What’s Next in Egypt?
by Stephen Lendman
Morsi’s out. Junta power rules. Generals have final say. Democracy’s verboten. Popular interests don’t matter. They never did. They don’t now. What’s next?
Headlines said Egyptians celebrated Morsi’s ouster. Fireworks lit up Cairo’s sky. On February 12, 2011, jubilant crowds reacted the same way. Millions hailed Mubarak’s removal. People overthrew entrenched power, they believed.
Hoped for change didn’t follow. So-called Arab spring didn’t bloom. It wasn’t meant to. Expect nothing different this time.
Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. It’s de rigueur. It’s true throughout the region. It’s how things are in Western and most other societies.
Washington largely dictates Egyptian policy. One to two billion dollars annually buys lots of influence. Imperial power assures it most of all.
Egyptians want real change. They want vital concerns addressed. They want real democracy, not pretense. They want respect, not repression.
They want decent jobs and pay, affordable prices, and better services. They want longstanding corruption ended. They want poverty alleviated.
They deserve it and much more. They’ve been denied much too long. They put their bodies on the line for change. They showed courage doing so.
Morsi’s stripped of power. He and his presidential team are under house arrest. They’re held at a military intelligence facility. Warrants were issued for hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members.
Some already are in custody. Freedom and Justice Party head Saad el-Katatni was arrested. So was Muslim Brotherhood deputy head Khairet el-Shater.
Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said:
“The address of the president (Tuesday) did not meet the demands of the people.” He added that talks remain ongoing to agree on an interim transition.
Before his ouster, Morsi said he didn’t recognize coup authority. He urged mass opposition. He’s out of office. He’s out of luck. He may end up in prison. He’s powerless to prevent what’s planned.
Coup d’etat power rules. Martial law was declared. Egypt’s constitution was suspended. A new one will be written.
Parliamentary elections were promised. SCAF said soon as possible. Perhaps months will pass before held. They’ll lack legitimacy like last time.
Military.com headlined “Marines Put on Standby to Respond to Egypt Unrest,” saying:
Marines in Spain, Italy and perhaps elsewhere are poised to intervene. Military.com said they may be sent to Cairo to protect and/or evacuate US citizens. They’ll guard Washington’s embassy.
Perhaps Obama has something else in mind. Pentagon spokesman George Little said:
“We do believe we have taken steps to ensure our military is ready to respond to a range of contingencies.” He stopped short of elaborating.
On July 3, a White House statement was typically duplicitous. It expressed support for “core (democratic) principles (and) universal human rights.”
Obama’s words rang hollow. They always do. He deplores what he claims to endorse. He “urge(d) all sides to avoid violence and come together to ensure the lasting restoration of Egypt’s democracy.”
Egypt never had democracy. It has none now. It won’t no matter what happens going forward. Entrenched power rules. Washington supports it.
Obama’s right saying “(t)he longstanding partnership between the United States and Egypt is based on shared interests and values.” He didn’t explain. He means power, not populism.
Morsi was Washington’s man. He became damaged goods. He fell from grace. SCAF’s coup followed Obama’s approval. Good relations with America matter. Much depends on them.
Ousting Morsi required permission to do so. Defying Washington is a bad idea. It risks trouble. It assures retaliation. SCAF knows how things work. Going along to get along is fundamental.
Obama effectively endorsed Morsi’s removal. He duplicitously requested Egypt’s military to “move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process.”
On July 4, Voice of Russia headlined “Judge to lead Egypt after army ousts Morsi,” saying:
SCAF chose Adly Mansour. He’s interim president. He’s an establishment figure. He heads Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court.
He helped draft legal procedures ahead of Egypt’s June 2012 election. On June 1, he was appointed SCC chief justice. Now he’s interim president.
Former IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei is Egypt’s interim prime minister. He heads the so-called National Salvation Front. He does so jointly with former Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa and Egyptian Popular Current leader Hamdeen Sabahi.
It’s an anti-Morsi umbrella group. It represents divergent views. It defends privilege against populism. It’s pro-Western. It offers no change.
Ordinary Egyptians are entirely left out. Soon enough they’ll know. Celebratory exuberance won’t last. Widespread anger will again erupt.
Mansour and ElBarardei represent same old, same old. They’ll govern until parliamentary elections are held. ElBaradei looks like Washington’s choice to lead. If elected, Egyptians will again be cheated.
He’s a longstanding establishment figure. Populism’s not his mandate. It’s not his concern. He represents what Egyptians deplore. Soon enough they’ll know.
He’s a pro-Western stooge. His credentials are worrisome. He’s connected to the International Crisis Group. In 1995, it was founded by former World Bank vice president Mark Malloch Brown and former US diplomat Morton Abramowitz. It supports power, not popular interests.
Current and former top officials include Zbigniew Brzezinski, General Wesley Clark, Kofi Annan, Javier Solana, Larry Summers, George Mitchell, Thomas Pickering, George Soros, Kenneth Adelman, Stanley Fischer, and Carla Hills among others.
Ahead of Mubarak’s ouster, ElBaradei supported the US-backed April 6 Youth Movement. Egypt’s so-called revolution was more color than real. Its strategy was fomenting unrest.
It’s objective was regime change. It’s about installing pro-Western puppets. When previous ones fall from grace, they’re replaced. ElBaradei’s a reliable imperial ally.
He’s a 2005 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Nearly always it’s for establishment figures. It reeks of hypocrisy. Disreputable recipients win. It’s more about war, not peace.
Steven A. Cook is a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) senior fellow. He specializes in Middle Eastern studies. On March 26, 2010, he headlined “Is ElBaradei Egypt’s Hero?”
“Egypt’s close relationship with the United States has become a critical and negative factor in Egyptian politics,” he said.
“The opposition has used these ties to delegitimize the regime, while the government has engaged in its own displays of anti-Americanism to insulate itself from such charges.”
“If ElBaradei actually has a reasonable chance of fostering political reform in Egypt, then US policymakers would best serve his cause by not acting strongly.”
“Somewhat paradoxically, ElBaradei’s chilly relationship with the United States as IAEA chief only advances US interests now.”
ElBaradei’s a useful stooge for good reason. He won’t be accused of being one. He’s part of Washington’s plan going forward.
He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s connected to America’s power elite. They’ll present him as a unifying figure. The new boss resembles previous ones. It’s true for reasons mattering most.
ElBaradei looks like Washington’s new man in Cairo. Watch for scoundrel media endorsements. Foreign Policy associate editor David Kenner asked “Could (he) be Egypt’s Next Ruler?”
Rumors suggest maybe so. Ahead of Morsi’s ouster he told Kenner “John Kerry had raised the possibility with him.” At the time, he denied interest.
“At this stage,” he said, “I think I would be more effective frankly being outside the system and try to focus on the bigger picture.”
Saying it perhaps was diplomatic coyness. At the same time, he didn’t discount the possibility. He stressed getting Egypt on the “right track” going forward.
Doing so requires Washington-endorsed leadership. Maybe he has himself in mind. His agenda isn’t what Egyptians want or deserve. They’ll know soon enough.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.