To no one’s surprise, a Muslim Brotherhood member has been elected president of Egypt, though the office is largely symbolic at this point.
Father Raymond de Souza says Egypt is likely headed for civil war. As it was in Algeria, it might be in Egypt, he says:
In the late 1980s, Algeria’s socialist one-party state began a gradual process of reform and democratization, provoked in part by economic hardship resulting from falling oil prices. Soon after other political parties were legalized, Islamist parties flourished, eventually winning a majority in 1990 local elections.
With the prospect of an Islamist victory, the government cancelled national elections, sparking a rebellion that in turn led to the quick imposition of military rule. A brutal civil war followed between the secular military rulers and the Islamist parties, with civilian atrocities widespread. In order to prevent an Islamist state, Algeria sacrificed democracy and many civil liberties besides. The civil war raged throughout the 1990s, with as many as 200,000 dead in a population of some 25 million people.
Egypt has a population of some 80 million, more than three times Algeria’s population in the 1990s. Proportionately, could we expect more than half a million dead in Egypt?
Here is the paradox of the Middle East:
Democracy brings extremism and loss of liberty. To fight against that extremism means the suspension of democracy and loss of liberty. And both paths are headed toward war.