Roger Cohen of The NY Times and other journalists were smitten with the Egyptian revolution, and denounced warnings of what lurked below the surface:
(February 3, 2011) Already we hear the predictable warnings from Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu: This could be Iran 1979, a revolution for freedom that installs the Islamists. But this is not 1979, and Egypt’s Facebook-adept youth are not lining up behind the Muslim Brotherhood, itself scarcely a band of fanatics.
The Obama administration was not better, placing its bet on urban professionals like the Google Guy and minimizing the dangers from Islamists and others.
Some of us warned early on that the students and Western-oriented professional class didn’t stand a chance against the Islamists and others on the anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli Arab Street, but we were dismissed as Israeli-firsters and beholden to the Israel Lobby.
But, once again, there is more evidence that the starry-eyed dreamers and believers in the Arab Spring were wrong. Via The Wall Street Journal:
Mobs of ordinary Egyptians joined with soldiers to drive pro-democracy protesters from their encampment in Tahrir Square here Monday, showing how far the uprising’s early heroes have fallen in the eyes of the public.
Six months after young, liberal activists helped lead the popular movement that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the hard core of these protesters was forcibly dispersed by the troops. Some Egyptians lined the street to applaud the army. Others ganged up on the activists as they retreated from the square that has come to symbolize the Arab Spring.
Squeezed between an assertive military and the country’s resurgent Islamist movement, many Internet-savvy, pro-democracy activists are finding it increasingly hard to remain relevant in a post-revolutionary Egypt that is struggling to overcome an economic crisis and restore law and order.
Cohen and the others have moved on. But the Islamists and the Arab Street have not.