(ABC Aus.) Philip Jenkins—What Egypt’s history suggests about its nightmarish future

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Few Western observers predicted the scale of the recent military crackdown in Egypt, or the nation's sudden lurch to something like civil war. The next question troubling policymakers is just how bad the violence will become, and history does give us some strong indicators about the near future. The resulting picture is alarming.

I begin with a useful principle: Egyptian state security is very good at counter-subversion, but not as good as it thinks it is. For decades, Egyptian officials have prided themselves on their ability to penetrate radical organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which for years has operated under constant surveillance. Unless the organization was so riddled with government informers and double agents, the Egyptian state would never have risked its recent decapitation attempt against the group and its leadership.

History, however, suggests that official activities are strictly limited in their usefulness. Time and again, state security has won dazzling victories against subversion, only to have the state's enemies rebuild their infrastructures over the following years. Repeatedly, the Egyptian state has been wrong in its claims about the end of Islamist radicalism.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

Posted August 22, 2013 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Philip Jenkins puts the nightmare scenario very succinctly. Why the present regime imagines that the humiliation of the Brotherhood is going to lessen its credibility among its supporters is baffling - it outlasted Mubarak after all. Now it’s a case of après moi, le déluge!

August 22, 7:09 am | [comment link]
2. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Yes, Dr. Bonner.  When Philip Jenkins weighs in on virtually any topic, I take his opinion very seriously.  This scary piece is typically cogent and well-founded, vintage Jenkins stuff. 

I’ll venture my own prediction in light of the nightmarish future Jenkins foresees ahead for Egypt:  all the Christians who can possibly flee Egypt will do so.  More than 100K did so in 2011 alone, a startlingly high number.  But of course, it’s only the best educated and wealthiest Egyptian Christians who will have that option.  And their departure will leave the remaining Christians weaker not only in numbers, but also because the Christian community (Coptic, Anglican, and otherwise), will be deprived of many of its best leaders.  Lord, have mercy.

David Handy+

August 22, 10:22 am | [comment link]
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