When Is a Coup not One?
by Stephen Lendman
“What’s in a name,” asked Shakespeare? A coup by any other name doesn’t change things.
It isn’t one when it’s “our coup, a ‘good cause’ coup,” said Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins. Western diplomats are scrambling to characterize it otherwise.
Coups are called “military interventions with good intent.” Saying they reflect good v. evil struggles doesn’t wash.
Merriam-Webster calls them “a violent decisive exercise of force in politics; especially the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group.”
The Oxford Dictionaries defines them as “sudden, violent, and illegal seizure(s) of power from a government.
According to Wikipedia:
A coup or putsch “is the sudden deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment – typically the military – to depose the extant government and replace it with another body, civil or military.”
A coup “is considered successful when the usurpers establish their dominance.”
A coup is a coup is a coup. Claiming otherwise doesn’t wash. Diktat power rules Egypt. Tanks patrol streets. Demonstrators were shot and killed. Many others were injured. Numerous arrests were made.
Martial law was declared. Egypt’s constitution was suspended. 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 are in custody. Freedom and Justice Party head Saad el-Katatni was arrested. So was Muslim Brotherhood deputy head Khairet el-Shater.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr called John Kerry. He claimed Morsi wasn’t toppled by military coup. Definitions are important. They matter. More on that below.
“The American side is a strategic partner for Egypt and the welfare of the Egypt is important to them,” said Amr.
He’s a career diplomat. On Tuesday, he resigned. He’ll stay on until a interim technocratic government is named.
“I hope that they read the situation in the right way, that this is not a military coup in any way,” he added. “This was actually the overwhelming will of the people.”
Kerry said Egypt remains a strategic ally. Saying so assures business as usual.
Amr briefed other foreign ministers. He spoke to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“Definitely what happened was not a military coup,” he claimed. “I know that last night and today some people are saying this. Of course, I can understand. But what happened, definitely, definitely, was not a military coup.”
“There is no role, no political role whatsoever, for the military. This is the total opposite of a military coup.”
He stressed transitioning to new leadership. He lied claiming coup authority doesn’t rule. Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) holds total power. Political leaders serve at their pleasure. Generals have final say.
Robert Fisk asked “When is a military coup not a military coup? When it happens in Egypt, apparently.”
Quelle surprise. “For the first time in the history of the world, a coup is not a coup.”
“The army take over, deposes and imprisons the democratically elected president, suspends the constitution, arrests the usual suspects, closes down television stations and masses their armor in the streets of the capital.”
“But the word ‘coup’ does not – and cannot – cross the lips of the Blessed Barack Obama. Nor does the hopeless UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon dare to utter such an offensive word.”
Is it because Egyptians demanded one? Maybe it’s because Obama fears acknowledgment “force(s) the US to impose sanctions” on a strategically important ally.
Around a $1.5 billion in annual aid’s at stake. US law prohibits funding coup d’etat governments. More on that below.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice once called democracy “messy.” Obama claims Egypt’s on track for democracy. Maybe he means US-style. It’s fake. It’s in name only. It’s illusory, not real.
Paul Craig Roberts calls lawlessness “the new normal.” It reflects how America and key allies are governed. Diktat power rules. Laws are made to be broken. Freedom’s a four-letter word. It’s fast disappearing. Tyranny’s the law of the land.
Puppet leaders serve US interests. Sovereignty’s quaint and out of date. Neocolonialism replaced it. What Washington says goes. Imperial priorities alone matter.
“Stand by then for the first US delegation to visit the country which has suffered the coup-that-wasn’t,” said Fisk.
“And you’ll know whether they believe there was a coup or not by the chaps they visit on their arrival in Cairo: the army, of course.”
Financial Times chief foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman asked “When is a coup not a coup?”
Obama can’t summon the “C” word. His lips move. He won’t say what he knows is so. If it looks like one, it is. Egypt isn’t ready for prime time. Good v. evil doesn’t explain what’s ongoing.
Events there show “that complexity, confusion and moral compromise cannot, unfortunately, be avoided in international affairs,” said Rachman. Sweeping reality under the rug can’t hide it.
The New York Times headlined “A Coup? Or Something Else? $1.5 Billion in US Aid Is on the Line.”
“By all accounts, the generals removed the democratically elected president, put him in detention, arrested his allies and suspended the Constitution,” said The Times.
“Army vehicles and soldiers in riot gear roamed the streets, while jet fighters roared overhead.”
“But was it a military coup d’etat? For the White House and the new Egyptian government, that is the $1.5 billion question.”
Obama lied saying:
“I have directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under US law for our assistance to the government of Egypt.”
US law requires doing so. According to the 2006 Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act, “none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.”
Other US laws are relevant. The 1961 Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) prohibits aiding governments engaged:
“in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of person, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country.”
The Leahy Law provision of the 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (FOAA) (Sec. 8092 of PL 106-259) states:
“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to support any training program involving a unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of Defense has received credible information from the Department of State that a member of such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, unless all necessary corrective steps have been taken.”
FOAA prohibits funding foreign security forces involved in gross human rights violations. It’s proscribed unless “effective measures (are taken) to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice.”
Egypt’s record is longstanding. It’s consistent. It commits appalling human rights abuses. Washington rewards its crimes. Geopolitical priorities matter more.
They’re more important than international, constitutional and US statute laws. They exist in name only. They’re willfully violated. Aid goes to nations deserving none.
Israel has an appalling human rights record. It gets more aid than most other nations combined. It gets state-of-the-art weapons, munitions and technology. It gets more on request.
It gets benefits afforded no other countries. It killing machine benefits. The same goes for Egypt. Its record is hugely repressive. It’s a police state.
Junta power rules. Democracy’s verboten. Elections are manipulated and controlled. People have no say. Elected officials know who’s boss. Go along or be replaced is policy.
On Friday, Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour dissolved the Shura Council. It’s Egypt’s upper house of parliament. Events continue fast moving.
Troops used live fire against nonviolent demonstrators. Four deaths were reported. Muslim Brotherhood official Issam al-Aryani called on Freedom and Justice Party supporters to “stay in the squares” and protest.
He urged noncooperation with Egypt’s “raped” government. Muslim Brotherhood members aren’t going gentle into that good night.
They’re not going quietly. They aren’t vanishing without a fight. They’re outnumbered and outgunned. It remains to be seen what follows.
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.
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