Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Al Jazeera erupted like the crowds at Tahrir Square when the announcement came that Mohamed Morsi had won the presidential election in Egypt.
Why wouldn’t they? They are the largest news feed from an Islamic nation; they like their guys.
But it’s important to remember that all of the Arab nations, though primarily Islamic, are not all fanatical. At least not yet.
There is talk of the demise of the Arab Spring, which was supposed to be about the rise of democracy. I remind you that we reported when Tunisia began all of this that we cautioned of Arab nations kicking out their dictators could well mean the rise of Islamic rulers.
Was I clairvoyant? Hardly. I watched the Bush-inspired elections in the Palestinian areas of Samaria, Judea and Gaza. In those the Iran-led Hamas politicians ran on cleaning up their government which Arafat and Abbas had so corrupted.
They established and promoted health clinics, schools, wells, and bragged that their government would be spotless.
And they whipped the old Arafat/Abbas machine of Fatah like it was a bad dog.
Well, it wasn’t supposed to work that way. So what happened next was interesting. Abbas set out to arrest the Hamas winners, with the quiet consent of Israel and America.
You may cringe at that, but it was about the only way to keep all of the West Bank from turning into what Gaza is today. It was the “right thing to do” even if it tipped their form of democracy upside down.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has been cautious in his remarks about the Muslim Brotherhood winning the Presidency, but seasoned Middle East watchers know that Bibi will be strong in the face of liberal media’s honeymoon with the new guy in town.
The Jerusalem Post reported that “Egypt's new president-elect, Mohammed Morsi, has said he plans to "review" the country's 1979 Camp David peace treaty with Israel.
“The Egyptian president-elect said his country's policy towards Israel would be "one of equality because we are no less than [the Israelis] in any way," and that he planned to discuss with Israel the issue of the Palestinian right of return.”
That’s somewhat humorous because, aside from Sadat, no Egyptian leader has gone to Israel to meet with the leaders in Jerusalem. They always meet outside of Israel, since otherwise there would be no face-to-face talks.
Morsi also brought up the issue of the Camp David Accords repeatedly during the election run-up, saying that he would "review the peace treaty with Israel if US cuts aid [to Egypt]."
He also said that Egypt and Iran should have “normal relations … based on the countries’ mutual interests.”
Iran cut all ties with Egypt in 1980, a year after the Islamic Revolution and after the Camp David accords.
While this all sounds pretty tough, I warn you that there are lots of things that politicians say before getting elected, that they seem to forget after getting into office.
Don’t forget that the Generals annulled the Parliament after the Muslim Brotherhood took over there, and before the Presidential election. That little fact has to be dominant in Morsi’s thinking today.
He may try to work with them. Chairman Mao said it well when he said, “Power Comes From the Barrel of a Gun.”
Right now that means Egypt’s military. While there are some scenarios in which Morsi could see himself wresting control of the army, it is likely a pipedream.
No one is predicting another Iran in Egypt. Not right now.