There is a rumbling starting in Egypt and it is centered on Egyptian President Morsi and his declaration making himself the all-powerful leader standing above the courts, the parliament, the constitutional committee as well as the sole judge, jury and executioner over any who may choose to oppose his vestment of supreme power in himself. This has sparked demonstrations on three separate fronts across Egypt. The pro-democracy forces are rising up with a unified voice claiming the high moral ground and the right to claim they had predicted such would be the end result should the Muslim Brotherhood be allowed to rise to power in Egypt. Then there are the Muslim Brotherhood and those who fully support Morsi and see a theocracy based on the principles of the Koran as interpreted through the Muslim Brotherhood as a government sent and approved by Allah to lead Egypt into its glorious future. And finally there are the Salafists who still believe that they should have won, some even claim they were robbed of victory through voting fraud and other election irregularities, and that their piety makes them not only uniquely suited to lead Egypt, but destined to rule Egypt and the World. These are but the most obvious of groups as there are likely numerous smaller factions as well as the non-Muslim groups which include the Coptic Christians among other groups. The demonstrations that have broken out in Egypt from time to time since the end of the elections are about to rise to a new and more active level as the Muslim Brotherhood attempts to cement their control for all time going forward and every other interest and political group reacts adversely and opposes every step taken by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Where we may see many strange and awkward mergers between groups that previously were seen as opposed to each other, there will likely be one central division between the groups putting them into two distinct groups, the secular and non-Muslim who will push for a separation between the government and any religion, especially Islam; and the Salafists and other extremist Muslims who honestly believe that Sharia Law should be the law of the land in Egypt with absolutely no separation between the religious leadership and the government. This sector of the Egyptian public are seeking an Iranian style theocracy with the rights of Dhimmitude applied to all non-Muslims and heresy laws invoked against any born Muslims who have left the faith and everything else one has heard about inside Iran or discussed theoretically about an Islamic Sharia State. Should these groups continue in the upcoming weeks to strengthen and increase in numbers that participate in the demonstrations, we can expect some rough times ahead as the Muslim Brotherhood controlled government attempts to enforce their will and blunt the demonstrators’ influences. One might advise the Muslim Brotherhood and their Peace and Justice Party and President Morsi and his government to attempt to keep a lid on the demonstrations and to go to any lengths to avoid allowing any demonstration to become violent. Should demonstration turn violent, then it is possible that the military will overstep as Morsi and his advisors have replaced much of the hierarchy in the military with their own people despite their not having the experience and knowledge base to make sensitive and possibly delicate military decisions. These deficiencies could backfire and lead to a new open revolution and turn Egypt into another multi-facetted civil war resembling the gnarled mess in Syria or the diffused tribal rivalries which are tearing at Libya. The truth is that the revolutionary period in Egypt may not be complete and may have simply experienced a lull and has now been retriggered by President Morsi’s overreaching power grab.
What this would mean for the rest of the world will depend on which group emerges as the final victor. If we had to predict a winner, we would place our bets on the Muslim Brotherhood holding on to power and defeating any challenges that may spring up at this time. The Muslim Brotherhood will easily defeat the secular democracy youth whose vision’s time has not yet arrived. On the other end, the Salafists might be able to be co-opted to supporting the Muslim Brotherhood rule for a period of time but will eventually hit a bump in the road where the Muslim Brotherhood will be perceived as being insufficiently Muslim and they will once again be at odds. The one promise is that eventually human rights and the democratic norms of the West will win out in the end. The Muslim World has already experienced being part of empire under the Ottoman Empire which eventually dissolved as the empire became outdated and became too weak to resist the forces of modernity. Much of the Muslim World went through a period of colonialism where they were colonized by the Europeans. This too was less than satisfactory and also collapsed. Many then experienced secular national socialist dictatorships. These governances were either aligned initially with Nazi Germany or with the Soviet Union. These were torn asunder by corruption and left much to be desired by the vast majority of the people. The Muslim World has almost run the entire gauntlet of governmental options other than a democratic republic and has just a few more options to go. We expect that the Muslim World will try any and every option before finally surrendering to a government based on individual rights, mutual respect, freedoms and liberty. The next step though, is to attempt religiously based governance, a theocracy as is ruling in Iran and rapidly taking the fore in Turkey and Egypt. We will likely also witness such governance be the next stable governance in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen, to name the countries currently in flux. What we need to watch for is the next series of governments which will likely be targeted to be replaced with strict theocratic governance. The next likely country, which is already showing signs of distress, is Jordan. Once the Jordanian Monarchy has been toppled, then the rest of the dominoes will start to teeter and trip, one into the next leading to the final and most prized domino, Saudi Arabia. The intermediary dominoes are Bahrain, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Oman, Qatar, and last but not least, Kuwait. The real question is whether or not the world can hold together throughout the entire length of these transformations. Despite how much control the major powers will try to impose on this process, they will actually be rather helpless observers holding on for the ride. The main aim of the rest of the world will hopefully be to assist in making these transformations go as quickly as possible while also containing them within the Muslim World. Should they break out into the world in general, as they appear to be attempting to accomplish currently, then the process will slow and the end result could be in question if the process comes to a premature halt. The halting of the progression towards governance of freedom, equality and liberty will result in dire consequences and likely end in an unparalleled world-wide conflagration. If only holding one’s breath would help, you might see many who are observing the current ebbs and flows in our current place in time turning very bluish purple as they try to make a difference.
Beyond the Cusp