Oh, by the way, the Muslim Brotherhood just completed its takeover of Egypt

posted at 8:15 pm on August 13, 2012 by Allahpundit

Such is the power of Ryanmania that only now are we getting around to this story.

Remember how the military junta was going to keep Egypt’s new Islamist president on a tight leash?

Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s president, has dismissed the head of the armed forces and defence minister, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, according to the country’s state news agency…

Yasser Ali, the presidential spokesperson, said in a news conference aired on state TV on Sunday, that Morsi appointed a new defence minister, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Tantawi headed the military council that ruled Egypt for 17 months after Hosni Mubarak stepped down in February 2011…

Al Jazeera’s correspondent, Sherine Tadros, reporting from Cairo, said the president’s spokesperson made the surprising announcement on state television.

Morsi tried confronting the junta a month ago by calling parliament back into session after the Egyptian supreme court ruled that it had been unconstitutionally elected. That gambit was a test of strength, but it didn’t lead to any sustained push against the military by the MB so I thought Morsi had backed down and resigned himself to power-sharing for awhile. Wrong. Evidently, he was just lying low and picking his spots. That spot came last week when 16 Egyptian troops were killed by jihadis in the Sinai peninsula; that was Morsi’s pretext to fire the country’s intelligence chief, who was well regarded by U.S. and Israeli intelligence. And yes, needless to say, the fact that an Islamist president ended up benefiting politically from an attack by Islamist militants does indeed feel awfully convenient.

Having gotten away with dumping the intel chief, Morsi apparently decided it was time to play for the jackpot and dump Tantawi, the leader of the junta, too. Question: Er, how was he able to do that? Tantawi was the military’s supreme commander, which means either (a) he was willing to be removed and told his subordinates not to resist Morsi’s order or (b) he tried to resist but his subordinates sided with Morsi. The latter theory isn’t unthinkable: The junta is fantastically unpopular with the public and the Sinai attack was an embarrassment to Tantawi, so maybe the rest of the brass decided a shake-up was in order. Most of the commentary I’ve read today, though, agrees with the first theory, that Tantawi knew Egypt was descending into chaos and decided it was time to make a deal with the Brotherhood for a luxurious retirement. Rather than watch the country descend into a Syrian nightmare, with himself in the Assad role, Tantawi figured he was better off tossing Morsi the keys in return for the Brotherhood’s promise of immunity for crimes committed by the junta over the past 18 months. Either way, according to the AP, the army seems to be fine with Morsi’s move, possibly because some of the military officers newly elevated by Morsi are Islamist “sleepers” who’ve been waiting for the party to make a move like this on the generals.

The upshot, per Barry Rubin, means that we now have a de facto Islamist dictator in charge of the most important Sunni state in the Middle East:

Does he have a right to do this? Who knows? There’s no constitution. That means all we were told about not having to worry because the generals would restrain the Brotherhood was false. Moreover, the idea that the army, and hence the government, may fear to act lest they lose U.S. aid will also be false. There is no parliament at present. He is now the democratically elected dictator of Egypt. True, he picked another career officer but he has now put forward the principle: he decides who runs the army. The generals can still advise Mursi. He can choose to listen to them or not. But there is no more dual power in Egypt but only one leader. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces which has run Egypt since February 2011 is gone. Only Mursi remains and Egypt is now at his mercy.

Oh and to put the icing on the cake, Mursi will apparently decide who will be on the commission that writes the new Constitution

This is a coup. Mursi is bound by no constitution. He can do as he pleases unless someone is going to stop him. And the only candidate–the military–is fading fast, far faster than even we pessimists would have predicted.

Morsi controls state media too, of course. And even if he decides not to rule as an absolute dictator, the Brotherhood-dominated parliament will end up acting as a rubber stamp. Near as I can tell, unless there’s some sort of new military power hiding behind the throne that approved of Tantawi’s dismissal and is prepared to pull the strings of government, there are only two real restraints on Morsi right now. One is money: The fact that his newly appointed defense minister is well known to the U.S. rather than some Islamist radical suggests that he’s willing to make some concessions to stay in the west’s good graces and keep the foreign aid flowing. The other is the judiciary. The supreme court opposed the Brotherhood once before by invalidating parliament. What happens if they turn around and decide that his firing of Tantawi and his attempt to appoint the new constitutional committee are both illegal? Possibly anticipating that, Morsi went ahead and named a top Egyptian judge his new vice president too, signaling to the judiciary that if they play ball with the Brotherhood’s new power grab, there’s something in it for them.

The last potential roadblock here is a popular backlash against the MB’s consolidation of power, but we heard lots of stories about that before the presidential election and Morsi won anyway. At the very least, I’d bet Egyptians are willing to give “democracy,” Islamist style, a shot for awhile before dreaming of a new junta. Exit question: Any reaction from the White House on this? If there’s been some strong objection, I missed it.


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More than a few treaties and agreements were signed with Soviet Russia and they were not a democracy.

sharrukin on August 13, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Soviet Russia was simply too big and powerful to turn our backs on completely; evil empire though they were. It’s one thing to have nothing to do with a dirt-poor Islamic dungheap…but refusing any kind of official dealings with a nation as influential as the old USSR is simply not possible.

MelonCollie on August 13, 2012 at 11:02 PM

Unless you have a problem with them being Muslims.

Salahuddin on August 13, 2012 at 9:48 PM

Well Saladin I would guess you are either a Muslim or playing devils advocate on their behalf. Turkey is back in the toilet of Islam. Ataturks work is undone, there is only one direction now. You should know that and I suspect you do.

It is easy to have a problem with Muslims when you have read their texts, history and their recent activities. They are an ugly people, not ugly as in color of skin or facial features, Muslims come in a gay rainbow of races. Their ugliness is their insides. They have impoverished souls, bereft of many basic human virtues that have been suppressed and almost genetically beaten out of them by their ridiculous supremacist ideology. They have nothing to offer humanity that is positive, they have nothing among themselves that is positive for them.

Now sing us the song of your people and speak of the beauty of Islam and be at least poetic in your lying.

BL@KBIRD on August 13, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Soviet Russia was simply too big and powerful to turn our backs on completely; evil empire though they were. It’s one thing to have nothing to do with a dirt-poor Islamic dungheap…but refusing any kind of official dealings with a nation as influential as the old USSR is simply not possible.

MelonCollie on August 13, 2012 at 11:02 PM

Doesn’t change the fact that you can sign treaties and agreements with non-democratic states and that we have done so for hundreds of years.

sharrukin on August 13, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Meh, no problem with Islam.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2012 at 11:44 PM

Hmm…again, my sense at the time was that American conservatives were cheering this on as much as everyone else. Was this not the case?

HB3 on August 13, 2012 at 10:05 PM

nope, this conservative right here knew from the very beginning that this wasn’t a democratic movement and it would only usher in another Iranian style government

sadsushi on August 14, 2012 at 1:09 AM

This and the Arab Spring on the whole is the biggest foreign policy disaster in this country’s history. The rise of the Mullahs in Iran was piddle compared to what this will become. Obviously, this is what Biden was alluding to during the ’08 election when he was caught on tape in Frisco predicting some major foreign policy event that would test “Obama’s” mettle.

It’s the Neocons and their fellow travelers in the Repubican Party that are every bit as responsible for this as “Obama” and the Demsheviks. One of only many reasons why I’m done voting for their crap-azz candidates. It was they, including some writers for this very website, that cheered on the ouster of Mbarek and the new “Democratic” Egypt. Just a few weeks ago, Pudd’nhead Morsi at this very site, posted a little whitewash on the Brotherhood’s new man in Cairo. Now they want to pretend like this never happened.

But some of us are paying attention.

sartana on August 14, 2012 at 1:13 AM

IMO Tantawi (head of the military) gave Morsi just enough rope to hang himself. Someone on AOS posted “I’ll see your pink slip and raise you an Armored Tank Division”. That’s pretty much it.

Tantawi ordered troops into the Sinai to clear out the Al Queda and Brotherhood of God Forces there after their attack on Israel. Morsi responded with this act of firing Tantawi, which he doesn’t have the legal right (in the wildly fluid Egyptian sense) to do. There is a big protest against Morsi planned for Aug 24th in Tahrir Square, the buzz in Cairo is that they will know who is in charge depending on whether the Military fires on the protestors or on the Islamists.

We live in interesting times.

My Egyptian Christian wife is of the opinion that the Islamists are cockroaches and can never be wiped out completely. My opinion is that the military gave Morsi just enough time to screw himself so they can boot him and put their own guy in the Presidency (again). We will see who is right in time.

Kaisersoze on August 14, 2012 at 1:39 AM

This and the Arab Spring on the whole is the biggest foreign policy disaster in this country’s history.

sartana on August 14, 2012 at 1:13 AM

+1,000

Say what you will about the mess in Iraq / AfPak, nothing compares to Obama’s squishing democracy in Iran and supporting the creation of multiple new Islamist states.

ChicagoJewishGuy on August 14, 2012 at 3:29 AM

What a shame. So much history there. Now, it’s just another deteriorating Sh!tholistan where women will be murdered for having vaginas and gays will be murdered for not having them. Oddly, feminists and gay rights militants don’t seem to have a problem with that.

SKYFOX on August 14, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Yeah, if by “takeover” you mean a legitimately elected president exercising civilian control over the media- you know -like here.

plewis on August 14, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Yeah, if by “takeover” you mean a legitimately elected president exercising civilian control over the media- you know -like here.

plewis on August 14, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Glittering jewel of collosal ignorance….

tom daschle concerned on August 14, 2012 at 8:31 AM

Doesn’t change the fact that you can sign treaties and agreements with non-democratic states and that we have done so for hundreds of years.

sharrukin on August 13, 2012 at 11:14 PM

“Can” =/= “Should”

psrch on August 14, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Egypt will soon be a new, even bigger Iran. And the Obama Administration helped to bring it into reality, with the “smartest woman in the World” Hillary Clinton leading the way.

jpmn on August 14, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Yeah, more to come on this. Iran’s competitors for the Big Caliph title have just expanded from Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood to Turkey and Egypt. This isn’t a stabilizing development.

J.E. Dyer on August 14, 2012 at 3:39 PM

We and Israel had a friend and ally in Mubarak, but failed to do anything to moderate his dictatorial tendencies. In doing so we gave the MB a foothold. That was bad enough, but Obama (as usual) put his foot on the gas and gave the MB his imprimatur, both in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. He invites them to the White House, allows their adherents into sensitive government positions, gives them access to confidential information and has now held four (count ‘em, 4) state dinners celebrating Ramadan.

Islam sees America as its principal enemy, and has done so since the Barbary Wars. Yet we have a President and a State Department dedicated to advancing the jihadist agenda.

UnrepentantCurmudgeon on August 14, 2012 at 4:39 PM

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