Egypt: Bloody End To Democracy

By Ian Howarthbloody pyramid

The events that have been unfolding in Egypt over the last 24 hours have only added to the evidence that the 3rd July coup was in fact nothing more than a counter-revolutionary move by the Conservative old guard.  The removal from power of Hozni Murbarak in 2011 also saw the removal of the army from power in Egypt.  The election of Mohamed Morsi last year marked the first time since 1952 that a General had not been the Head of State.

On July 3rd the army took back what it believes is its own and not the birth-right of every Egyptian. The seizure of power led by General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi was the first step in re-establishing the armies’ brutal grip on the nation.  However, it has encountered far more opposition than it expected and in order to achieve its objectives has had to resort to extreme violence against the Muslim Brotherhood civilian protesters.

While it is true to say that Egypt is a country divided, it is the very fact that it is divided that makes this violent oppression of the Muslim Brotherhood so apaulling.  President Morsi was the democratically elected president of Egypt.  This is a point that we must not forget.  The constitutionally elected President of Egypt was removed from power in a military coup. The early hopes expressed by many that this coup was aimed at restoring a measure of secular balance to the states institutions have evaporated in the light of the use of deadly force against unarmed protesters. The violent suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood is the default position for the Egyptian military, who have spent the past five decades harassing, torturing and imprisoning its members.

The Army is seeking one thing and one thing only, the return of the powers and privileges that it enjoyed under the Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak regimes.  It will use any means necessary at securing these privileges and will crush any opposition.  General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi the leader of the coup is a virtual Murbarak clone, having completed the General Command and Staff Course at Aldershot in the UK, and the War Course at the US Army War College he is a product of the conflicted relationships that lie between western capitals and their declared desire to see a democratic Egypt.

The shockingly slow response of the US State Department and many other Western Powers in condemning the coup back in July demonstrates this hypocrisy. US interests are far better served by a compliant military dictatorship than a turbulent new democracy with an Islamist President.  The United States is the only foreign player that matters, and probably the only force left that could turn the tide back in favour of Democratic government in Egypt.  The US military grant to the Egyptian Army is worth $1.3 billion a year.  How can the leader of the free world continue to fund a military that murders its own people, will the cold interests of the US in the middle east trump the chance for a democratic future for Egypt.  The events of the past two months seem to suggest that the Obama Administration has no interest at all in saving Egyptian democracy, as such the violence will continue and Egyptian society will be subdued and silenced once again.

Egypt Meet Your New Boss, Same as the Old Dictator

By Ian Howarth

Yesterday I asked whether what we were witnessing in Egypt was a democratic coup or a return of the old guard.  The removal of Egypt’s first democratically elected president in a military coup was clearly an anti-democratic action, but it could have possibly led to a more plural political settlement within an equally democratic structure.EGYPT-POLITICS-UNREST-ARMY

The events of today seem to suggest that this hoped for good outcome from a bad action is drifting further and further away.  The activities and statements of the new government in Cairo seem much more to be aimed at the reestablishment of the old order in Egypt.  The imposition of press controls, the arrest of hundreds of senior Muslim Brotherhood members and the talk of the need for a democratic process that

Egypt has been ruled by the military through sham democratic processes for most of its modern history.   Abdul Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak were all military dictators who hung up their uniforms and called themselves President so as to cloth themselves in constitutional legitimacy.  Mohamed Morsi for all his failings as a politician was freely and fairly elected the President of Egypt.  His presidency reflected the true will of the people.  However much he may have lost popular support, tanks should never be used to bring about change in a democratic system.  If the military government in Egypt seeks to manage an election so that only candidates to its own liking are allowed to contest the presidency then Egypt will no longer be a democracy.  It would be no different in its basic operation to the process of vetting presidential candidates in the Iranian electoral process by the Assembly of Experts headed by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.reflects the ‘true will of the people’, all seem to point to the creation of a military controlled sham democracy. Adly Mansour who was until this morning the President of the Supreme Court was sworn in today as the interim president.  His rise to power has been rapid, having only been appointed to the Supreme Court in May.  This attempt at constitutionality seems to be little more than an attempt at legitimising a military coup. I would imagine that the vast majority of the real decisions in Egypt tonight continue to be made in the Defence Ministry and not the Presidential Palace.

While ‘managed democracy’ as it is sometimes called by the cronies that benefit from this corrupt system may offer a more stable Egypt; this will be stability bought at the cost of freedom through an oppressive, security state.  It was this oppressive system that was overthrown in January 2011.  I sincerely hope that we are not seeing its rebirth today.

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