Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Morsi facing charges, street violence

24/7  Gen Sisi: 'Take to the street'  US delays delivery of 4 F-16  jets to Egypt (BBC WS, 22:00) US delays delivery of jets to Egypt

From France Inter: l'émission du jeudi 4 juillet 2013 - L'oxymore du putsch démocratique.

26/7 Morsi is facing charges in connection with his jailbreak in January 2011 and plotting with Hamas. Morsi's supporters "noted that court authorities had vetted Mr Morsi before he ran for president in 2012 and failed to note any pending criminal charges" (Financial Times). There were reports of another 48-hour deadline, this time to pro-Morsi (anti-coup) to clear the streets (Al Jazeera). According to The Times, they were told to go by the weekend.  

27/7 The Lede: Tahrir Taken, Some Egyptians Look for ‘Third Square’ to Resist Islamists and Army On a day of mass rallies by supporters of Egypt’s army and the rival Muslim Brotherhood, some activists were left wondering how best to register their disgust with both the military and the Islamists...." BBC WS, Newshour, 29/7, 13:00: Egypt's 'Third Square' Movement

 - 'Scores killed' at Egypt protest - After al-Sisi's call for demonstrations "against terrorists", clashes were all but inevitable. Morsi supporters were "incandescent",  according to one BBC correspondent, seeing the call as aimed clearly at them. The general making this speech openly showed the military, again, in control.  As Lindsey Hilsum ponted out, we have not heard much recently from interim President Adly Mansour  (BBC WS, Weekend, 28/7, 08:00; Al Jazeera did carry an address from interim PM Beblawi the day after the general's speech, where he repeated the line in slightly softer language).

General al-Sisi's call was to take to the street "against violence", but its real meaning was the exact opposite: that the turnout give the military legitimacy to carry out  violence.

Protesters appear to have been killed by sniper fire, the BBC reported. HRW says the evidence seems to show targeted killings (Al Jazeera, 28/7). The Financial Times speaks of plainclothes enforcers known as baltagiya and masked snipers (29/7).

(14:30) Al Jazeera carries a speech about shootings from the deputy Grand Imam of Al-Azhar mosque: where is ElBaradei ? The security forces should fire at legs not heads. Later, ElBaradei does condemn the excessive use of force (BBC WS, 22:00). He made his comments via Twitter, apparently (Channel 4 News). Al Jazeera's reporter says he did have a caveat: the pro-Morsi camp brought it on themselves, with incitement from their speakers (28/7, 15:00). Nonetheless, 2 figures that provided important cover for the 3 July coup are now expressing misgivings over the means used.  

Talk of the possibility of civil war on BBC R4's PM programme. This is unlikely: whereas the army was weak in Gaddafi's Libya and even to some extent in Assad's Syria, in Egypt it is strong and appears likely to remain united. There may be an increase in terrorist activity in places like Sinai. Al-Sisi's action is likely to have made this worse not better. But it seems to me that, for a substantial part of the Egyptian population, the attitude could be to say, echoing the words of the Spanish philosopher Unamuno in 1936, "you will win because you  have more than enough brute force. But you will not convince."

Egypt protesters 'to be dispersed'
28/7  Lindsey Hilsum suggests various other reasons why the military sought to remove Morsi: that over Syria he had first sided with Russia and Iran, before urging Egyptians to join the jihad to remove Assad; the failure to stamp out terrorism in Sinai. I don't see that Morsi could have hampered the army's efforts to deal with this.

Egypt protesters defy removal threat -
Egyptian minister urges restraint

29/7 Morsi backers stage defiant marches -
From The Guardian, Editorial: time to back down:
[On the jail break / Hamas accusations] How resistance to a dictator and the security forces he was deploying against protesters, with some help from abroad, could be so interpreted is difficult to see. A wiser hand than Sisi's would have stayed this process. Other "charges", such as "economic sabotage" and the like, are ridiculous. Political mistakes are not crimes in a civilised country. Indeed, if there has been sabotage of that kind, there is some evidence that anti-Morsi forces were the guilty parties.
[General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi] told Morsi that "his project was not working" six months ago, he said in his speech. Where, precisely, in this soldier's job description is it written that he can tell an elected president what to do? Advise, yes; suggest, maybe; but "tell"?
Wadah Khanfar, former director general of al-Jazeera television (Egypt must get back on the path of democratic change ):
Meanwhile, particularly in Egypt, the deep state – represented by the army, security and judiciary – allied with big business, began to recuperate. The Arab spring was not as radical as the French or Iranian revolutions. It did not pull out the deeply entrenched roots of the state. Instead, it was satisfied to replace the top of the pyramid with newly elected, but inexperienced, leaders. After a period of turmoil the deep state was able to breathe again, and it portrayed the transition to democracy as an abject failure. Ordinary citizens were angered by the deterioration of services and grew tired of the political crises, fuelled by doses of misinformation. The result was a military coup that had political cover and support from sections of the population, as well from regional states affected by the Arab spring.
The Arab spring confirmed that peaceful change is possible and so reinforced the vision of political Islam. The impact of this went beyond the Brotherhood to include the Salafist tendency in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya that had questioned the democratic path. This weakened the argument of the jihadists, and pushed their leader, Ayman al‑Zawahiri, to attack the democratic transformation. Today, Zawahiri is smiling as he sees the coup against constitutional legitimacy in Egypt.
Updated 10 Apr 2014: links updated.


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