The United States and other Western governments must accept the new reality that Islamists have emerged to fill the power vacuum in the Arab world after a wave of popular uprisings, Human Rights Watch said in its annual report Sunday.
The New York-based group also urged Islamist parties, which have emerged as the biggest winners in recent elections in Tunisia and Egypt and are expected to fare well in Libya, to respect the rights of women and religious minorities, saying they cannot "pick and choose" when it comes to human rights. [Ed: delusional? You make the call.]
...Since the collapse of the regimes in Egypt and Tunisia a year ago, Islamist groups once largely confined to the political sidelines, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, have formed parties and contested parliamentary polls, winning the greatest share of seats.
As background, about half of all Egyptians are "functionally illiterate"; 90% of adult women have undergone ritual, genital mutilation; and nearly a third of Egyptians marry their first or second cousins. And nearly half of Egypt's citizens live on subsistence rations, earning less than $2 a day, much of which must be spent on food.
With that as context, Spengler's "Failed treasury auction portends Egyptian disaster" in Asia Times is unsettling, to say the least.
Investors bought less an a third of the 3.5 billion Egyptian pounds (US$580 million) worth of Treasury bills offered to the market on January 22, a red flag warning that Egypt's foreign exchange position is close to the brink.
Yields on Egyptian government debt maturing in nine months jumped to nearly 16%, but the government could not place its local-currency debt to Egyptian investors, even at that exorbitant rate.
This is a new and ominous decline in the financial position of the most populous Arab country. I have been warning since last May that "Egypt is running out of food, and, more gradually, running out of the money with which to buy it." How fast this may occur is hard to specify, but the government's inability to borrow on money markets suggests that the crunch is not far off.
Why are investors fleeing?
After Islamist parties won more three-quarters of the seats in recent parliamentary elections - 47% for the Muslim Brotherhood and 25% for the even more extreme al-Nour Party - the business elite that prospered under military rule is counting the days before exile...
...Egypt's middle class will leave and tourism, down by a third over the past year, will virtually disappear in response to Salafist restrictions. The Barack Obama administration in Washington will try to appease the new Islamist government whenever it takes power, but will succeed no better than the Jimmy Carter administration did when the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took power in Iran in 1979.
Spengler concludes with an ominous prediction: "Millions of Egyptians will die before this is through."
Should such a disaster come to pass, much of the blame will rightly fall on Barack Obama, who sold out a long-time U.S. ally in pursuit of heaven knows what.
Hat tip: Winterspirit.