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Sabotaging Egyptian Revolution

William Burns the Deputy Secretary of StateThe June 30th Egyptian revolution had been over-analyzed, scrutinized, criticized, mislabeled, and distorted by many writers, analysts, politicians, and governments. This was a national Intifada (uprising) through which Egyptians had expressed their will in purely democratic means. Despite the military interference, in response to popular calls, to preserve peace and to prevent bloodshed, calling this revolution a military coup, and accusing the American administration of orchestrating it, is a great distortion of facts and is an insult to the 37 million Egyptians who demonstrated in every city against the Muslim Brotherhood’s semi-dictatorial power grabbing rule.

Understanding this national Intifada requires an understanding of Egypt’s history, its political structure, the diversified mindsets of its people (urban and rural), their socio-economic structure, their diverse Christian and sub-Muslim groups, and a follow up of the country’s daily flow of events.

Egypt was a British colony after WWII. Among the freedom fighters against the British occupation was the Muslim Brotherhood, who adopted assassination of British officials and their cronies as its mode of operation. Egypt gained independence in 1952 after the Free Officers’ Revolt led by Gamal Abdel Nasser. After its failed assassination attempt of President Nasser for aligning with communist Soviet Union, the Brotherhood was banned and its leaders were persecuted and jailed. The Brotherhood continued its violent operations though underground, and eventually succeeded in assassinating President Sadat in 1981 for signing Camp David Peace Accord with Israel. Mubarak cracked down on the Brotherhood and jailed many of its members including Mohammad Morsi. During January 2011 revolution Brotherhood leaders, including Morsi, broke out of jail. The desire to include all Egyptian groups in the new government gave the Brotherhood the opportunity to form a political party; Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) that won presidential election and Morsi became a president.

The Muslim Brotherhood has many branches and off shoots in many Islamic states. Their ultimate goal is the establishment of a Caliphate-like state in the Islamic World with their own distorted interpretation of Sahri’a rule with Egypt as a central command. Contrary to the wrong perception authentic Shari’a calls for a democratic parliamentary-like rule called Shaura (council). With some modifications Shari’a could be fit to meet 21st century political demands.

Unfortunately, Morsi followed the instructions of the local Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Mohammad Badie, and put the Brotherhood’s power-grab agenda ahead of the country’s needs for reforms, security, justice and economical improvement. Regardless of qualification and experience Brotherhood members were appointed to sensitive governmental positions.

People took to the streets many times expressing their dissatisfaction, but Morsi did not heed to their demands. The youth formed a Tamarrod (rebel) movement and gathered around 25 million signatures on a petition calling for Morsi’s resignation and for early presidential re-election. On June 30th, one year after Morsi became President; an estimated of 37 million Egyptians jammed the streets and squares of all major cities demanding Morsi’s resignation and re-election. After giving Morsi an ultimatum the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) deposed Morsi and assigned an interim technocratic government to plan for election.  

The Brotherhood did not give up. Morsi’s presidency has been the Brotherhood’s first and maybe the only opportunity, throughout the last 85 years, to establish a nucleus Islamic state that would eventually expand to cover the whole Muslim World.   Its leaders called on people to declare civil disobedience, to demonstrate in the streets, to attack Republican Guard Headquarters, to attack military and police stations in Sinai, to have sit-ins encircling State institutions especially the military, and to demand Morsi’s re-instatement.

The International Council of the Muslim Brotherhood gathered last weekend (July 13 & 14) in Turkey to discuss the Brotherhood’s setback in Egypt and its devastating effects on the Brotherhood branches throughout the Islamic World. They portrayed Morsi’s removal as a military coup and came up with aggressive confrontational agenda including violent attacks on Egyptian armed forces, plans to affect division within the military institution, persecuting certain military officials, launching propaganda campaign against the armed forces, and petitioning the US to cease all military aid to the Egyptian armed forces citing Senator John McCain’s campaign towards this goal. Ironically and comparatively, Egypt’s enemy, Israel, had encouraged Obama’s administration not to cut military aid to Egypt. American military aid to Egypt is just an American tool used by the administration to interfere in, and to impose conditions on the Egyptian armed forces.

We need to understand that this aid, estimated to be $1.3 billion, does not come as monetary payment into Egyptian treasury. Rather the administration uses this amount to buy American made light weapons and military transports; armored personnel couriers and helicopters, to be used by Egyptian military to fight alleged terrorists and to protect Israeli borders.

Many critics had labeled this Egyptian national uprising as a military coup because the Armed Forces moved to depose of Morsi. Unfortunately they did not consider the full definition of a military coup, which states that military officers would forcefully install themselves as state rulers similar to what happened in 2011 when a military coup toppled President Mubarak and the SCAF assumed power to govern with Mohamed Tantawi; Chairman of the SCAF, becoming the de facto head of state. This was not the case this time around. As a servant of the people, the SCAF has executed the will of the people; 37 million of them. They deposed a failed and unpopular government, and paved the way for an interim technocratic government. The Armed Forces are undivided part of the people, and their job is to preserve security. Let us remember that this is the same SCAF, who helped appoint Morsi as President in 2011 with an electoral margin of 2% believing that such appointment would preserve national security.

The SCAF was also criticized by many for allegedly cracking down violently on pro-Morsi peaceful demonstrators, shooting and killing 52 of them while praying, including children, in front of the Republican Guard Headquarters in Cairo, attacking and killing many pro-Morsi peaceful demonstrators in Sinai, shutting down Brotherhood’s Islamic radio and TV channels, and jailing Brotherhood’s Imams and political leaders.

Those, who closely followed the daily flow of events, read local newspapers, and watched the non-stop TV coverage; know very well that such criticism is not valid. The position of the Armed Forces was neutral. They stood as a barrier between the pro- and anti-Brotherhood government to prevent violent confrontation and bloodshed. They have arrested many heavily armed elements, who turned out to be pro-Brotherhood, trying to deliver arms to demonstrators.  Videos presented by the SCAF during a press conference showed clearly armed pro-Brotherhood demonstrators attacking the Republican Guard Headquarters with automatic weapons, Molotov fire-bombs and hand grenades. They also showed masked snipers shooting at both demonstrators and military personnel in order to incite more hatred and violence. It was also demonstrated that the pictures of alleged children victims, that were posted by Brotherhood’s websites and broadcasted by Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya TV channels, were actually pictures of Syrian children killed by the Syrian terrorists. In Sinai militants armed with heavy weapons attacked police stations and military base prompting the military to defend themselves and to recapture their base. Such attacks have become daily occurrences in Sinai where militants use automatic machine guns and propelled rockets killing scores of Egyptian soldiers and police officers.

These armed assailants attacking police and armed forces are considered traitors to the country and enemy combatants, and the Armed Forces have all the rights and the duty to oppose them with whatever means available to them. It appeared that these enemy combatants were financed, armed, trained and activated by some Brotherhood’s leaders such as Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, Mahdy Akef and Mohamed El-Beltagy. El-Beltagy had openly and emphatically declared, during an interview on Al-Jazeera, that attacks in Sinai and on the Republican Guards would continue unabated until Morsi is re-instated back to power. Such statements and others prompted SCAF to issue an arrest warrants against these leaders for further investigations.

The interim government had also shutdown Brotherhood’s radio and TV stations due to their calling for violence and inciting hatred against all anti-Brotherhood protesters, politicians, media reporters and TV channels, calling them cronies of Mubarak’s era deep government, and anti-Islamic heretics who deserve to be killed. These channels were portraying the conflict as religious; Muslims (Brotherhoods) vs. Christians and non-Muslims despite the fact that the majority of the protesters were actually Muslims. The Qatari-funded Islamic cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi was shipped to Egypt to spew more hatred and violence against anti-Brotherhood protesters through his poisonous distorted religious edicts.  No government in the world would allow such hate and violence inciting media channels to operate within its borders.

Many had defended what they called the democratic legitimacy of Morsi’s presidency earned by Egyptian first free election, and his right to continue his presidency for full term. This legitimacy had been in question since its start because it did not follow the conventional protocols of democratic election. The democratic convention mandates the establishment of a constitution and a parliamentary election to precede presidential election. In Morsi’s case the exact reversal was followed; the president was elected, the constitution was still challengingly established and the parliamentary election was stalled. Legitimacy springs from the will of the people. The Egyptians, who granted Morsi legitimacy, have also withdrawn this legitimacy from him when he failed to perform his duties.  Proven failure, the people could not afford to grant Morsi three more failing years that could lead the country to disaster. Providing that Morsi has his own supporters, who took into the streets demanding his re-instatement, yet 2-3 millions of them do not compare to anti-Morsi 37 million.

Finally, many had tried to discredit this national uprising with accusations that it was launched by the American administration, who wanted to get rid of Morsi’s Islamic government, who opposed the American dictates and threatened Israeli security.  This is farthest from the truth.

The operation mode of American foreign policies around the globe generally, and in the Middle East specifically, had been the support of both dictatorial regimes, and to a very limited extent their oppositions through NGOs. The US supports, finances, and arms the dictators as long as they serve American interests by suppressing local people, adopting American economic monopolies, and protecting Israel’s security and its expanding policies. When political circumstances demand regime change, as they often do, the American administration would help topple the dictator and push the groomed opposition into power to continue the same policies but with different faces. This is what had happened in Egypt in 2011. When Egyptians got fed up with Mubarak’s 30 years oppressive rule and rejected the plan to install his son in his place, the American administration helped topple Mubarak’s regime through the manipulation of young Egyptian activists, who had been already indoctrinated, trained and financed by American NGO groups such as International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, National Endowment for Democracy, and Project on Middle East Democracy (refer to my previous article: The Snake Behind the Arab Spring.)

In their so-called Arab Spring scheme to shutter and divide the Middle East into smaller warring states, the American Zionist power elite had financed and armed fundamentalist extremist violent Islamic fanatic minority sects such as Salafis, Wahabis, and Muslim Brotherhood, the latter receiving the lion’s share of support as happened in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt. 

In Egypt the American Zionist power elite pushed the Brotherhood into power on the condition that they maintain the Camp David Accord peace agreement with Israel, maintain the economic siege against Gaza, pressure Gaza’s Palestinian freedom fighters not to fire rockets at Israeli settlements, cut off all Iranian relations with Egypt and with Gaza, recruit fighters to fight the Syrian regime, perform security operations in Sinai, open Egypt’s air space for the US military flights giving them easier and faster access to the broader Middle East and North African regions, and guarantee secured unimpeded transit through Suez Canal for the American Navy.

Leaked letters of the US Department of State proved that Morsi was even more cooperative with the American/Israeli side than Mubarak. After meeting with the Brotherhood’s Mukhabarat (intelligence) some Israeli security experts and politicians had expressed, during a TV interview, their surprise and delight to the unexpected extent of cooperation Mursi’s government had offered. 

The US and Israel have not yet reaped the fruits of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, and did not have the time yet to groom new opposition groups. They wanted to keep the Brotherhood in power but could not ignore the Egyptian democratic tidal wave. “Brotherhood without Violence” is a new religious group formed by defectors from the main stream Muslim Brotherhood. Some of its leading members claimed in a TV interview that the Americans had paid Brotherhood leaders $800 millions to keep pro-Morsi protesters in the streets for 48 hours hoping to alter the outcome. They also confessed that many of the pro-Morsi protesters were armed and ready for confrontation. Confrontations did take place between pro- and anti-Morsi protesters resulting in deaths and injuries.

After the formation of the interim government the American administration understood that there is no return to Morsi, and had sent William Burns; the Deputy Secretary of State, to negotiate and to bribe members of the new government. Burns was followed the next day by Catherine Ashton; the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the EU, to exert further pressure on the new government. The American controlled Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were encouraged to offer billions of dollars to Egypt’s treasury as a stepping foot to interfere in Egypt’s affairs and to manipulate the outcome of the coming presidential election.

If the interim government would give way under foreign interference, would not include the youth leaders in the government, and would not adopt serious economic and political reforms, Egypt would, undoubtedly, experience a third revolution in the near future.

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