There was really no changing of the guard in Egypt, except the Muslim Brotherhood was replaced by the same old thuggery seen in Egypt before Morsi’s presidency. Don’t think so? Take a look at this!
Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that all criticism of the Republic’s president is henceforth “forbidden”. The ruling came a day before the first episode of a new series of the renowned satirical TV programme “Al Bernameg”, trailed in advance as “Was that a Revolution or a Coup?” The court’s move sent a signal that the sort of criticism and mockery levelled at ousted President Mohamed Morsi will not be allowed under the coup government.
Did you catch that? Evidently, to today’s Egyptian leaders it’s Morsi’s fault they have to forbid criticism of an Egyptian president because he, Morsi, allowed freedom of expression and criticism of Egyptian leaders. In other words, Morsi’s democracy was too lenient for today’s leaders who have to crack down in authoritarian ways to right Morsi’s wrong. Take that citizens of Egypt….your former leader was too good for you; you have to be beaten into submission, which dovetails so neatly with the stereotypical notion that Arabs don’t deserve democracy they can only be ruled by despotic dictators.
The Morsi government was doomed to fail before it even began. No matter what his government did, the Mubarak loyalists and the Army conspired very early on to depose him at a time and method convenient to them. Nothing could have been done to avert that outcome. There are international forces that benefited from the military coup and the Obama administration played both sides against the middle as is usually the case for America, but the origin of this coup was the banks of the Nile and it was propagated by Egyptians and perhaps financed with a little help from their friends in the Middle East and beyond.
Before the overthrow could be accomplished, Morsi first had to be properly dehumanized and linked with the most infamous criminals known to man and with the Egyptian propaganda machine in full swing it was an easy task
Mr Kholy (Egypt’s ambassador to Britain) compared the one-year rule of Mr Morsi to the Islamist takeover of the Iranian state after the 1979 revolution and said that, like Nazism, the Muslim Brotherhood ideology sought to dominate Egyptian society.
“Morsi was elected president and held office for one year but in that time he tried to make everything Muslim Brotherhood controlled. Egyptian culture over 5,000 years is a mix of religions and civilisations in which the Islamic religion is one ingredient of the Egyptian character,” he said. “The Muslim Brotherhood are like a Nazi group that demand that everything changes and people (sic) everything to their way.”
…and with code words like Nazi, it was on for the military coup and over for the Morsi government. After using terms meant to denigrate the Morsi government, machinations were put in place to ensure the public was on board as well with manufactured crisis designed to turn Egyptians against the government they voted into office
Throughout the month of June the media onslaught on Morsi’s government not only continued to blame it for all the ills afflicting Egyptian society, but also intensified as three particular problems were highlighted: the deterioration in security, frequent power outages that lasted hours and affected not only residential but also industrial areas, and shortages of fuel, causing hours long lines at gas stations.
Egypt has 2480 gas stations, with about 400 stations run by the government. The other two thousand stations are owned privately by business tycoons who were given these licenses during the Mubarak era because they were close to the regime and considered very loyal. Morsi’s government asserted that each station received its share and that there was no reason for the shortages. In fact, a few days before he was deposed Morsi warned gas station owners he’d revoke their licences if they refused to provide their customers with fuel. Khalid Al-Shami, a youth activist who was with the opposition until the military coup, exposed the plot when he announced in public that the handful of owners of the privately-run gas stations conspired to create the manufactured fuel shortage crisis in order to build public discontent against Morsi. The best evidence that the problem of fuel shortage was manufactured is that it evaporated overnight. Since the moment Morsi was deposed there has been no fuel shortage.
As for the security deterioration and electricity cuts, the conspiracy was deeper. The police which refused to protect entire neighborhoods during Morsi’s rule has returned back in full force. Criminals and thugs who terrorized people in the streets are back under control by the same Mubarak-era security apparatus, except for the areas where Morsi’s supporters demonstrate. Electricity outages that lasted for hours every day in almost every neighborhood have disappeared overnight. The mystery of solving these two intractable problems were uncovered this week. Out of the thirty-five member cabinet chosen by the military, eight were retained including the Interior Minister in charge of the police and the Minister of Electricity. One would assume that the first ministers to be sacked by the post-coup government would be those whom the public complained about their incompetence. The opposition who called for dismissing these ministers were now hailing them and cheering their retention. In short, many public officials who professed loyalty to the hapless president were actually undermining his rule all along, while the opposition accused him of packing the government with MB loyalists.
Egyptian opposition even borrowed a page from the American Tea Party movement with rhetoric that was as far fetched as any used by American #DemonicGOPers designed to incite animus against the Morsi government in ways that manufactured crisis could never accomplish. At a time when our Tea Party and its strategy is becoming more and more apparent and on the wane in America, it seems to have found a home in Egypt and her conspiracists. In ways that probably would make FoxNews blush, Egyptian Tea Party/military loyalists spout theories that come from the far reaches of the universe yet have no basis in reality
Readers of Egypt’s main state-run newspaper this week were treated to a startling expose. Splashed atop al Ahram’s front page was trumpeted how security forces smashed a plot by the Muslim Brotherhood, the United States and Palestinian Islamists to foment the secession of northern Egypt.
“A new conspiracy to shake stability,” the red-ink headline screamed of the scheme allegedly overseen by U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson and Khairat al-Shater, a millionaire businessman who is among dozens of Brotherhood leaders swept into jail in recent weeks.
Media commentaries span the comedic to the preposterous. A radio host griped that a more than 2-week-old nationwide curfew is forcing husbands to spend more time cooped up at night with their wives, while a former Supreme Court justice asserted on state-run television that President Barack Obama’s brother is a Brotherhood member.
An article in the pro-army Al Youm Al Sabaa newspaper alleged that Shater, the Brotherhood’s chief political strategist, ran an arms smuggling racket with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who enraged many Egyptians when he tried to broker a deal between Morsi and the army.
Television channels loop slick anti-Brotherhood video mash-ups. They contrast shots of long-bearded Morsi protesters firing guns or contorting their faces as they screech abuses with scenes of unarmed, flag-waving anti-Morsi protesters, police funerals and troops on maneuvers. Patriotic soundtracks hail Egypt’s ancient history and the military’s martial prowess. (against unarmed civilians but certainly not against the Israeli army.)
People like Mr. Naguib Sawiris who took his inspiration from American politicians and media pundits in exemplary fasion managed a media blitz nothing short of incendiary and blatantly fallacious….
On July 26, a cable news host leaned across his desk, stared into the camera and let his audience in on what he believed was the Obama administration’s deepest, darkest secret. “The issue is not whether Obama is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or not,” he declared. “The issue is that it is a fact that Obama used the help of the Muslim Brotherhood in his administration.”
Reading from notes in a tone of total omniscience, the host began to name names. He cited six figures, all Muslim American activists or intellectuals, accusing them of operating a Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cell inside the White House. They were Mazen Asbahi, Arif Ali Khan, Eboo Patel, Salam Marayati, and Mohamed Elibiary.
“Write these names down,” the host told his audience, “look them up during the break and when I come back let me know if what I say is right or wrong.”
Though he sounded like Glenn Beck or any other Tea Party-style Islamophobe, the host was not American and did not even speak English. He was Yousef El-Hosseini, a popular and famously reactionary personality on the private Egyptian cable network, ONTV. Founded by Egypt’s wealthiest man,Naguib Sawiris, a key financial backer of the forces behind the overthrow of the country’s first elected president, Mohamed Morsi, ONTV has emerged as one of the country’s central instruments for spreading pro-military propaganda.
With such proclamations, news to the contrary was effectively stifled in ways that only happen under military dictatorships ushered in by military coups. How could you not support a takeover that was inspired by threats of foreign intervention in your country’s domestic affairs?Opponents of the military coup and voices of opposition were silenced and persecuted and published dissent to the military’s actions was not tolerated.
Journalists have been killed, arrested and attacked since the Egyptian army began a campaign of repression in the country. On Sunday, the pattern of harassment continued, as three employees of Al Jazeera English were deported.
“Since 3 July, a total of five journalists have been killed, 80 journalists have been arbitrarily detained (with seven still held) and at least 40 news providers have been physically attacked by the police or by pro-Morsi or pro-army demonstrators,” RWB wrote. It called the killings “without precedent in the country’s contemporary history.”
Next Morsi’s opponents, some of them officials in the Morsi government had to manufacture economic and political crisis to make it seem Egypt was on the verge of immediate demise …..
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.
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….
There can be no doubt that what took place in Egypt was a military coup, despite America’s reluctance to call it that. I’ve read words such as naive to describe Morsi’s attitude to those who opposed him but realizing the political intransigence he faced and the extent to which the tentacles of the Mubarak regime reached in Egyptian society (notice how quickly Mubarak was released from prison after the military took power) Morsi’s slow and steady approach, along with missteps that ANYONE doing what he had to do would make, made it all but impossible for him to succeed. To say he was set up to fail, that his election took place only to be overturned is precisely what his detractors, opponents wanted to happen and it was brilliantly executed. A democratically elected government, replacing a 30 year dictatorship was overthrown by a military coup to the applause of all but those in the ruling party that Morsi represented and it was done with many of the same tactics employed by American political opposition that the American government which supported the Egyptian coup is fighting. In other words, Obama has given his blessings to the military coup, despite what the Egyptian military said in an attempt to justify their actions…knowing full well Egyptian opposition was made up of people and tactics that are stalling his (Obama’s) government and the economic recovery he so desperately needs. If you say politics makes strange bedfellows, you only need to look at Egyptian/Middle Eastern politics to come to that realization. Obama worked with the Egyptian forces that are his opponents back home in America for the illegal overthrow of an elected government. He, Obama, now faces those same forces of obstructionism while he tries to make a case to attack a country that has always been an opponent of American interests in the Middle East and a new found opponent of Egypt. It is bizarre, unsettling and counterproductive to American interests, and worst of all typical of how things are done in that part of the world. Go figure…..
There is ‘world outcry’ over the behaviour of the Egyptian security forces yesterday, when at least 525 supporters of the deposed Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi were massacred. The killings were ‘excessive’, says Amnesty, in a bid to bag the prize for understatement of the year; ‘brutal’, say various handwringing newspaper editorials; ‘too much’, complain Western politicians.
Such belated expressions of synthetic sorrow are not only too little, too late (hundreds of Egyptians have already been massacred by the military regime that swept Morsi from power); they are also extraordinarily blinkered. To focus on the actions of the security forces alone, on what they did with their trigger fingers yesterday, is to miss the bigger picture; it is to overlook the question of where the military regime got the moral authority to clamp down on its critics so violently in the name of preserving its undemocratic grip on power. It got it from the West, including from so-called Western liberals and human-rights activists. The moral ammunition for yesterday’s massacres was provided by the very politicians and campaigners now crying crocodile tears over the sight of hundreds of dead Egyptians.
The fact that General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian armed forces who swept Morsi from power on 3 July, feels he has free rein to preserve his coup-won rule against all-comers isn’t surprising. After all, his undemocratic regime has received the blessing of various high-ranking Western officials, even after it carried out massacres of protesters campaigning for the reinstatement of Morsi, who was elected with 52 per cent of the vote in 2012.
Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s chief of foreign affairs, who, like al-Sisi, is unelected, visited Egypt at the end of July. She met with al-Sisi and his handpicked, unelected president, Adly Mansour. She called on this junta disguised as a transitional power to start a ‘journey [towards] a stable, prosperous and democratic Egypt’. This was after it had massacred hundreds of protesters, placed various politicians and activists in prison, and reinstated the Mubarak-era secret police to wage a ‘war on terror’ against MB supporters. For Ashton to visit al-Sisi and talk about democracy in the aftermath of such authoritarian clampdowns was implicitly to confer authority on the coup that brought him to power and on his brutal rule and actions.
Meanwhile, the US has refused to call the military’s sweeping aside of Morsi a coup. The Democratic secretary of state, John Kerry, has gone further and congratulated al-Sisi’s regime for ‘restoring democracy’. Kerry said the military’s assumption of power was an attempt to avoid ‘descendance into chaos and violence’ under Morsi, and its appointment of civilians in the top political jobs was a clear sign that it was devoted to ‘restoring democracy’. He said this on 2 August. After hundreds of Morsi supporters had already been massacred. If al-Sisi’s forces believe that killing protesters demanding the reinstatement of a democratically elected prime minister is itself a democratic act, a necessary and even good thing, it isn’t hard to see where they got the idea from.
Meanwhile, former British PM turned UN peace envoy Tony Blair has become a globetrotting spokesman for the legitimacy of the al-Sisi regime. The army will have to take ‘some very tough, even unpopular decisions’ in its ‘steering of the country back on to a path towards elections’, he says. Most strikingly, Blair said of al-Sisi’s regime that sometimes an efficient government is more important than an elected one. In executing ‘very unpopular’ massacres in the name of making Egypt run more ‘efficiently’ – the key justification al-Sisi and his forces have given for their clampdown on Morsi supporters – the military regime is reading from a moral narrative provided by Tony Blair.
As well has(sic) being provided with moral cover by leading Western politicians, the al-Sisi regime has benefited from the effective standing-down of the Western human-rights lobby. Certainly those well-connected commentators and activists who normally make a major fuss over foreign military regimes that repress their political opposition have been mild bordering on mute in their criticisms of the new Egyptian dictatorship.
Human-rights groups like Amnesty have played a key role in keeping international eyes off Egypt by trumpeting other, apparently more pressing rights issues, such as Russia’s continued imprisonment of Pussy Riot. Astonishingly, Amnesty has just launched a new campaign called ‘Back on Taksim’, which allows Westerners to ‘check in’ online to Taksim Square in Turkey in order to raise awareness about the heavy-handed policing of the demonstration there and the brutal dismantling of the protesters’ camps. And the massacre of camping protesters in Cairo? Doesn’t that deserve an app, too? Apparently not. It’s only secular, left-leaning protesters that Amnesty and its Hampstead-based patrons are interested in, not bearded, Koran-reading blokes demanding the reinstatement of a religious-leaning president.
In fact, Amnesty has gone further than helping to divert the human-rights brigade’s attentions away from blood-stained Cairo – it has also inadvertently provided part of the justification for the Egyptian security forces’ massacres. One of Amnesty’s chief contributions to the discussion about Egypt over the past two months has been the writing of a report alleging that the pro-Morsi protest camps are abducting and torturing their opponents – that is, supporters of al-Sisi’s military regime. And the regime has enthusiastically cited Amnesty’s claims in its justification of its violent destruction of the pro-Morsi camps. The regime’s foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, mentioned Amnesty reports in his explanation for why his forces have launched a ‘war on terror’ against Morsi supporters. Amnesty has not only implicitly played down the seriousness of the massacres in Egypt; it has also provided a moral excuse for their execution.
Alongside Western leaders and human-rights activists, the Egyptian left has also provided cover – literally – for the massacre of Morsi supporters. On every occasion when the regime’s forces have mown down its opponents, left-wing supporters of the regime have turned out in their thousands to give a democratic-seeming gloss to these killings of anyone who criticises the coup. The liberal National Salvation Front, much beloved of the Western human-rights lobby, says Morsi supporters bear ‘full responsibility’ for yesterday’s massacres.
Tamarod, the radical group that called for the removal of Morsi back in July, and which is hailed by the celebrated radical American-Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy as a brilliant and inspiring movement, has said it is ‘happy for [the security forces] to play their role in confronting the violence and terrorism practiced by the Muslim Brotherhood’. Both Ms Eltahawy and Tamarod have repeated regime propaganda about the Morsi camps being armed and dangerous, effectively terroristic, and thus apparently deserving of destruction. Tamarod’s provision of some pseudo-liberal, seemingly grassroots spit-and-polish to the regime’s massacres of its opponents isn’t surprising – there are now more and more claims that, in the words most recently of the London Review of Books, Tamarod is not as organic as it seems and has in fact received ‘advice, information and possibly weapons’ from the security forces.
To focus solely on what the security forces did yesterday is to imbibe only half of the story (if that) of what has occurred in Egypt over the past two months. For the security forces’ actions have been implicitly okayed by Western politicians, fuelled by the claims of human-rights groups, and supported on the streets by the Egyptian left. What we are witnessing is not simply a violent clampdown by men with guns, but effectively the Western-approved imposition of brute stability in Egypt and the bringing to an end of the Arab Spring and the idea that lay at the heart of it – namely, that Arab peoples are capable of determining their destinies free from external intervention or internal military control. That positive, spring-like belief might have been physically mown down by al-Sisi’s goons, but their guns were loaded by so-called Western liberals.
to think the new Egyptian president might lead his country into post Hosni Mubarak era filled with political stability for his country and economic recovery Muhammad Morsi had to go and do something as stupid as this
Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi issued decrees giving himself broad powers and effectively neutering the judiciary.
All laws and decisions by the president are final, cannot be appealed, overturned or halted by the courts or other bodies. This applies to decisions he has made since taking office in June and any he makes until a new constitution is approved and a new parliament is elected, expected in the spring at the earliest.
The president can take any steps or measures necessary to prevent threats to “the revolution, the life of the nation or national unity and security” or to the functioning of state institutions.
and it goes without saying, and justifiably so, many people in Egypt see this for what it is, a broad and sweeping grab for power. Fresh off the revolution that swept Morsi into power, Egyptians took to the streets to protest Morsi’s announcements which caught many off guard, including Miscellany101, who days before tweeted, ‘Can we say a re-elected Obama and an”Islamist” Egypt put the brakes on Israel’s bloodlust?’
Morsi’s decrees also come after others who made similar and equally glowing assessments of the president’s positive influence on regional affairs. Egypt’s President Morsi feted for negotiating role, proclaimed The Telegraph, which said Morsi is now Washington’s friend and a man of peace. The Guardian, perhaps a little more prophetically said in its banner headline, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi proves a deft, adroit and ruthless leader and one has to wonder what did Morsi think would be the response to his power grab on the part of people who are so finely tuned to oppression and ruthlessness after decades of Mubarak rule and who still have the sweat drenched, blood soaked clothes from Tahrir Square demonstrations and the various weapons or social media, social and international contacts, they amassed during that time! No matter what Morsi might have accomplished vis-a-vis Gaza and the bloodbath that was sure to occur at the hands of an unfettered and criminal Israeli regime, many people in Egypt view the decrees of an Egyptian president that gave himself limitless powers over his country in much the same negative light as an Israeli invasion force in Gaza. In the absence of a firm date for ratification of the Constitution which Morsi said was the reason for his latest decrees, and given how power is such a seductive drug to the initiated and uninitiated alike, one can only moan in despair at a wholly inappropriate, dare I say illegal or immoral, act of unrestrained and raw individual/party power. What he has done is further alienated himself and his party among the people of Egypt who view his moves as done for personal aggrandizement and not for the benefit of Egyptian society.
They certainly haven’t infested every branch of American government or life that many of the Islamophobes claim. I found this excerpt revealing
It has become accepted wisdom in some circles that the Muslim Brotherhood is a force for progressive change, even democracy, in Egypt. Since the mid-1980s when the Brotherhood entered electoral politics in a coalition with the allegedly liberal Wafd party, its leaders have embraced the rhetoric of political reform. On the eve of the 1990 parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood’s then Supreme Guide Mohamed Abul Nasr penned an open letter to President Mubarak in which he boldly stated, “Freedom is dear and it is preferable for you to avoid your nation’s anger and riots. It cannot be imagined that any people will remain under subjugation and repression after hearing and witnessing surrounding nations achieve their freedom and dignity…A nation’s power is derived not from material power, but from the entire citizenry’s liberty, the people’s trust in the government, and the government’s trust in the people.” Those are reassuring (and prescient) words–even 22 years after the fact–but the Brothers have always been rather fuzzy about what democracy means to them, falling back on the concept of shura or “consultation,” which could or could not be the foundation of Egyptian democracy. They have also been vague about shari’a. While Morsi and Brotherhood big wallas have said that they will implement Islamic law, members of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party told the American foreign policy establishment during a visit in March that they support “the principles of shari’a, but not necessarily its particular legal rulings.” I guess that sounds fine to the uninitiated, but the statement amounts to nothing more than obfuscation.
It is entirely possible that the Brothers are democrats despite themselves. Here is the theory: Hammered as they are between the military, which still controls the guns, and other political forces including revolutionaries who mistrust the Islamists and thus can stir up trouble, the Brotherhood could determine that their only source of power is through the ballot box. As a result, the Brothers will seek regularly scheduled, free and fair elections as the only way to legitimate their power. In time, this will transform the Brothers into committed democrats. Never mind (cliché warning) that elections don’t make democracy, but this is roughly what happened in Europe and how theocratic parties of the 19th century became today’s Christian Democrats. There are many insights to be gleaned from Europe’s experiences, but it is important to remember that history can be a guide, but it is not a blueprint.
In the end, the intellectually honest answer about the Brothers’ commitment to democracy is, we just don’t know. It’s an empirical question. Let’s pay less attention to what they say and focus on what they are doing.
The last line is especially insightful and mature given the topic at hand.