Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Coup D+1 (Egypt's counter-revolution?)

The debate as to whether this was a coup or a popular revolution (continuation of the 2011 revolution) goes on. To my mind, it can objectively be described as a counter-revolution. The major gains of the revolution were freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners; now TV channels have been taken off the air and warrants for the arrest of 300 Muslim Brotherhood leaders have been issued. If the revolution meant anything, beyond the removal of one man, Mubarak, it was surely the bringing to an end of almost 60 years of dominance of the government by the army.

I later happened to notice on the BBC's World Business Report's feed, "Egypt's counter-revolution 04 Jul 13" ...

Some more snapshots:
4/7 Qatar now "on side" in supporting the overthrow of Morsi (BBCWS, Newshour, 13:00).

Amr Moussa: this was not a coup, the overthrow of the president was necessary (Al J, 22:30)
Frank Gardner, bullets not ballots, cf. Algeria 1992 (BBC R4 18:00, WS, 00:00).

As it happened: Crisis in Egypt
08:46: [British Foreign Secretary William] Hague said: "This is a military intervention in a democratic system, we have to understand it's a popular intervention - there is no doubt about that in the current state of opinion in Egypt - so while warning of the precedent it sets for the future, of course we have to work with the Egyptians, with the majority will in Egypt, and that's what we will do."

09:22: Saad al-Katatni, head of the Brotherhood's political wing, was among those held in prison, Mena reported. In the immediate aftermath of the army's move, arrest warrants had been issued for 300 leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported.

09:27: After days of clashes between anti-Morsi protesters and his supporters that have left dozens dead, the Armed Forces said they would not tolerate insulting, provoking or attacking Islamists, especially their youth, Mena news agency reports.

10:13 Breaking News Adly Mansour is being sworn in as interim leader of Egypt

10:46: According the judicial and army sources who have spoken to Reuters, the Egyptian prosecutor's office has issued arrest warrants for Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and his deputy Khairat el-Shater.

11:21: British Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken about the situation in Egypt: "We never support in countries the intervention by the military but... what we need to happen now in Egypt is for democracy to flourish, and for a genuine democratic transition to take place, and all parties need to be involved in that, and that's what Britain and our allies will be saying very clearly to the Egyptians."

11:42: There are further unconfirmed reports about the arrest warrants of top members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Reuters news agency said Mr Shater and Mr Badie were ordered to be arrested for allegedly inciting violence in which at least eight people were killed outside the Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters this week.

12:20: UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed said: "We followed with all consideration and satisfaction the national consensus that your brotherly country is witnessing, and which had played a prominent role in leading Egypt peacefully out of the crisis it had faced," Reuters reported.

12:22: Kuwait's ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah praised Egypt's armed forces for the "positive and historic role" it played in preserving stability, the state news agency Kuna reported.

12:48: The African Union is likely to suspend Egypt from all its activities, a source has told Reuters. Members of the AU's peace and security council would meet on Friday to discuss the situation. Suspension is the usual action when a member country makes an "unconstitutional change".

12:57: BBC Monitoring has compiled a press review, with many Egyptian newspapers expressing relief and delight over the ousting of President Morsi. However, the paper of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice party insisted on the need for "constitutional legitimacy".

The International Crisis Group, A difficult way forward in Egypt, 3 Jul 2013, is worth reading, but here is the core passage (if I highlight below some of the passages critical of the anti-Morsi forces, it does not mean that the criticisms of the Muslim Brotherhood are not also valid):
As Egypt moved from one electoral contest to another, Islamists perceived their successive, though sometimes narrow, victories as mandates to shape the nascent polity as they deemed fit, overlooking the need to share power. Dismissing their admittedly ineffective opposition, they instead focused on trying to either sideline (in the case of the judiciary) or co-opt (in the case of the security sector) state actors they deemed more important, and thus potentially more threatening. [..]
Non-Islamists suffered from the opposite malady, viewing election results as altogether meaningless, demanding oftentimes disproportionate representation in decision-making bodies; challenging the basic principle of popular will; and yielding to the growing temptation of extra-institutional means, be it street agitation or calls for judicial or military intervention. All of which gave rise to this most incongruous of sights – a purportedly liberal, democratic opposition openly calling on the army to step in and cut short the term of the country’s first democratically-elected leader.  [..]
It is hard to know what ultimately pushed the military – which for some time had sought to avoid direct political involvement – to enter the fray as blatantly as it did on 1 July when, though ambiguous as to precise meaning, it essentially ordered the president to yield to critics’ demands or face the consequences. The president’s inability to achieve political consensus, address the economic mess, reassure the judiciary or establish law and order all played a part as might have signs – such as the appointment as governor of Luxor of a member of a militant group or Morsi’s overt support for calls for jihad against the Syrian regime – that the president was veering toward a more overtly Islamist agenda. At bottom, however, the army and security sector as a whole never felt fully at ease with an Islamist commander-in-chief, the president’s efforts to placate them notwithstanding.  
Other state institutions have long awaited a chance to settle scores, and the massive 30 June turnout provided it. This was the case for the judiciary, which the president and his allies repeatedly had sought to reform and restructure, notably by threatening judges with early retirement on grounds that they were Mubarak-era holdovers. Anger at the Brotherhood ran even deeper within the police, which from the start has seen itself as the unjust victims of the 2011 uprising and could not fathom being ruled by the Islamists they used to suppress and arrest. As a result, a president routinely accused by his critics of engineering a power grab ended up with little power over any of the state institutions that really mattered [*].
Indications strongly point in the worrying direction of heavy-handed military intervention that, at a minimum, is reversing gains made in terms of a free press and rights of political participation. It reportedly has taken control of state media outlets, censoring footage of pro-Morsi demonstrations aired by private satellite channels. Muslim Brotherhood offices have routinely been torched and vandalised without any effort by the police to defend them and pro-Morsi rallies have come under repeated armed attacks by unknown assailants.
* On Channel 4 News, 4/7, Dr Azzam Tamimi, speaking for the MB point of view, also stresses Morsi's powerlessness. He also rejects as bogus, allegations that Morsi threw protesters into prison and tried to shut down journalists.

Juan Cole :
anti-Brotherhood figures pointed to the attempt to prosecute popular comedian Dr. Bassem Youssef for criticizing Morsi as typical of the Brotherhood’s intrinsic intolerance.
Is that the worst they could come up with?
The military appears to intend press charges against Morsi, Elarian and Katatni dating back to the late zeroes, when they were imprisoned. It was the January 25, 2011, revolution that allowed their supporters to break them out of jail. The military seems to want to insist that they were justly imprisoned for real crimes and that their jailbreak was a further act of illegality
 http://laseptiemewilaya.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/egypt-update-on-the-situtation-friday-bloody-friday/ -
Egypt unrest: Morsi marchers die as army fires
Robert Fisk, The Independent: When is a military coup not a military coup? When it happens in Egypt, apparently
 No one is happier – no one more satisfied nor more conscious of the correctness of his own national struggle against ‘Islamists’ and ‘terrorists’ -- than Assad. The West has been wetting itself to destroy Assad – but does absolutely nothing when the Egyptian army destroys its democratically-elected president for lining up with Assad’s armed Islamist opponents.


Anonymous Titus said...

This is gorgeous!

9:31 am, August 26, 2013  

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