The New York Times carried an interesting article yesterday noting the sudden improvements that have occurred in Egypt since President Morsi was ousted last week. Gas lines have disappeared, electricity outages have decreased, and police are back patrolling the streets. Is this proof of Morsi’s incompetence, or could it be a sign of something more sinister? The article, written by Ben Hubbard and David Kirkpatrick, seems to lean toward one of those interpretations.
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.
It’s a fascinating read, and I can’t say that it is without merit. The police and security services previously took a lot of criticism for apparently walking off the job during the 2011 uprising that led to then President Mubarak’s dismissal. Naturally, supporters of President Morsi are quick to blame all the problems of his tenure on a vast conspiracy within the “deep state”, members of the state apparatus still loyal to the old regime and unwilling to take orders from an Islamist government. As is so often the case, the picture here is rather murky. Reading the Times story online, there is a sizable note at the bottom of the article noting a number of initial errors in reporting that have since been corrected. Could this be a sign of somewhat sloppy journalism, and if so, should we doubt the rest of the story as well? Take a look for yourself and decide.