One year after the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, Daniel Pipes finds the situation in Egypt “pretty awful”:
In the debate over the proper role of Islam in the lives of Egyptians, the dividing lines have only increased, spawning violence, further extremism, and a sense that the country’s split between Islamist and anti-Islamist factions will last for many years. Even the dividing lines among Islamists and among anti-Islamists are hardening. The inscrutable Sisi presides over this mess as the new Hosni Mubarak, stolid and repressive, with his own views seemingly contradictory and elusive.
I doubt that most Egyptians held much hope that Sisi would bridge the gap between the Islamist and anti-Islamist factions. But they probably hoped the economic situation would improve. According to Pipes, it hasn’t:
Egypt’s economic decline continues apace. Income is down most everywhere one looks – direct foreign investment, remittances from workers abroad, tourism. Perhaps most symbolic is that until April 2012, the country sold natural gas to Israel; less than two years later, it buys natural gas from Israel (at more than four times the old selling price).
Pervasive food and energy subsidies distort the economy, as do the ubiquitous military industries. Red tape remains stifling. The country unsustainably depends on subventions from rich Persian Gulf states to pay for imported foodstuffs.
Pipes’ article provides a strong indictment of Sisi. Yet, I agree with Pipes that Sisi may well be all that stands between Egypt and Syrian-like civil war.