Of course its difficult to ignore the growing crisis in Egypt. Regardless of what people think of the coup and the removal of Morsis government (not saying I support him, actually he strikes me as a sort of Egyptian GW Bush…just with more Koran thumbing but not quite as dumb). But theres a right way and a wrong way about going about dealing with protestors. Clearly the Egyptian military has chosen the wrong way.
Indeed images of them using the same tactics as the Israeli army (going after stone throwing youths with armoured bulldozers and tanks) is going to play right into the hands of any extremists. And its worth remembering that that there are plenty of hot heads in the Muslim Brotherhood who will use this as justification for all manner of things, including terrorist attacks. As President Kennedy once said, those who make peaceful protest and democratic change impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.
And one can practically hear the sniggers in the Kremlin from here. No doubt, the Russians will argue that there is now no real difference between their backing of the Syrian Regime and its fight against islamists and the US providing military support to the Egyptian junta as it cracks down on islamists.
And my response on both counts is the same, an immediate arms embargo on both Egypt and Syria until both sides in both conflicts go back to the negotiating table. And if that doesnt get the message across, selective sanctions, in particular of oil imports and exports (no oil, no tanks, nor bulldozers on the streets). If the Egyptians (and the Syrians) are to learn how this much fangled democracy thing works, that means showing them that behaviour like this has consequences. Then maybe next time the military will think twice.