Thoughts on Egypt’s Constitutional Referendum

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BlaiseP

BlaiseP is the pseudonym of a peripatetic software contractor whose worldly goods can fit into an elderly Isuzu Rodeo. Bitter and recondite, he favors the long view of life, the chords of Steely Dan and Umphrey's McGee, the writings of William Vollman and Thomas Pynchon, the taste of red ale and his own gumbo. Having escaped after serving seven years of a lifetime sentence to confinement in hotel rooms, he currently resides in the wilds of Eau Claire County and contemplates the intersection of mixed SRID geometries in PostGIS.

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Where does the non-military old guard fit in (e.g. business interests both large and small)? Are they all staying close to SCAF, or have they, or at least some of them, thrown their lot in with MB?Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kolohe says:

      They’re all over the place, politically. Some of them have gone down the New Wafd route, they’re all about foreign trade and industrialisation. Lots more of them are staying quiet, disgusted with Mursi, they’d much rather have installed Aboul Fotouh: he would have been good for business. MB is mostly led by old goats who spent a good deal of time in military prisons. Well, Aboul Fotouh did five years. Hard to say, Lenin once said prison was the finishing school for the revolutionary.

      It’s sorta like our military-industrial complex. Well, more like China’s military. It’s hard to separate the military from the civilians. Egypt conscripts its troops and in large measure, they’re fed and clothed with American money. The Egyptian military is in no mood for MB’s belligerent rhetoric about Israel, they have enough problems running their own counterterrorism operations. The merchants, as I said in my last post, have largely remained silent as a political entity. The parliament is squirrelly. The IMF loan fell through a while back. Food prices are going through the roof. The merchants want security and will back anyone who can provide it.Report

  2. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    A riot has broken out in Qaed Ibrahim, a famous Alexandria mosque. Sheik Ahmed el-Mahalawi denounced opponents of the Islamist-backed draft constitution as “followers of heretics” in a sermon. A commotion broke out, a riot ensued for 12 hours. Accounts vary: according to the protesters, three of their number were trapped and beaten inside the mosque. This much we do know, the followers of Sheik Ahmed el-Mahalawi were armed with swords and machetes. The protesters threw rocks, trapping the sheikh inside the mosque. The weapons seem to have been brought to the mosque in several cars: the protesters destroyed and burned the cars.

    The next day, the Islamists emerged, threatening to bring out militias. Sheik Ahmed el-Mahalawi is lying about what he said, Sarah el Deeb of AP is reporting there’s video of him online calling No Voters “followers of heretics”.

    The Islamists have made their beds very hard. They might think they can pull that shit out in the countryside. That’s not going over very well in urban Alexandria and Cairo.Report

  3. Mursi faces huge domestic problems: all the current reading of tea leaves might be a waste of time. Egypt is hungry and the hungry are restive, as the French monarchy found out.

    This is probably enough to predict how things are going to go for the next year. Egypt is a huge importer of grain, two-thirds of it wheat. Current forecasts for Southern Hemisphere wheat crops aren’t good, and while the Northern Hemisphere harvests are still a long ways off, the current forecasts there are for a 5% year-over-year decline. Bread is going to be expensive, and possibly in short supply. Something will act as a trigger and then it’s blood-in-the-streets time.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Yohe says:

    Why has the stock market stayed strong? I understand the money being moved out of Syria. But, that should be over now.
    I try and follow the money when possible.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike Yohe says:

      I presume you’re talking about the Egyptian stock market. I am no authority but I have a few guesses:

      After this summer, when the Egyptian stock market took such a horrid crash, buying opportunities opened up. It’s a high risk, low volume market but it attracts speculators. I wouldn’t trade on it but there are opportunities.

      Bad as things are just now, the elections are happening. Mobarak-era corruption and market manipulation is a thing of the past: the one good thing about an Islamist presence is how it attenuates corruption. And there’s SCAF, a backstop against a complete meltdown. The IMF loan looks like it’s going through. That means, bad as things are, there’s a combination of low share prices and lower systemic risk. Thus, I think the Egyptian market was oversold and bounced back a bit. It’s still oversold, still thin, probably too much hope pinned on the IMF loan, counting chickens syndrome. That said, I’m not a specialist, all I see in this bounceback was a few firms moving.Report

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