March 23, 2012
Apparently, when it comes to Egypt, once burned does not make some American officials twice shy. The surprise of both the Arab Spring and President Mubarak’s rapid fall do not seem to have shaken their faith that a quick deal with Egypt’s military leadership, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), will benefit America. They are wrong.
To preserve the generous flow of American military aid upon which so much of its hierarchy and prestige depends, the Egyptian military is attempting to sell itself as a bulwark against the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated parliament. Giving in to the SCAF’s demands may prove to be severely short-sighted, achieving neither a blunting of parliament nor progress on fundamental human rights, including the freedom of religion and expression.
Cognizant of the Egyptian public’s negative views of the U.S. and Israel, and the manner in which the Muslim Brotherhood stoked those animosities in its rise to power, the Egyptian military has little interest in challenging the Brotherhood on these contentious issues. Furthermore, the Egyptian military has never in its history shown an interest in human rights. In fact, it has often been a leading part of the state apparatus suppressing them. No compelling reason exists to change that predilection. Additionally, contrary to widely held views in the United States, the relationship between the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood is far more nuanced than most suspect.