July 26, 2013

Analysis Of The Coup In Egypt: Various Voices, Different Dissections

August 2012: General al-Sisi and deposed president Mohammed Morsi. Photo Source.

Dissecting the events in Egypt is too complicated, it is above my understanding, expertise, and knowledge. There are so many interests, parties, and political voices involved in propagandizing their cause; so many conspiracies and agendas at stake. And that is only politics inside the country. The American empire and Israel are hovering like poisonous vultures above Egypt. They don't want to see any serious and positive transformation taking place there. They would much rather see the country collapse and go the way of Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria then for it to become independent, dynamic, and powerful.

I don't hold any strong opinions about what's happening in Egypt. On this blog I have highlighted viewpoints from alternative political commentators such as historian Webster Tarpley and journalist Thierry Meyssan, as well as mainstream journalists like CNN's Ben Wedeman, and former US senior diplomat Frank Wisner.

You can learn from every side of the debate, take an interesting piece of info from different experts and voices, and come to your own conclusions about the coup. Or, if you want, don't even call it a coup, call it a complicated political event in a strategic location on planet hell.

Many Egyptians consider the removal of Morsi as a continuation of their revolution, not a coup. There is intellectual and logical support for this argument. The anti-Morsi protests across the country were overwhelming. Morsi was not a popular leader, he did many dumb things like reduce wheat imports, and he was installing radical people in senior positions of his administration, including a guy who had a hand in the terrorist bombing in Luxor in 1997.

The army acted with reason. One of the reasons it overthrew Morsi is because it did not want to involve Egypt in the growing sectarian war in Syria and across the region. But, the army has also been acting too aggressively. It is not simply reacting to acts of terrorism by the Muslim Brotherhood, it is also actively picking fights with them and calling for mass protests. This overt manipulation of popular momentum against the Muslim Brotherhood is not wise.

Ignoring the power and influence of Islamists in Egyptian society is a big mistake. They are nasty and crafty, and they don't hold human life as sacred as do their political opponents so violence comes naturally to them. The forces of political Islam are not going to disappear without a fight. They are even more politically assertive and violent in the wake of the military's humiliation of Morsi. 

II. Analysis Of The Coup In Egypt: Various Voices, Different Dissections.

Excerpts from, "Conflicts Forum Weekly Comment," published on July 19, 2013:
It is becoming more and more clear that Gulf leaders and General Sisi intend – in the words of the former head of Mossad – Ephraim Halevy, to land a resounding and definitive public defeat on the Muslim Brotherhood. Unsurprisingly, Israel has become an enthusiastic collaborator in this project too, liaising directly with General Sisi, with whom Israel has maintained close relations since being Israel’s point-man in the Egyptian military with whom Israel co-ordinated on Sinai. As a corrolary to the disabling of the Brotherhood, Hamas too increasingly is being demonized to the Egyptian public (by the Army): It is being labelled as the ‘terrorist’ hidden hand behind the disorder in the Sinai (see here for an account of the angry public protests instigated against Meshaal and Haniya, when they visited Cairo shortly before the coup).

What is also clear, is that so engrossed has been the Gulf with the prospect of landing this resounding defeat on the Muslim Brotherhood that little real attention has been given to the substance of all this.  Yes, the Brotherhood has been decapitated (the Guidance Office and Shura have been disabled, new arrests ordered and political detentions continue throughout the Gulf).  But, in fact, wider Sunni political Islam has effectively been decapitated too (Erdogan discredited, the Sheikh of al-Azhar in retreat and Qaradawi now precariously holding on in Doha). Who are Sunni Islam’s leaders now?  Sunni identities are in disintegration.  It is true that General Sisi’s coup has shown the Muslim Brotherhood to be essentially hollow: all organization and no vision. But is the army better placed?  It has received financial support from its sponsors (though much of it is in loans or cash deposits at Egypt’s Central Bank), to keep the wheels turning, but real reforms will require more. They require some critical mass of popular consensus – and consensus is precisely that which seems presently to be unavailable in Egypt.  The army has has created a political void of fragmented interests.  The secular/liberal/Leftist current is on a ‘high’, and in no mood to compromise one jot; and the Salafists will have to be accommodated to pay off the Army’s debt to Saudi Arabia.  This seems an unworkable combination.  And who will be the emergent leaders of this now leaderless Egyptian Brotherhood Islamic current; and what will be their natures?   Why should one imagine they will be more ‘moderate’?  And now that Morsi has gone, the Egyptian opposition, united only by its hatred of the President, is already presenting publicly its own deep divisions.  It seems probable that the Army will be thrown back to increasing reliance on members of the ‘deep state’ to constitute a government – and this will please no one.  Expect Salafist dissatisfaction in Egypt to be transmitted back into Gulf Wahhabism too.
Excerpts from, "Egypt’s Crowd Democracy" by Wael Nawara, published in Al Monitor on July 26, 2013:
Over 100 people have already died and hundreds injured in fighting, mostly in Cairo, since the crisis began. And while the Brotherhood tried to claim that it was its people who were attacked, residents of Manial, Bayn El Sarayat and Giza districts are burying their dead and putting the blame on Islamist militants and the Brotherhood’s militias. El Beltagy’s earlier comments about terrorism in Sinai also suggested that attacks which had been stepped up since Morsi’s ouster are orchestrated between the Muslim Brothers and their Jihadist allies. Opponents of the Brotherhood also point at recent news of the assassination of opposition leader Brahmi in Tunisia, and Belaid before him, to support their accusations of the Brothers and their allies.
It is expected that Sisi will get what he wished for. The millions of Egyptians to whom Sisi spoke directly need no permission from activists to demonstrate. But one has to be careful with one's wishes. What shall the army do with this mandate? If it cracks down on the sit-ins, armed militants will most likely use civilians, women and children as human shields. The cost of blood will be too heavy to bear, which will work in favor of the Muslim Brothers who could in fact use such casualties to regain some of the sympathy it had lost. Sisi’s best strategy may be to deny them such gains and target the real movers of the terror campaigns with minimal collateral damage. It may be also more potent to dry their resources and ammunitions up, rather than risk bloody confrontations. At the same time, failure to swiftly restore order and stop the bloodshed after a popular mandate is granted may erode public confidence in the army’s chief. It is a difficult call and one which may require more than sheer force. It is one of these instances where you have to live up to the high expectations placed upon you as a national hero, or watch yourself become the villain.
Excerpts from, "Can the Muslim Brotherhood Pursue a Real Revolution or Will Egypt Revert to Military Dictatorship—Hillary Mann Leverett on Al Jazeera," published on July 26, 2013:
Not only did I work for the U.S. government, work on Egypt at the White House, at the State Department, at the U.S. Embassy in Egypt, but I was a student in Egypt.  It’s a country where I’ve been living and working for over twenty-five years.  I think what’s happening in Egypt is very polarized, very disturbing.  The idea of a military government continuing to have dictatorship over that country, over that people, is something that is a real possibilityThe only real challenge to that, historically and today, has been the Muslim Brotherhood and various other Islamist groups in Egypt.

There’s a real test about whether [the Muslim Brotherhood] can pull it offThey didn’t actually start the revolution back in 2011, but the question today is, ‘Can they finish it?’  Can they fight for what they stand for?  Can they fight for a really different system in Egypt, or are we going to be back to, essentially, ‘Mubaraksim’ without Mubarak?  I think that’s really the question that is on the table, and I’m not sure the Muslim Brotherhood is actually up to a real revolutionWe’ll see in coming days.  But the consequence, I’m sure, is going to be a lot more bloodshed, a lot more instability, and some real chronic problems for Egypt for some time to come.”
Video: Ex-US State Dept offical: We want to keep ties with Egypt. (Al Jazeera, July 26, 2013).
Hillary Mann Leverett, Former White House and State Department official, says the US is not entering Egypt's 'coup' debate for a reason.