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Elliott Abrams, National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush, writes at the Council on Foreign Relations that there is some recent good news out of Egypt. For starters, the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government is losing popularity. And second, as Abrams notes, the opposition isn’t in as bad a shape as has been reported.
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We should not be supporting the opposition, but we should be supporting democracy and human rights in Egypt far more actively than we have been. Permanent Muslim Brotherhood control of Egypt and a steady decline in respect for civil liberties are not inevitable, but we help make them so if we abandon our role in supporting the principles of liberal democracy.
Thursday, May 16th, 2013 at 8:54 AM | Stand For Israel
Writing at his blog, Walter Russell Mead notes the deterioration of security in Egypt and points to street battles over the weekend in which four Christians and a Muslim were killed in attacks by armed religious gangs. Though the government condemns the attacks, what are they doing to stop them?
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Security has become a huge problem in Cairo and other cities in Egypt. Large numbers of police have gone on strike over the past few months, leaving Egyptians at the mercy of armed gangs and vigilante groups. The situation for minorities is especially dangerous.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 9:33 AM | Stand For Israel
Stand for Israel has pointed out, a great many times, that Egypt is on the verge of major economic and food crises. Judith Miller, writing at City Journal, elaborates on these coming emergencies, the political repercussions they are likely to occasion, and how – if at all – they might be averted or mitigated.
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By summer, Beblawi predicts, the government will be unable to import the wheat that sustains the poor—Egypt imports 10 million tons of wheat per year, the most of any nation—or the diesel that fuels bread ovens and transports 99 percent of everything that moves in this country of more than 85 million. Egypt’s dilemma is this: it cannot politically afford to stop providing the costly subsidies to the poor that distort its economy.
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 at 9:20 AM | Stand For Israel
David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times writes about the coming crisis in Egypt – and it’s not about the anti-Semitism of its president or the support for Islamism of its governing coalition. But the crisis – impending shortages of food and fuel – will play into the hands of the Islamists by driving a desperate populace to find someone to blame. And the Muslim Brotherhood knows exactly who to point at.
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Independent analysts say that the growing shortage of fuel and the fear about wheat imports now pose the gravest threats to Egypt’s fragile stability. “It has the potential to make things very, very bad,” said Yasser el-Shimy, an analyst for the International Crisis Group.
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 at 9:05 AM | Stand For Israel
We have, many times, said that it takes more than an election to be a democracy. Free, open elections are merely an expression of the will of the sovereign people. Democracies are a much bigger thing; they require institutions like a free press, independent judiciary, and others to actually function after the election night celebrations are over. It’s easy to start a democracy, much harder to keep one.
We have also, many times, said that Egypt is not a democracy. They’re a country that held a free, open election and – unfortunately – chose to elect the Muslim Brotherhood. The people of Egypt do not enjoy a free press. They do not enjoy an independent judiciary. Half of the population (the female half) does not enjoy basic civil liberties. There is rampant illiteracy (according to the CIA Factbook, more than one in four Egyptians age 10 and over cannot read or write) and growing food insecurity.
And the Muslim Brotherhood has demonstrated a number of times that it is not interested in maintaining a free society. Earlier this week, the Shura Council – the main Islamic legal body in Egypt – approved a new law that would severely restrict the right of the Egyptian people to protest. Protesters will need to notify police three days in advance of a protest larger than 20 people, and keep protests at least 600 feet from government offices (far enough away for the government to safely ignore them). The law imposes stiff fines and jail time for the non-specific crimes of “harming citizens’ interest” or “jeopardizing national security.”
In short, the Muslim Brotherhood is outlawing protest. Which is ironic, since the Muslim Brotherhood came to power following the popular uprising that ousted former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. Democracies, it’s worth repeating, are more than the presence of a free election.Comments (10) »
Thursday, March 28th, 2013 at 9:38 AM | Stand For Israel
Writing at the Council on Foreign Relations, Isobel Coleman writes that while it is widely recognized that food and fuel subsidies in Egypt are expensive and inefficient, Egyptian leaders – worried about a population that, largely, can’t afford to feed itself – do not want to touch the political third rail of subsidy reform. But they also realize that the country can’t afford to continue as it is.
Egypt’s foreign currency reserves have declined from roughly $36 billion to only $13 billion today, and the country faces an increasingly severe balance of payments crisis. It is literally running out of hard cash — a dire problem since it imports much of its food and fuel. Egypt currently has less than 90 days of supply in its strategic wheat stock, an unnervingly small safety net for the world’s largest wheat importer.
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Monday, March 25th, 2013 at 8:34 AM | Stand For Israel