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Links 05 July 2013

Roger Cohen in New York Times: Political Islam Fails Egypt’s Test:

    “Morsi misread the Arab Spring. The uprising that ended decades of dictatorship and led to Egypt’s first free and fair presidential election last year was about the right to that vote. But at a deeper level it was about personal empowerment, a demand to join the modern world, and live in an open society under the rule of law rather than the rule of despotic whim. …
    “Instead, Morsi placed himself above judicial review last November, railroaded through a flawed Constitution, allowed Brotherhood thugs to beat up liberal opponents, installed cronies at the Information Ministry, increased blasphemy prosecutions, surrendered to a siege mentality, lost control of a crumbling economy and presided over growing sectarian violence. For the Brotherhood, the pre-eminent Islamist movement in the region, the sudden shift from hounded outlaw to power in the pivotal nation of the Arab world proved a bridge too far. …
    “This was Morsi’s core failure. He succumbed to Islamic authoritarianism in a nation whose revolution was diverse and demanded inclusiveness. The lesson for the region is critical. …
    “‘The rejection went far beyond the liberal community,’ [Heba] Morayef [director of Human Rights Watch in Cairo] said. ‘The vast majority of the women at the demonstrations were veiled. Practicing Muslims, non-Westernized Egyptians, were saying no to political Islam and religious authoritarianism. We have never seen anything like this in the Arab world.’”

David Denger in BagNews: Scenes Before the Toppling of a Government (Once Again) — great photos, insightful commentary.

Mark Levine on Facebook:

    “At what point does justifying the military’s actions by declaring there to be ‘exceptional circumstances’ as Beradei and other Tamarod leaders have said, become mere excuses for authoritarian and undemocratic actions against one’s political opponents who have not committed any crime? I personally fear — and this is something that people like Heba Morayef of HRW Egypt have been warning in the last 48 hours — that the military is putting the revolutionaries in a situation where they are forced to support actions that will come back to haunt them severely in the near future.
    “Is not the final battle of the revolution still to be fought — that between revolutionary forces and the military and the deep state? Can there be any real transition to democracy, never mind ‘freedom, dignity and social justice’ without a systematic and wholesale transformation of Egypt’s political economy towards the kind of sustainable and downwardly redistributive model (in terms of wealth, resources and political power) that is an anathema to the global neoliberal order, never mind the existing Egyptian elite? … What would happen if Beradei spoke honestly to the Egyptian people about the military and the deep state and the existing political economy from his new position of power and demanded their tranformation? Would the tens of millions in the streets this week support him? Would the military allow itself to be declawed and its power severely curtailed? Will the elite willingly allow a new system to emerge that would channel a significant share of their wealth and power away from them?
    “Ultimately, is what we’ve just seen still not the warm-up for an even bloodier and more monumental fight?”