ISLAMIST OR NATIONALIST: WHO IS EGPYT'S MYSTERIOUS NEW PHARAOH?
By Dr. Raymond Stock, Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum
An author and twenty-year resident of Egypt, Raymond Stock undertakes to answer key questions about General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt's de facto new ruler: "Is he a person of high principle, or a lowly opportunist?" "[I]n a land which has known five thousand years of mainly centralized, one-man rule, ... where will he lead the troubled, ancient nation?" How should the U.S. "react to al-Sisi's removal of Egypt's first 'freely elected' president" and subsequent "bloody crackdown on Morsi's group"?
The U.S. has, so far, been reluctant to call al-Sisi's actions a "coup" and "cut-off all of our aid to Egypt" and risk losing "favored access to the Suez Canal, maintenance of the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty and crucial bi-lateral security cooperation against international terrorism."Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood's "peaceful demonstrators," whom the U.S. should never have supported, "have been busy burning scores of Christian churches and schools along with hundreds of Christian businesses while attacking other citizens, museums and public buildings."
Relying on a thesis that al-Sisi wrote while a student at the U.S. Army War College, Robert Springborg asserts that the general intends to restore not democracy but a hybrid regime that combines Islamism and militarism, and other authors stress his religious conservatism, not radicalism, and his nationalism. In that, they compare al-Sisi to Gamal Abdel-Nassar and Anwar al-Sadat, who also...