Sunday, January 30, 2011

A few random thoughts about el-Baradei, the MB and bad comparisons

There is no doubt in my mind that the Empire is pushing el-Baradei as a successor to Mubarak (Hillary is already speaking about an 'orderly transition').  This does not at all mean that the Empire created the uprising in Egypt, or even that the Empire had el-Baradei already lined up ready to step in.  Nor does this mean that this is not the case.  Frankly, it is at this point too early to make affirmative statements about this.  Questions are appropriate, but answers should not be assumed.

The Muslim Brotherhood's apparent acceptance of el-Baradei as de-facto leader of the opposition is a dangerous gambit, but it might be a smart tactical move for at least two reasons:

a) puppets sometimes defy their masters and end up doing unpredictable things, including turning against them (think Hamas here).

b) some puppets are weaker than others and it is by no means sure that an el-Baradei regime would be able to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Mubarak did; it is possible that the MB hopes to be accepted into a democratic process and, through that, achieve something similar to what Hezbollah did in Lebanon: a peaceful, democratic and bloodless takeover of the reigns of power.

So while the MB's acceptance of el-Baradei as the representative of the entire opposition is dangerous, it might be a very smart move too.

A lot of commentators are comparing the events in Egypt with the failed Gucci Revolution in Iran.  I think that they are totally mistaken.

In Iran the Guccis rejected the results of an election which they had the opportunity to compete in, whereas in Egypt the MB did not participate in elections*.  In Iran the Gucci movement was from day one with a clear leader (Mousavi), a clear political ideology (anti-Islamic) and easily identifiable patrons (Rafsanjani & Co.).  This is clearly not the case in Egypt where the movement might well end up being co-opted, but where its initiation is was clearly chaotic and which, at least in its initial stages, had neither leader nor a single political platform ("down with Mubarak" does not qualify).  Lastly, if the Gucci movement in Iran had had the support of even a plurality of people it would have represented a real threat to the regime which would have been forced to use the Pasdaran to quell it.  That never happened.  The fact that the Pasdars never intervened clearly shows that at no moment did the Gucci revolution really threaten the Islamic Republic.  The combination of simple riot police and Basij volunteers rather easily controlled the situation.  Again, compare that with what is going on in Egypt and you will see that the differences could hardly be greater.

Your thoughts?

On a personal note, I am feeling better, but very weak.  Please forgive my discombobulated and chaotic posts, lack of proper replies, and delays in posting your comments.

Thanks for everything!

The Saker

*Note:  I don't believe for one second that the election in Iran was 'stolen'.  In fact, all the detailed info which came out of Iran shows that the observed irregularities could never have resulted in the highly lopsided result.  I want to clarify that for the record.  I also want to note that whether the election was stolen or not is totally irrelevant to my point which stands even if the election had been somehow - very mysteriously - 'stolen'.