July 29, 2013

Egyptian Journalist Yasser Rizq On Why The June 30 Revolution Was Not A Coup

"Opponents of ousted president Mohammed Morsi hold up a poster of the Egyptian defence minister, Gen Abdel Fattah El Sisi, with an Arabic caption that reads, ‘The lion of Egypt’. AP" - Bradley Hope, "Is Egypt's defence minister El Sisi its president in waiting?" The National, July 22, 2013.

Egyptian Journalist Yasser Rizq On Why The June 30 Revolution Was Not A Coup.      

The article below is by a high-level Egyptian journalist who had meetings with General Sisi and was in frequent contact with him prior to the dismissal of Morsi, so take his glowing portrayal with a grain of salt. Still, his opinion is more valid than others because he was on the inside, and his unique perspective and knowledge has provided insight to the recent developments in Egypt.

An excerpt from the article, "The General Sisi I Know" by Yasser Rizq, editor-in-chief of Al-Masry Al-Youm, translated by Tyler Huffman, published in Al Monitor on July 28, 2013.
On this particular day, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took a unanimous decision: If tens of millions of Egyptians take to the streets and squares to demand the fall of the president, the army will support them. Sisi told them that he would continue with his efforts to convince the president to submit to the demands of the masses, most importantly holding early presidential elections.

The next day Sisi sat down with Morsi for two hours, trying to convince him to provide solutions in his speech that was to be given that evening, without anyone having to appeal to him. It seemed that Morsi was convinced, and he promised Sisi that his speech would contain these solutions and proposals.

Yet, as usual, Morsi reneged on his promises. His speech was like those we have seen and heard in the past.

Then came June 30. Tens of millions of Egyptians took to the streets in demonstrations and marches in squares throughout Egypt in a scene that was unprecedented in modern human history. 

The people were waiting for the armed forces to issue a statement, after the seven-day deadline expired. The statement, however, was not issued that day, it was released the next day and included a new 48-hour deadline. This renewed deadline refutes all allegations regarding the June 30 revolution that say that the army's intervention in response to the masses was a military coup. 

Had the army intended to stage a coup, it would have happened months earlier. There were many events and opportunities available [to stage a coup]. Had [the army] been determined to carry out a coup, there would have been no need for the first deadline. And had it wanted to exploit the massive demonstrations to oust the president, the army would never have given a second deadline, allowing Morsi and the Brotherhood to incite division between the people and the army. If Morsi had agreed to hold early presidential elections — or even a referendum on his presidency — the tables would have been turned on everyone.  

A Brotherhood leader called me on the evening of [Monday] July 1, after the statement was issued announcing the second deadline. While speaking to me, he downplayed the size of the massive crowds that took to the streets on June 30, and said that the 48-hour deadline was intended for the political forces, not the president.

The day the second deadline was announced, Morsi met with Sisi and Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Higazi, the director of military intelligence. The president tried to win their favor, saying, "You'll get everything you want!" The two leaders replied, "All we want is to ensure the interests of the people."