There was a sense of horror among international observers when some 15 months after the celebrated Arab Spring in Egypt, the two candidates for president turned out to be a general and former PM under the deposed Hosni Mubarack Ahmed Shafik, and the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi.
There was even more horror when the Egyptian army stepped in and staged what some are calling a "coup" -- neutralizing any substantive power an elected president might have, and giving itself (the military council) power over virtually everything, including the writing of a new constitution.
The outside world, led by the media, recoil at any suggestion of military rule in countries awash in revolution. And so it is in Egypt. One might recall that in Pakistan, military take-overs periodically occurred when civilian governments became so corrupt and incompetent that drastic action was necessary. For roughly half of its existence as an independent country, Pakistan has been ruled by the military which was more honest and patriotic than self-serving politicians who regularly looted the till.
In Pakistan, when things settled down, the military voluntarily turned the country back to civil rule -- until corruption resurged again, and it was mandated that the military resume control.
While it's too early to tell what Egypt's fate will be, the military intervention might actually save the country. It is aimed at preventing the Muslim Brotherhood from gaining power, and that's reason enough to hope the military succeeds.
Formed in Egypt in 1928 as a religious, political and social body aimed at imposing Sharia law throughout the Islamic world, the Brotherhood was well organized, disciplined and ruthless. It supported the Nazis in World War II, indulged in sabotge, espionage and terrorism against British rule, and translated Mein Kampf and the Protocols of Elders of Zion into Arabic.
They assassinated the Egyptian PM in 1948, and tried to assassinate Gamal Abdul Nasser who, in turn, tried to outlaw it, and jailed and executed leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Over the years, many attempts have been made to ban and extermiante the group, none of which have succeeded. Like weeds, the Muslim Brotherhood keeps surfacing and if ignored, it thrives. It is the enemy of secularism, which in a government is the beginning of tolerance and forbearnace -- alien concepts to the organization.
Over the past year, the Muslim Brotherhood has launched a "charm offensive," advocating democracy and protesting misconceptions about its purpose. It calls suicide bombers "martyrs," and refers to Israel as "the Jews." As has been pointed out, the "comfort zone" of the Muslim Brotherhood is inflammatory rhetoric; the actions of the Egyptian military to curb its traditional enemy are quite justified.
"Democracy" and the "Muslim Brotherhood" are incompatible entities. The Arab Spring in Libya and Egypt have been glamorized by the cry for democracy -- a siren call that persuades Western politicians, the liberal-minded, and many political commentators.
In truth, not one of the Arab Spring countries has ever lived under democracy, or subscribes to democratic ideals. Not one. Look how many centuries it took from the signing of the Magna Carta
before democracy became embedded in our culture. Is it logical to expect countries like Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq et al, to subscribe to democratic practices within a decade, or a single rebellion?
At least in Egypt the army is trying to prevent an abomination -- which is what a govenrment ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood would be.