Looking at what is happening in Egypt these days the following fable, slightly adjusted, comes to mind:
A frog and the scorpion, met one day on the bank of the River Nile, which they both wanted to cross. The frog offered to carry the scorpion over on his back provided the scorpion promised not to sting him. The scorpion agreed so long as the frog would promise not to drown him. They mutually agreed to the deal and started to cross the river. Half-way to the other bank the scorpion stung the frog with his venom. “Why did you do that?” gasped the frog, as it was dying. “Why?” replied the scorpion, “I couldn’t help it. This is the Middle East.”
It is a precarious situation and there is no way to know how the upheaval will end and who will emerge victorious in the end.
In a Washington Post op-ed, published on February 3, well-known businessman, financier, and philanthropist George Soros gave his view of the Egyptian turmoil, the subsequent American reaction and the role of Israel. In his piece he calls on Obama to ‘get Egypt right’ and notes that there are some signs of hope for an actual positive development of events that will lead to a democratic process in Egypt. Nobody knows what the future will hold and analysts and observers have to make do with informed guesses. But given what we do know it is necessary to point out, with all due respect and appreciation of a man who makes a difference in the world, that George Soros’s take on Egypt is too simple, too hopeful. It is with regret to have to point this out because he is a true intellectual and thinker who takes into consideration the strongest counter arguments to his position. Not so in this op-ed.
The fears of adverse consequences regarding free elections are not that they will be held at all but that they will be rushed without having prepared the reemergence of a secular opposition, provided for minority rights, freedom of expression, movement, and assembly, an independent judiciary, a free press and so forth. If Mr. Soros had thought of the example of Gaza he would recall that democracy is more than holding elections. This, the notion that the spread of extremist politics must be avoided, and the other examples he cites, are not “the old conventional wisdom about the Middle East.” These fears are based on historic precedent and it would be prudent not to dismiss them as obsolete.
Moreover, Mr. Soros claims that “[t]he Muslim Brotherhood’s cooperation with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who is seeking to run for president, is a hopeful sign that it intends to play a constructive role in a democratic political system.” Really? It is impossible not to think of the poor frog on the bank of the Nile. He fell for the guy who could not escape his true nature.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and MEMRI provided a great service by collecting what the Muslim Brotherhood is actually saying about the protests, their own mission and nature, on resistance and jihad. Let’s all be clear: They say all these things knowing the Egyptian military is still the arbiter of which direction the upheaval will take. This group is not benign. They are serious about it when they say that their ideological version of “Islam is the solution.” This is not “old conventional wisdom about the Middle East” but, sadly, ‘conventional wisdom in the Middle East.’
Support for the Muslim Brotherhood is currently estimated at 20 percent. As has been pointed out, the secular democratic opposition in Egypt is weak and fractured at best after decades of persecution, any Islamist party commanding that much support has the country within grasp.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com