Liberal Egyptian leader Ayman Nour: “In practice, the Camp David accords have come to an end”
My sense from Twitter is that most people think the political story of the day in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood forming its own party. Not so. That was a fait accompli the moment the army sent Mubarak packing, and in any case, the Brotherhood has always been well organized. It’ll be news when other groups get their act together and start forming parties. Which, given the degree of disarray among the opposition, could be awhile.
No, the news of the day is none other than Ayman Nour telling a Lebanese TV station that it’s time to revisit the treaty with Israel. Nour isn’t some random talking head; he’s been in and out of prison for years for daring to demand liberal reforms from Mubarak’s regime, and actually went so far as to run against Mubarak for president in the rigged election of 2005. Not only is he a cause celebre in the west, he’s sufficiently prominent that Bush name-checked him in his speech on democracy in Prague back in 2007. He is, in other words, arguably the Egyptian dissident, a guy whom the U.S. theoretically might like to see elected president because his political sensibilities are so western.
And yet, even this guy is hint-hint-hinting that it’s time to tear up the Camp David accords. In fact, he’s pushing the same mechanism of repeal as a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood did last week — a popular referendum, in which Egypt’s Israel-hating public (favorable rating: 3/92) will torpedo the treaty in the name of popular sovereignty. The end of Camp David is likely a fait accompli no matter what democratic process Egypt ends up settling on, but at least if you push the issue in parliament you’ll get some deliberation among the members, some pressure from the U.S., etc. Doing it at the grassroots level is practically guaranteed to mean the end of the treaty, which in turn probably means the end of Jordan’s treaty with Israel, which means we’re back to the 70s. Wonderful.
In other good news, the head of the committee to draft Egypt’s new constitution is a judge affiliated with an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Even more wonderful. I sure hope Obama wises up on entitlement reform and makes a deal with the GOP soon, because given the way things are going in Egypt, he might not have much time over the next two years for domestic priorities. Exit question: What does the upheaval in the region do to Israel’s timetable for Iran’s nuclear program? I was thinking today that they might feel compelled to strike soon, before Egypt has gotten its bearings and formally repudiated Camp David. If they’re going to hit Iran, best to do it shortly and then retrench for the new reality of having enemies on all its borders (again). But now I’m thinking maybe they’ll slow down on Iran lest an attack give the Brotherhood an excuse to agitate in Egypt for repealing the treaty. The Brothers will do that anyway, of course, but it’s at least possible that the treaty will survive if Israel is quiet for the foreseeable future. Or is it? Click the image to watch.