Did Egypt’s “deep state” sabotage Morsi?

posted at 5:21 pm on July 11, 2013 by Allahpundit

The Times can’t prove it, but the evidence is compelling enough to make this your must-read on a slow summer news day. We have our own “deep state,” of course, but not one so comprehensive and organized that it could shut down broad sectors of American society and then restore them literally overnight.

I think.

The apparently miraculous end to the crippling energy shortages, and the re-emergence of the police, seems to show that the legions of personnel left in place after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 played a significant role — intentionally or not — in undermining the overall quality of life under the Islamist administration of Mr. Morsi…

Working behind the scenes, members of the old establishment, some of them close to Mr. Mubarak and the country’s top generals, also helped finance, advise and organize those determined to topple the Islamist leadership, including Naguib Sawiris, a billionaire and an outspoken foe of the Brotherhood; Tahani el-Gebali, a former judge on the Supreme Constitutional Court who is close to the ruling generals; and Shawki al-Sayed, a legal adviser to Ahmed Shafik, Mr. Mubarak’s last prime minister, who lost the presidential race to Mr. Morsi.

But it is the police returning to the streets that offers the most blatant sign that the institutions once loyal to Mr. Mubarak held back while Mr. Morsi was in power. Throughout his one-year tenure, Mr. Morsi struggled to appease the police, even alienating his own supporters rather than trying to overhaul the Interior Ministry. But as crime increased and traffic clogged roads — undermining not only the quality of life, but the economy — the police refused to deploy fully…

Despite coming to power through the freest elections in Egyptian history, Mr. Morsi was unable to extend his authority over the sprawling state apparatus, and his allies complained that what they called the “deep state” was undermining their efforts at governing.

Gas lines and power outages have evaporated and the cops are back out in force, all in just one week since Morsi’s ouster. Go figure that 30 years of Mubarak’s kleptocracy couldn’t be wiped away simply by dumping the man himself. Lots has been written since July 3rd about Islamists in the region learning the terrible lesson that violence is the only path to durable power, but they’re going to learn lessons from this sort of ancien-regime sabotage too. Lesson one: Purge everyone in the civil services, or at least as many as you can afford to without losing a catastrophic amount of institutional knowledge. The next power grab will have to be more comprehensive than Morsi’s to be effective. Lesson two: When you do consolidate power, do it either much more quickly or much more slowly than Morsi did. The slow approach is epitomized by Erdogan in Turkey; if you move too fast you might spook the “deep state” and find yourself Morsi-ized, so build their confidence by taking a meticulously incremental tack. If you don’t have the patience for that, or fear that the “deep state” has itself learned lessons from Erdogan’s strategy, then move immediately to install your cronies everywhere you can. That means more upheaval and maybe an insurgency from dispossessed deep-staters, but catching them off-guard might give you a chance of winning.

What now for Egypt? Well, the Muslim Brotherhood’s going to lash out by killing Christians for collaborating with the new regime. That’s an early sign of where this “peaceful” movement is headed. As for the “deep state,” having reclaimed power they’ll keep the lights on for awhile by raking in dough from local Sunni monarchs who are thrilled to see Islamists take a boot to the face. Long-term, though, I think Walter Russell Mead is right: They’re destined to become Pakistan, with democracy and civil society really just a facade for the “deep state” bricks-and-mortar that’s holding the place together. The local Islamist element will get more radical, violent, and powerful, just like the Taliban, and so the U.S. will cling ever more tightly to the “deep state” underneath, even if it eventually produces another dictator. This is why Reuel Marc Gerecht’s point that Islamists have to be allowed to govern when they win elections carries some weight, even in a western world that’s lost its appetite for neoconservatism. If you stick with democracy, there’s at least a chance that the people will come to learn Islamism is a failure and embrace something more liberal. If you stick with the endless “deep state versus fundies” wheel o’ autocrats, there’s no chance. Eventually either something clamps down to stop it from spinning or it flies off its axis. The big hole in Gerecht’s theory is how to make sure that Islamists, once elected, submit themselves to being turned out at the polls in the next election. If the Brotherhood wouldn’t do that in Egypt, which was the big fear that catalyzed the protests that drove Morsi out, how do you ever evolve towards democratic liberalism?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Nice read Allah. I honestly don’t know if the fine balance of democracy can ever take hold in places that embrace strict sharia dogma. The religion of peace has demonstrated over and over. Submit to sharia or die. Death makes it difficult to evolve.

Bmore on July 11, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Unions never die.

faraway on July 11, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Lesson three: it’s easy to tear sh*t down and terrorize people, but not so easy to build things up and actually govern…

yubley on July 11, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Yes, we do indeed have our own “deep state”. It’s called “Civil Service”. We may change the top few every four years or so, but nothing can touch the entrenched lower ranks who are protected by civil service laws. Each major component of the US government (e.g. State, EPA, Dept of Ed)has its own agenda that usually has nothing in common with their official leaders or the people they allegedly “serve”. Have you ever tried to fire a “civil servant” or school teacher? It is next to impossible.

catsandbooks on July 11, 2013 at 5:37 PM

“The big hole in Gerecht’s theory is how to make sure that Islamists, once elected, submit themselves to being turned out at the polls in the next election.”

Reminds me of some Democrats I know…

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on July 11, 2013 at 5:44 PM

If the Brotherhood wouldn’t do that in Egypt, which was the big fear that catalyzed the protests that drove Morsi out, how do you ever evolve towards democratic liberalism?

LOL Oh, Allah, you crack me up.

cynccook on July 11, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Sounds like the Egyptian military learned how to “go Galt”. That may be what has to happen in America soon.

elfman on July 11, 2013 at 5:49 PM

“Go figure that 30 years of Mubarak’s kleptocracy couldn’t be wiped away simply by dumping the man himself. Lots has been written since July 3rd about Islamists in the region learning the terrible lesson that violence is the only path to durable power, but they’re going to learn lessons from this sort of ancien-regime sabotage too. Lesson one: Purge everyone in the civil services, or at least as many as you can afford to without losing a catastrophic amount of institutional knowledge.”

Nope the first lesson is to kill the captains of the individual administrations. Then appoint their successor. If that does not work try a few lieutenants, if that doesn’t work try a view segeants, if… Their culture is tribal alliances based on violence. Morsi needed to be in charge AND keep the spoils flowing to the military, police etc. He attempted to start an Islamic state and replace the current power structure with Muslim Brotherhood loyalists. So duh the current loyalists said “Okay Morsi do it without us…” There is no conspiracy. No conspiracy would work that well. The power comes on because those that control the power see a reason to keep it on. I

Theworldisnotenough on July 11, 2013 at 5:50 PM

MeanWhile……………………………

Egypt’s President Morsi removed from power

Egypt to investigation allegations that ousted President Morsi escaped from prison in 2011 – @CBCNews

1 min ago from http://www.cbc.ca by editor
=======================================

Egypt to investigate Morsi for 2011 jailbreak
Proof of foreign intervention could prompt treason charges

The Associated Press
Posted: Jul 11, 2013 5:08 PM ET
Last Updated: Jul 11, 2013 5:02 PM ET
*************************************

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/07/11/egypt-investigates-morsi-jailbreak.html?cmp=rss

canopfor on July 11, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Gas lines and power outages have evaporated and the cops are back out in force, all in just one week since Morsi’s ouster. Go figure
===================================================================

Great Scott,………………….Sabotagey!!

canopfor on July 11, 2013 at 5:58 PM

how do you ever evolve towards democratic liberalism?
=====================================================

Stupidly!!

canopfor on July 11, 2013 at 6:06 PM

The big hole in Gerecht’s theory is how to make sure that Islamists, once elected, submit themselves to being turned out at the polls in the next election. If the Brotherhood wouldn’t do that in Egypt, which was the big fear that catalyzed the protests that drove Morsi out, how do you ever evolve towards democratic liberalism?

The Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and policies amount to theocratic despotism and are inherently incompatible with the principles of democracy and individual rights. They should be expected to subvert the government and seize power.

If the Egyptians are to create a functioning democracy, a minimum requirement is a majority sufficiently wise to reject the Brotherhood and the Salafists and sufficiently tolerant of human rights to allow non-Muslims to live in something approaching peace and equality.

Judging by such indicia as the treatment of women in Tahrir Square and the repeated violence against Copts and other minorities, I’m not optimistic.

novaculus on July 11, 2013 at 6:10 PM

So America can stop paying tribute money?

kunegetikos on July 11, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Gas lines and power outages have evaporated and the cops are back out in force, all in just one week since Morsi’s ouster. Go figure
===================================================================

Who knew Thoreau was Egyptian? And I thought lefties were all for civil disobedience.

yesiamapirate on July 11, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Also a lesson for Republicans, if they ever take back the Senate and White House. Purge the civil service!

Iblis on July 11, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Must read? That article wouldn’t pass muster in the comments section at Daily Kos.

A billionaire (and Christian, the swine), the Egyptian version of David Koch, manipulates the entire economy, military, media, and electorate to overthrow those nice but naive freely elected Islamists who just wanted to govern as good democrats but couldn’t because of plutocrats or something. Oh, and he funded a deceptive music video too!

If only Morsi and the Brotherhood had just nationalized everything, shot a few one percenters, and strangled the media more quickly everything would be fine!

Actually, the last couple of paragraphs of the article return to the real world and give a more accurate if extremely limited representation of what went wrong in Egypt, but by then its too late.

I expect this sort of shit from the NYT, but for Hot Air to be taking it seriously is beyond embarrassing.

Mr. Arkadin on July 11, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Hey Rearden:

You better keep making steel, you got that?

Thanks

TPTB

WryTrvllr on July 11, 2013 at 7:47 PM

The slow approach is epitomized by Erdogan in Turkey.

No one can hold a candle to the slow approach of American Progressives, though.

Cleombrotus on July 11, 2013 at 8:33 PM

Lesson one: Purge everyone in the civil services, or at least as many as you can afford to without losing a catastrophic amount of institutional knowledge.

Don’t bet that they have sense enough to understand this. They are primitivists in the style of John Holdren; he wants to “de-develop” civilization, they disapprove of everything newer than the 7th Century AD. To them, getting rid of not only the “institutional knowledge”, but even anyone other than an imam in a madrassa who can read or write, is a feature, not a bug.

“It takes an awful lot of people, working together at an awful lot of jobs, to keep a civilization running. Smash the installations and kill the top technicians and scientists, and the masses don’t know how to rebuild and go back to stone hatchets. Kill off enough of the masses and even if the planet and the know-how is left, there’s nobody to do the work. I’ve seen planets that decivilized both ways. Tanith, I think, is one of the latter.”

-Otto Harkaman, in Space Viking by H. Beam Piper.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20728/20728-h/20728-h.htm

It applies equally to countries on planets.

It’s amazing what you can learn from science fiction.

clear ether

eon

eon on July 11, 2013 at 8:39 PM

It’s amazing what you can learn from science fiction.

clear ether

eon

eon on July 11, 2013 at 8:39 PM

Which, IIRC, is kind of the whole point of the genre — not that most of its current writers are doing anything close to the same job their predecessors did.

AesopFan on July 11, 2013 at 10:15 PM

The Times can’t prove it, but the evidence is compelling enough to make this your must-read on a slow summer news day.

I don’t know about the article itself, but the note at the end is priceless:

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 12, 2013

Because of editing errors, an article on Thursday about suspicions among some Egyptians that the end of gas and electricity shortages since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi was evidence of a conspiracy to undermine him rendered incorrectly a description of the military’s transition plan for Egypt given by Tahani el-Gebali, a former judge on the Supreme Constitutional Court; misidentified the interim president; and misstated his position before being appointed. Ms. Gebali discussed the plan only in broad terms and said that whoever was chief of the constitutional court would become interim president; she did not name a specific individual. The interim president is Adli Mansour, not Hazem el-Beblawi, and when he was named he was chief of the constitutional court, not the former chief. (Mr. Beblawi is the interim prime minister.)

The article also included an outdated reference to a television network that publicized the drive to oust Mr. Morsi. The network was founded by an Egyptian billionaire, Naguib Sawiris, but he no longer owns it; it is not “his” network.

Question for the editors at the Times.

RINO in Name Only on July 11, 2013 at 10:31 PM