Our State Department may have been premature praising the president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, for arranging a cease fire between Israel and Hamas. The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has declared himself above the law, not subject to the court system, setting Morsi up as a dictator or 21st Century pharaoh. In a power grab move, Morsi claims he is protecting the nation from those politicians and bureaucrats associated with the former president, Hosni Mubarak. But not everyone agrees as thousands have taken to the streets protesting across the country from Tahrir Square to Port Said. In some locations, the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood were burned or ransacked. Will the struggling regime survive?
When the whole Arab Spring protests began about two years ago, it was sparked by people revolting due to the horrible economic conditions in countries largely led by despots. In most cases, the ruling class was made up of members of a minority tribe, or religious sect that did not represent the majority of the people. The global recession and the response by Western central banks to monetize their way out, pumping huge sums of cash into the world′s money supply, led to a spike in basics like food and fuel.
Meanwhile, wages did not increase or was there any economic growth, leading to high unemployment, particularly among younger people. In some countries like Egypt, those under 30 had an unemployment rate of 50% or higher. With the price of corn, wheat, gasoline and heating oil skyrocketing in these lands, masses of people became desperate. In such places, those who had long opposed the national leaders, usually for religious reasons, filled the power void.
So, nations like Egypt have replaced one set of tyranny with another, and this is not sitting well with those who want jobs and the necessities of life. Their condition and desperation has not changed in the past two years. Egypt has an added dimension as their military still holds considerable power and some popularity with the masses. The potential for a coup against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood is high.
This is why the president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, decided to expand his powers and authority, making him a de facto dictator or a ′New Age′ pharaoh. The Muslim Brotherhood, while powerful, does not have sufficient support to protect them from a popular revolt. The U.S. State Department has been carrying as much water as they can for Morsi, trying to make him appear a centrist, responsible leader. But as we have seen in protests from Tahrir Square to Port Said, some people, while not wanting the old days of Hosni Mubarak back, are still seeking change. This is a good thing for us, as it offers hope that there may yet be a true democracy movement in the Arab world.