An Egyptian soldier outside a polling station
* Pre-filled ballots, invisible ink and multiple visits to polling booths: Videos below from this weekend’s elections in Russia.
* Samuel Tadros: “While the final results of the Egyptian elections have not been officially announced, the information available makes the outcome all but sealed. The Islamist tsunami has begun and the wave will only rise higher in the next two rounds of voting. While this might come as a shock to readers of the New York Times, anyone actually observing Egypt outside of the lens of Tahrir, Cairo, and the imagined liberals would find the results quite expected.”
* In nearly every single district in Egypt with the exception of a few in Cairo, the Muslim Brotherhood came in first place, followed by the even more extreme Salafists’ Islamic Alliance. The gap between both groups and the rest of the parties is huge. In Fayyoum’s first district, for example, out of 445,000 votes cast, the Muslim Brotherhood received 200,000, the Salfists 130,000. The Egyptian Bloc received less than 10,000.
* Mark Steyn: “I’ve been alarmed by the latest polls. No, not from Iowa and New Hampshire, although they’re unnerving enough. It’s the polls from Egypt. Two-thirds of the Arab world’s largest nation is voting for sharia. America has squandered its opportunity to lead.”
* “In 1923, Egypt’s Finance Minister was a man called Joseph Cattaui, a member of Parliament, and a Jew. Couldn’t happen today. In the unlikely event the forthcoming Muslim Brotherhood government wishes to appoint a Jew as finance minister, there are very few left available. Indeed, Jews are so thin on the ground that those youthful idealists in Tahrir Square looking for Jews to club to a pulp have been forced to make do with sexually assaulting hapless gentiles like the CBS News reporter Lara Logan.”
* “The surreptitious departure of Israel’s ambassador from Egypt last month symbolized to many Israeli officials the new state of affairs between the neighboring countries. Yitzhak Lebanon flew out of Cairo International Airport for the last time, ending his time in Cairo without a departure ceremony or even a nod of farewell from Egypt’s foreign ministry.”
This dispatch concerns the elections in Egypt (and Russia).
(Please "like" these dispatches on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia.)
1. Pre-filled ballots, invisible ink and multiple visits to polling booths
2. Two-thirds of the Arab world’s largest nation votes for Islamist parties
3. “The Egyptian Elections: An analysis” (By Samuel Tadros, National Review, Dec. 2, 2011)
4. “America has squandered its opportunity to lead” (By Mark Steyn, NRO, Dec. 3, 2011)
5. “Israel preparing for day when it has no relations with Egypt” (McClatchy, Nov. 22, 2011)
RUSSIA: PRE-FILLED BALLOTS, INVISIBLE INK AND MULTIPLE VISITS TO POLLING BOOTHS
[Note by Tom Gross]
Below are three interesting articles about the Egyptian elections.
But first here are some videos relating to yesterday’s elections in Russia.
This one, which has been viewed over half a million times on YouTube since being posted yesterday afternoon, shows an election commissioner falsifying ballots:
In this video, at another polling station, pro-democracy activists find a stack of pre-stamped, pre-approved ballots hidden in the lavatory. Each had been marked with a vote for Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. The video has been watched almost 400,000 times on YouTube since being posted last night.
In this video, invisible ink is being used at a polling station:
Here is a YouTube round-up page where people have posted clips of election violations.
Muslim Brotherhood party logo
EGYPT: TWO-THIRDS OF THE ARAB WORLD’S LARGEST NATION VOTE FOR ISLAMIST PARTIES
[Note by Tom Gross]
The translation of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s credo, displayed on its election posters, is: “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; Islam is the solution; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.”
Despite this, New York Times reporters (as the article below notes) have for months been trying to persuade its readers that the Muslim Brotherhood is in reality a “moderate” movement.
And the Obama administration and U.S. State Department urged last week’s elections to proceed as planned even though Egyptian liberals and secularists begged them not to, and only the Islamist parties were properly prepared for these hasty elections. (For a past dispatch on the unholy alliance between Egypt’s military Junta and the Muslim Brotherhood, please see here: Egypt: The Hangover begins (& Egypt Air wipes Israel off the map) March 30, 2011).
The military itself is largely composed of recruits from the country’s more conservative rural areas, where the Brotherhood is strong.
Democracy is not, of course, about a holding a single election in which Islamists force their way into power never to hold a free election again (witness Hamas in Gaza).
The results of the first round of Egypt’s elections are hardly a surprise. Polls in recent months show that Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated candidates have taken control of syndicates for pharmacists, lawyers, teachers and engineers.
But in last week’s first round of general elections, an Islamist party even more extreme than the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafi “al-Nour,” (which means “the light”) party, also scored well, winning about 20 percent of the seats. The Muslim Brotherhood gained about 40 percent of the votes.
So far, al Nour say they will not water down their views to ally with the slightly less radical Muslim Brotherhood. And the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s new political party, Essam el-Erian, said on Saturday, on its English-language Twitter account, that the Brotherhood’s first priorities were to fix Egypt’s economy, “not to change the face of Egypt into an Islamic state.”
However, it remains to be seen what this will mean in practice for the rights of women, Christians and others in Egypt. (The country’s more than 2,000 year old Jewish community has already been purged.)
I attach three articles below.
-- Tom Gross
PS. And meanwhile in Tunisia
Agence France Presse reports:
Police fired tear gas as thousands of Islamist supporters swooped on central Tunis on Saturday to confront liberal demonstrators rallying against extremism as MPs were drafting a new constitution for Tunisia.
The protest was partly a response to ongoing demonstrations at a university outside the capital, where Islamists disrupted courses, demanding a stop to mixed-sex classes and for female students to wear the full-face veil, or niqab.
“THE ISLAMIST TSUNAMI HAS BEGUN”
The Egyptian Elections: Analyzing the First Round
By Samuel Tadros
National Review Online
December 2, 2011
While the final results of the Egyptian elections have not been officially announced, the information available makes the outcome all but sealed. As we predicted, the Islamist tsunami has begun and the wave will only rise higher in the next two rounds. While this might come as a shock to readers of the New York Times, anyone actually observing Egypt outside of the lens of Tahrir, Cairo, and the imagined liberals would find the results quite expected.
To understand why NYT readers will be so shocked, one has only to look at the reporting from Cairo they have been reading. An Egyptian activist was quoted in February predicting that the Muslim Brotherhood would receive 10 percent of the vote. In June, readers were informed that the Muslim Brotherhood was facing “internal divisions, as the unifying sense of opposition to a secular dictatorship fades and various factions – including two breakaway political parties and much of the group’s youth – move toward the political center.”
And the Salafists? According to the NYT’s David Kirkpatrick (and one wonders why he still has a job after getting pretty much everything in Egypt wrong for the past ten months), writing as late as the 28 of November, the Salafists are “less organized” and their “relative strength is one of the major questions hanging over the polls.” Imagine their shock today when informed that “a big surprise was the strong showing of ultra-conservative Islamists, called Salafis.” Surprising indeed!
In the coming days, readers will be bombarded with editorials and news reports about the “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood. The NYT, which will enter history for coining the astonishing term “a liberal Islamist” in August, will attempt to show us how nice the Brotherhood actually is. After all, back in February, we were told that the Muslim Brotherhood is actually very much like the Catholic Church. “As the Roman Catholic Church includes both those who practice leftist liberation theology and conservative anti-abortion advocates, so the Brotherhood includes both practical reformers and firebrand ideologues.”
Back on planet earth, the election results paint a very gloomy picture of the chances of non-Islamists in the remaining rounds. Let us take a look at some of the numbers involved.
1. As expected, the real battle was between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists. In nearly every single district in Egypt with the exception of a few in Cairo, the Muslim Brotherhood came in first place, followed by the Salafists’ Islamic Alliance. The gap between both groups and the rest of the parties is humongous. In Fayyoum’s first district, for example, out of 445,000 votes cast, the MB received 200,000, the Saalfists 130,000. The Egyptian Bloc received less than 10,000.
2. The Salafists gave the MB a run for their money in the governates, also as expected. In Kafr El Sheikh’s first district, out of 700,000 votes cast, the MB received 210,000 and the Salafists 275,000. In Fayyoum’s second district, the MB received 130,000 votes compared to the Salafists’ 116,000.
3. The imagined Sufi balance to the Islamists proved to be a pipe dream. Not a single Sufi won a seat, nor did they affect the results. Sufism in Egypt has no political ramifications.
4. The Wafd Party performed poorly. It will get a seat here and there, but it is not a relevant player.
5. The Egyptian Bloc performed relatively well, but that is simply a reflection of Christian votes. There is a clear correlation between the bloc’s numbers and the number of Christians in a district. In districts with high Christian concentration, such as Asyut and Cairo and Alexandria, they managed to win a number of seats; in places with no Christians, such as Damietta, they received 9,000 votes out of 274,000 cast.
6. Candidates matter. Even in party list elections, the name on top can add a lot to a list. The few seats that El Wafd won are in places where their lists were headed by known figures with actual grassroots support.
7. The former NDP candidates proved to be totally irrelevant in the elections. The election law with its wide districts had killed the ability of local families to balance the Islamist onslaught.
8. The MB’s best performance proved to be in the individual seats. Out of a total of 56 seats available, the MB won two outright without a need for a runoff and is in competition for 47 seats in the runoff. In many of those seats, the runoff is between MB candidates and Salafists, ensuring an Islamist victory.
9. The complicated electoral system resulted in 500,000 invalid votes out of a total 8,500,000. Egyptians continue to be confused as to how they are actually supposed to vote.
10. The Revolution Continues coalition performed poorly. They will win very few seats.
“I’VE BEEN ALARMED BY THE LATEST POLLS”
America has squandered its opportunity to lead
Two-thirds of the Arab world’s largest nation is voting for sharia
By Mark Steyn
National Review Online
December 3, 2011
I’ve been alarmed by the latest polls. No, not from Iowa and New Hampshire, although they’re unnerving enough. It’s the polls from Egypt.
Foreign policy has not played a part in the U.S. presidential campaign, mainly because we’re so broke that the electorate seems minded to take the view that if government is going to throw trillions of dollars down the toilet they’d rather it was an Al Gore-compliant Kohler model in Des Moines or Poughkeepsie than an outhouse in Waziristan.
Alas, reality does not arrange its affairs quite so neatly, and the world that is arising in the second decade of the 21st century is increasingly inimical to American interests, and likely to prove even more expensive to boot.
In that sense, Egypt is instructive. Even in the giddy live-from-Tahrir-Square heyday of the “Arab Spring” and “Facebook Revolution” I was something of a skeptic.
Back in February, I chanced to be on Fox News with Megyn Kelly within an hour or so of Mubarak’s resignation. Over on CNN, Anderson Cooper was interviewing telegenic youthful idealists cooing about the flowering of a new democratic Egypt.
Back on Fox, sourpuss Steyn was telling Megyn that this was “the unraveling of the American Middle East” and the emergence of a post-Western order in the region. In those days, I was so much of a pessimist I thought that in any election the Muslim Brotherhood would get a third of the votes and be the largest party in parliament.
By the time the actual first results came through last week, the Brothers had racked up 40% of the vote – in Cairo and Alexandria, the big cities wherein, insofar as they exist, the secular Facebooking Anderson Cooper types reside. In second place were their principal rivals the Nour party, with up to 15% of the ballots. “Nour” translates into English as “the Even More Muslim Brotherhood.”
As the writer Barry Rubin pointed out, if that’s how the urban sophisticates vote, wait till you see the upcountry results. By the time the rural vote emerges from the Nile Delta and Sinai early next month, the hard-core Islamists will be sitting pretty. In the so-called “Facebook revolution,” two-thirds of the Arab world’s largest nation is voting for the hard, cruel, bigoted, misogynistic song of Sharia.
The short 90-year history of independent Egypt is that it got worse. Mubarak’s Egypt was worse than King Farouk’s Egypt, and what follows from last week’s vote will be worse still. If you’re a westernized urban woman, a Coptic Christian, or an Israeli diplomat with the goons pounding the doors of your embassy, you already know that.
The Kingdom of Egypt in the three decades before the 1952 coup was flawed and ramshackle and corrupt, but it was closer to a free-ish pluralist society than anything in the years since.
In 1923, its Finance Minister was a man called Joseph Cattaui, a member of Parliament, and a Jew. Couldn’t happen today. Mr. Cattaui’s grandson wrote to me recently from France, where the family now lives.
In the unlikely event the forthcoming Muslim Brotherhood government wishes to appoint a Jew as finance minister, there are very few left available. Indeed, Jews are so thin on the ground that those youthful idealists in Tahrir Square looking for Jews to club to a pulp have been forced to make do with sexually assaulting hapless gentiles like the CBS News reporter Lara Logan.
It doesn’t fit the narrative, so even Miss Logan’s network colleagues preferred to look away. We have got used to the fact that Egypt is now a land without Jews. Soon it will be a land without Copts. We’ll get used to that, too.
Since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact two decades ago we have lived in a supposedly “unipolar” world. Yet somehow it doesn’t seem like that, does it? The term “Facebook Revolution” presumes that technology marches in the cause of modernity. But in Khartoum a few years ago a citywide panic that shaking hands with infidels caused your penis to vanish was spread by text messaging.
In London, young Muslim men used their cell phones to share Islamist snuff videos of Westerners being beheaded in Iraq. In les banlieues of France, satellite TV and the Internet enable third-generation Muslims to lead ever more dis-assimilated, segregated lives, immersed in an electronic pan-Islamic culture, to a degree that would have been impossible for their grandparents.
To assume that Western technology in and of itself advances the cause of Western views on liberty or women’s rights or gay rights is delusional.
Consider, for example, the “good” news from Afghanistan. A 19-year old woman sentenced to 12 years in jail for the heinous crime of being brutally raped by a cousin was graciously released by President Karzai on condition that she marry her rapist.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the last Christian church in the nation had been razed to the ground last year, as the State Department noted in its report on “international” religious freedom.
But Afghanistan is not “international” at all. It is an American client state whose repugnant leader is kept alive only by the protection of Western arms. Say what you like about Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, but at least their barbarous theocratic tyranny doesn’t require vast numbers of NATO troops to build it.
I am not a Ron Paul isolationist. The U.S. has two reasonably benign neighbors, and the result is that 50% of Mexico’s population has moved north of the border and 100% of every bad Canadian idea from multiculturalism to government health care has moved south of the border.
So much for Fortress America. The idea of a 19th century isolationist republic holding the entire planet at bay is absurd. Indeed, even in the real 19th century, it was only possible because global order was maintained by the Royal Navy and Pax Britannica. If Ron Paul gets his way, who’s going to pick up the slack for global order this time?
Nevertheless, my friends on the right currently fretting about potentially drastic cuts at the Pentagon need to look at that poor 19-year-old woman’s wedding to her cousin rapist and ponder what it represents: in Afghanistan, the problem is not that we have spent insufficient money but that so much of it has been entirely wasted.
History will be devastating in its indictment of us for our squandering of the “unipolar” moment. During those two decades, a China flush with American dollars has gobbled up global resources, a reassertive Islam has used American military protection to advance its theocratic ambitions, the Mullahs in Tehran are going nuclear knowing we lack the will to stop them, and even Russia is back in the game of geopolitical mischief-making.
We are responsible for 43% of the planet’s military spending. But if you spend on that scale without any strategic clarity or hardheaded calculation of your national interest it is ultimately as decadent and useless as throwing money at Solyndra or ObamaCare or any of the other domestic follies. A post-prosperity America will mean perforce a shrunken presence on the global stage. And we will not like the world we leave behind.
ISRAEL PREPARING FOR DAY WHEN IT HAS NO RELATIONS WITH EGYPT
Israel preparing for day when it has no relations with Egypt
By Sheera Frenkel
November 22, 2011
The surreptitious departure of Israel’s ambassador from Egypt on Tuesday symbolized to many Israeli officials the new state of affairs between the neighboring countries.
Yitzhak Lebanon flew out of Cairo International Airport for the last time, ending his time in Cairo without a departure ceremony or even a nod of farewell from Egypt’s foreign ministry. He had hardly been active in Cairo, having fled the Israeli Embassy there in September when rioters attacked and burned down part of the building. Since then, he has remained stationed in Israel, flying back occasionally for diplomatic meetings and to formally close his offices.
But Israeli officials saw his unheralded departure as a sign of Israeli-Egyptian relations to come.
“This is the state of relations now. There is no real diplomacy, just shuttling back and forth and talks at a bare minimum,” said an official from Israel’s foreign ministry, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak on the issue. “At least we still have relations.”
Perhaps not for long. Officials said they are quietly preparing for what they called a “complete break” in diplomatic ties with Egypt. That would mark a dangerous downturn in Israel’s relations with its neighbors unequalled in the past three decades.
“Our peace treaty with Egypt was the backbone of our diplomatic relations with the Arab world,” said former ambassador Eli Shaked.
Even as events were unfolding Tuesday in Egypt, where the military government offered to step down in July, a concession thought unlikely to satisfy the tens of thousands of demonstrators who crowded into Tahrir Square, Israeli officials were considering it likely that whatever eventually happens there will bode ill for Israel.
Rumors have spread through Cairo that the tear gas and other weapons used by Egypt’s military against the protesters were supplied by Israel – despite the English writing and U.S. serial labels found on empty tear gas canisters. Several forums on Facebook suggested that Israel was indirectly supporting the Egyptian military and pressing it to use harsh means against the protesters.
“Israeli evil is behind this,” the deputy head of the Egyptian Al-Wasat Party, Osam Sultan, said Tuesday on Egyptian television.
Israeli news anchors showed the report alongside images of protesters in Tahrir Square burning Israeli flags as evidence that relations with Egypt were headed for a break.
“The chances that at the end of the democratic process we will have a secular, democratic, pro-Western Egypt, one that adheres to the peace agreement with Israel and views it as being in its national interest, are eroding,” military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote in the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth.
He added that the view among Israel’s top diplomatic officials was that they “had lost Egypt” and that the widely supported Muslim Brotherhood Islamist group had asserted itself.
“Now there is concern – not just in Israel and in the U.S. but in all the pro-Western states around us – that the military junta will not be able to withstand the pressure and that the Muslim Brotherhood will also dictate how the elections are run and will attract many more votes than predicted in Egypt, more than Israel hoped or Washington prayed for,” Fishman wrote.
Israeli officials were also said to be troubled by pledges from several Egyptian politicians that they would cut diplomatic ties with Israel after the elections.
“Although the relations between Egypt and Israel have been undermined after the collapse of Mubarak’s regime, we are still unsatisfied with these conditions and serious efforts will be made after the elections to cut relations with the Zionist enemy completely,” Majdi Hussein, the secretary-general of the Egyptian Amal Party, said at a press conference Tuesday in Cairo.