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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thomas Friedman on Egypt: An "Incredible and Incredibly Exciting Experiment"

In a short video clip entitled "Egypt's Balance of Power,"
which is featured on the home page of The New York Times, Thomas Friedman opines:

"The revolution here is at a more critical stage than ever. The constititution is about to be written, the rules of the games are about to be defined, and the first post-revolutionary president of Egypt is about to be inaugurated. How those rules are written and who that next president is I think will really, certainly determine the early success or failure of this incredible and incredibly exciting experiment."

Notwithstanding Friedman's balmy assessment, consider Eric Trager's insightful analysis written for The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, entitled "The Muslim Brotherhood's Radical Plan for Egypt" (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=3440). Concerning what is being planned for Egypt by the the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Mr. Trager writes:

"The FJP platform states that 'sharia, in its essence...organizes the various aspects of life for Muslims and those non-Muslims who participate in the state with them.' The party's theocratic aims are therefore likely to change many aspects of Egypt's domestic policy.

Three such issues should be of special concern to Washington. First, FJP leaders have repeatedly said that they would ban alcohol and beach bathing -- both of which are essential to a tourism industry that accounts for roughly 10 percent of the economy. Second, Egypt faces a severe cash crisis, and its ability to attract international investment may be hampered by the Brotherhood's intention to implement the Quranic prohibition on interest-based banking. Third, newly elected FJP parliamentarians have said that they will not tolerate criticisms of Islam or sharia, including those made by Christians and secularists.

. . . .

Supreme Guide Muhammad Badie recently declared that, after forming the new government, the organization would pursue its final goal of establishing a 'rightly guided caliphate for the education of the world.'

. . . .

The peace treaty with Israel will likely be the first casualty of an FJP-led government. Although the party has said that it will honor Egypt's international agreements, it has carved out an exception for the Camp David Accords, which it intends to put to a national referendum, thereby shielding itself from direct responsibility for the treaty's demise. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood has amplified its confrontational posture toward Israel in recent weeks by vowing never to recognize the state and warmly greeting Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Cairo.

. . . .

[T]he FJP has invited al-Gamaa al-Islamiyah, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, to join its future governing coalition."

An "incredible and incredibly exciting experiment," as Friedman would fatuously have us believe? The real question which now arises is whether the US should continue to bankroll Egypt when it falls under the control of the Brotherhood and the even more radical Salafis.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a video from a recent Egyptian soccer game that didn't make it into the NY Times:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkNZjDM_FQI&feature=player_embedded#!
    The banner reads "One Nation for New Holocaust".
    Is this Friedman's idea of an "Incredibly Exciting Experiment" ?

    ReplyDelete