Springtime in Egypt and the potential for bloodbath just went through the roof:
Judges appointed by Hosni Mubarak dissolved the Islamist-dominated parliament Thursday and ruled his former prime minister eligible for the presidential runoff election this weekend — setting the stage for the military and remnants of the old regime to stay in power.
The politically charged rulings dealt a heavy blow to the fundamentalist Islamic Brotherhood, with one senior member calling the decisions a “full-fledged coup,” and the group vowed to rally the public against Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under Mubarak. reuters
I suppose that the Army and Establishment can fall back on Belloc’s delightful, “Whatever happens, we have got. The Maxim gun, and they have not.” But a quick look at Syria suggests that this will not last forever.
Egypt itself is a basket case and a coup and potential civil war are about the last thing it needs. However, with the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the so-called Arab spring, the alternative to a coup is an Islamist state with all the joy that would bring to secularists and Coptic Christians.
Barry Rubin runs some scenarios and considers the implications for US policy (not good).
But what I think this actually underscores is that nations with majority Muslim populations are not good at democracy. Probably because even moderate Islam makes very little distinction between civil and religious life. To be pious you have no choice but to vote a religious ticket. Which will almost always ensure that the politicians purporting to be most devout will run up the seat counts.
Which, in my view, is perfectly legitimate within those societies; but it certainly casts a shadow on the PollyAnna assumptions of Western secular liberals who thought the Arab Spring was, somehow, a liberation movement.