Business As Usual in Egypt
by Stephen Lendman
Days of street protests created illusory change. Everything changed but stayed the same. The pattern’s familiar. Ousting Morsi assures same old, same old.
Washington prioritizes Middle East control. It wants it unchallenged. It’s the oil, stupid. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and other regional states have nearly two-thirds of proved world oil reserves. They have huge gas deposits.
Egypt’s the largest Arab country. It’s geopolitically important. It supports America’s imperium. US officials prioritize continuity. Michel Chossudovsky asked: “Was Washington Behind Egypt’s Coup d’Etat?”
What’s known suggests it. Morsi was America’s man in Cairo. Mass public outrage opposed him. Promises made were broken. People needs go unaddressed.
Western monied interests are served. Same old, same old persists. What Washington says goes. People have no say. Democracy’s more illusion than reality. Hardline rule excludes it.
Morsi became damaged goods. He fell from grace. He’s gone. Meaningful change won’t follow. Ousting him wasn’t “against US interests,” said Chossudovsky. “(I)t was instigated to ensure ‘continuity’ on behalf of Washington.”
Throughout the so-called Arab spring, Obama sought “to undermine secular governments in the Middle East and North Africa and install a model ‘Islamic State,’ which would serve US geopolitical and corporate interests.”
“Continuity pertaining to neoliberal economic reform is central to US sponsored regime change.”
Morsi’s empowerment “was conditional upon his acceptance of IMF ‘economic medicine.’ ” It serves Western interests. It’s financial terrorism. It reflects debt entrapment. It serves monied interests.
Structural adjustment harshness is mandated. Morsi’s marching orders included privatizing state enterprises, doing so on the cheap, mass layoffs, deregulation, ignoring public needs, wage freezes or cuts, unrestricted access for Western corporations, marginalizing trade unionism, and cracking down hard on nonbelievers.
Impoverished Egyptians rebelled. Replacing Mubarak with Morsi didn’t help. Conditions are worse than ever. People demand better. They demand change. Ousting Morsi won’t help.
Media reports are wrongheaded. Egypt’s military maintains longstanding ties to the Pentagon. It’s role “is not to protect a grassroots movement,” said Chossudovsky.
It’s to “manipulate the uprising and quell dissent on behalf of Washington.” It’s to insure regime change “does not result in a political transition which undermines US control over the Egyptian State and military.”
Annual US aid isn’t charity. It buys influence. It helps secure control. Egypt’s capital isn’t Cairo. It’s Washington.
US officials decide Egyptian policy. Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) commanders “take their orders from the Pentagon.”
General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi heads SCAF. He’s been top commander since August 2012. He’s Defense and Military Production Minister. He’s a 1977 Egyptian Military Academy graduate. He got US training. He’s a US War College graduate.
He maintains close Pentagon ties. “It is highly unlikely that (he) would have acted without a ‘green light’ from the Pentagon,” said Chossudovsky.
Washington manipulated Mubarak’s ouster. It toppled Morsi. People power didn’t remove them. America did. Media scoundrels don’t explain. Managed news and analysis misinformation substitutes for truth and full disclosure.
New York Times editors headlined “Crisis in Egypt,” saying:
Morsi “was Egypt’s first democratically elected leaderâ€¦.It would be tragic if Egyptians allowed the 2011 revolution (ousting) Mubarak to end with this rejection of democracy.”
Democracy in Egypt is verboten. It doesn’t exist. It never did. It isn’t planned. Hardline rule persists. In 2011, parliamentary elections were held. Ahead of the June 2012 presidential runoff, SCAF reacted.
A two-step process was used. Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) annulled results. It did so illegitimately.
SCAF dissolved parliament. It disbanded the constituent assembly. It was tasked with drafting a new constitution. At issue then and now is retaining junta power.
Egypt’s anti-democratic tradition is longstanding. Elections are corrupted by fraud. Morsi was more anointed than elected. SCAF has final say.
It proposes and vetoes legislation. It convenes and adjourns parliament. It appoints and replaces the prime minister and cabinet members. It decides how Egypt’s governed.
Elected officials serve military ones. Authoritarian rule remains firm. Elections provide a veneer of democracy. It exists in name only. The real thing’s verboten.
SCAF maintains full political, economic and military control. It decides when or if to suspend constitutional rights, institute martial law, enforce censorship, curtail anti-regime protests, marginalize opposition, and restrict assemblies and free movement.
It controls arrests and indefinite detentions. They persist with or without charges. Military tribunals rule. Extrajudicial police state harshness persists. Brute force confronts regime opponents. Rogue states operate this way.
Times editors claimed Washington has “little leverage over either Mr. Morsi or the opposition, which more often than not held Washington at arm’s length.”
Obama “reacted with appropriate caution to Mr. Morsi’s ouster. (He) expressed deep concern over the military’s action, urged all sides to exercise restraint and reiterated that the United States takes no side except to support democracy and the rule of law.”
Washington approved Morsi’s candidacy and “election.” It maintains virtual total leverage over Egyptian policy. It prioritizes unchallenged control. It mandates authoritarian rule. It deplores democracy. It spurns it at home and abroad.
Washington Post editors were no better. “US must suspend aid after Egypt’s coup,” they headlined.
“The armed forces forcibly removed and arrested President Mohamed Morsi, who won 51 percent of the vote in a free and fair election little more than a year ago.”
Obama must “us(e) the leverage of aid to insist on a democratic transition.”
WaPo and other scoundrel media editors exclude what readers most need to know. Misinformation substitutes for truth.
Wall Street Journal editors support neoliberalism writ large. They headlined “After the Coup in Cairo,” saying:
General al-Sisi “promis(ed) new elections, albeit with a timetable.” With “prominent opposition” leaders, he “announce(d) a new ‘roadmap’ for Egypt’s future. (He) proposes a broadly representative committee to rewrite the constitution and to form a technocratic government.”
SCAF doesn’t “seem eager to govern directly. Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet. (He) took power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy.”
It’s hard imagining more convoluted rubbish. An earlier 9/11 ousted Salvador Allende. Piranhas replaced him. Chile became an unfettered capitalist laboratory. It became the first Chicago School state.
Chileans experienced brave new world harshness. State terror enforced it. Hardline shock therapy was instituted. Doing so transformed South America’s most vibrant democracy into laissez faire hell. Coup d’etat viciousness ruled.
Technocrats decided economic policy. Inflation exploded. In the first year, it hit 375%. Mass layoffs cost thousands of jobs. Social safety net protections disappeared. Economic contraction caused mass suffering. Cheap imports flooded the country. Local businesses died.
Free market paradise meant unemployment, poverty, hunger, homelessness, and brutal crackdowns on resisters. By the late 1980s, nearly half of Chilean households were impoverished.
Privileged elites benefitted hugely. Inequality remains extreme. Chile is one of Latin America’s the most unequal societies. Longstanding policies shifted wealth upward.
One percent of the population benefitted greatly. It has over one-third of Chile’s wealth. Inflation adjusted pay for 90% of society declined. It rose 150% for its 1% and 300% for its 0.1%.
Chicago School fundamentalism creates wastelands. Chile remains a model of economic unfairness. Crony capitalism reflects out-of-control corruption, inequality and injustice.
In Western and many other societies, neoliberal harshness robs millions of futures. Don’t expect Journal editors to explain.
A Final Comment
Washington supports wealth, power, and privilege. Hardline rule is prioritized. Democracy is verboten. It’s not tolerated at home and abroad.
Fraudulent elections substitute for open, free and fair ones. Media control fosters group think. Absolute control is mandated.
Ordinary people have no say. Ideological extremism harms millions. Monied interests alone matter. Imperial priorities take precedence. People needs go begging. Inequality is institutionalized. Don’t expect media scoundrels to explain.
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.