Coup in Egypt? Court dissolves parliament, military takes control

**Posted by Phineas

From Barry Rubin at PJM:

The Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court has just invalidated the parliamentary election there. The parliament, 75 percent of whose members were Islamists, is being dissolved. The military junta has taken over total authority. The presidential election is still scheduled for a few dozen hours from now.

In short, everything is confused and everything is a mess. All calculations are thrown to the wind. What this appears to be is a new military coup.

Yes, it is under legal cover but nobody is going to see it as a group of judges-appointed by former President Husni Mubarak, remember–looking deep into the law books and coming up with a carefully reasoned decision based on precedent. No. This will be seen by every Islamist–whether Salafi or Muslim Brotherhood–and by most of the liberals, who feel closer to the Islamists than to the government, as if the 2011 revolution has just been reversed.

Prediction: massive violence.

This is not good, and, were I an American in Egypt, I’d get the heck out, now.

Rubin’s first thought was of Algeria, which fought a years-long bloody, brutal war against Islamists that killed thousands. Egypt is far more populous; the potential for mayhem and chaos is enormous. And not just from the violence of civil conflict: Egypt imports over half its caloric needs and its cash reserves are dwindling fast. What little revenue (other than foreign aid) it brings in comes mostly from tourism, which has already suffered during the “Arab Spring.” If, as it looks, tourism collapses thanks to civil disorder, the potential for famine and even state collapse is very real.

Rubin, again:

This event poses a huge problem for the Obama Administration and I’ll bet one that has caught it by surprise. Does the U.S. government condemn the military and put sanctions on it, demanding that the Muslim Brotherhood be put into power? There is no easy solution. But we are likely to have the strange situation of an American president fighting to put into power an anti-American, anti-Christian, antisemitic political force that is opposed to all U.S. interests because–after all–they did win the election.

Dear President Obama: It’s 3AM and the phone is ringing. You’re on.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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