July 8, 2013 | Quote

Good Riddance to Brotherhood’s Fake Democrats

A few months ago, King Abdullah II of Jordan told me about his meetings with Mohamed Mursi, the now-deposed president of Egypt. The king wasn’t fond of Mursi, both because the Egyptian was a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and because Abdullah found Mursi exceedingly stupid.

“I see a Muslim Brotherhood crescent developing in Egypt and Turkey,” the king said. He despises the movement, partly because it is revanchist, fundamentalist and totalitarian, and partly because in Jordan it seeks his overthrow. “The Arab Spring highlighted a new crescent in the process of development.”

The saving grace in Egypt, he said, was that Mursi seemed too unsophisticated to successfully pull off his vision. “There’s no depth to the guy,” he said of Mursi. The king compared him unfavorably to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist prime minister of Turkey. Like Mursi, the king asserted, Erdogan was also a false democrat, but one with patience. “Erdogan once said that democracy for him is a bus ride,” Abdullah said. “Once I get to my stop, I’m getting off.”

Which suggests one other potentially disastrous consequence of this week’s coup: The Brotherhood will not go quietly into obscurity, or into jail. Its members and leaders are true believers. In particular, they are true believers in martyrdom. Had they been turned out of office by voters at the end of Mursi’s term, the opportunities for martyrdom would have been limited. Now that they have been removed by force and are being arrested in large numbers, the opportunities are many.

The Middle East analyst Reuel Marc Gerecht told me that the coup has forestalled the Muslim Brotherhood’s “self-immolation through the ballot box.”

“This will keep the Brotherhood strong and make them, I suspect, meaner and nastier and less public,” he said. “They will grow popular again: Hell, they might still win parliament in a free vote. Who knows? But the military has just guaranteed their livelihood and humbled, if not killed, the democratic process.”

As Tamara Cofman Wittes, the director of the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, says, “My greatest worry is that this coup, if followed by undue repression against Islamists, will drive the creation of a new generation of Islamist terrorists in Egypt. Egyptians have suffered enough from terrorism already.”

Egyptians have suffered enough from everything already. The hope, as outlandish as it sounds, is that this coup finally sets their country on a different trajectory.

Read the full article here.

Issues:

Egypt