July 10, 2013

NYT: Egyptian conspiracy theories about "deep state" make sense

A long-running theme here at iSteve is the slow evolution of the United States into something vaguely reminiscent of the old Ottoman Empire. The basic notion is 21st Century Los Angeles writ large, with its continuing influx of people from the Near East and the ex-Soviet Union: that America, being desirable and expensive, will attract foreigners from places where the populations (at least their upper reaches) aren't untalented, but tend to lack civic virtues. Thus, their homelands tend to be crummy and thus they tend to be more motivated to emigrate than, say, Danes. These folks can make a fair amount of money in America, but whether they will sustain the civic and institutional capital that helps make America a desirable destination is one of those interesting questions that are too interesting to discuss.

Now, the Ottoman Empire wasn't the worst place of all time, but it wasn't exactly what Thomas Jefferson had in mind, either, so it's going to take some getting used to. One difference is that Americans tend to dismiss conspiracy theories, while the inhabitants of the ex-Ottoman Empire cherish them, and not just for aesthetics, but for Occamite reasons as well: of course conspiracies are how things get done. So, to help sensitize Americans to aspects of our multicultural future, here's an informative article from the NYT:
Sudden Improvements in Egypt Suggest a Campaign to Undermine Morsi

By BEN HUBBARD and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

CAIRO — The streets seethe with protests and government ministers are on the run or in jail, but since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, life has somehow gotten better for many people across Egypt: Gas lines have disappeared, power cuts have stopped and the police have returned to the street.
The apparently miraculous end to the crippling energy shortages, and the re-emergence of the police, seems to show that the legions of personnel left in place after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 played a significant role — intentionally or not — in undermining the overall quality of life under the Islamist administration of Mr. Morsi. 
And as the interim government struggles to unite a divided nation, the Muslim Brotherhood and Mr. Morsi’s supporters say the sudden turnaround proves that their opponents conspired to make Mr. Morsi fail. Not only did police officers seem to disappear, but the state agencies responsible for providing electricity and ensuring gas supplies failed so fundamentally that gas lines and rolling blackouts fed widespread anger and frustration. 
“This was preparing for the coup,” said Naser el-Farash, who served as the spokesman for the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade under Mr. Morsi. “Different circles in the state, from the storage facilities to the cars that transport petrol products to the gas stations, all participated in creating the crisis.” 
Working behind the scenes, members of the old establishment, some of them close to Mr. Mubarak and the country’s top generals, also helped finance, advise and organize those determined to topple the Islamist leadership, including Naguib Sawiris, a billionaire and an outspoken foe of the Brotherhood; Tahani El-Gebali, a former judge on the Supreme Constitutional Court who is close to the ruling generals; and Shawki al-Sayed, a legal adviser to Ahmed Shafik, Mr. Mubarak’s last prime minister, who lost the presidential race to Mr. Morsi. 
But it is the police returning to the streets that offers the most blatant sign that the institutions once loyal to Mr. Mubarak held back while Mr. Morsi was in power. Throughout his one-year tenure, Mr. Morsi struggled to appease the police, even alienating his own supporters rather than trying to overhaul the Interior Ministry. But as crime increased and traffic clogged roads — undermining not only the quality of life, but the economy — the police refused to deploy fully. 
Until now. 
White-clad officers have returned to Cairo’s streets ... 
Despite coming to power through the freest elections in Egyptian history, Mr. Morsi was unable to extend his authority over the sprawling state apparatus, and his allies complained that what they called the “deep state” was undermining their efforts at governing. 

48 comments:

Whiskey said...

Steve, the word you are looking for is bureaucracy. Its no "Deep State" which posits some mysterious conspiracy by "true power figures" but rather the ordinary and out in the open, rather depressing workings of a bureaucratic system prone to spoils, patronage, and favoritism.

Morsi came in determined to be the Brotherhood's Man, and "get" all those Mubarak bureaucrats who "oppressed" the Brotherhood. Which of course they did, and naturally those bureaucrats decided to get even. Why wouldn't they? Its human nature and Egypt as a state, as distinct from a culture, does not really exist.

Moreover, Morsi or rather the Brotherhood made enemies. Obama loved and loves them, but they've consistently proposed themselves as the successor to the Saudi Royal family. Qatar gave them money, but Saudi > Qatar in regional affairs and money and power. The Brotherhood made it crystal clear that purges of the bureaucracy and punishment was coming. Since Morsi was a Brotherhood man, no one believed for a second any noises he made.

And lets not forget the Brotherhood was corrupt and inept. For example, the only tourists still coming to the great cities and temples of Upper Egypt, really remarkable places now no-go, were Iranians. Such tourism as Egypt had was Iranian. Being both stupid, and a devout Sunni Muslim, Morsi appointed the guy who was the mastermind behind the late 1980's massacre of Western Tourists. And pointedly demanded Jihadis depart for Syria to fight the ... Iranian backed regime. Those were the actions of a devout Sunni Muslim.

And the result was the cancellation of pretty much all the Iranian tours of Luxor. The Iranians knew they were sitting ducks, and the government was now hostile to Morsi.

wren said...

Thank you for that first paragraph.

I'm seeing that.

Anonymous said...

"Since Morsi was a Brotherhood man, no one believed for a second any noises he made."

Since the above was typed by Whiskey, no one believed for a second that any of it could be true.

Anonymous said...

"So, to help sensitive Americans to aspects of our multicultural future..."

"sensitive" or "sensitize"?

Perhaps it works both ways. That's my conspiracy theory and I'm sticking to it!

Anonymous said...

Now, the Ottoman Empire wasn't the worst place of all time, but it wasn't exactly what Thomas Jefferson had in mind, either, so it's going to take some getting used to.

Epically British use of understatement, Mr Sailer.

Aaron Gross said...

Why Ottoman and not Habsburg? Serious question, not rhetorical.

I don't think America is becoming like any historical empire, because the rulers are not tolerant, in the true sense of that word. They're heavily pushing an ideology. It would be as if the Ottomans had been trying to convert all their subjects to Islam. So empire is not the right concept.

Anonymous said...

I am waiting on Whiskey to address a question on one Simon Kuper that he brought up on an earlier post.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey, for a Scots-Irish guy, your knowledge of Levantine geo-politics is extraordinary. You are a regular TE Lawrence.

Hunsdon said...

Aaron Gross asked: Why Ottoman and not Habsburg? Serious question, not rhetorical.

Hunsdon: Sigh, if I must don this silly hat, so be it. A similar dragoman class. (Plus our host is interested in Turkey, more interested, one supposes, than in Austria, or even Hungary.)

AG said: They're heavily pushing an ideology. It would be as if the Ottomans had been trying to convert all their subjects to Islam.

Hunsdon said: It's a two faced (at least) ideology. They do not seem to push the joys of same sex marriage in the ghetto (small g!) or the barrio with the same enthusiasm that they do in the boardroom and the classroom. A triumph of HBD? One could wonder.

It is also worth pointing out that, if the Ottomans were not zealots in pushing for conversion, that path was always open to the dhimmi, and more than one rose high after conversion.

(Or such is my understanding.)

Anonymous said...

I don't think America is becoming like any historical empire, because the rulers are not tolerant, in the true sense of that word. They're heavily pushing an ideology. It would be as if the Ottomans had been trying to convert all their subjects to Islam. So empire is not the right concept.

But it's also not true that imperial rule is ever exercised without some sort of confessional demand expected from subjects, even if it's only the slightest.

Anonymous said...

"whether they will sustain the civic and institutional capital that helps make America a desirable destination"

Who cares? The point is that they will not sustain OUR "civic and institutional capital", they cannot even if they wanted to.

Calibrated Current said...

So immigrants from the Middle East and ex-FSU will take over the country and turn it into the Ottoman Empire?

Sorry, Steve.

We already have a Deep State, and it's actually not a state but a ruling class. It's called the Bilderbergs who have favoured the basic policies since the 1950s(mass immigration, neoliberal economic policies, invade the world, mass surveillance, etc).

America today is not what Jefferson had in mind.

It's more like an airport where there is increasingly fewer bonds between people and where the Bilderburgs and their Scotch-Irish media baron allies rule the roost. It's been like this for a long time, now.

But talking about these actual ruling classes, and how they actually control the Western countries is much less fun. It's a lot more fun cooking up theories of how Middle Eastern immigrants will take over the country and turn it into the Ottoman Empire.

But America of even your children may have been different demographically, but we're not talking grass roots demographics now. We're talking about a ruling class behind the veneer of the state, and that ruling class has been pushing the U.S. and the rest of the Western world towards a Brazil-like scenario for decades now and no middle eastern immigrants will change this, nor will they supplant this.

You seem to ignore the last 50-60 years as somehow an anomoly or a freak accident. The people responsible for this development are going nowhere.

Sorry Steve. But you can do much better than this.

Anti-Democracy Activist said...

Now, the Ottoman Empire wasn't the worst place of all time

No, but neither was it a democracy. Monarchies are, and can be, much more tolerant of an uneven, divided, greedy, or unengaged populace - one that "lacks civic virtues". But all these are things that are basically fatal to democracies. As long as monarchies are "governed by absolute power, under the guidance of virtue and wisdom", i.e. by a good king, everything goes fine. In a democracy, not so much - the Founding Fathers were very clear that only a certain sort of people were capable of living under, and maintaining, a democracy. If we ever were that, we are getting less and less so with every passing year.

So no, nothing so cheerful for us, I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

More like a mixture of Brazil and Ottoman Empire, amirite?

PapayaSF said...

Am I the only person who sensed the Times writers thinking: "See, it's like Obama not being able to get the results he wants! Saboteurs and wreckers thwarting the elected President...."

Anonymous said...

I really hate Whiskey. I wish there was a tool available that would allow me to block this horrid man's comments.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CfPA1htGqc

Solved said...

"Morsi came in determined to be the Brotherhood's Man, and "get" all those Mubarak bureaucrats who "oppressed" the Brotherhood. "

Not true. He largely left the old establishment alone, as the article points out. The most valuable institutions of power of the old regime were the judiciary and the military. Unable to tackle those, he had no hope fighting the deep state bureaucracy.

"Obama loved and loves them, but they've consistently proposed themselves as the successor to the Saudi Royal family."

Morsi tried to appease the Saudis, but failed because of the latter’s distrust of democracy in the Arab world. He never criticized them. The Freedom and Justice Party is led by senior Brotherhood members but was basically open for everyone, even non-Islamists. Morsi appointed several non-Islamists to positions of power, including ministers.

The goal of the MB under Khairat al-Shater is not imposing Sharia law, but rather creating a free market type of society moralized by conservative Islamism. They are perhaps more conservative than their Turkish counterparts, but moderate compared to the Saudis or the Iranians.

If Obama is a MB fan, why did he support the military coup against Morsi?

jody said...

one of the main issues in egypt which is not reported on much is that the population is exploding but egypt does not make enough food to feed all those mouths. a hungry population is a restless population.

the only reason there are 85 million people in egypt today is because those evil, terrible, horribly racist white guys and all their food production breakthroughs during the green revolution. 50 years ago, in 1963, there were only 30 million people in egypt. it has added 55 million people in only 5 decades.

of course that green revolution is behind the population explosion in every third world nation, but some third world nations are more suited to agriculture and sustaining themselves on their own land than others. egypt is mostly a desert and cannot naturally carry 85 million people. it imports 50% of it's food.

there are now more people in egypt than in germany.

Solved said...

"And lets not forget the Brotherhood was corrupt and inept. For example, the only tourists still coming to the great cities and temples of Upper Egypt, really remarkable places now no-go, were Iranians. Such tourism as Egypt had was Iranian. "

The Morsi administration did nothing to discourage tourism. If anything, they attempted to boost tourism by downplaying their Islamic views. They also refused to cut ties to Israel, in spite of strong pressure from grass-roots Islamists to do so.

Tourism collapsed before Morsi came to power and during the military-led transition. The sector has actually been recovering lately, albeit modestly.

"Being both stupid, and a devout Sunni Muslim, Morsi appointed the guy who was the mastermind behind the late 1980's massacre of Western Tourists. And pointedly demanded Jihadis depart for Syria to fight the ... Iranian backed regime. Those were the actions of a devout Sunni Muslim."

Actually, as an American educated science PhD, Morsi was the most educated president Egypt ever had. That's not saying much, but he was likely much more intelligent than Mubarak, Sadat, and Nasser combined. The anti-Brotherhood press in Egypt went crazy on the Luxor governor story, but that doesn't make it true.

Adel el-Khayat was not involved in the Luxor attack and he was never convicted for it. The claim that he was the mastermind is laughable and unsupported. He was the undersecretary of housing in Luxor and some other governorates during the Mubarak era and never even went to prison. According to most sources, Zawahiri ordered the Luxor attack and a Gamaa al Islamiyya splinter group based in Afghanistan carried it out. This has never been conclusively proven, though, as no arrests have ever been made. In any case, Al Khayat was completely unrelated to it, notwithstanding the Egyptian media’s smear campaign against him.

“And pointedly demanded Jihadis depart for Syria to fight the ... Iranian backed regime. Those were the actions of a devout Sunni Muslim.”

For the first 11 months of the term, Morsi refused to break off diplomatic ties with the Syrian government, promoting a political solution that even Iran agreed with. In early June 2013, under intense pressure from clerics, he broke off ties completely and questioned the legitimacy of the Assad government. But Morsi never called for Jihad. He merely said that he wouldn’t persecute Egyptians who went to Syria to join the rebels there.

Mubarak had ordered the torture and indefinite imprisonment of all Egyptians who returned after waging war in Albania. The Egyptian media was pushing for similar treatment of returnees from Syria. Morsi wanted to make clear that he wouldn’t be condoning such a policy. That’s a world away from calling for Jihad.

Rrrrrroger said...

Matt Yglesias disagrees with Whiskey. He put this on Twitter at 11:20 pm (eastern?).: "@mattyglesias: Fantastic Times investigation into how the Mubarakite deep state brought Morsi down before the protests & coup: http://t.co/hzbYB450aq"

McGillicuddy said...

Why Ottoman and not Habsburg? Serious question, not rhetorical.

Perhaps to avoid charges of anti-semitism.

Steve Sailer said...

Hapsburgs?

Intellectual and cultural life in America in 2013 doesn't seem to compare to intellectual and cultural life in Austria in 1913.

Anonymous said...

Morsi was an engineering professor and earned his doctorate in materials science from USC:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Morsi#Early_life_and_education

"He earned a bachelor's and master's degree in engineering from Cairo University in 1975 and 1978, respectively. He then earned his Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Southern California in the U.S. in 1982 with his dissertation High-Temperature Electrical Conductivity and Defect Structure of Donor-Doped Al2O3.[19][20] He was an Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge, from 1982 to 1985. In 1985, he returned to Egypt and began to serve as the head of the engineering department at Zagazig University, where he was a professor until 2010."

Anonymous said...

one of the main issues in egypt which is not reported on much is that the population is exploding but egypt does not make enough food to feed all those mouths. a hungry population is a restless population.

Right, but weren't the recent public demonstrations against Morsi by relatively better off urbanites?

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu4qGlBlpYY

No wonder girls are winning.

Anonymous said...

This article claims that the Obama administration bankrolled anti-Morsi opposition groups and individuals known to espouse violence.

If true, it's likely Obama actively supported the unseating of Morsi.

Simon in London said...

The Muslim Brotherhood is such a successful conspiracy in the West, where its tentacles reach into the British, American, and presumably other governments and law enforcement agencies. It's ironic to see it out-conspired again in its Egyptian homeland. I think this relates to the high-trust cultures of the Anglo countries in particular; I'm always surprised how vulnerable the FBI etc are to being infiltrated by the likes of CAIR, the Brotherhood's main US front. Whereas in the environment the Brotherhood evolved in they face equally capable peer competitors.
Are Anglos and Scandinavians going to have to become as distrusting as Arabs and Turks to survive? You're definitely right that this will make what's left of our countries much less pleasant for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Now, the Ottoman Empire wasn't the worst place of all time

Google "Calouste Gulbenkian"

Hunsdon said...

ADD said: In a democracy, not so much - the Founding Fathers were very clear that only a certain sort of people were capable of living under, and maintaining, a democracy.

Hunsdon said: Democracy, sir? The Founding Fathers had a horror of it, and rightly so. The word democracy appears not in our beloved Constitution, nor in the Declaration of Independence.

It is a word which has slipped in, like a thief in the night.

We are bedazzled with the trappings of democracy, and are perhaps fooled by direct election of our representatives (and, latterly, Senators), but nothing of any import is allowed to be settled democratically. There is always a solon, ready to interpose the unchanging, impartial majesty of the Constitution (subject to novel interpretations thereof, and emanations and penumbras no one had ever suspected), when it is necessary to thwart the will of the people.

Democracy. Fie!

Chicago said...

One problem in trying to decipher the events in Egypt is that things are rather opaque; one never really has enough information to know what is really going on, leaving outsiders guessing. There's always the element of intrigue that seems to play a large part in what happens. I think I've read where here in the US the price of energy has been artificially lowered prior to elections by releasing strategic reserves onto the market in a ploy to influence the vote. Scheming seems to be a common trait everywhere.

d said...

In the 19th century (actually before WWII), Scandinavia was extremely poor. Scandinavian immigrants to the US were very left wing. I imagine the Steve Sailers of the late 19th and early 20th century were railing against Scandihoovian immigrants with their socialistic attitudes.

Look, it strikes me that Americans are doing a good enough job destroying the country with their own lack of civic virtue. I linked earlier to this story from New York magazine. Here's the Times take:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/nyregion/Young-Rich-and-Relocating-to-Hudson-Valley-in-Hunt-for-Political-Office.html?hp

It's got all the practiced NY Times tropes. "A young couple" = two men.
(When will this become the norm?)

For those of you who don't know NY State geography, Garrison is very rich on and on the east side of the Hudson, a Cheever-like bedroom community off the Metro North train. Shokan is on the west side, deep in the Catskills, and much poorer.

Please read the whole thing. It's the future of America.

BTW, I don't think there's a Jewish angle to this, which will disappoint Steve's readers. Except that maybe the only populace that can possibly oppose these two POS's are the local Hassidic communities? Not sure if they are in the same congressional district but the only group that has the balls and the organization in modern America to oppose plutocrat carpetbaggers like these two are Hassidim. Watch and learn.

e said...

Good article in today's Times about the triple homicide:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/us/boston-bombing-suspect-is-said-to-be-linked-to-2011-triple-murder-case.html?hp&_r=0

Times reports that the cops wrote off the killings as a petty drug dispute. I say it's the legacy of the Holocaust. They didn't care that two (or three?) Jews was offed!

(That's sarcasm, svigor! I just think that the Waltham cops are dumb as f&*k.)

Anonymous said...

"Whiskey, for a Scots-Irish guy, your knowledge of Levantine geo-politics is extraordinary."

His INTEREST in Levantine politics is extraordinary. He talks about it almost as often as about white women. His KNOWLEDGE of both subjects is poor though.

el supremo said...

"Ottoman empire . . . where the populations (at least their upper reaches) aren't untalented, but tend to lack civic virtues. Thus, their homelands tend to be crummy"

If you were writing about Mexico or Sudan, I would agree, but the Ottoman empire had plenty of charitable and civic institutions set up by rich people.

Many of them were Koranic schools and inns/caravansaries, but there were plenty of fountains, hospitals, animal sanctuaries, and various other charities of interest to particular donors. Ottoman law had quite sophisticated treatment of charitable institutions, and some have argued it developed from Byzantine practices of entailing land to support monks, combined with Islamic charitable law. Of course, this created problems in the economy as large chunks of land passed into the control of absentee foundations, but the commitment of elites to support society through "NGOs" was there . . .

Maguro said...

Not sure I trust western reporters to report ground truth in Egypt one way or the other. Did Ben Hubbard and David Kirkpatrick actually *observe* this breathtaking improvement in the average Egyptian's quality of life or did they just hang out in the hotel cafe and get this story fed to them by an Egyptian source with an axe to grind?

Evil Sandmich said...

The conspiracy was rather open I thought. Egypt is basically a giant welfare queen, and the main sugar daddy, the Saudis, weren't too keen on the MB running the place. "The bros go or no dough!"

FredR said...

"Intellectual and cultural life in America in 2013 doesn't seem to compare to intellectual and cultural life in Austria in 1913."

Depressing...

I've been reading Stefan Zweig's memoir "The World of Yesterday," and he makes pre-war Vienna sound like an incredible time and place to grow up. Everything from literature to science to health seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds.

Veracitor said...

It turns out Egypt has the same servant problem as the USA does!

According to the sophisticated sort of Egyptian who disliked Morsi the most, Egypt's big problem is that native Egyptian house servants are too uppity and dangerous and the price of foreign servants is rising! The obvious solution is open-borders!

Considering that millions of Egyptians are so poor as to be malnourished, I imagine that class divisions in Egypt are under severe strain. The lower classes are angry-- they've seen TV-- and want more dignified treatment along with better pay. At the same time, the upper classes, eager to preen themselves in the same manner as rich Americans and EUtopians (and fearing the righteous mob) increasingly fear native workers and resent their wage demands. So the upper classes hire foreign servants to whom they can condescend without fear of backtalk.

This seems to be a trend everywhere. It's a global fashion for elites to bleat about democracy and equality and so-forth. This makes it awkward for them to confront the fellow countrymen they despise. But if they call in foreigners, the elites can congratulate themselves for uplifting said foreigners, while treating them haughtily, since-- after all-- foreigners are not part of the recognized political community.

Hunsdon said...

d said: BTW, I don't think there's a Jewish angle to this, which will disappoint Steve's readers.

Hunsdon said: Should I make sad face? We can just call them carpetbaggers, or perhaps rootless cosmopolitans.

ATBOTL said...

That's what the rich people did in Chile too: deliberately sabotage the economy becasue the pople voted for someone they didn't like. The WSJ always leaves that part out when they talk about Chile.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading that Richard Nixon was unhappy with all the career bureaucrats who he thought were undermining his administration.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of deep state: JFK and the CIA

http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/07/jacob-g-hornberger/no-military-coups-for-america/

Sean said...

Sam Francis:"Those who hold such skills are able to dominate the state, the economy, and the culture because the structures of these sectors of modern society require technical functions that only specially skilled personnel can provide. The older elites simply lack those skills and eventually lose actual control over the key institutions of modern mass society. As the new, managerial elites take over, society is reconfigured to reflect and support their interests as a ruling class – interests radically different from those of the older elites. Generally, the interests of the new managerial elites consist in maintaining and extending the institutions they control and in ensuring that the needs for and rewards of the technical skills they possess are steadily increased, that society become as dependent on them and their functions as possible"

It is not the numerical majority who run countries, the majority may seem to take power through an election in certain circumstances, but they cannot win. We are told that religion is oh so strong, Algeria and now Egypt have both showed that is a lie. Even the hamstrung emasculated Islamic party government of Turkey is accused of being a Zombie democracy: "crass majoritarianism".

We are told that in western countries racial feeling is oh so strong too. Don't you believe it

1984:"'We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable. Or perhaps you have returned to your old idea that the proletarians or the slaves will arise and overthrow us. Put it out of your mind. They are helpless, like the animals. Humanity is the Party. The others are outside -- irrelevant.' "

Anonymous said...

http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/?p=25101

Anonymous said...

Kind of on topic, as far as conspiracies go.

Remember how before Snowden came along, people who wished to put down conspiracy theorizing would often make the argument about how conspiracies could never happen, because a large group could not keep a secret? If you had suggested (somewhere other than in the Sailersphere) that all our Skype calls, google usage etc. was being recorded by the government, you would probably be laughed at.

And here we have a situation where Snowden comes along and at great personal expense, blows the lid off of everything. This sort of thing was indeed kept secret for a long time, and probably only because Snowden valued his own life less than his ideals, they are now made public.

And yet, to anyone who has been paying attention, the idea that the government reads or would want to read our (private) internet traffic is very obvious. That's what ECHELON was about. Even the NSAKEY file on MS Windows should have been a subtle clue.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMuWmU1iNJo

Marvin Gaye sings tribute to deposed president Morsi.

pat said...

One practice of the Ottomans that always thought was fascinating was the practice of imprisoning the heir to the Sultan. So if you were next in line to be Sultan (or was it Caliph?) you would be locked in the a room in the Topkapi until you were needed.

This seems to me to have been a very enlightened policy. Let's throw Biden in the pokey.

Albertosaurus