emphasis on the tendency of Islamicists to rush in to fill the vacuum.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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