As Paul noted earlier today, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi followed up his supposed diplomatic triumph in Gaza by claiming new, more or less dictatorial powers. Morsi’s announcement was greeted with outrage by many Egyptians, some of whom took to the streets:
[A]nti-Morsi demonstrators set fire to Muslim Brotherhood offices in cities across Egypt on Friday. As enraged demonstrators torched Muslim Brotherhood offices in several Egyptian cities, a defiant Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi defended his recent decree granting himself sweeping powers before a crowd of supporters outside the presidential palace in Cairo Friday. …
Reacting to the decree, thousands of demonstrators gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday, responding to calls by Egyptian opposition leaders for a “million-man march” to protest against what they called a “coup” by the Islamist president.
Here, protesters have set the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Alexandria on fire:
In Tahrir Square, protesters objecting to Morsi’s tyrannical pretensions have gathered, only to be dispersed by government-fired tear gas:
I am so confused! When anti-Mubarak demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square and were met with tear gas, they represented the Arab Spring. So what do these anti-Morsi demonstrators represent? Are they Arab Spring too? Or Arab Autumn? Or maybe the seasonal analogies are no longer operative.
The France 24 news report continues:
The rival demonstrations – which took place in several Egyptian cities Friday – exposed the deep divisions in the world’s most populous Arab nation five months after Morsi was elected with a 51% sliver of a majority.
What a coincidence! Obama got 51% too. So far, however, I haven’t heard anyone refer to Obama’s “sliver of a majority.”
But never mind that–I am still really, really confused! Mubarak was our friend, but a bad guy. So he had to go, and Obama denounced him and helped force him out. Morsi is our enemy, and also is a bad guy. So Obama thinks he’s A-OK, and helped Morsi take power. That’s called “smart diplomacy.” You probably wouldn’t understand.
Other things are confusing, too. Did Obama know that Morsi was about to claim dictatorial powers when he made Morsi the “hero” of the Israel-Gaza cease fire? If so, did he mind? If Obama didn’t know–which seems more likely–does he now think that Morsi double-crossed him by capitalizing on his faux diplomatic mission to proclaim himself a dictator? Or is that one more thing that is A-OK with Obama? If Obama doesn’t like the fact that Morsi has cut “Arab Spring” democracy off at the knees, does he intend to do anything about it? Or, when bad things happen, is it “smart diplomacy” to do nothing and pretend you don’t mind?
The seriousness of Morsi’s coup, as many Egyptians are fearlessly calling it, is indicated by the posture of Mohamed ElBaradei, the longtime head of the U.N.’s atomic weapons oversight body and critic of the U.S., who on Friday called on Egyptians to “save the nation,” charging Morsi “blasted the concept of the state and the legitimacy and appointed himself ruler by divine decree.” The left-leaning Nobel Peace Prize winner also declared: “The revolution is aborted until further notice.”
Just don’t expect White House press secretary Jay Carney to announce that the Egyptian people’s “grievances have reached a boiling point, and they have to be addressed,” as his predecessor Robert Gibbs did when Mubarak was on the ropes.
And don’t hold your breath for Clinton — or whoever her successor is at the State Department — to call for “an orderly, peaceful transition to real democracy, not faux democracy” in which “the people just keep staying in power and become less and less responsive,” as she said two years ago during street demos against Mubarak.
It took 24 hours for Morsi to take advantage of the prestige Obama and his secretary of state handed him. Now he’s using America’s stamp of approval to oppress his own people.
Some “new beginning.”
All I can say is, it’s a good thing we now have such smart diplomacy! If Obama, Clinton, Susan Rice and others weren’t so smart, things might go really badly in Egypt and the Middle East.