Egypt: The road to hell paved with western advices for democracy

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission with Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, in the EU/South Africa Summit (from left to right). (EC Audiovisual Services, 18/7/2013).

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission with Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, in the EU/South Africa Summit (from left to right). (EC Audiovisual Services, 18/7/2013).

Yesterday European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy issued an utterly hypocritical joint statement on Egypt. Last week’s massacre of Muslim demonstrators by military and police forces in all major cities of the country was covered with condolences to the families of the dead. The fact that Egypt is practically in a state of civil war was also absent from the statement.

The absence of a basic political analysis of what happens now in Egypt or what may come next was even more striking. The two Presidents restricted their thinking on this matter to a tautology saying that “Further escalation must be prevented. It could have unpredictable consequences for Egypt and for its broader neighbourhood”. In short the blood that was shed and will surely continue to awash the Egyptian cities may just…bother the broader neighbourhood.

More democracy for the dead

Hypocrisy comes on its own when Barroso and Van Rompuy start talking about democracy. They don’t think of it all the time though. Let’s follow their thoughts. They say, “All the Egyptian political forces must recommit to the country’s democratic future and engage in a political process leading to the early holding of elections and the establishment of a civilian government. This was also the commitment proclaimed by the interim Government when it assumed power. The Egyptian Army must respect and support such a political process”.

This is a very interesting paragraph and needs a lot of reading between the lines. The European dignitaries still talk about democracy even after the democratically elected government has been toppled and all its members along with probably hundreds more Muslim leaders being detained in unknown places. Barroso and Van Rompuy also call the generals “interim government” as if it was not them who have driven the country to a real civil war, after having ousted the lawfully elected President.

This is a very obvious backing for the Egyptian generals and the tears and the lamenting about the bloodshed cannot hide it. The two EU dignitaries, who are undoubtedly echoing the will of the major Union governments, are also referring to the “country’s democratic future”. At this point a major question arises naturally. Is it possible for major western governments, including the United States, to believe that the democratic rule in Egypt can function without the Muslim Brotherhood in the steering wheel? The ousted President Morsi was elected with a very large majority.

The overwhelming majority of the country’s hungry and apolitical tens of millions have nothing else to keep them alive and socially connected than their religion. The Egyptian population, at the exemption of a westernised minority, would always tend to vote for the only recognisable and acceptable authority which is no other than the Muslim Brotherhood, the only well organised political force in Egypt. It could take many years of trials and errors for the Egyptian society to arrive (if ever) at a functioning democracy, while it is more than certain that in the between the Muslim Brotherhood would institutionalise a theocratic regime, as Morsi was about to do.

A populist theocracy

A populist theocratic state in Egypt however is the worst nightmare not only for Israel but for Europe and the US as well. Not even the oil rich kingdoms and the other autocratic Arab Gulf states would feel easy with a populist Muslim Egyptian regime. Iran is causing already enough trouble to anybody in this tormented region. In short the West and not only cannot accept such a possibility. If Egypt may present an Iran like danger in the future, better be dissolved.

On many occasions in the past the West has used this recipe. The European and American rhetoric for the institutionalisation of democracy in Libya has practically taken the country apart. Of course there are also internal contradictions that undermine the social coherence and the political structure of many countries in this wider region. Syria is also such an example of that.

In all those cases however the West is using all its powers to either control the countries as in the case of Saudi Arabia or dissolve them completely as in Iraq. The West never bothered because the kingdoms and the other autocratic Gulf states never knew what democracy and social justice is. As long as their oil riches are exploited by western companies, democracy may wait.

In the case of Egypt, the country may be deprived from oil but it is the political academy of the Arab world. A populist-theocratic regime there can present insurmountable problems mainly to Europe. So it has to be neutralised not being able to play any role whatsoever. What if this means a civil war and subsequent famine for tens of millions of people? So the western recipe is to back the generals who are determined to bring the country to its knees for the foreseeable future and keep asking them to start being democratic.

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