The divisions in Egypt are deep. Whereas reconciliation had seemed possible, though difficult, until last week, there are now two irreconcilable camps facing off against each other: the military and its secular supporters, on one side, and the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, on the other. The young activists and the liberals no longer play a role.
Imagine a government dominated by paranoia, convinced of conspiracies around every corner. That, in short, was the most defining aspect of the Muslim Brotherhood’s year in power in Egypt. Though the country’s first democratically elected government was overthrown in a military coup in July, the Brotherhood made its fair share of critical mistakes.
More important in my view is the belief expressed by almost half a dozen activists in the course of a week of conversations that the revolutionary movement was never going to be able to defeat both the Brotherhood and the military in a struggle for Egypt’s future. And so to have the army hand such an epic defeat to the Brotherhood is a gift whose value is hard to overestimate – which is precisely why so many Leftists are loathe to turn it down, writes Mark LeVine.
Egypt has had its fill of heroes in the form of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar al-Sadat, Mubarak, and Morsi — all false prophets of particular versions of modernity — but it is crying out for leadership. Unfortunately, the politicians stocking the new government do not inspire confidence that Egypt will finally get what it needs.