Home/Daniel Larison/The Coup Has Been a Disaster for Egypt

The Coup Has Been a Disaster for Egypt

Egypt’s post-coup government has labeled the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization:

The blast was the second in Egypt in three days. Fifteen people were killed in a much larger explosion, a suicide car bombing, according to the Interior Ministry, at a police headquarters in the Nile Delta town of Mansoura early on Tuesday. In response to the Mansoura bombing, the military-backed government officially branded the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, a measure that deepens the military-backed government’s clampdown on the Islamist group following the military’s removal of Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi from power in July. The new designation criminalizes membership in the organization and its activities and finances.

No evidence has surfaced linking the Muslim Brotherhood to either attack.

In addition to the violent suppression of protesters, the coup and the crackdown following it have had several negative effects on the country. Egypt’s religious minorities have faced increased hostility and persecution at the hands of Islamists, and now at least one Islamist groups is resorting to bomb attacks that presage greater violence and repression in the new year. Thanks to the coup, Egypt is demonstrably less safe for Christians and less stable than it was, and it is in danger of becoming a rallying point for jihadist recruitment and a target for jihadist attacks. Criminalizing the Muslim Brotherhood may make it possible to dismantle or at least disrupt the organization to some degree, but that simply creates incentives for Islamists to support more radical and violent groups, and it will make it harder for the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood to control their members. All of that suggests that there will be more terrorist attacks and increased brutality from the authorities, both of which will serve to ruin the country. This may be what some in the military want:

Some experts suggest that a violent showdown suits the designs of hard-liners within Egypt’s security state. “It is obvious that there is a faction within this government that is pushing everything toward escalation and violence in order to force their opponents to resort to violence,” says Emad Shahin, a political scientist at the American University in Cairo.

There is admittedly little that the U.S. can do to remedy these things, but it should at least stop pretending that the post-coup government has been a stabilizing force in the country and should alter its support for that government accordingly.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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