Sunday, January 27, 2013

Egypt's Morsi declares state of emergency

"Egypt's president declared a state of emergency and curfew in three Suez Canal provinces hit hardest by a weekend wave of unrest that left more than 50 dead, using tactics of the ousted regime to get a grip on discontent over his Islamist policies and the slow pace of change.

Angry and almost screaming, Mohammed Morsi vowed in a televised address on Sunday night that he would not hesitate to take even more action to stem the latest eruption of violence across much of the country. But at the same time, he sought to reassure Egyptians that his latest moves would not plunge the country back into authoritarianism."
  CBS News

Ferdinand Marcos was President of the Philippines from 1965-86. He declared martial law in response to Communist and Muslim regimes threatening his power. It was not popular and lead to many accusations of human rights violations. I was reminded of Marcos while reading the above CBS piece about Egypt.

Mubarak took over as president after the assassination of Sadat. Mubarak kept the peace accords with Israel that Sadat championed.  This meant the Muslim Brotherhood were constantly trying to oust Mubarak.  In order to keep the Muslim brotherhood in check, Mubarak turned to martial law which inevitably leads to human rights abuses. Mubarak was eventually kicked out and Morsi now turns to the same violence that lead to all of the problems in the first place.

Regime change, especially when the former used violence, is difficult to achieve peacefully.  Usually those taking over were the oppressed and now that they are in charge, they want revenge for previous abuses.  The potential is for the cycle of violence to continue to repeat.

The West really are not in a position to intervene (at least not publicly) with attention focused on Syria, Iran, Libya, Algeria and Mali.  The unknown is this case is what will Israel do?  Mubarak kept peace with the Israelis and now with the Muslim Brotherhood in control, Tel Aviv may worry about disruption on their western flank.

CBS News

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