Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Egyptian Revolution Derailed, Contained


A fourth wave of the Egyptian revolution seems inevitable, until the revolution changes the regime or the regime emerges victorious, pending another revolution.

The January 25 revolution in Egypt, which removed the former president Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011 and, in its second wave, overwhelmed the first anniversary of his elected successor Mohammad Morsi on June 30, 2013 with millions over millions of anti – Muslim Brotherhood protesters until the military intervened to remove him in turn three days later, is now entering its third stage without yet being completed, fulfilled or finished.

In a statement issued on July 27, 2013, US Secretary of State John Kerry grasped the fact that the Egyptian revolution has not yet run its course; “Its final verdict is not yet decided,” he said, “but it will be forever impacted by what happens right now.” He described the situation prevailing “now” as a “pivotal moment for Egypt.”

Years ago, John C. Campbel, in “Foreign Policy,” had described the Middle East as “a house of containment built on shifting sands,” from the perspective of the United States, and his description still applies today, no better than to the current state of affairs in Egypt, where the state has become more like a house of cards.

So far, Egypt’s revolution was more a “regime exchange” than a “regime change.” The old pro – U.S. market economy centers of power had merely rotated power among the liberal “remnants” of the Mubarak regime and the conservatives of his opposition led by the Muslim Brotherhood, with the military playing the role of the arbiter. For example, the Sawiris family billionaires who were milking them are coming back now after they were replaced by the billionaire and MB leader Khairat al-Shater and his ilks during the Morsi era. They were thus far successful in derailing and containing the revolution, which has changed nothing of the old regime, neither internally nor externally.

This rotation of power has so far proved an effective mechanism in containing the revolution and derailing it away from evolving into a new order. The political polarization along these lines is another mechanism; Mazda Majidi on July 20 wrote on the Web site of the U.S. Party of Socialism and Liberation: “A long confrontation with the military on one side and Brotherhood supporters on the other could yield a situation where the people in the streets right now will be sidelined,” and consequently their revolution aborted.

Washington D.C. is adapting to this “regime exchange” in order to prevent a “change in the regime,” which the successive US administrations have nurtured as a strategic asset to both the United States and its Israeli regional ally since the Camp David accords of 1979.

Answering his question whether the removal of Morsi was a U.S.-engineered coup, Majidi wrote that “Washington would have had no incentive to orchestrate a military coup to overthrow the Muslim Brotherhood (MB);” Morsi “worked well with the U.S.,” “played a key role” in brokering a truce between Israel and Hamas in late 2012,” and in the conflict in Syria, he and the MB “were solidly behind the U.S. effort to overthrow the Syrian state;” accordingly, “Washington could live with Morsi, but it obviously has no problems with Egypt’s military,” who are the most committed to the strategic ties with the U.S. and the best guardians of the peace treaty with Israel.

Maintaining or discarding those ties and that treaty will undoubtedly be the most vital dividing line externally between fulfilling the Egyptian revolution and derailing it away from disturbing the regional balance of power and status quo, which both the U.S and the Israeli beneficiaries thereof have nurtured during the past more than three decades as their “holy cow.”

No surprise, therefore, that the internal threats to this status quo have become the concern of the U.S. and Israeli allies, but Israel in particular. Israeli leaders seemed on alert to preempt this threat. On July 26, President Shimon Peres said in an Al-Hurra TV channel: “What is politics if it can’t provide people with bread?” Backed by US Republican Senator Rand Paul, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now urging the West to adopt a new “Marshall Plan” for the Egyptian economy.

Within this context monitors could interpret the U.S. refusal to label the Egyptian military latest intervention on July 3 as a coup, lest the Barak Obama administration become obliged by law to cut the U.S. aid to Egypt. Similarly Qatar, which had sponsored the Morsi –led MB government, would not withdraw its ($7b) support to Egypt. The same applies to the ($12b) prompt financial support extended by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait within (48) hours of the latest “exchange” of power in Egypt, which, in view of the U.S. strategic alliance with the three countries, could not have been promptly forthcoming without a U.S. “green light,” according to anti – American analysts.

Any U.S. Israeli “Marshall Plan,” however, will only be another mechanism to maintain and reinforce the status quo and will not change the regime inEgypt, let alone bringing in a new regime.

Beneficiaries of the status quo are keen to prove to the revolting masses that their revolution has thus far made their bad situation worse: Economically, significant capital fled abroad, Egypt’s debt is a staggering 88 percent of its GDP, tourism collapsed, agriculture hit hard, foreign investment declined, labor unrest spread, unemployment on the rise, inflation soars, economic growth plunged, public finances deteriorated, value of Egyptian pound fell, purchase power of salaries eroded, half of Egyptians live at or below poverty line, etc., and personal safety and public security have become a daily headache, with the harassment of women becoming a social phenomenon.

And in the name of democracy, according to Jon Lee Anderson, writing in The New Yorker on July 5, “the devils long contained in Egypt’s national Pandora’s box having been loosened from their chains,” so “as if everything in Egypt must now be performed by the mob, for the mob, in full view of everyone.”

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. He can be reached at:

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories (     

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
Lara Gardner
Why I’m Not Voting
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017