Mohamed Morsi’s controversial, ironclad rule of Egypt will flourish — despite continued protests in the streets of Cairo over his decree of absolute power, says veteran journalist and Mideast expert Arnaud de Borchgrave.
“They’ve got the police, they’ve got the interior ministry and the army’s keeping part,’’ de Borchgrave, director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells Newsmax TV.
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“So [Morsi] will obviously breeze, there will be many, many incidents, but he will breeze into an absolute majority next Saturday.
“There’s no great tradition of democracy in Egypt … Military dictatorships are gone. Muslim Brotherhood is strong. The only thing that I see in a positive light is the fact that most Egyptians look toward Iran with fear and they want no part of that kind of a regime.’’
De Borchgrave, an editor-at-large at United Press International and frequent Newsmax contributor, says al-Qaida remains an ever present threat in the Mideast.
“The al-Qaida cat is out of the bag everywhere now. You have an almost dominant influence of al-Qaida and its associated movements in Syria,’’ he says.
And in the debate between the Obama administration and Republicans over whether the leadership of al-Qaida has been decimated or is thriving in Mali and Sahel, the GOP is more on traget, he says.
“Today, they are certainly more powerful than they’ve ever been because they have all of these associated movements. They don’t have any centralized control but they have the same objective whether it’s in Mali today,’’ de Borchgrave says.
“The al-Qaida terrorists are in charge of something now the size of Texas . . .They’re staking a comeback in Libya. They’re very active in Syria.’’
He says while the terrorist organization has “no centralized command’’ the way there was in the days of Osama bin Laden.
“But there is no question in my mind that it is more dangerous and it is one of the reasons why we’re hesitating to do anything in Syria today and that is very wise for the current administration to stay out,’’ de Borchgrave says.
He says it is difficult to determine whether al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb has an influence over Islamist political groups like Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
“There’s no question that they are influenced but it’s very, very difficult to determine to which extent they are being influenced,’’ he says.
“The CIA’s having a terrible time trying to get to what the real story is behind the scenes in Syria and in Tripoli. It’s very, very difficult. That’s why everybody in Washington who knows anything about these crises wants to hold off any further diplomatic involvement.’’
De Borchgrave says U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was right to withdraw her name from consideration for Secretary of State because “she’s much too controversial.’’
But whether her decision will make it easier for the investigation into the terror attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi to be less politically charged isn’t certain.
“Today, everybody knows, roughly, what happened in Benghazi and the original reports were obviously wrong,’’ deBorchgrave says.
“That certainly wasn’t my initial reaction. As I’ve known Benghazi since the days of Gadhafi going all the back to 1993 when Gadhafi was complaining about Islamist extremism in Benghazi, it’s been a hotbed of Islamist extremism throughout the Gadhafi regime.’’
He believes the early controversy over whether the Benghazi violence was a terrorist attack “may have been miscommunication between two branches of government, that’s possible.
“I happened to have lunch with our ambassador the day he took off for Tripoli and our conversation during lunch was almost entirely about the problem of Benghazi.’’
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