Well, here we go again. The Muslim Brotherhood, which elected Mohammed Morsi in an honest election a year ago, have been removed from power by a military coup. The Morsi government has consolidated his power and appeared to be returning the country to dictatorship. The military might have gone along except that the economy has struggled with high unemployment, inflation, and the squeezing out of all who were not Brotherhood members.
The military gave the government a chance to negotiate with the dissidents to address the economic problems. Morsi chose to play strongman and refused to hear the grievances, so the military took over the country.
A little background is in order. The Muslim Brotherhood was started in 1928. It has actually been around since the 1800’s. The groups that insisted on Sharia Law in the various countries came together to create one party. In Egypt, the Brotherhood has been illegal as a party since the 1950’s. They have been jailed and persecuted over the years. With the overthrow of Mubarak, the party was legalized and became a strong political force. Although they were a minority group, actually the largest group, they still had support of less than half the population. Because there are many political groups in Egypt that split the vote, the Brotherhood won the election. Most citizens in Egypt do not want Sharia Law, but the Morsi government was moving in that direction.
Obama supported Morsi and continues to sent aid to Egypt. However, most of the funds go to the military directly. We need a friend in that part of the world. Peace with Israel has existed since Sadat and Egypt has been able to keep the area stable for several decades.
The Muslim Brotherhood won’t accept their removal from power without a fight. Clashes and death has already begun. Any new government created without Brotherhood control will be met with violence. This could continue for years. Being the largest minority, they could win another election outright. However, the military is arresting the Brotherhood leaders.
The military is proposing new elections and have installed a civilian government until a new government is elected. They have suspended the Constitution which was written after Morsi assumed power.
Egypt will face strife no matter who wins the next election. Washington should continue to support the military al long as they move toward free elections. The Middle East is changing and Egypt will be a major player in the future. If a new government is composed of elements that are opposed of Sharia Law, and move the economy forward, it will affect all of their neighbors. The Muslim Brotherhood could face their first major setback.
Under U.S. law, we provide no aid to countries that are overthrown by military coups. The President has the ability to issue a waiver under this law. I think Obama should issue a waiver in this case. Our support is crucial for Egypt to move forward. Even though Obama supports the Muslim Brotherhood, it is important we stand with the new government until they prove they don’t deserve our support.