On the eve of the Egyptian election, I’m really disgusted with the collapse of the moderate forces. While the Muslim Brotherhood is disciplined, united, working hard, and on message, the moderates are running around in circles. There is not the slightest sign of unity among the three main moderate parties (Wafd, Justice, and Free Egyptians) and the dozens of smaller ones.
FP: Nothing else could be expected, as Rubin knows better than anybody else what I have argued for years: there are only two forces unifying Arabs, Islam and hatred of the Jews and the West; about everything else they are at each other’s throat. That’s the reason why all the Arab regimes were dictatorships and used Israel as a scapegoat in order to obtain whatever little legitimacy they could muster. Anybody who expected the fall of the dictators to release anything other than Islamist, anti-Semitic, Jihadist forces was either ignorant or in denial. These are about the only values around which an Arab regime can unify a state, particularly one that is incapable of feeding and progressing its population.
In fact, Rubin has an excellent description of what could be expected in Egypt (and all other ME states where Islamists are winning elections):
The question is not what is to be done but how much they can get away with doing at any given moment. Such is “moderate Islamism.”
And hence they begin the short march through the institutions:
–Education. Textbooks to be rewritten; the principle that Islam is the only proper religion to be made as central as possible; all teaching of Islam according to their interpretation. Christians and Jews are evil; non-Muslims are enemies; Israel is demonic and must be destroyed. Teachers and administrators who reject their program of indoctrination to be fired; opportunists and careerists will go along.
–Government bureaucracies. The hiring of as many ideological supporters as possible; those who go along will be promoted; those who don’t will be fired or pushed aside. Requirements to be altered so that religious educational certificates will be made equal to academic education degrees in qualifying for high posts. If your wife doesn’t wear a hijab forget about being promoted.
–Media. Government control over state-run media will be renewed and strengthened. Licenses, censorship, subsidies, the whole panoply of government powers will be applied to reward flatterers and punish critics. If necessary, riots will be organized, threats made, fines imposed on those who don’t toe the line, though some margin of freedom will be permitted as long as it threatens nothing.
–Constitution. A new constitution will be written by a commission dominated by Islamists. In some cases they will do what they want—Sharia as the “main source” or “the source” of law—while in others they will hold back and be patient—promises that everyone will have equal rights. The new constitution, however, will provide the basis for Islamizing Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey, etc.
–Religion. The ministry of religion will be under Brotherhood control. That means it can decide which mosques can be built or not built; who gets hired as imam in each mosque; what the sermons say; which preachers get on state television and radio, etc. Normative Islam will be Muslim Brotherhood Islam. The existing gap may not be wide but it is significant nonetheless. Eventually, the Brotherhood will get in control of naming the mufti of Egypt and the head of al-Azhar University. There will be only one interpretation of Islam and it will prevail through the country and shape the minds and behavior of Egyptians.
–Courts. There are some courageous judges but the Brotherhood will tame the courts by the power to control who becomes a judge, shaping the law, intimidation, and just not enforcing any decision they don’t like.
–Army. The Brotherhood will be patient. The deal just struck between the Brothers and the soldiers might be the precedent for arrangements under the new regime. The Islamists leave the army alone to control its budget and run its business enterprises; the army does not interfere with the Brotherhood’s governing of the country. Remember that while the now-broken Turkish army consciously saw itself as secularist, the Egyptian army holds no such doctrine. Many of the officers are quite pious.
So, what chance did the “moderates” have? If you want to know what will happen in a ME taken over by Islamists, read it all.