Obama’s foolish policy of forcing Mubarak out of office precipitously without giving non-Islamist parties time to organize has resulted in Islamists achieving a sweeping victory in the first round of parliamentary elections. Strength by the Muslim Brotherhood was expected, but the extremely hard line Salafists had a very strong showing.
As reported by The NY Times:
Islamists claimed a decisive victory on Wednesday as early election results put them on track to win a dominant majority in Egypt’s first Parliament since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the most significant step yet in the religious movement’s rise since the start of the Arab Spring.
The party formed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s mainstream Islamist group, appeared to have taken about 40 percent of the vote, as expected. But a big surprise was the strong showing of ultraconservative Islamists, called Salafis, many of whom see most popular entertainment as sinful and reject women’s participation in voting or public life.
Analysts in the state-run news media said early returns indicated that Salafi groups could take as much as a quarter of the vote, giving the two groups of Islamists combined control of nearly 65 percent of the parliamentary seats.
That victory came at the expense of the liberal parties and youth activists who set off the revolution, affirming their fears that they would be unable to compete with Islamists who emerged from the Mubarak years organized and with an established following. Poorly organized and internally divided, the liberal parties could not compete with Islamists disciplined by decades as the sole opposition to Mr. Mubarak. “We were washed out,” said Shady el-Ghazaly Harb, one of the most politically active of the group.
The Times article points out that this first round of elections was in the most liberal areas of Egypt. As voting moves to more conservative rural areas, the Islamists likely will gain an even more overwhelming majority.
This all was very predictable. In fact, I predicted it while Obama was insisting that Mubarak leave ”yesterday,” NY Times columnists were writing delusional columns about the Arab Street and the Arab Spring, and venomous anti-Israeli pundits at Media Matters and elsewhere complained that the “Israel Lobby” was trying to stifle freedom.
On Feburary 20 I wrote The Yuppie Revolution In Egypt Is Over, The Islamist Revolution Has Begun. I wish I had been wrong.
The liberated women of Egypt will be the first to suffer. The Times notes:
The Brotherhood has pledged to respect basic individual freedoms while using the influence of the state to nudge the culture in a more traditional direction. But the Salafis often talk openly of laws mandating a shift to Islamic banking, restricting the sale of alcohol, providing special curriculums for boys and girls in public schools, and censoring the content of the arts and entertainment.
Obama lost Egypt, and he had plenty of help.
Update 12-1-2011: Barack Obama to Jewish Donors: “I Try Not to Pat Myself on the Back” But I’ve Done More For Israel Security Than Any Other President
And my updated post, “The idea that we could have controlled that process is absurd”