David Frum

09.12.12

Egypt's Morsi Using 1979 Iran's Playbook

Egypt's president is calling upon the United States to punish the film-maker who made the low-grade movie that has been used as an excuse to attack American embassies on the anniversary of 9/11.

I can only imagine the film-maker's response: "Thank you, Allah!" This movie deserved to lose every dollar of the $1400 invested in it. Instead, it's made the film-maker's fortune.

More serious is the exploitation by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood president of the incident as support for anti-Islam blasphemy laws. It's important to understand that Morsi is concerned with Egyptian, not American, laws. Morsi is taking a page from the 1979 Khomeini playbook, fabricating an international incident to mobilize religious passions as a weapon for his political grouping against more secular blocs in Egyptian society - the Egyptian military very much included.

As the US government responds to Morsi, it's important for American commentators to understand : at issue here is not the threat of Sharia law in the US. (As if.) At issue is an attempted coup against America's dwindling band of friends inside Egypt.