FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Implications of the Egyptian Military Coup

by BINOY KAMPMARK

Military coups are no reason to celebrate. They derail the very idea of democratic institutions and sentiment. And it so happens that democracy gave Egypt the now deposed President Mohamed Morsi, an option that his opponents found contentious. The Egyptian military, in its espoused wisdom, decided that keeping Morsi was too much to bear, a costly experiment that was taking lives and fracturing the state.

Enter then, by default, the position Egypt found itself under General Hosni Mubarak, when the Muslim Brotherhood was regarded with deep suspicion and kept under strong military wrapping.

Now Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, and leading followers have been re-wrapped, and the experiment of the Muslim Brotherhood put on deep ice.  The Tamarod campaign has gotten its prized scalp, ostensibly centred on a secular counter to the Muslim Brotherhood.  The Tamarod campaign was itself founded in April by members of the Kefaya movement, which reached prominence during the Mubarak-era.

Tamarod prides itself on being a grassroots response, lacking supporters from the big end of town. The claim is not clearly verifiable, and once the campaign gathered steam, other parties latched on its coattails with tactical enthusiasm.  Last week, the movement claimed to have obtained the spectacular number of 15 million signatures, 2 million more than those who voted for Morsi.  Now, the number stands at over 20 million.

The responses to the ouster have varied, though they follow strict lines of political and religious thinking in the region.  The Syrian government have found reason to cheer at the overthrow and detention of Morsi and his supporters.  “Syria’s people and leadership and army express their deep appreciation for the national populist movement in Egypt which has yielded a great achievement” (AFP, Jul 4).  Hypocrisy is something some regimes do better than others, and Bashar al-Assad’s endorsement of one form of populist uprising over another shows the state of mental confusion that attends some governments.

His is by no means the only one.  The Obama administration will not miss the Morsi regime, yet is happy backing an opposition movement in Syria seething with fundamentalist sentiment.

Nor will the United Arab Emirates, whose regime is happily disposed to crushing dissent and any whiff of democratic ferment, feel any remorse to Morsi’s departure.  The statement by Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan was filled with encouragement, not for the secular movement that had initiated the army’s reaction, but the Egyptian army itself.  “Egypt’s great army once more proves that it is Egypt’s protector … that will ensure it remains a country of institutions and law that protects all components of the brotherly Egyptian people.”

This is the rhetoric of despotic vengeance, not reform.  Needless to say, any Egyptian Tamarod campaigner is unlikely to be welcomed in the UAE, a political entity that prohibits the membership of political parties altogether.

In contrast Turkey, facing its own populist movement against a long term ruler, has expressed concern over the undemocratic ouster.  It all depends on how that fictitious term “a people’s will” is interpreted.  For Turkish deputy prime minister Bekir Bozdag claimed in Ankara that, “The power change in Egypt was not a result of the will of the people.  The change was not in compliance with democracy and law” (Al-Ahram Online, Jul 4).  The sentiments are hardly surprising given the efforts by Turkey’s Islamic Justice and Development Party to establish ties with Morsi’s government.

Where Tamarod goes, or for that matter the Egyptian military, are the open questions for the moment.  Coups by definition repudiate democracy, and Morsi was the choice of the democratic movement, however misplaced it might have initially seemed.  His opponents thought otherwise.  They will cite, with some justification, that democracy at the end of the gun is a sham experiment.

The fear now is whether one of North Africa’s most significant powers becomes the enlarged battleground for the Islamic experiment in what was misguidedly labelled the Arab Spring.  In Tunisia, there is a promise that a mirrored movement will take the reins of protest.  Their target is the Islamic experiment that came to replace the despotism the “spring” was meant to remove.

Few in the new movement will miss Morsi, but there is little reason to be too joyous.  When nature abhors a vacuum, it fills it with the most astonishing assortment of things.  A military regime with no timetable for transitional change is hardly a point of encouragement.

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

 

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

More articles by:
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail