This week millions of Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, secularists and religious believers, young and old, have come out to cast a vote in the referendum of the century: either yes to new moderate constitution, relatively democratic, or no and revert to an Islamist constitution adopted by the previous Muslim Brotherhood Government.
An overwhelming majority has chosen to move away from the Islamist regime by voting a draft reinforcing basic rights to women and minorities.
The referendum will seal a popular uprising that exploded last year culminating in two gigantic peaceful demonstrations last summer against the Ikhwan.
In short, we are finally witnessing a real democratic revolution emerging in the largest Arab Muslim majority country in the world.
We are finally witnessing a real democratic revolution emerging in the largest Arab Muslim majority country in the world.
As I predicted in my book "The Coming Revolution," published before the Arab Spring, the first unorganized wave of protests for freedoms would unsettle dictators only to open the door to allow very well organized Islamists to seize power, albeit by elections. But soon enough thereafter, as we are seeing in Egypt and Tunisia, a third wave, more conscious of the totalitarian goals of the fundamentalists and better organized as civil societies, will topple the nascent Islamist regimes before they take root.
One major reason behind Western inability to understand the immensely positive news coming out of the Nile Valley is the coordinated push back, funded by petrodollars and disseminated by segments of academia and mainstream media.
Indeed, most of U.S. foreign policy establishment has befriended the Brotherhood since the start of the “Spring” for a variety of reasons, mainly because of the influence the Islamists enjoy within the Middle East Studies circles in America for decades.
When the Brotherhood finally seized power in Egypt, the latter’s Western friends rose to cover up for them. Even after tens of millions of Egyptians marched against the Ikhwan regime, apologists in U.S.relentlessly described the Islamists as moderates and the masses as hysterically pro-military.
But the most worrisome in Western “Brotherhood” apologia is the extent to which it went to cover for the Islamists. The apologists, while hesitantly admitting that Morsi’s regime “displayed mistakes,” criticized the masses of Egypt for removing the Islamists.
The critics argued that Egypt’s opposition should have waited for the next election. This hypocritical argument did not inform the Western public that the Ikhwan have hijacked the electoral process ensuring their permanent hold on power. Such control is similar to what happened in Iran in 1979.
While Morsi was elected to power he nevertheless transformed the country in a fascist state, reminiscent of Hitler and Mussolini in the 1930s: elected almost-democratically, but ruled undemocratically. However Egyptians went by the book and achieved a miracle on the Nile.
In June, a petition to recall Morsi gathered 22 million signatures. On June 30, 33 million citizens marched peacefully demanding Morsi’s resignation. Instead Morsi declared a violent Jihad, forcing the military to stop him.
Once removed from power, the Brotherhood unleashed an armed insurgency while al Qaeda spread terror in the Sinai. The Ikhwan shredded their own legitimacy when they leaped to terror. Egypt formed an interim government, a constitutional committee, fought the Jihadists in Sinai and the Brotherhood violence across the country. No military regime was established.
The latest stage in Egypt’s come back was a referendum with 23 million voters. The Egyptian people are finished with the Ikhwan for good, legally, politically and morally, even if the Ikhwan supporters are still loud in the West. Egypt will have legislative elections and then a presidential election and will certainly have lots of problems, all characteristic of a revolution working its way toward becoming a Mediterranean democracy.
A miracle took place on the Nile. An Islamist regime seeking to become a Taliban-like power was unsettled by a peaceful popular revolution.
There will be debates about the role of the military, the future of the Brotherhood, and the social disparities in the country. But none of these issues can overshadow the fact that a Middle Eastern people rose successfully against totalitarianism with non-violent means, that a silent majority spoke loudly, and that democracy has claimed a major victory—sadly against the goals of current U.S. policy.
The Obama administration, badly advised, sided with the Brotherhood since the Cairo speech in 2009, shepherded them to power as of 2011 and showered them with massive support. But the people of Egypt has spoken and rejected the Ikhwan as of 2013.
It is time for Washington to listen and correct its policies in 2014.
Walid Phares, Ph.D., joined Fox News in January 2007 and serves as Middle East and terrorism expert. He is author of "Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against the West" (Palgrave Macmillan Trade 2006).