Qatar's Check to Muslim Brotherhood Makes Egyptian Stability LESS Likely
As we discussed in the weekly Call posted above, the Muslim Brotherhood leader and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi received a $2 billion pledge from the visiting Emir of Qatar Sunday morning, and on Sunday afternoon fired the military leadership and announced a constitutional revision reducing the military's role in the Egyptian government. Whether this is manic overreach or the spring of a diabolical plot remains to be seen. Egypt has a $36 billion annual trade deficit, against earnings of about $5 billion a year from the Suez Canal, an undetermined amount (probably about $7 billion) from tourism, and a few billion workers' remittances--that is, an annual financing requirement of over $20 billion.
Qatar's $2 billion is a drop in the bucket; it just replaces the reserves that Egypt lost last month. So is a $3.5 billion IMF loan, under discussion for a year. The Obama administration has been telling people quietly that the Saudis will step in to bail out Egypt, but the Qatari intervention makes this less likely. The eccentric and labile Emir is the Muslim Brotherhood's biggest supporter; its spiritual leader, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (who supports suicide bombings against Israel) lived in exile during the Mubarak regime. Qatar funds al-Jazeera television, the modern face of Islamism. The Saudis hate and fear the Brotherhood, which wants to overthrow the Saudi Monarchy and replace it with a modern Islamist totalitarian political party. Qatar has only about $30 billion in reserves and can't sustain Egypt for long.
Qatar is something of a wild card: it is ruled by an Emir without even the checks and balances that arise from having a large family behind a monarchy, as in Saudi Arabia. The whimsical Emir just bought the Italian firm of Valentino as a gift for his fashion-conscious second wife -- not a dress, but the entire company. His support evidently emboldened the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to take on the military in the aftermath of the Sinai crisis. But that makes stability in Egypt less rather than more likely, because it gives the Saudis, the only funder capable of bailing out Egypt, reason to stand aside.
Whether the Egyptian military chooses to fight Morsi or to retire to its barracks (or more likely townhouses in London) remains to be seen. But Egypt's root problem is a dysfunctional economy (it imports half its food), a population that is nearly half illiterate, a tribal social structure (nearly a third of Egyptians marry cousins), and a bloated university system that can't train a competent civil engineer. My bet remains that the military will let Morsi take the fall for a big devaluation by the end of this year and move back into power. The alternative is that the military leaders will take their loot and leave, and Egypt will fall into chaos.
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|Jsad [30 words]||Ankur Tyagi, New Delhi||Aug 13, 2012 18:34|
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by Gordon G. Chang
The second thing we get wrong about China is that it is safe to ignore periodic Chinese threats to incinerate our cities and wage war on us. They employ salami-slicing tactics, as with Scarborough Shoal... so that they do not invite retaliation.
If we cannot say these things clearly and publicly, the Chinese will think we are afraid of them. If they think we are afraid of them, they will act accordingly.
Chinese leaders do not distrust us because they have insufficient contact with us. They distrust us because they see themselves as protectors of an ideology threatened by free societies.
by Anna Mahjar-Barducci
If the government fails... to assert its power in the months to come it will become a de facto Somalia II.... Soon, these militias, if they have not already done so, will have their own government that will contest the decisions of the paper government of Tripoli… Indicators show that it is already fragmenting into three countries." — Professor Mohamed Chtatou, University of Mohammed V, Morocco.
by Shadi Paveh
The notes from Dr. Azam's medical journal include a crushed toe, broken fingers, missing fingernails, broken ribs, a skull fracture, severe abdominal bruising, marks of flogging on her back and feet [and] extensive damage to her genitals.
Dutch authorities expressed shock and sadness over her execution and cut off diplomatic relations with Iran for approximately 20 days.
by Peter Huessy
Looking at the most recent developments in Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan, as well as North Korea, it would seem urgent that the U.S. end as soon as possible its era of nuclear neglect.
by Mohshin Habib
Sawan Masih has been sentenced to death, but what about those found guilty of inciting and committing violence and arson?
It [is] a travesty of justice that more than 3,000 people who burned the Christian neighbourhood in Lahore were free, while one man who was tried for a disputed charge was sentenced to death.
He said Pakistan's administration, police, military and courts want to contribute to their religion by somehow punishing the non-Muslims.
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