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

 

More articles by:

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

February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail