For Egypt’s Islamists, war is now a legitimate option

Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood were elected a year ago in what the so-called “International Community” judged a free and fair election. They and Egypt’s Salafist movement garnered nearly 65-percent of the vote. On Friday, Egypt’s military intervened in the political arena and overthrew and detained Morsi.

Why? Because those who deservedly and miserably lost to the Islamists in 2012 did not care to wait for the next election to try to defeat Morsi. Those in the West who have contended that some Muslims are not capable of democracy have been proven right, although the proof lies in the behavior of those pro-democracy Egyptians the West praises and supports. Egypt’s Islamists, on the other hand, played by the political game’s rules and — if the military’s diktat holds — they have lost and war is now their main option.

What next in Egypt? After a period of post-coup semi-quiet, I think, the likeliest answer will be escalating violence for the foreseeable future. If the Brotherhood and their Salafist allies cannot hold the power to govern they legitimately won by an overwhelming margin, they will decide quite correctly that it is time to reach for the Kalashnikovs. They will be encouraged to make this decision by the Western-dominated International Community‘s tepid criticism of Morsi’s anti-democratic overthrow, which was made while it loudly applauded the Egyptian army‘s promise of new elections relatively soon.

Egypt’s increasingly popular and bin Laden-like Salafist movement was never happy with the idea of Western-style popular elections nor did they believe the West would tolerate a Sharia government. Still, they put their religious scruples on the backburner and participated in the 2012 vote. To the West’s shock and horror, they finished on the Brotherhood’s heals.

Today the Salafists know that all future Egyptian elections will be rigged against them and the Brotherhood. (NB: Egypt’s coup-against-democracy will be read the same way by Islamists worldwide.) The Salafists will tell Morsi and his colleagues “we told you so” and head for their arsenals, as well as to Egypt’s borders to welcome fellow Salafist fighters coming to their aid from Eastern Libya, elsewhere in Arab-Spring-ed Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia. And all of them will be supported with guns, money, and more volunteer mujahideen from the Sunni states of the Arab Peninsula.

The Brotherhood, on the other hand, is in an impossible situation; it can only opt for war. If Morsi and his lieutenants accept the military’s action and reward the losers of the election the Islamists won in 2012, they may form some kind of illegitimate temporary regime but only at the cost of their political and religious credibility.

In addition, such a blatantly corrupt and anti-democratic compromise will drive large numbers of the Brotherhood’s members — especially its young males, some of whom are in Egypt’s armed forces — into the arms of the Salafists. If this occurs, Egypt will have a civil war with part of the army siding with the Islamists and the other part with the effete, militarily useless pro-democracy forces. In such a scenario, the Egyptian Islamists will win, though, as in Syria, it may take a while.

What should concern Americans most about the near certainty of war in Egypt, and thus the broadening of the mujahideen’s overall war against the West, is whether Obama’s administration — in league with pro-Israel Republican and Democratic senators, Britain, and Israel — used its intelligence services to help the leaders of Egypt’s anti-democratic opposition to organize, fund, and train the democracy-killing forces that filled Cairo’s streets with demonstrations and prompted the Egyptian army to use that most democratic of all tools — a military coup.

Readers will recall that former-Secretary of State Clinton and her diplomatic minions — when they were not getting Americans killed in Benghazi — bank-rolled the intervention of a number of Western NGO-like groups to operate inside Egypt to build a secular, pro-democratic movement meant to overthrow the Islamists. When Morsi and his cabinet identified this violation of Egyptian sovereignty they — like Putin when he found the same U.S.-backed threat in Russia — arrested and jailed Clinton’s agents and then threw them out of the country.

Was that the end of it? Well if Obama, the Senate’s bipartisan Israeli shills, the British, and the Israelis were smart, they would have stopped right there. But events of recent decades suggest they probably just shifted gears and went from overt, NGO-type interventionist activity to covert action interventionist programs conducted by their intelligence services.

As the Western media — and no outlet more flagrantly than the BBC — have been busy cheerleading for Morsi’s removal, I have heard no journalist who has bothered to ask how Egypt’s spectacularly fractured pro-democracy movement — it fielded 17 disunited, feckless presidential candidates in the 2012 election Morsi won — has in a twelve-month become a better organized, better-funded, and more united and logistically effective force. While it is only a guess, my money would be placed on a bet that Obama, Cameron, Netanyahu, McCain, Lieberman, Schumer, and Graham cooperated in devising a covert program that used their long-time friends in the Egyptian army and those Egyptians who this week proved themselves utterly incapable of democracy to invalidate Egypt’s free-and-fair 2012 election.

If this proves to be the case, the composite force of young Egyptians intolerant of the democratic process and Western and Israeli leaders who pretend Muslims do not hate their constant, cavalier interventionism will have ensured that al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri’s 2005 forecast that only jihad can defend Islam and install Sharia rule is accepted as truth by more tens of millions of Muslims. And then we will have to face an ever intensifying, Salafist-led religious war against the West, a war which America will end up fighting overseas and at home.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.