Region’s Hardliners Will Take Heart
The repercussions of Wednesday's brutal crackdown by the Egyptian government on the supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood will be felt through the entire region.
The military government that is fast taking shape in Egypt will strengthen the hands of the hardliners across the region.
The military government that is taking shape in Egypt will strengthen the hands of those who forcefully suppress their opponents.
Bashar Assad in Syria will continue the massacre of his opponents with a greater sense of impunity. In Iraq, Prime Minster Nouri al Maliki will be reinforced in his resolve to exclude the Sunnis from a share in power. In Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, regimes will find it easier to quash any murmur of dissent. In Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will feel no need to heed protesters' demands that he step down.
In Iran, the new, centrist president Hassan Rouhani has promised to end the pervasive presence of the security agencies on university campuses, among nonprofits and in society in general. But the hardliners, who are already giving him a difficult time over his cabinet choices, will feel emboldened, justified in arguing that any easing up on political controls will lead to chaos and threaten the regime itself. In the role of the military in Egypt, Iran's Revolutionary Guards might yet see a model they will be tempted to follow.
The military men in charge of Egypt have once again started down the authoritarian road. Other leaders in the region may be very happy to follow them.