AS EGYPT GOES – AT 8:15 A.M. ET: As Urgent Agenda readers know, we are increasingly worried about what is happening in Egypt, as the revolution of only weeks ago is being betrayed, day by day. The latest report, from Britain's Telegraph, is particularly disturbing. The trends in Egypt could have a profound effect on American interests in the Mideast:
The rapid spread of Muslim political parties ahead of September's parliamentary elections has strengthened fears that Egyptian democracy will be dominated by radical Islamic movements.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest Islamic movement and the founder of Hamas, has set up a network of political parties around the country that eclipse the following of the middle class activists that overthrew the regime. On the extreme fringe of the Brotherhood, Islamic groups linked to al-Qeada are organising from the mosques to fill the vacuum left by the collapse of the dictatorship.
The military-led government already faces accusations that it is bowing to the surge in support for the Muslim movements, something that David Cameron warned of in February when he said Egyptian democracy would be strongly Islamic.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, warned on Sunday that the direction of Egyptian politics was anti-Israeli. He told diplomats last week that Egyptian officials – including Nabil al-Arabi, the foreign minister – were pandering to political militants by branding Israel as the "enemy".
"I am very concerned over some of the voices we've been hearing from Egypt recently," Mr Netanyahu said. "I'm especially concerned over the current Egyptian foreign minster's statements."
As hardliners compete for street power, Egypt's Christians – who make up 10 per cent of the population – are emigrating in growing numbers.
Al-Masry al-Youm, an Egyptian newspaper, reported last week that the Canadian embassy had been swamped by visa requests from Coptic Christians.
Others are fighting back. Naquib Swiris, a Copt who is one of Egypt's richest men, has formed the Free Egyptians Party as a rallying point for a liberal democracy.
COMMENT: Not exactly what we had hoped for in those heady days earlier this year. But this is the Middle East, and anything that hints of the 21st century is attacked and often destroyed. Let's see if the mainstream media will give us the straight story about what is happening in Egypt, or will hide behind the "multiculturalism" mask.
We are in for difficult days, and look who's leading the United States.
April 18, 2011