The Closing Window of Opportunity in Egypt

The Egyptian revolution is being crushed and I grieve for what is being lost. That glorious unarmed uprising that so inspired the world is now being gunned down by the armed forces. I grieve especially for the people of Egypt and the dangers that lie ahead unless something is to done to save the day.

The army’s massacre of dozens of people on July 28 was an unspeakable crime, equivalent to the horrors of the Mubarak era. It will go down in Egypt’s history as a day of infamy. I fear it could be one of those cruel turning points in history, when a gathering tide of lawlessness and instability burst into violence. The sense of foreboding is palpable.

The military’s brutality and lies are a grave menace to Egypt’s future. They make the incompetence and authoritarianism of the Morsi government seem mild by comparison. The Muslim Brothers are the main target of attack now, but all of free Egypt is in jeopardy.

Mohammed El Baradei and other liberals have finally criticized the military, but they must go further. I can imagine what Gandhi would say to them. Resign your posts. No one should continue to serve the military regime or follow any of their directives. Mass civil disobedience is the only solution in this emergency, not only in the streets but in pervasive refusal to accept military authority.

The military has gone beyond acceptable moral and legal bounds and must be forced to yield power. The Obama administration should work with the Arab League through the United Nations to support the creation of a broadly representative independent civilian authority in Egypt that guarantees the participation of all social forces, including the Brotherhood. Secular and liberal forces must work with the Brothers and the Salafists to establish an interim government and decide a road map to the future.

The international community should provide help to get such a political process started and must insist that the military turn over authority as soon as it is established. If the army refuses to yield power all U.S. and international assistance for the generals should cease.

Those who say the Muslim Brothers are not prepared or inclined for war do not understand the rage boiling over from the army’s repression. The deadly descending spiral of violence-begetting-violence is beginning, and may soon get out of hand as it did in Syria. Until now the Brothers have been very reluctant to use force, but there is likely a limit to their endurance, as for all people. Arms and materials for making bombs are readily available in the region.

The time to act is now, before it is too late.

7 thoughts on “The Closing Window of Opportunity in Egypt

  1. Naive… The military are brutal. and one can only be sorry that the people of Egypt is squeezed between two evils – repressive fundamentalists and repressive military. But do you honestly think, the Islamic Brotherhood will do any good to Egyptian people? It looked like a new Taliban was forming, and it is good they stopped them.

  2. Some out-of-the-box thinking might help here. A parliamentary system rather than presidential might better serve Egypt’s needs, allowing for representation for any faction that can garner a following.

  3. Some out-of-the-box thinking might help here. A parliamentary rather than a presidential model might work better for Egypt. It would allow for participation by any and all factions that can garner enough of a following to gain a seat. Prime ministers are easier to unseat than Presidents.

  4. I believe the main problem is the unannounced agenda of the Brotherhood rather than to judge the whole scenario, to be an external observer is fine, but to be fair and just, you must come to the street and see the real scene.

    1. I am not defending the actions of the Morsi government, but there is no legal justification for a military coup, nor for the July massacre and the blatant grab for power now taking place under the military regime. The United States should condemn these brutal acts in the strongest terms and immediately suspend military aid.

      I stand by my analysis. The Muslim brotherhood is a legitimate powerful force in Egyptian politics, however incompetent their leaders. Having been aroused to political action, they will not accept political exclusion. Unless the U.S. the EU and the other states step in now, the situation will deteriorate further and violence will increase.

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