Bad Precedents

After the violence in Egypt this morning, it’s not at all clear what will happen next in that country (the interim president is scheduling elections and designing a referendum for a reframed constitutions, while trying to keep the Muslim Brotherhood bought into the new system). But at the New York Times, UCLA professor Khaled M. Abu el Fadl had a curt reminder of the bad precedents the Egyptian military if following:

The army is following in the footsteps of Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Hafez al-Assad of Syria, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran, who shared a common trait. They all pointed to their supporters in the streets as the source of their legitimacy and perpetuated autocratic rule in the name of the people’s will. By stepping in to remove an unpopular president, the Egyptian Army reaffirmed a despotic tradition in the Middle East: Army officers decide what the country needs, and they always know best.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.