President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry need to pay attention to Egypt — now. The most populous Arab country, poster child of the Arab Spring, faces a looming economic crisis and a widespread breakdown in law and order, including increasingly prevalent crime and rape. Either will cripple Egypt’s faltering effort to become a stable democracy.
The Obama administration has treated Egypt primarily as an economic problem and has urged Cairo to move quickly to satisfy International Monetary Fund (IMF) demands to qualify for financing. But there is no separating Egypt’s economic crisis from its political crisis — or from the failures of its current government. Egypt’s economy is struggling, and disorder is rampant primarily because the country’s leaders the past two years — first the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, now President Mohamed Morsi — have failed to build an inclusive political process. Until they do, no amount of IMF funding will make a difference. (Washington Post op-ed, Posted 21 Feb 13)