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March 26, 2014 7:22 am

Sisi’s Terrible, and Dangerous, Campaign Against Egyptian Islamists

avatar by Daniel Pipes

Email a copy of "Sisi’s Terrible, and Dangerous, Campaign Against Egyptian Islamists" to a friend

General el-Sisi and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Photo: Wikipedia.

An Egyptian court in short order sentenced some 529 people to death for the killing of a single police officer. News like this gives one pause.

Very tough treatment of Islamists is needed to repress this totalitarian movement, including rejection of their efforts to apply Islamic law, keeping them out of mainstream institutions, even excluding their parties from the democratic process. But Field Marshall Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s extra-legal crackdown on Islamists will likely backfire and help the Islamist cause by winning them broad sympathy. Even if today’s absurd judgment gets reversed on appeal, it and others like it are doing real damage.

Sisi is riding high now, with out-of-sight popularity ratings, but he appears as unprepared to rule Egypt as another military man, Gamal Abdul Nasser, was 60 years ago. Two factors in particular – the dismal economy and the hostility between pro- and anti-Islamists – will likely bring Sisi down fast and hard. When that happens, Islamists will benefit from his incompetence no less than Sisi exploited the failures of Mohamed Morsi. The cycle continues, the country falls further behind, and the precipice looms.

More broadly, because the expected Egyptian failure in suppressing Islamism will have global ramifications, Sisi’s mistakes damage the anti-Islamist cause not just in his own country but internationally. The stakes in Egypt these days are high indeed.

This article was originally published by National Review Online.

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  • Emanuel

    What exactly is so bad about treating terrorist badly? Could you be any more biased for everyone’s favorite American MB supporter? Sisi is a hero, Israel didn’t say a thing because he is practical and moderate, period.

  • Eric R.

    Mr. Pipes,

    You cannot play nice with the Islamists; who are genocidal totalitarians along the mold of Nazis, Stalinists, and Maoists.

    If you show mercy to them, they will thank you by beheading you.

    Mubarak imprisoned some of them, but did not execute them, and they gained power. That is the lesson that Sisi learned. Not that it was wrong for Mubarak to be tough on these Islamonazis, but that it was wrong to not be SUFFICIENTLY tough with them.

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