The simple definition of a coup d’etat is that of an organized action by the armed forces of a country meant to overthrow and replace its government. The coup can be successful (the former government is replaced by a new one controlled by the military) or not (the government stays in power), it can be temporary (the military relinquishes power quickly) or permanent (the military remains in control for lengthy periods of time), bloody or bloodless. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been overthrown and his departure facilitated the return of generals to power in Egypt. But now the conscience keepers around the world are left wondering as to why the elections were so easily cancelled and also so quickly? How could, in future, an election process guarantee a peaceful way to attain power?” Poor Morsi was elected merely a year ago.
Many countries around the world have expressed their displeasure and the rejection of the military coup. The phenomenon is not limited to governments alone. Newspapers around the world have expressed their reservations on the matter. The African Union (consisting of 54 countries) announced from its headquarters in Addis Ababa, that it has suspended Egypt’s membership in protest against the coup. The Union’s Council for Peace and Security suspended Egypt’s membership based on “the unconstitutional manner in which authority was attained” in Egypt. Strong comments were made by the Islamist leader of the Sudanese opposition Hassan al-Turabi. He condemned the isolation of Mohammad Morsi and deemed what happened in Egypt to be “a coup against democracy and legitimacy”. Turabi said that “Morsi was the first leader to be democratically elected and to issue a constitution that was accepted by the people”.
The New York Times had published an article stating that regardless of President Morsi’s performance, he was a democratically elected leader and the army’s overthrow of him is nothing short of a military coup. The tragedy will only worsen if the Egyptian people allow for their successful revolution, which ousted military dictator Hosni Mubarak, to end with the army’s refusal to accept democracy. The article emphasized that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood will have to play a role in any future governments and that any refusal to acknowledge this point will make democracy in Egypt nothing more than a lie. Germany considers the coup in Egypt to be a ‘democratic failure’ and encouraged ‘Egypt to return to constitutional order as soon as possible.’ French president François Hollande also criticized the coup against the democratic process in Egypt; “the democratic process in Egypt has been stopped and it is imperative that it returns as soon as possible.” The Belgian government also announced its rejection of the coup because it goes against the legitimacy that the Egyptian people fought for. Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign affairs Didier Reynders said; “No sane person could have expected what happened and the military overthrow of President Morsi is a coup against both democracy and legitimacy. Egypt will never achieve a legitimate democracy under military rule.”
The pertinent question is – Who is behind the coup? Egypt has always played an important role in protecting the interests of Israel and the West in face of ever growing animosity between the Arabs and Israel.
In hindsight, the early enthusiasm for Egypt’s 3 July coup is waning. On the flip side, the current(new) President Adly Mansour is scheduling the trial on 25 August of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie,, Khairat el-Shater and other leaders who are accused of killing protesters. It reminds one of the tragic overthrow of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto by army-man Zia ul-Haque. It is now part of history that Bhutto was later executed on trumped-up charges in 1979.
Off late Egypt can be called a country of coups, beginning from 2011 to 2013, one coup for every year. First 2011 coup, the first spring, was a benign one where Mubarak had to go to jail, visit hospitals and courts. The world in general and Arab world in particular took a sigh of relief as the devout Islamic society was freed from the clutches of Clean Shaven Tyrants. A genuine election process followed in 2012 and Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party, gained majority of the seats in Parliament. But the ride turned more bumpy from there. De facto President Mohamed Tantawi disbanded the newly elected parliament and stripped the incumbent President Mohamed Morsi of most of his powers. It seemed that Mosri would not be able to move. He was hamstrung and sure to fail. As the demands of civilized worlds are forcing the dictators to dispense with the old-style brutal saturnalia, the modern coup need the patina of democracy, elections, right noises and catchy slogans. The New World Order is ‘democratic’, governed by elections but need also a rubber stamp for the super powers.
Morsi refused to play the game at their terms. He decided to beard the lion in his den. Let us know that the entire army leadership which matured over the past 40 years under presidents Sadat and Mubarak, was trained in the UK/ US (UK Joint Command and Staff College, 1992/ US Army War College, 2006). Gen Sisi who also had close ties to Saudi Arabia also is man of Washington. His thesis at the US Army War College argued that democracy in the Middle East and North Africa would only take root if it sought “public support from religious leaders who could build strong support for the establishment of democratic systems.” Initially, the US/ Egyptian army had decided initially to give Morsi some democratic space and make him a token figurehead while the all powers remains with West backed army.
But Morsi surprised everyone; he turned the tables. He attempted to assert control over the military and forced Israel to put on hold another military adventure in Gaza; he refused to bow to IMF pressure on food subsidies; he rejected intense pressure to join Turkey and the West in invading Syria; he made overtures to Iran on normalizing relations and finding a peaceful solution to the Syrian civil war and that was his Waterloo. West could not digest the last daring step. Adding insult to injury, he forged ahead with the Shura Council and wrote a new constitution, incorporating much sharia.
In fact Washington’s new-old Middle East strategy had always been to use pseudo-Islamists like the Saudis to con the masses into supporting the imperial agenda. But it resulted in Frankensteins in the form of al-Qaeda. US had to temporarily shut more than 20 embassies and consulates in Muslim countries due to the threat of an al-Qaeda attack. Gen Sisi, the Washington’s own man, is at the helm of affairs in Egypt. Morsi is cooling his heals. Egypt is being bathed in blood again.
Back to the current coup in Eqypt – an open return to the bloody traditions which is alarming for both the world as well Egypt. What went wrong? The situation is both tragic and absurd. One could recall from the pages of history – The Muslim world has had more than its share of US-backed coups—Syria (1949+), Iran (1953), Turkey (1960, 1971, 1980), Iraq (1963), Libya (1969), Pakistan (1977), Yemen (1978). And they all backfired.
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