Just as Syrian Islamists had been gaining in popularity and just as everyone began to believe Muslim Brotherhood pledges (“We don’t want to be Iran” and “If you vote for us we promise won’t be the last free election”) Egypt’s Morsi has scared folks by actkig exactly like Khoumeini in 1979.

With no legitimate right to do so, Morsi has decided to rule by fiat. His basic position is “No one can check my moves. Forget separation of powers, checks and balances or a bill fo rights. I’m Supreme now that you voted for me. You were fool enough to trust me so live with it! Though he says it is only “temporary,’ why should people believe an organization that has already broken its pre-election pledges? “Fool me once…” as the old saying goes. This is how one loses popular legitimacy.

As a Brotherhood enforcer, Morsi’s has a history of “no compromise” behavior. He is known to favor terms such as “cockroaches” to describe anyone who dares disagree with his position. The Nazis favored “vermin”instead. We get the point and know what sort of treatment such creatures get. Adding to perceptions of intended tyranny is the Brotherhood’s useof Basilj/brownshirt types to prevent Supreme Court justices from entering their workplace and ruling on cases.

Forget sponteneity. That sort of thing never happens unless Brotherhood big shots say “ok” in advance. The Brotherhood is a disciplined outfit that can turn demonstrations on and off like a spigot. It relies on cell-like organizations in every neighborhood, again paralleling methods used by the Bolsheviks and the mullahs to steal revolutions from their compadres who then wind up exiled, in gulags or dead. No doubt the Brotherhood will soon introduce–and enforce–the standard totalitarian charges (“crimes against the people” and “propaganda against the state”) If I were an Egyptian I wouldn’t look for open and fair elections inthe future, either. “Temporary” measures of this sort, always instituted on the pretext of dealing with a crisis (the Reichstag fire, the American Embassy seige) have a way of becoming permanent.


Stalin’s Comintern operated across national boundaries to assist related parties seeking to take power in country after country. Making use of external assistance, the Brotherhood is now clearly engaged in a similar well-financed, well-organized effort to steal control the Arab Spring and institute a political monopoly, probably with a few token parties for show. All potential rivals lack experience, organization (a la secret cells) and external financing to match up with the Brothers. On that point did everyone notice how—with Erodogan’s assistance—the Brotherhood seized control of the original Syrian opposition group in Turkey, edging everyone else out and tainting the body so badly a new one has now formed.

If it makes Syrians more cautious about the Brotherhood’s good intentions, Morsi’s actions may them from the fate of Iranians and Egyptians. What may also help is that–prior to the uprising Syrians–were far more secular and tolerant in outlook than the Egyptians had been. Polls showed that the latter were substantially more inclined to blind trust of the clergy and to favoring Shairah law as the solution t a modern nation’s problems. It took the Iranians 30 years of so to wise up. We’ll see how long it takes Egyptians.

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