Monday, December 26, 2011

Egypt: As Grim Islamists March Toward Power, The Naïve Dance in Tahrir Square...and Washington

“Germany was having trouble,
What a sad, sad story.
Needed a new leader
To restore its former glory.
Where, oh, where was he,
Who could that man be?
We looked around,
And then we found,
The man for you and me,
And now its....”
--”The Producers”
By Barry Rubin
Almost 80 percent of Egyptian Muslims in nine provinces voted for radical Islamist parties in the second round of Egypt’s election. Roughly 5 percent voted for a moderate Islamic party and about 15 percent voted for liberal parties.
That says it all. In the overall vote—that is, including the Christian voters--70 percent supported  radical Islamists, 47 percent (4 million) the Muslim Brotherhood (86 of 180 available seats so far; they might win more) and 32 percent for the Salafists (3.2 million, the Washington Post seriously underestimated their votes).
The liberal (but not overtly anti-Islamist) Wafd won 1 million; the liberal Egyptian Bloc won almost 800,000, and the moderate Islamic, Wasat Party, 370,000.
Incidentally, the vice-chairman of the Wafd said in an interview last July that the U.S. government carried out the September 11 attacks and Ann Frank’s diary was a fake. At least he doesn’t like Iran, though he thinks it is right about the Holocaust being phony. And he’s the liberal.
In preparation for the new order, the military junta is closing down shops selling alcohol. It’s only the beginning. The much-touted Turkish model shows how Islamic law can be introduced gradually and more subtly: simply keep raising taxes on such beverages until no one can afford them. Raymond Stock describes thedestruction of Egypt's greatest library.
Egyptians and foreign observers now have two choices: face reality or retreat into comfortable fantasies about moderate Islamists. The Christian population cannot afford to engage in fantasies so it is increasingly fleeing, as documented by Lucette Lagnado in a moving, detailed article on Coptic refugees in the United States.

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