July 14, 2013

Beware of Jumping to Quick Conclusions About Political Changes In Egypt

I. Good Coups, The Farce That Is Democracy, And Natural Leadership 

If the consensus is that there was a coup in Egypt then we should keep in mind that there is such a thing as a good coup.

But describing what happened as a coup doesn't sit right with a lot of people in Egypt because of the character of the protests, its volume, and the nature of the demands. The tide of public opinion was clearly against Morsi staying in power. The people's voice was heard.

Also, many respected analysts who approach the recent political events in Egypt from different perspectives, such as historian Webster G. Tarpley and former U.S. ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner, have said that the removal of Morsi from power doesn't meet the strict definition of a coup.

Wisner said, "It isn't a coup in any classic sense, and yet the military played a role in upsetting the government," and Tarpley said, "It's not precisely a coup. It's a counter-coup. And I say this advisedly. It is not a good idea to engage in the overthrow of governments unless there is a compelling reason. .  .But is there a compelling reason? I'm afraid in this case there is: to stop a catastrophic foreign war, or wars, because it's more than one."

Ballot box purists who believe political change can and should only take place through the ballot box don't live in reality. The ballot box is like a political Church to them, they believe salvation and change can only be pursued and found there.

But we know that controlled elections are a reality all around the world, from America to Iran, so why should a deceptive political personality like Morsi be respected and followed simply because he received political grace and legitimacy for a short period of time through the ballot box? The legitimacy he gained through an election was immediately lost because of his actions and double talk.

It should not be overlooked that only a third of the country participated in the election. "Nearly 66% of people did not vote," writes Guneri Civaoglu. By comparison, 80% supported the removal of Morsi by the army.

Egyptians were right to stop following Morsi, expressing their voice via protesting, and demanding his removal. And the Egyptian army was right to respond to this popular demand swiftly.

The farce that is democracy, as the late General Gaddafi described it, cannot bestow grace on leaders. Just look at Obama as an example. All the media hype in the world cannot make Obama a leader. Leadership is a natural quality. George Washington and Napoleon both were leaders and won respect from their men and the citizenry.

Morsi won some votes, which any ambitious political opportunist can achieve in an election, but he did not win the respect of the Egyptian people and they let him know it. In the Arab world, the only leader who has the respect of the people is Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah. 

II. Beware of Jumping To Quick Conclusions About The Fate of Political Islam

Is the Muslim Brotherhood finished? I wish it was true. Its demise does not reflect negatively on the fate of political Islam, unfortunately. The Salafist Al-Nour Party, an even more hardcore branch of political Islam, is poised to gain new credibility and followers in the months ahead.

If Salafists replace the MB, then look out, because these guys don't play around. They want wars from the Nile to Gaza to Damascus to Moscow to the Moon and back, with everyone in their crosshairs, from Shiites to Jews to Ethiopians, Assad, secularists, Westerners, etc.

What they want for Egypt and the region as a whole is an orgy of violence and death, not economic reforms and long-term stability. Younis Makhyoun, the leader of Al-Nour, threatened Ethiopia last month, saying live on camera that, "Egypt should back rebels in Ethiopia or, as a last resort, destroy the dam. He said Egypt made a "strategic error" when it did not object to the dam's construction," (source). 

III. Articles To Read

Read this really good article on the current economic and political situation in Egypt called, "Egypt: A Failing State" by Srdja Trifkovic. An excerpt:
"Mohamed Morsi’s removal from power is not a “massive blow” to political Islam, much less the proof of its failure. It is the result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempt to monopolize all power, coupled with the MB government’s gross economic and social mismanagement. The Army intervened because the stability of the state was threatened, and Egypt’s generals have a vested interest in maintaining order which guarantees their enormous economic privileges. Their quarrel with Morsi is not ideological. The support for Abdel Fatah Al-Sissi’s coup from Saudi Arabia and the Emirates is a sign that those regimes do not expect the new government to re-impose the secular-nationalist agenda that had characterized the Nasser-Sadat-Mubarak decades. Their Salafist protégés in Egypt, Younis Makhyoun and his al-Nour Party, supported Morsi’s removal and are now poised to play a key role by capitalizing on the Brotherhood’s declining popularity. Al-Nour has already shown its strength by preventing Mohamed El-Baradei’s appointment as prime minister. The party has distanced itself from the generals in recent days, and its leaders say that they will insist on keeping the Islamic law as the basis of Egypt’s constitution."
"Egypt military chief says army couldn’t stand on sidelines" by Aya Batrawy. An excerpt:  
Sissi said he reached out to Morsi through two envoys, including then Prime Minister Hesham Kandil, on more than one occasion urging him to hold a referendum on whether voters still supported his presidency, but the suggestion was rejected out of hand.

“No one is a guardian of the public, and no one can dictate or force a path or thought that they don’t accept,” Sissi said in remarks to officers, which were reported by state-run media. “The armed forces sincerely accepted the choice of the people, but then political decision-making began stumbling and the armed forces took the view that any correction or adjustment must come from only one source and that is the legitimacy of the people.”
"Cairo: Who is filling the power vacuum?" by Manlio Dinucci. An excerpt: 
The other lever of U.S. influence in Egypt is economic. Since Mubarak put into effect privatization and deregulation measures Washington wanted and opened the doors to the multinationals, Egypt, although major exporter of oil and natural gas and finished products, has accumulated a foreign debt of over $35 billion. And, to pay the interest of a billion dollars per year, Egypt depends on "loans" from the U.S., the IMF and the Gulf monarchies. This debt is a noose around the neck of the majority of the 85 million Egyptians, about half of whom live in poverty. Hence the deep thrusts of the rebellion and the struggle for a real political and economic democracy. The military establishment so far has succeeded in reining in this rebellion by presenting themselves, from time to time, as guarantors of the popular will.