America Should Not Misled Egypt nor the ArabsProf.R.A Ipinyomi Saturday, August 17th, 2013
By Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria
The ongoing socio-political upheaval in Egypt calls for international interventions in Egypt in order to avert an impending polarisation of Egypt society with catastrophic and disastrous endings. If Egypt is allowed to disintegrate to such a level that resulting into a civil war, intra or inter-religious wars, or whatever level of disintegration that has a capacity to spread to other lands, the outcomes could be counterproductive ruining the many years of peaceful negotiations in the Middle East aground. The pro and anti-Morsi revolt involves only the Egyptians internal political decisions and their daily lives. Nevertheless, the United States of America USA and his western allies should not wash their hands away from the problem they themselves caused. They encouraged democratic governance and supporting it with aids and financial donations. In the process of practicing the democracy we have the ongoing upheaval, which needs no introduction.
The pro-Morsi group, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has taken to living on the streets in Egypt since the Military intervention that removed Morsi from office, must be told the truth and shown where they erred, if they are unable to see their own faults. Collectively we must introduce the Brotherhood to the public, without redefining their perceptions and roles in Egypt or in Arab politics. They are the same as the Hezbollah in Gaza, the Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Boko Haram in Nigeria, and so on. However and over the years, they have been able to reform into a political group. The Brotherhood is a strict Islamic Region Party, “Freedom and Justice Party”, as its political arm, but not every Muslim is in that party in Egypt. This is their advantage but majority of Egyptians seems to distrust them. The previous Military governments in Egypt banned them until recent revolution called Arab Spring.
Despite the ban placed on them the Brotherhood remained together as a political entity and stronger than any one political group in Egypt. Even if they are banned today they will resurface together in another form as a strong party. We can only preach peace and running workshops and seminars on how to run governments acceptable to majority in the 21st century but it is unwise to ban them. You don’t bribe them like the way the west works; putting aids as a precondition. Dealing on facts, preaching the advantages of peace rather than war, letting them see the need why they should practise openly as a political party might be a way forward. Nevertheless, someone in a position should tell the Brotherhood the truth and the possible way-out of the turmoil.
On the other hand we have the liberal Egyptians, who truly are the majority and prodemocracy but finding themselves on the side of the military and currently label anti-Morsi. The liberals have their own secular agenda and the agenda of secularity has its own drawbacks. These can be described for now as Egyptians that like the western democracies in America or in Europe; they consist of the intellectuals, technocrats, the elites and others. Many of them speak good English. I am a conservative Christian and therefore I have a strong disagreement with secularity and its many agenda for societies. In Egypt they form the overall majority but spread into many political parties like here in Nigeria. Yet many of them have sympathy for the Brotherhood and allowed Mohammed Morsi to win the elections in 2012. Their disappointment is the lack of compromise by the Brotherhood to run an inclusive government. In modern democracy this situation would have meant voting out a Prime Minister midway like we witnessed recently in New Zealand. Unfortunately the Military took the role of removing a failing government on itself instead of allowing democracy to finish its process.
Meanwhile the military in Egypt has been in power for a long while and still needs to be tutored on democracy and the roles of military in democracy. They still think they owe the Egyptians how and who should rule them whereas the military should be subjected to the government of the day. The sentiments of the military in the developing World still remain, in their views, that they can choose and pick a government of their choice, even though military rule is becoming old fashion. This is an opportunity to point out the way to the barracks to them in Egypt and letting them know that their president has the key to the gates of the barracks.
In all these the USA successive governments maintained a strong diplomatic relationship with previous governments in Egypt. Perhaps a Republican led government in America would have prevented a government led by the Brotherhood in the first place. President Obama is a robust individual and running a good government to the extent of been a Nobel Peace Laurel. Some of the factors his government might have been taken for guaranteed, like allowing Egypt to choose his government, may have to be revisited. Clearly the Brotherhood has disappointed itself and making the Obama-led government looking wiser, whereas the USA ought to have predicted this as a possible outcome. What we have in Gaza, where Hezbollah is in power, stands against the negotiations.
Certainly playing politics with the world, everywhere and everytime is not going to earn anyone much credit. Egypt needs intervention right away to prevent further loss of lives and total disintegration of its society. Sometime we allow a falling ball to hit the ground so that it can bounce back high enough. At other times we need to rescue the falling ball because it may not be a hard ball or the ground is not strong enough to bounce it back. Democracy is the ball in this sense. We are in doubt what would remain of Egypt society at the end and how far the turmoil would spread. The consequences would be more costly to deal with than stemming the tides right away.
Therefore, the USA should intervene now and not later unconditionally; not based on its aids or no aids. It is immoral for a Nobel Peace winner to stay aloof, as if nothing is happing, especially on courses its government has been investing so much. Obama is not only the Nobel Peace Winner but his government and every American. He got it while he was yet to really perform; hence it is an award for its people, many struggles, democracy, rather than himself or the Democrat Party alone.
In particular USA should not mislead Egyptians at this moment. Democracy has a possible extreme outcome that resembles what is going on in Egypt but the beauty of democracy may be lost to those who are not ready to be patient or to street mobs. If the principles of democracy were to work fully and excellently in Africa, especially in Egypt, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, even in Ghana where it appears working (say scoring 60% in Ghana), and everywhere, the west should not mislead us. They should be prepared to defend democracy with their dollars and military might as part of the beauty of being super power and a Nobel Peace Winner at the moment.
Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi,
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