Friday, July 12, 2013

Egypt's overthrow of Morsi creates uncertainty for Islamists everywhere

Experts warn coup could boost radicals, while some say Muslim Brotherhood's fall represents wider decline in Islamist politics

in Cairo,

"It was a Ramadan gift with a difference: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates dipped into their oil revenues this week to stump up a cool $12bn (£8bn) to bail out cash-strapped Egypt – a swift reward for the army's removal of President Mohamed Morsi and the stunning blow to his Muslim Brotherhood.

Morsi's removal was a big moment in the unfinished story of the Egyptian revolution. But it is also posing troubling questions for Islamists elsewhere. Can they hold on to power where they have it or win it where they do not? And does the coup against the democratically elected leader of the Arab world's largest country – albeit an unpopular and incompetent one – mean that others will shun the ballot box and turn to violence?

Egypt's Brotherhood is calling it a "naksa" (setback in Arabic). "It is like 9/11 in its magnitude," argues the independent Saudi historian Madawi al-Rasheed. "The Muslim Brothers managed to repackage themselves as moderate Islamists. Hopes were raised after the 2011 uprisings and now they are back at square one."

Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, keen to portray his enemies as jihadi fanatics, went so far as to hail the "fall of political Islam" when Morsi was deposed. That put Assad in rare agreement with Saudi Arabia, which is backing the rebels who are fighting to overthrow him. Turkey and Tunisia, where Islamist parties rule, both condemned the Cairo coup. So did Iran........."

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