Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Intrigue!




Egypt is worth watching.

Mohamed Morsi was elected president of Egypt last week, and his ascension to power was not without controversy.  Talk about your cognitive dissonance!

Try putting these facts into a coherent context:

--Dr. Morsi represents the Muslim Brotherhood.  He also has a PhD in rocket science from the University of Southern California.

--Mohamed Morsi grew up in a village in Egypt and married a woman from Cairo.  Neither came from positions of power or wealth.

--Dr. Morsi served for a year in the Egyptian military – in a chemical warfare unit.

--Dr. Morsi’s wife, Najla Mahmoud, is his first cousin.  They have four sons and a daughter.  Mrs. Morsi enjoys wearing the hijab and traditional muslim dress.

--Hillary Clinton will meet with Dr. Morsi in Cairo on July 14.  Mrs. Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin (married to former Representative Anthony Weiner) shares a common link with Dr. Morsi: Their mothers are members of the Muslim Sisterhood!

Cue the characterizations.

There is plenty of material on hand.  Mohamed Morsi is perceived as either a dupe of the Muslim Brotherhood, working to release convicted terrorists, or a moderate reformer working for the betterment of the Egyptian people.

What will be fascinating is the unfolding character traits of Mohamed Morsi.  The graphic at the top of this post is a Venn diagram of the relationship between authoritarianism, politics and religion.  All are in play in Egypt, and all will impact the writing of the Egyptian constitution.

Will Dr. Morsi be influenced by our American constitution and set up separation of powers, checks and balances and the rule of law?  Or will he succumb to the siren of authoritarianism and use the political forces of the military along with the religious intensity of the Muslim Brotherhood to bring about another despotic state?  Will Egypt end up looking like Iran, Israel, or Iraq?

This is definitely worth watching.

UPDATE 11/23/2012:
Prime Minister Morsi has issued a decree giving himself broad powers as the guardian of Egypt's revolution.  The New York Times reports that Mr. Morsi requires powers over the judiciary to "protect the transition to a constitutional democracy."  It appears we are watching another instance of Authoritarianism being necessary for "the greater good."

UPDATE 1/15/2013:
The New York Times gives us background on a 2010 interview with Mr. Morsi. This does not look good.


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