On the one hand there was Mubarak who ruled as a dictator in Egypt. Then there was a popular uprising against him, and the Egyptian military removed him from office, putting themselves in power temporarily. One dictator down, hurrah!
Then there was an election, and the only faction that was prepared for an election won it - the Muslim Brotherhood. The U.S. and the West tried to assure themselves that the Muslim Brotherhood would renounce its history of radical Islamist fanaticism and rule the country democratically, i.e. inclusively, protecting the rights of religions, minorities, and women. Good luck on that one.
Result? A Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi ever growing dictatorship.
So, there was a popular uprising against him, and the Egyptian military once again removed a dictator from office, putting themselves in power temporarily. Two dictators down, sounds good?
Then there was another very quick popular uprising against the military, this time from the Muslim Brotherhood, and this time not very peacefully. No surprise there.
And Egypt is exploding. Good grief. Which side to root for in this battle?
I can't root for and support the Muslim Brotherhood because they have shown themselves pretty much to be the religious fanatics that people feared they would be, and re-establishing, by violence, a Muslim Brotherhood regime would turn Egypt into an Islamist state along the lines of Iran. Remember the Green Revolution in Iran? Smashed by the religious fanatics with an Islamist regime firmly in dictatorial control.
I can't root for and support the Egyptian military because of their long history of tyranny and their brutal, dictatorial on-going slaughter of their people.
I can only root for the more moderate, more secular factions inside Egypt who rose up against Mubarak and then against Morsi. But how do they get any traction while the Islamist fanatics and the military are waging war against each other?
In hindsight it looks like the U.S. and the West made a mistake in pushing for quick elections after Mubarak's overthrow. But would it have made a difference? Wasn't it always most likely that the Muslim Brotherhood would win a nationwide election? And isn't it always likely that they will rule dictatorially? Imposing their fanatical religious rules on everyone?
The religious wars in the Middle East have been trying to erupt for some time, and what is happening in Syria and Egypt are looking like a big step in that direction. The Arab Awakening is becoming an Arab Nightmare.
And the U.S. and the West are mostly bystanders watching in horror.
Had the Muslim Brotherhood governed democratically rather than ruled religiously, this wouldn't have happened. The country rebelled and threw them out, then the religious faithful have erupted into riots. The conflict lays at the feet of the Islamist fanatics, in my view.
The U.S. and the West needs to find ways to help the moderates and sectarians become stronger in Egypt and the Arab world. I have no idea how they do that. All I know is that I don't want U.S. troops in the middle of fanatical Islamist religious and civil wars.