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Morsi Could Not Have Done Better, or, Accentuate The Positive
In his first speech as the new president of Egypt, and in Tahrir Square, before a vast and hysterical crowd of his screaming and bearded supporters, promised that he would work to free Abdul Rahman, the Blind Sheik now in an American jail for his role in the first World Trade Center bombing, to bring him home to Egypt (Morsi may now try to claim he meant bring him home to an Egyptain prison, should he now need to assuage the Americans, but of course in Egypt he would be treated even in a prison as a prince, surrounded by admirers, treated with deference by everyone) and an inspiration to a generation of terrorists. In doing this, he made clear, even to the dullest, how he, Mohammad Morsi, and the Muslim Brotherhood for which he stands, see the world. The United States government has given Egypt $75 billion in aid over the past 30 years. It has done everything possible to ignore the violations, in every important respect, of the solemn commitments made under the Camp David Accords with Israel, and it has pretended to believe or, still worse, has believed, that Egypt is and has been an allly. But Egypt is not, and cannot, be an ally of any non-Muslim land, and the only hope for Egypt is the Pharaonism -- which means an Egypt First policy that rejects both pan-Arabism and pan-Islam (that is, solidarity with the Umma, which is to say, merely Islam). The American government can continue to supply Egypt with military aid which only makes it more, not less, likely, that Egypt will, under Morsi or someone else, threaten Israel and, in any case, will be much more of a headache for Israel's defense planners than would otherwise be the case. If one understands that what keeps the peace in the Middle East, that is what keeps the Arabs from being even more aggressive and threatening, is the deterrent power of the I.D.F., then the less money, and the less arms, an Egypt run or influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood will be, until the army comes to its senses and re-takes control, by force, and someone or some group, emulating Ataturk, tries to save Egypt from itself and from those who take Islam to heart.
Now it makes sense for Americans to demand that he publicly retract that remark, or Congress will end that farcical funding of Egypt, as it should have long ago -- or rather, should never have started to reward Egypt for receiving, from Israel, the entire Sinai, together with airfields and oilfields and infrastructure and the Red Sea resort, a real money-maker, that Israel built at Sharm el-Sheik. The Sinai, everyone forgets, was always, as a desert, a corpus separatum, and until the 1920s was not considered part of Egypt. And Israel has won it, in war, twice, and twice, for the sake of promises then broken, given it to Egypt, in 1956 (after which Nasser broke, one by one, every promise made, about the Suez Canal, and the Straits of Tiran, and about keeping his own troops out of the Sinai) and a few years after the third, and last, tranche of the Sinai was scrupulously handed over by Israel to Egypt, and the main thing asked of the Egyptians -- that they encourage, through tourism, and such things as Israeli participation in Egypt's film fairs and book fairs, and through visits by the Egyptian leaders to Israel, and through an end to the campaign of anti-Israel hysteria and hate in the Egyptian press, radio, and television -- was never honored by the government of Egypt. As for the absence of war, Israel had no war with Egypt for the same reason it had no war with Iraq or Syria, or Saudi Arabia, or a dozen other members of the Arab League. And that did not depend on a peace treaty, but on the deterrent power of Israel's military. And the Egyptian military, whose members are interested in Egypt's national interests, understood -- something that now needs to be the subject of constant and open discussion -- that if they ever got into another war with Egypt, the Sinai would be retaken, and it would not ever again be given back. And the humiliation that Nasser experienced in 1967 (and died two years later from the unending stress), and that Sadat avoided in 1973 only because Kissinger prevented Ariel Sharon from destroying the Egyptian Third Army, and a myth of Egypt's "victory" -- a victory that was a defeat, but not as obviously and colossally so as in 1967 -- was created that allowed the Egyptian military to pretend to believe that it had won.
The military men in Egypt, the older ones, the ones who remember 1973, and what really happened, and even more, remember 1967, are the ones most intelligently bent on avoiding war. Morsi and his men think that they have a duty to remove the Infidel nation-state of Israel, sooner or later. That is Islamic doctrine. They take Islam to heart.
Morsi has now provided the perfect reason, for those who apparently need an obvious, urbi et orbi reason, to end American aid to Egypt. The military aid does nothing but help endanger Israel, and also to provide more money to which the ruling military and civilians have been partly helping themselves. Had there never been that American aid, there would have been less corruption, and less obvious, because less fantastic, the disparities of wealth. Had there been less corruption, there would have been less resentment of America. American aid to Arabs and Muslims never helps America, always makes its an object of local hatred. And had there been no American aid, it is likely that the Egyptian government would have had to deal with what no one else can deal with -- the population explosion, with Egypt now having 85 million people, double what it had under Sadat, and four times as many as when Nasser came to power. It is the same everywhere in the Arab lands; in 1932 there were 3 million people in Iraq and now there are 29 million. Why should the Western world, which has brought its own -- advanced -- population under control, continue to fund, and make possible, that Arab and Muslim explosion?
And why should not the recipients of the greatest transfer of wealth in human history, the Arabs and Muslims who happen to sit on oil and gas reserves, and who, as members of OPEC, have received since 1973 alone some sixteen trillion dollars, not be asked to share their wealth with fellow members of the umma, such as Egypt, or even non-Arab Pakistan? They won't, of course, but by constantly putting pressure on them, by making them and their money the focus of resentment by the poorer Arabs and Muslims -- fury at little Qatar, and the Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, countries whose rulers and people have no intention of ever sharing that wealth (though a subsidy to keep the Yemenis from completely drowning might be possible, since Yemen's condition immediately threatens Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arabian peninsula) -- the West can encourage the third of the great fissures within the Camp of Islam.
The first fissure is sectarian: the Shi'a-Sunni split, which in its full venom, and dimensions, is hardly understood by those who make policy in the West, who not recognizing its depth, also fail to recognize its usefulness, and instead have tried, as in Iraq, to prevent that sectarian split from widening.
The second fissure is the ethnic one: the contumely with which the Arabs regard all non-Arab Muslims, whom they are willing to use, for their own ends, and whom they regard as inferior to them - the Arabs, the "best of peoples" to whom the Qur'an was brought, and in their own language. Everything about Islam -- the need to read the Qur'an in Arabic, the requirement that Muslims pray five times a day turning toward Arabia, wherever in the world they might be, the need to emulate the manners and morals of seventh-century Arabs, the need to take as the Perfect Man (al-insan al-kamil) a particular Arab, one Muhammad, and ideally, Muslims want to pretend that they are Arabs, taking Arab names, even constructing comical Arab geneologies (millions of Pakistanis have taken names to show their supposed connection to the family of the Prophet). Everyone in the Western world capable of thought can come to understand, and should then repeat ad nauseam, that Islam is and always has been a vehicle for Arab imperialism. And then repeat what I have listed here. Non-Arabs, especially those such as the Berbers in North Africa, and the Kurds, and the blacks in Darfur, all Muslims who have been on the receiving end of Arab imperialism -- with the Berbers and Kurds feeling keenly the linguistic and cultural imperialism, the forced arabization designed to make them forget their own histories and cultures and think of themselves as Arabs or suffer the consequences, and the Muslim black Africans in Darfur being non-Arabs, suffering in the same way as the Christians in the southern Sudan, from Muslim Arab violence and mass murder.
And finally, third great fissure within the Camp of Islam: the resentment, which the West through its colossal aid program has done nothing to encourage, and everything to deflect, of the poor Arabs and Muslims for the rich Arabs and Muslims. The 200,000 Qataris, every single one of whom enjoys fantastic wealth, and who have a staff of foreign wage slaves in Qatar itself (not to mention in all those houses and estates abroad that the Qataris are buying up, especially in France) nine times the number of native Qataris: nine foreign workers for every Qatari’s every need. The Emirates, that Rodeo Drive on stilts, is the same. And then there is Saudi Arabia, where a Franco-Armenian friend of mine summed up after several years there building military cities: “Money can buy everything, except civilization.”
Let the Egyptians think about all that money in Qatar, and the U.A.E., and Saudi Arabia. Let others, too – the Pakistanis, the Afghans – think about all that money that fellow members of the Umma received from Allah (for what else can a Muslim think, save that all that wealth comes from Allah, as a sign of his beneficence toward Muslims?) are spending on themselves, in ever more grotesque ways, and doing nothing, or almost nothing, to help them? That can only lead to one of two things: first, greater resentment, and hostility, of many Muslims toward other Muslims, who are arrogating to themselves riches which Allah, of course, meant to be shared by all Muslims; second, a questioning of Islam itself, and of its principles, for if the solidarity of the Umma exists only in a shared inculcated hatred of non-Muslims, but does not lead to sharing among Muslim states and peoples, then perhaps the very hold of Islam itself on the minds of at least some of its adherents will weaken. And because it is a fanatical, all-encompassing, and dangerous –not exclusively, but mainly to non-Muslims, who are the people we should most care about -- faith, anything that weakens that hold is a good thing.
And so we come back, having paddled down the Plurabelle, and by the conventional commodious vicus, to “Doctor” Muhammad Morsi in Tahrir Square, in his first public address after his victory, telling a hysterical sea of his primitive followers that he would work to free the Blind Sheik, the inspirer of murder, Abdul Rahman, from American clutches. Oh, Morsi may now want to modify what he said, and no doubt we will be hearing that he only meant – “only”! –that Abdul Rahman should be brought back to serve his sentence in his native Egypt. Of course, in Egypt, in any jail, he would be feted, and no doubt that jail would be equivalent to a palace. And like so many prisoners who are responsible for killing Americans, and then captured by them, and imprisoned by them, but then, with incorrigible gullibility, handed over by the Americans to the locals who promise to keep them in jail, are released, possibly Abdul Rahman will even be let out, from his luxurious quarters and the fellow prisoners who will treat him with respect and adoration, because to keep him imprisoned would not, in the eyes of Dr. Mohammad Morsi, be the right thing to do. And Dr. Morsi wants to do the right thing.
As far as the world’s Infidels are concerned, and especially those who would like a sense of reality to enter into the minds of those who make policy, Morsi has done a good thing, a wonderful thing. Morsi could have thought his thought, but not said it aloud, and certainly not said it in Tahrir Square, before a sea of his primitive followers, and the television cameras, and the Western reporters. He could not have done better, because he could not have done worse.