acanuck's picture

    Can we finally call it a coup?

    Egypt's democratic revolution is effectively over. The army has decided to roll back things back further than they stood when Mubarak fell. For several election cycles, the Muslim Brotherhood had been illegal but tolerated, even electing legislators as long as they ran as independents. That won't happen again.

    The secularists and "liberals" gave away the democracy they had won, by letting the military sucker them into staging a second "popular uprising," then welcoming the coup. The day before the sit-in slaughter, the military "interim" government showed its contempt for the 2011 revolutionaries when it appointed 25 new provincial governors to replace ones Morsi had named. Nineteen were retired generals.

    Vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei resigned in protest against today's slaughter, and others in the secular-liberal camp are no doubt also having second thoughts. Too late. Democracy means waiting for the next election to "throw the bums out." Good luck throwing out the bums you've just allowed to retake power.


    I didn't mean for the post to be quite that succinct (I hit return inadvertantly. But maybe it can stand on its own. Here's the New York Times, which manages to get to the heart of the matter:

    Egypt's democratic revolution is effectively over. The army has decided to roll back things back further than they stood when Mubarak fell. For several election cycles, the MB had been illegal but tolerated, even electing legislators as long as they ran as independents. That won't happen again.

    The secularists and "liberals" gave away the democracy they had won, by the military sucker them into staging a second "popular uprising," then welcoming the coup. The day before the sit-in slaughter, the military "interim" government showed its contempt for the 2011 revolutionaries when it appointed 25 new provincial governors to replace ones Morsi had named. Nineteen were retired generals.

    Vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei resigned in protest against today's slaughter, and others in the secular-liberal camp are no doubt also having second thoughts. Too late. Democracy means waiting for the next election to "throw the bums out." Good luck throwing out the bums you've just allowed to retake power.

    How depressing the Arab "Spring" has turned out to be. So far, I count:

    1 militarized pseudo-state (Libya)

    1 repressive crackdown (Bahrain)

    1 terrorist haven (Yemen)

    1 military coup (Egypt)

    1 endless civil war (Syria)

    And it's business as usual for everyone else. The only vaguely bright spot is Tunisia.


    Comes to mind that the results of the French Revolution were very depressing for a very long time. After which they had not one, but two, coup d'etats. After which they basically finally settled down to business.

    And those Americans, oy vey, many decades and 750K dead before they figured out how to get it somewhat operational.

    While I can understand a need to be free, without a star to steer by any attempt to upset the balance is futile.

    The restless Arabs want to be free, but they're not sure what free means and what it takes to be free.

    In other words, they left a big hole for anyone to wander thru and take control of the chaos they created.

    So how does the west nurture these infant and feeble democracies?

    I guess the other part is that we have this silly "coup" policy that suspends aid to countries where there is a coup against an elected government, which ties our government's hands a bit rhetorically.

    Our policy doesn't make a ton of sense.  If the government decides it makes sense to give military aid to an established dictatorship, that's okay.  We have done it and continue to do it, all over the world.

    Whatever the right Egypt aid answer is (and there's some dispute, I suppose, about how important it actually is) if Obama thinks it makes sense to maintain current policy, then he can't call what happened a coup.

    Congress created the law and Congress can change it ... just don't hold your breath.

    The crisis  in Egypt may at least undermine the conviction of those in the US who believe some bombing, training and weapons will lead to the rapid blossoming of a stable democracy in Syria.

    When that conviction is based on a lack of reasoning in the first place, new evidence is unlikely to undermine it.

    George W. Bush and the neo-cons started all this middle east chaos and death when they invaded Iraq:

    'kill the big bad dictator, have an election, presto, you got western style democracy'.

    I disagree as to who started this mess. I believe it was Kissinger, when he helped start OPEC. Telling the Saudi's If you raise the price of oil, they could buy our weapons systems. We began to prop up the royal class who could careless about the peasant. Now the fruits that are reaped by these poor decisions is undesirable. 

    Saddam Hussein of Iraq,  was the lose cannon, in the oil for arms trade.....For a long time now, Americas business, is WAR......We must kill and destroy, in order to have peace? The oil must flow, so we can sell our weapons. If  the oil does not flow; how can they buy?

    Why is it in our interest, to allow the Muslim Brotherhood, to relay a foundation, of governance, leading to suppression by their faction and we should call this Democracy?

    You write good luck reinstituting democracy?  

    Those who got suckered into believng the moderate Morsi, had the best interest of all Egyptians, have taken action before it was too late.

    Apparently the small steps Morsi was taking to give more power to the brotherhood were uncovered  and exposed as a part of the grander plan. The idea, the  people didn't appreciate the Grander Plan,...... sound familiar?  

    We should mind our own business or we may end up with another Iran. Remember: Removing our protection of the Shah, led to the Ayatollahs, who were not any better. 

    Democracy means waiting for the next election to "throw the bums out." 

    Yes. . .and then again no in the sense that democracy means quite a bit more than holding elections.  I don't think it's fair to simply dismiss as short-sighted those secular and liberal Egyptians who, before the coup (and of course that is what it was) had genuine reason to believe that the MB and those to its theocratic right had shown their true intentions, and that the future was looking to be an Egypt that would be anything but democratic.  Naive perhaps to believe that the coup option would make things "better" in the short term, but I think understandable as well--at least to some good faith extent--and of course given Egypt's post-WWII history and the role that the military has and continues to play in the country.

    P.S. -- Edited this morning.  

    Can we call it a coup? That's a silly question. Everyone knows it was a coup. The only reason our government isn't officially calling it a coup is due to a dumb law that requires aid to be cut off if there is a military coup. Most everyone in an unofficial capacity have always been calling it a coup. So of course we can call it a coup. Are you implying that the US should officially declare the military take over in Egypt a coup  and end aid? That's a worthwhile question.

    I don't believe the secularists and liberals have lost the democracy they won. They never won it. Getting rid of Mubarak doesn't win a democracy. Simply having a vote doesn't make a democracy alone. Their vote just traded one autocrat for another. The vast majority of the Egyptian people decided things under Morsi were bad enough that having the military take over was better. They chose the lesser of two evils as they saw it and hoped. As for the retired military appointed as governors. Do you think the majority of the people prefer the Morsi appointees to the military appointees? Or do you think they were glad the Morsi governors were removed?

    Are others in the secular liberal camp having second thoughts? I guess we'll see as the days go by. But atm I've read the the party that Elbaradei leads is totally behind the crackdown on the MB

    Democracy is more than a vote. For me a constitution with a strong bill of rights that protect the rights of minorities and civil liberties is as or more important. Waiting for the next election to throw the bums out might work for the bums, but once a constitution is in place its much harder to throw it out.

    I think this situation is much more complicated than you're making it out to be.

    Egypt is now governed by military dictatorship that overthrew a democratically elected president, arrested political opponents on bogus charges, and slaughtered hundreds of non-violent dissidents. And we are financing that dictatorship. When you put aside all the nonsense, it really is as simple as that.

    As for that "dumb law" about military coups, the whole point is to keep the U.S. from supporting precisely this kind of regime. By avoiding calling the coup by its name, Obama is violating the law in letter and in spirit. He is making a joke of America's foreign policy. And he is once again "leading from behind," which is nothing but a euphemism for "not leading."

    But hey, at least we're not going to conduct joint military exercises with the despots next month. Cuz we gots principles!

    If the bloody ongoing Iraq fiasco proved anything, it's that the United States should lead from behind in the Middle East.

    So you're saying that there are only two options: a stupid catastrophic war against a nonexistent threat or financing a military dictatorship. Is that your point?

    I am saying cutting the $1.5 billion dollar military aid, which mainly stays in the US and goes to the US arms industry, would be 'leading from behind'. The next installment isn't due until April, 2014.

    The fate of Egyptians is first and foremost up to the Egyptians. They must lead.

    BTW over a thousand Iraqi's were killed in July, they received US 'leading from the front' for almost a decade, resulting in an unstable country, a million dead and a few trillion in costs to the US.

    The dead are dead Michael, what exactly is your suggestion for the US to do? Cutting next years, or the next 5 years F-16's isn't going to cause Kumbayas to break out all over Egypt.

    I think we all know that there are more dead to come. Perhaps cutting off aid can save some of them them. Perhaps not. But I'll be damned if any more of my tax dollars go to pay the killers.

    The Egyptian strongman is forming an alliance with the Saudis. The first goal is to crush the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama is not getting the Egyptian general to answer his calls.

    Seems to me that we shouldn't be giving a billion dollars a year in military aid to a guy who won't answer the phone.

    Obama dragged his feet on doing anything in Syria despite pleas to act to prevent a massacre. He supported the Egyptian election results and now is criticized because the "US put Morsi in power". He indicated to Israel that we were not backing a war with Iran. I think we are beginning to see the region for the quagmire it is. Obama canceled combined military activities. He may stop some of the payola.

    Great! So what the hell is he waiting for?

    There's only a few ways we have to influence other nations. We could use military power or try to buy that influence. Since you don't want to buy influence you would prefer we have no influence or invade? The cliche about not being able to legislate morality applies in our external relationships with other countries as well as internally. I take a more pragmatic view of our role in the world.

    You portray the MB protesters as innocents. There's conflicting reports on that point. We arrest protesters in this country. If those protesters began to shoot our cops I think the outcome here would be similar to the outcome there. Or so you think protesters should never be arrested?

    What are you talking about? Have you read about the shit that went down there? There were snipers firing into the crowd from rooftops. They shot people as they fled the square. They shot people as they tried to get to the hospital. The official government count is over 235, and the real count is probably much higher. When was last time American cops killed hundreds of people trying to break up a demonstration? A "sit in" demonstration that is (or rather was), to free a president who was deposed and arrested on trumped up charges. How can you even pretend that this is anything but a bloody military crackdown on dissent?

    As for our influence over the Egyptian military, if we can take away aid, then we can surely restore it after certain conditions are met. But if we're too pansy-ass to withdraw in the first place, then what kind of influence do we actually have? Do you think that we can hammer el-Sisi into submission by canceling joint military exercises?

    It was a classic military shock and awe operation, overkill, and also way beyond what they had promised/warned about.

    But to present it as a planned massacre of innocents does seem to me to be just getting pulled into propaganda wars which will not get anyone anywhere as to understanding motives and goals.

    In yesterday's NYT slideshow, with initial photos, all by wire photographers, most of them were of the massacred, but I noticed that there were at least three of Muslim Brotherhood folks in the crowds standing with automatic rifles at the ready, all different people. (And yes, some of these same photographers were shot at later by government forces, it was very choatic.)

    Before the crackdown occurred, I also read of quite a few attacks on Christian locations happening across the country.

    Seemed more to me like a case of paranoia vs. paranoia. And yes, the most heavily armed wins in these cases.

    It's all ugly.

    I didn't say it was planned. I said it was a massacre. And I'm sorry, I don't believe that there is any excuse or justification for massacring civilians, even if there were armed men among them.

    As for attacks on Christians, are you suggesting that the dead protesters in Tahrir Square were killing Christians? Or do you mean to suggest that crimes by some Islamists justify the deaths of any Islamists?

    I am suggesting the army might have feared armed insurrection plans by the MB, and maybe thought that now was the time for some shock and awe to put some fear in those plans. That's why I said paranoia vs. paranoia.

    There certainly was lots of talk about the MB not willing to just sit and peacefully protest in that square forever. And clear indications that their elected people were not going to be able to continue to have any power, but were going to be, chose one: prosecuted/persecuted.

    Let me be clear: I don't support what the Jacobins did in France either, but it happened. But I gotta say that the Egyptian army still has a long way to go to equal their 16,000 to 40,000 deaths out of a much smaller population.

    And I will agree with one thing: instituting democracy requires stability. It's a real hard balance getting there. See Iraq.

    Sure, and el-Sisi ain't Hitler either. Let's give him a medal along with his $1B prize.

    I'm suggesting we're watching a revolutionary war play out in Egypt. A struggle for control of a country. We don't know what the outcome will be. It may be a democracy with some protections for minorities and civil liberties. It may be a military dictatorship. At this point its looking unlikely that the outcome will be a theocratic Islamic dictatorship. It appeared that that was where the country was moving.

    Our revolutionary war took 8 years to be resolved. Maybe longer if you include the Whisky Rebellion. Yet some think that the Egyptian war was over when Morsi won the election. I think that war is still going on and will continue for some time

    We were watching a revolution. Now we're watching a counter-revolution. And we've got box seats that only cost us one billion a year. Pass the popcorn.

    If your problem is the 1.5 billion in aid I neither support nor condemn it. After Morsi was deposed Saudi Arabia and other gulf nations ponied up 12 billion, so our 1.5 is negligible. I agree with AA, what Egypt needs is economic aid, not more weapons.

    But if the issue is this battle in the streets, revolution or counter revolution, well I think its too soon to tell. There were numerous battles in cities across America between British loyalists and revolutionaries in our revolutionary war. Most  history I've read claim the number of those who favored revolution were about as numerous as those who favored continued allegiance to the crown. Our battles in the street weren't as bloody, though if our ancestors had AK-47's in 1775 they likely would have been. Attempting to frame this as simply a demonstration, as a protest in terms of America today, as simply the badly botched dispersal and arrest of peaceful protesters is inaccurate imo.

    Why you keep trying to pretend that this was a factional conflict between two armed belligerents--loyalists vs. patriots, as it were? This was not a street riot or a gang fight. It was well-armed, well-organized police assault on a large number of civilian protestors--including women and children--who were mostly unarmed. And it was overwhelmingly the civilians who were killed, even according to the government figures. That is the definition of a massacre.

    At what point does a group of armed belligerents surrounded by unarmed protesters turn a peaceful demonstration into a factional conflict? 5% armed, 10% armed, 20% armed? Does it have to be a majority of the demonstrators armed, 51%? Where did the molotov cocktails come from? Did the unarmed and peaceful demonstrators simply find bottles on the street and unattended cans of gas without any planning to use when they were attacked? It seems to me that peaceful demonstration was prepared for factional conflict. I don't see how it was ever going to be dispersed peacefully. In the end I didn't see a path to peaceful resolution, imo, factional conflict was inevitable.

    Also see Peter Heller @ The New Yorker today:

    [....] In Egypt, though, it’s striking how many people expected this violence. In Cairo last month, I met with a foreign diplomat friend, who told me she had heard from security personnel that they would let the sit-ins go on for roughly a month, but would forcibly remove them before the end of August. “It’s Ramadan, so not much is happening, and traffic disruptions aren’t such a big problem,” the diplomat said at the time. She was referring to the Brotherhood’s strategy of organizing daily marches that blocked Cairo traffic. She said that the military would lose patience after Ramadan, which ended last week, and it wanted the city to return to normal before the new school year begins, in September. When I spoke with police, they seemed to accept and even welcome the inevitability of violence. There’s a long history of animosity between the Brotherhood and the security forces, and, in a country with no democratic tradition, officers viewed the protests as an indulgence rather than a right. Last month, I asked an officer in Upper Egypt what he thought about the ongoing Brotherhood demonstrations in Cairo. “If you take a toy away from a child, won’t he fuss for a while?” the officer said. “So let them fuss for a while.”

    But there was always an expectation that eventually the military would draw the line

    On Tuesday, when I telephoned a good friend from Cairo, the situation was still peaceful, but he insisted that the military would act within the next two days. He had no inside information—just a sense from the mood on the street. “The Army feels pressure from the people,” he said. “People in Cairo want the Army to do something. They’re saying that the army seems weak if it can’t get rid of the sit-ins.” This morning, after the death toll rose into the hundreds, and the interim government declared a state of emergency, I called my friend again. “Now that we’re in a state of emergency, the police and the army can do whatever they want,” he said. He expected that the majority of Egyptians would approve of this course of action, and blame the Brotherhood for resisting security forces. “The Brotherhood are losing every bit of popular support they once had,” he said. “Nobody is happy with them. There isn’t the least bit of sympathy for them. It’s like dogs dying in the street. Nobody cares.” [....]

    To be clear: I am not excusing this attitude, I am trying to point out a certain reality.

    And that if one really believes in non-interference, one really believes in non-interference. I believe it was some neo-cons and neo-liberals that insisted that we can reform citizens of other countries to be the way we wish ourselves to be?

    And Joshua Hersh:

    [....] The decision to limit movement on the streets leading in and out of Rabaa was one example. The decision to abandon the political process, however incremental and frustrating, and turn instead to the police, as Karim Medhat Ennarah, a researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights who focusses on the security state, told me on Wednesday, all but guaranteed a day of violence and bloodshed. “We don’t have a police force that can disperse a sit-in, especially one that big, without killing people,” he said.

    Ennarah had just returned home after spending much of the day observing the clashes at Rabaa, and he was stunned to find that gun battles had broken out in the streets around his well-to-do, residential neighborhood of Heliopolis. “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he told me, as he caught his breath after dashing into his apartment building. “Now there are clashes everywhere in the country, literally everywhere. I just don’t understand what they’ve been doing for two weeks. If they’ve been hesitating and planning, and they haven’t been protecting churches and preparing for this violence —what exactly have the police and Army been doing?”

    It’s a question that will be asked in the days to come, and there are reasons not to be optimistic about the answers. Already, neighborhood watches and vigilante checkpoints—a regular sight in the days after the 2011 revolution—have returned to the streets. The government has responded by ordering a nighttime curfew and declaring a state of emergency, a gesture that will empower officials to take harsh action against any protests that don’t suit them. Late on Wednesday, Mohamed ElBaradei, the one figure in the military-backed Cabinet who had pressed against taking violent action at Rabaa, resigned in protest. While Baradei was taking his principled stance, his former party coalition, the National Salvation Front, released a statement that brashly “saluted” the military for its work at Rabaa. “The firm leadership of the armed forces, and the collective will of the people, demanded the dispersal of the sit-in.” [....]

    When was the last time a mixed group of demonstrators, some armed some not, fired on the police attempting to disperse them?

    There are reports and pictures of MB firing at police from behind sand bags. The official line is that the army and police intended to move slowly but when they began taking firing and police were shot they decided they had to disperse the crowd quickly. That a slow cordoning off would not work. I don't know exactly what happened. Why are you so sure the version of innocent MB protesters murdered by rooftop snipers is totally accurate? Snipers can be very selective with their shots and usually are. Yes there were people fleeing, yes there were snipers firing. Were they firing at the people fleeing or at the MB with guns behind sandbags? I don't know, you don't know. But you're sure they were wantonly murdering those running away.

    At what point is it legitimate for the people to rise up and throw off what they see as an illegitimate ruler? Who is it acceptable for those people to put in charge after that rising up of that popular will? From the outside we decided that the popular uprising to throw off Mubarak was legitimate because he was a dictator and an illegitimate ruler. From the outside you're deciding that the popular uprising to throw off Morsi was illegitimate because you've decided  he was the legitimate ruler of the country. Even though the popular uprising to throw off Morsi was far larger then the popular uprising to throw off Mubarak.

    You seem to see this conflict in some way comparable to America today. I see it comparable to America in 1776. I'm sure you know enough history to know our revolution wasn't as pure and clean as the elementary school text books portray it. Why do you expect other's revolution to be purer and cleaner than ours?

    When was the last time a mixed group of demonstrators, some armed some not, fired on the police attempting to disperse them?

    It was your analogy, not mine. If you have such examples, please provide them. Otherwise, I think its safe to say that your analogy of hypothetical U.S. cops slaughtering hundreds of hypothetical protestors is absurd.

    But you're sure they were wantonly murdering those running away.

    I'm not sure, and I'm never sure. It could be that the media stories and eyewitness accounts are wrong. But that is true of every massacre that has ever taken place anywhere. I'm not sitting on a jury here, trying to convict beyond reasonable doubt. I go with the preponderance of evidence, which is pretty damn lopsided.

    I see it comparable to America in 1776.

    Alrighty then. So I guess you won't complain when they enslave the Christians and put the Berbers on reservations. After all, we did it to our minorities back in the day. I'm sure they'll grow out of it in a century or two. Heck, let's even give them an extra billion to help them finish the job.

    Alrighty then. So I guess you won't complain when they enslave the Christians and put the Berbers on reservations.

    Now you're just getting silly. Since Morsi was elected and you therefore support him as the legitinate ruler of Egypt I guess you wouldn't have complained if he put all the women in burkas and put all the christians in ghettos and camps. Is this really the direction you want this conversation to go?

    I don't think you understand me. I did criticize Morsi when he was president. I even saw some value in the coup. Had el-Sisi compromised with the MB and restarted the revolution, I may not have complained.

    But el-Sisi did not stop there. He threw Morsi and numerous MB leaders in prison (what we usually call "political prisoners"), he suppressed protest demonstrations (what we usually call "political repression"), and his armed security forces murdered unarmed civilians (what we usually call a "massacre"). He is by all measures a despot.

    Now I'm well aware that bad things often happen during revolutions, but that does not mean that our country should facilitate them or that I should hesitate in denouncing them.

    I'm also well aware that revolutions usually fail when despots take over popular movements. There was some danger that Morsi was already on that path. But el-Sisi has shown himself to be far more violent and autocratic than Morsi ever was. In a matter of weeks, he has already reached the point that everyone was afraid Morsi headed to. Yet here we are patting him on the head and giving him the benefit of the doubt for no reason that I can comprehend save wishful thinking and the fact that he's not an Islamist.

    The Brotherhood won the vote but a year later lost the political referendum in the streets. Mutiple millions decided they wanted the military to take over for a reset. Who knows if that will work, its a dangerous approach. Tens of thousands of the Brotherhood disagreed. Its clear where the popular support was.

    I'm not patting Sisi on the back for arresting Morsi and other Brotherhood members when they enacted the popular will of the Egyptian people. Neither do I pat Lincoln on the back for suspending habeus corpus and jailing opponents and newspaper publishers. Many more than Sisi did. Such is the nature of civil war. Perhaps civil war could have been avoided in Egypt though I don't see how. There are people who claim it could have been avoided here too. I think our civil war was also unavoidable.

    The Brotherhood has been calling for violent jihad since the coup. A coup that was overwhelmingly supported by the Egyptian people. Does the overwhelming majority of the Egyptian people have the right to call for the military to take control of a government that is so clearly and unequivocally opposed? I don't pat Sisi on the back for the massacre. But when a minority of the population is calling for war against the will of the majority I don't place all the blame on him. Do you think if Morsi and others were not held incommunicado the path to civil war would have been lessened? Or would he have inflamed his supporters and made it more likely? Moot question I guess since either way civil war has come.

    Do you think if Sisi had waited the Brotherhood would have just drifted away? It seems to me the Brotherhood was preparing for civil war. They were certainly calling for war. It was a no compromise position, Morsi is reinstated or there is war.  Is it any surprise that there is now war? So then is this war totally Sisi's fault? I think it was unavoidable and that's not totally Sisi's fault.


    You're not listening me. I'm not saying what you think I'm saying. I am not defending the MB. I am not criticizing the coup in itself.

    I'm denouncing what has happened after the coup. After the coup, el-Sisi has shown himself to be worse than Morsi ever was. He is certainly not a Lincoln-esque leader who bent the law to accomplish some greater good. He is not even a Putin-esque tough guy who subverts democracy for the sake of stability. He is simply a brutal dictator who is murderously suppressing the opposition.

    I think I am listening. I only brought up Lincoln's suspension of habeus corpus and arrest of opponents because you posted, "But el-Sisi did not stop there. He threw Morsi and numerous MB leaders in prison (what we usually call "political prisoners")"  That seems to me like denouncing him for the coup and what happened shortly after.

    Even Lincoln isn't a Lincoln-esque leader who only bent the law to accomplish some greater good. He also brutally and murderously suppressed his opposition. The south didn't invade the north first. 

    All governments, including ours, will only tolerate protests for so long. Then they will attempt to arrest the protesters. Protesters get arrested here all the time. Usually in America those being arrested passively resist rather than violently resist. If protesters violently resist with guns they are effectively declaring war.

    Yes Sisi is brutal, more brutal than we in the US usually experience. Though we have our our own brutal suppressions with Move in Philly or Waco, etc. And he is quite likely a dictator. Though I'd be more convinced that the civilian transition team was just a fig leaf if more of them had resigned. It was only Elbaradei and even his party supported the army. Maybe if more than one civilian leader had resigned Sisi would have moderated his views.Or maybe not, maybe he is a total dictator unconcerned for the views of his civilian team and the will of the people. I'll wait to see what happens after the civil war to make that determination.

    You see protesters, I see a steadily increasing struggle over control of a country. A civil war. The question that has to be answered not just by Egypt but eventually in several countries. Do the people want a dictatorship, a theocracy, or some version of democracy with some protections of minorities and civil liberties? A significant minority seem to want a theocracy and some percentage of those seem willing to wage war to get there.

    How do you see Sisi and the people that support him dealing with those who are willing to wage war to impose their minority government on the country? I'm not happy with what Sisi has done, just as I'm not happy about our bloody civil war. It just seems inevitable to me.

    PS Since you brought up Putin, " who subverts democracy for the sake of stability." I'm not sure that's how I would label him after his involvement in the Chechen civil war.

    The South bombarded a federal fort first. A sit-in, it was not.

    Look, all protest is in essence a struggle for control. But most of us draw a moral distinction between violent attacks by armed militants and non-violent protests by unarmed civilians. There is of course no such thing as a perfectly peaceful protest. Even at Kent State, the protestors through rocks and such at the National Guard. But when a military power uses overwhelming deadly force against a largely unarmed populace, we call that a massacre. If you don't think el-Sisi's actions in Tahrir Square meet that standard, then I can't imagine what would.

    PS I'll withdraw the Putin point. We shouldn't finance someone like him either.

    I have no trouble drawing a line between violent attacks by armed militants and non-violent protests by unarmed civilians. I just have trouble seeing that line as clearly as you do when the armed militants are mixed in with the unarmed civilians and there's a stockpile of molotov cocktails. Were the unarmed civilians, the majority, making any effort to exclude the armed militants from the peaceful protest? I haven't read any suggestion that was the case. I can call it a massacre, just as I can call what happened at Waco or with Move in Philly a massacre. But one thing I'm sure of. If your group is going to have even a minority of people with AK-47's and molotov cocktails and they're going to resist arrest with them there will be an overwhelming military response. Overkill and massacre is inevitable in that situation.

    We know that some of the MB were armed. Let's guess that 5% of the people were armed. Might be more, might be less, but I don't think that's an unreasonable large guesstimate. What do you think would have happened on the Bloody Sunday march to Montgomery if 5% of the people marching with King were armed and when they were attacked with billy clubs and tear gas they shot a couple of cops?

    Think the cops would have pulled their guns? Massacre maybe? What do you think the public response to that would have been?

    Occupy protesters have been removed from their camps in cities all over America. What do you think would have happened if they had a stock pile of molotov cocktails and 5% of the protesters were armed and they resisted arrest and shot a cop?

    But acanuck's post is most definitely critcizing the coup itself, and I think that's the source of some of the communication confusion, that the original post is not really about the sit-in killings at all. It argues that the Egyptian people were "suckered" into supporting a coup, and that the appointment of provisional governors the day before the "slaughter" is proof.

    " ... Democracy is more than a vote. For me a constitution with a strong bill of rights that protect the rights of minorities and civil liberties is as or more important ... "


    Thanks !

    That's what was necessary for Egypt to have pull themselves up by their bootstraps ... they failed to decide what they expected.


    Strangely (not > cynicism allowed), I just saw this, that this guy apparently knows exactly what you'd like to hear from him:

    It must be the people who debates and decides what the Constitution will say, not political Advisers ... so I have doubts with what he's says ... sounds like some serious political maneuvering is going on to look legit


    I'm not a social media fan so twit's are more gossip than facts for me

    Sure you can call it a coup. It was also a coup that the majority called for, so if you happen to use the term democracy to mean majority democracy, and not a representative republic, then it was also was democratically-endorsed coup. So I don't think it's possible to say yet whether this democratic revolution is over.

    I'm with bslev and oceankat: it's more complicated than you present. It wasn't a completed democracy, the election that elected Morsi was one to continue the process of  making a democracy. A majority saw the ongoing process as proceeding to something more like an incompetent undemocratic theocracy. They decided they wanted to stop the process and try again. Now everyone, including all non-Egyptians, is correct to fear that the guys they had available to institute the stop-action coup will just take them back to Mubarak. And the terrible things they've just done are evidence that that fear might be correct. But the going dictator result, that's not a sure thing either.

    You say if you don't like it, you are supposed to wait and vote the bums out. But you ignore this part of their story, that they didn't have a completed constitutional democracy,  that it was in process. This LATimes op-ed sums it up better than I can in one paragraph:

    The making of Egypt's 2012 constitution was a democratic debacle. Morsi's Nov. 22 edict preventing the courts from challenging laws or decrees until the constitution was complete is now widely recognized as his real coup de grace. The proclamation signaled Morsi's disregard of popular consensus and refusal to deliberate and compromise over the text. It triggered massive protests and complaints that the president was setting himself up as a new "pharaoh." The people largely perceived the resulting constitution as illegitimate. In June, Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court held that the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated upper house of parliament and the constituent assembly — the committee that drafted the constitution — were unconstitutional, precipitating the current upheaval.

    I would like to remind everyone that the cries of the original revolution in Tahrir Square were often that the army was the people's friend.

    BTW I'm also with NCD when he says the U.S. should lead from behind here. We have no business interfering with what the people there want, even if it is a military coup. The U.S. has a problem in that to protect Israel, and avoid anti-Israel war, as is its traditional want, it desires to support an Israel-friendly government in Egypt with military aid. Well, things aren't so clear as they used to be on that front, the U.S. and Israel will just have to deal with that.

    One other thing. I have questioned in the past how you have seemed in posts and comments to be very supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood. That's because I knew from my reading that, while it wasn't the evil terrorist-sympathizing organization that conservatives and neo-conservatives of the past made it out to be (how ironic is it that people like John McCain are calling for it to have a voice now?)  I also knew that it had theocratic goals. Theocratic goals that it often tried to hide but continued to have them nonetheless. I learned that from reading lefties over the yeas, including anti-Zionist ones like Well, turns out that maybe lots of Arab Arab-spring supporters allover the place, not just in Egypt, are very suspicious of the same thing. If the majority of Egyptian people  don't want them after trying them out to transition to democracy, and were suspicious of what they were doing to their nascent but not-yet-completed democracy, who am I to say they made a mistake in wanting a do over?

    I respect yours, bslev's, and other's opinions on this (including acanuck's), but I wonder if the best way to "lead from behind" wouldn't be to also stop funding the current regime? That's not a rhetorical question, as I acknowledge a profound ignorance on the Egyptian details and recognize that perhaps without that funding things might get even worse. I really don't know.

    I for one would like to see serious dialogue about that in Congress. (But if wishes were horses....) The people themselves don't need more weaponry right now, they need economic aid.

    And we should not forget what fancy armory given to places like Egypt means for some Congresspersons: well-paying manufacturing jobs jobs jobs and more economic activity surrounding those manufacturers...

    Recommended by Issandr el Amrani & others:


    1. The MB had armed elements but not every MB was armed.
    2. Many of those killed were not armed, some weren't even MB.
    3. There's no proof the MB directly ordered church attacks
    4. The MB's sectarian rhetoric alone is enough to incite church attacks
    5. There's no proof the MB directly plans acts of terrorism
    6. Islamist rhetoric + army clamp down enough to incite acts of terrorism
    7. We can't trust the MOI's story without independent verification
    8. We can't trust the MB's story without independent verification
    9. The MOI want a state in which some people have less rights
    10. The MB want a state in which some people have less rights
    11. The MB are not jihadists
    12. The MB are not pacifists either
    13. The army isn't a democratic institution
    14. The army can't be pushed out of civilian life in a few months without catastrophe
    15. Most MB supporters are committed to non-violence
    16. Islamists can easily slide towards religiously sanctioned acts of violence
    17. MB were failing & Morsi was a national joke before the coup
    18. MB have broad Arab & international sympathy after the coup
    19. The army's actions can push Islamists towards violence
    20. Violence by Islamists can be used to justify a police state

    Egyptian ambassador gives the government's side of the story, that the police were attacked and killed,and that there were other attacks, in an interview with Foreign Policy last night:

    Egyptian Ambassador: 'It Became Necessary to Finish This Thing Today'
    Posted By Isaac Stone Fish, August 14, 2013 - 7:26 PM

    He is of course giving the government line--that's his job--however, note this on that front:

    FP: You were ambassador for a year under Morsy. How has your job changed from when the Muslim Brotherhood ruled to now?

    MT: I think the year Morsy was in power started off with a lot of hope, and little by little that hope vanished. At the end it was very difficult to defend the Muslim Brotherhood's policies. Right now it is a more critical situation, but at the same time there is more hope for the future.

    Two weeks ago:

    Morsi supporters pledge to stand firm after massacre

    No one's going anywhere, say protesters camped outside mosque in east Cairo after at least 65 killed in nearby street

    By Patrick Kingsley in Cairo,, Sunday 28 July 2013  

    of special note, the U.S. reaction at the end:

    The US secretary of state, John Kerry, released a statement noting his "deep concern about the bloodshed and violence", and the defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, contacted Sisi to "express deep concern about the security situation and recent violence in Egypt, and to encourage that restraint be exercised during this difficult period", his spokesman said.

    The US recently cancelled a delivery of four F-16 jets to Egypt's army, in a show of disapproval at the army's behaviour since Morsi's fall, but other military aid efforts continue and the US refuses to term the army's removal of Morsi on 3 July as a coup.


    I hope it's OK to update the situation with two articles from the NYTs.  First, the death toll now exceeds 600, and it is estimated that more than 4,000 more have been injured.  Writing from Cairo, Times reporter David Kirpatrick writes about how the brutality of the military's response to the protesters has sharpened a simmering debate among Islamists about how to respond to the coup:


    The outcome of the internal Islamist debate may now be the most critical variable in deciding the next phase of the crisis. The military-backed government has made clear its determination to demonize and repress the Islamists with a ruthlessness exceeding even that of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the autocrat who first outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood six decades ago.

    How the Islamists respond will inevitably reshape both their movement and Egypt. Will they resume the accommodationist tactics of the Muslim Brotherhood under former President Hosni Mubarak, escalate their street protests despite continued casualties, or turn to armed insurgency as some did in the 1990s?

    The second front page article on Egypt in tonight's paper focuses on the Obama Administration's decision to cancel joint military exercises that were scheduled to take place in the next several months.  The Administration has apparently decided to take no further action, at least for the moment.  There is a video of a statement made by Obama this afternoon that I'm not technically proficient enough to link directly [hint to one of you techies].  Here's an excerpt from the article about Obama's comments:


    With the death toll in Egypt soaring and no sign that the country’s generals are heeding American calls to stop the violence, however, administration officials said they now faced a more wrenching choice: to keep backing the generals, whatever the cost, or to admit that the current relationship is no longer tenable.

    “While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” Mr. Obama said, reading a statement in front of his rented vacation house here, the sun-splashed trees an incongruous backdrop for his stark message.

    The military-appointed government in Cairo said Mr. Obama failed to grasp the nature of what it called the “terrorist acts” Egypt is facing. A statement issued by the office of the figurehead interim president, Adli Mansour, said Mr. Obama’s remarks “would strengthen the violent armed groups and encourage them in their methods inimical to stability and the democratic transition.”

    In his remarks, Mr. Obama noted the “temptation inside Egypt” to blame the United States, saying that protesters accused it alternately of backing Mr. Morsi or colluding with those who ousted him. But Mr. Obama’s reluctance to be drawn into conflicts in the Mideast, from Syria to Bahrain, has frequently been criticized.

    Until the latest eruption of violence, White House officials were still uncertain whether the Egyptian military might yet rewind history and give democracy a fresh chance, or if it was simply restoring the sort of autocracy that has dominated Egypt in the past. Now they said they seem to have the answer.

    But while their frustration is palpable, officials said there were voices both in favor of working with Egypt or of cutting off its aid, and they expected the debate would take time to play out.        




    Egypt's Brotherhood calls for 'day of anger'
    Group has called on pro-Morsi supporters to stage "anti-coup rallies" after Friday prayers to protest deadly crackdown.

    Al Jazeera, 16 August, 2013

    Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has called for supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to partake in a nationwide "millions' march of anger" to protest the recent security forces' violent crackdown on protesters.


    "Anti-coup rallies tomorrow will depart from all mosques of Cairo and head towards Ramsis square after Jumaa prayer in 'Friday of Anger'," Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad wrote on his Twitter account.

    "Despite the pain and sorrow over the loss of our martyrs, the latest coup makers' crime has increased our determination to end them," the group said in a statement on Friday [....]

    There is another bloodbath going on today with the "day of anger." If you check The Guardian' live blog and  The Lede live blog @ the NYT you will see evidence of the dueling narratives: the government saying it is fighting terrorism, including broadcasting on state TV what it says are MB firing weapons, and MB spokesmen responding that anyone violent are infiltrators, suggesting government provocateurs.

    What struck me when I went back a little further back, though, is this McClatchy reporter's tweet from earlier in the day, copied on The Lede:

    Then if you go further back on The Lede, there are plenty of tweets from others to back up her report.

    Which makes it clear that the situation is more like this: everyone has been trying to spin what is really just been chaos in Cairo, to their benefit. If there originally was a plan of having infiltrators out there, it's clear they would have to start thinking more about protecting their own ass once the situation became everyone shooting at everyone and small packs of armed people.

    And it looks like the MB "plan" for the day, posted here on The Guardian live blog, wasn't the best thinking:

    The Muslim Brotherhood has released a statement on its official English language website calling for supporters to gather at 28 different points around Cairo before marching on Ramses Square. It appears that this is the message that was sent out to supporters in advance of today's Day of Rage [....]

    No "strength in numbers."

    Unless chaos was their intentional goal, and we can't truthfully know yet if that could be true.


    It is frustrating that even those who are sympathetic towards democracy in Egypt must rely on slanted Western News for most of their information. It was good to see some alternative sources here although no one seems to trust the people being butchered to accurately count their dead. Those who still regurgitate the inflated numbers involved in the anti Morsi demonstrations are still doing the propagandists work for them. The latest polls in Egypt show over 60% of Egyptians denounce the coup. Some of the groups that initially supported the demonstrations and the coup have realized that they were duped and manipulated and have joined the resistance. Morsi made many mistakes, the most fatal for him and also for democracy in Egypt was to attempt to remove the entrenched Mubarak loyalists, who still control much of Egypt's legal and economic sectors,  before he had the real power to defeat them.

    no one seems to trust the people being butchered to accurately count their dead.

    That's mainly because they are also known to tout martyrdom as a good thing.

    You do realize Art, that kind of statement reeks of bigotry.  We sacrifice thousands of our young and millions of the Other for oil and control but when Muslims speak of martyrdom they are the ones to scorn.

    I am similarly proudly "bigoted" about the Tea Party too. The Muslim Brotherhood does not represent all Egyptians nor all Muslims nor all brown people. What the Muslim Brotherhood's leaders say publicly is definitely fair game as representing the views of the majority of membership and supporters.

    Edit to add a pre-emptive: I aver and swear right here that neither Tea Party supporters nor Muslim Brotherhood supporters deserve to be shot in cold blood, so don't bother going there. And don't bother starting with me on the usual diversionary debate on grand injustice topics; I won't play, find someone else. This story does not fit the standard paradigms and doing that would be a more useless exercise than usual.

    I don't believe it. Yes, the numbers of anti Morsi protesters were inflated, crowd estimates  always are. The highest number I read was 20 million, ridiculous. I read an article some weeks ago that debunked that number and claimed it was only about 3 million. So that's the low ball figure. No one denies there were multiple millions protesting Morsi. While the pro Morsi protesters are estimated in the tens of thousands.

    If in fact 60% denounce the coup it would be fairly easy to stop the violence. Simply put that low ball figure, 3 million protesters in Tahir square standing side by side with the MB. 3 million is more than 6 times the size of the army.

    Juan Cole has this polling info. in his post today which I linked to downthread:

    According to opinion polling, some 57% of Egyptians either felt that the Brotherhood protesters at the sit-ins were terrorists or included terrorists among them. Only about a fifth sympathized with them.

    BTW, he's using it with nuance, I recommend checking out the full context.

    I don't think you have to support the MB to oppose the Coup Junta or their actions. It seems that many Egyptians has come to realize that by joining the anti Morsi demonstrations and supporting the Military intervention they have sacrificed their chance to enjoy real democracy in the future. Removing Morsi and the MB from power may have been possible, if difficult,  through democratic means but powerful Liberal and entrenched Mubarak loyalists manipulated the situation to their own advantage.

    Both Marc Lynch, (@ and in an interview @ WaPo's Wonkblog,

    and David Rohde, @ The Atlantic

    have called for U.S. to cut off aid.

    When David Rohde says of cutting off aid: "But it will say that the United States actually stands for basic international principals," he is basically off-base.  Only if the US cuts off aid to every other dictator, tyrant, etc will the US be able to claim it stands for such a thing.  The events in Libya proved this.

    And apparently doing so would enrage some of the educated liberal elite sector of Egyptian society. Many are apparently already angry at what little Obama has done to to denounce the military government so far, they think we are supporting the "Muslim Brotherhood enemy"....

    I just noticed that this Tweet

    is confirmed in this story; my bold:

    Egyptian archaeologists demand countries mind their own business
    Egyptian Archaeologists' Syndicate reply to intl 'meddling' in Egypt with an ultimatum to antiquities authority: Cut all ties with 'foreign,' 'enemy' countries' institutions...or we will

    By Nevine El-Aref, Ahram Online, 16 Aug 2013

    The Egyptian Archaeologists' Syndicate calls on the Ministry of State of Antiquities (MSA) to cut all ties with foreign – and especially American - archaeological missions in response to international reaction towards the current political events in Egypt.


    The Syndicate's statement came hours after a French-called UN council meeting started to discuss Egypt' interim government forcible removal of Brotherhood and their allies from their weeks-long sit-ins demanding deposed president Mohamed Morsi be reinstated; as well as a condemnation by US President Barak Obama of "the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government and security forces...We deplore violence against civilians."[....]

    The Syndicate wants to see the MSA take immediate, thorough steps to cut all ties, even including prohibiting researchers and students to enter Egyptian museums and archaeological sites, Archaeologists Syndicate Coordinator Salah El-Hadi announces in a press release sent around 11pm.

    Foreign archaeological and cultural institutes - again, emphasising American institutions, with the American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE) and the Chicago House mentioned by name - should be cut off because of their country’s support of "terrorism," i.e. the Brotherhood's recent actions.

    This prohibition, asserts El-Hadi, "would continue until those foreign cultural and archaeological institutes in Egypt pronounce their official rejection of their countries' policy of intervention in Egypt’s internal affairs."

    "We are not quite reassured of our heritage being in the hands of our enemies," El-Hadi says, adding: "If the MSA will not accept and follow-through with our demands, archaeologists will implement the prohibition [ourselves] and will work towards cutting any cooperation with them."



    More of the same:

    Portrait of a Cairo Liberal as a Military Backer
    By Joshua Hersh, News Desk @, August 17, 2013

    [....] I was there to meet with Mohammed Aboul-Ghar, a seventy-three-year-old academic and politician who has been a leading figure in Egypt’s liberal establishment, and now represents one of the most confounding elements of the country’s current crisis: the wholesale alignment of old-guard liberals with the military.[....]

    “Would the Americans have been willing to wait four years for Nixon to finish his term?” Aboul-Ghar asked, as we sat in his living room [....] “And remember, Nixon did much less than Morsi did.” [....]

    “I don’t accept that this is a coup,” he replied firmly. “The military could never have done this alone, without those massive demonstrations by the people. The Army came to prevent a civil war, and to support the people.” He was echoing one of many popular refrains among backers of the military: the takeover in July was not a coup; Morsi was leading Egypt into ruin and the destitution of Islamic law; the Brotherhood is a group of terrorists who should never have been let into public life—and now deserve the punishments coming to them. “The loss of life is tragic,” he said of the sit-in attacks. “But I’m sorry to say that the Muslim Brotherhood invited this. They wanted all of the time for this to happen.” He added, “I don’t accept that there are non-extremist elements to the Muslim Brotherhood.” [.....]

    Aboul-Ghar, like many liberals, now views ElBaradei as something of a turncoat. “What happened with ElBaradei is related to his personality to a great extent,” he said. “Mohamed ElBaradei is a very nice man, but he’s not a politician, he’s not very interested in making decisions, and he’s not a leader.” (An aide to ElBaradei told me that he was not available to respond.)

    The time to resign, had ElBaradei wanted to stand for principles, Aboul-Ghar said as I prepared to leave, would have been on Monday, when the national security board, a council of top ministers and security agency chiefs, finally decided to take aggressive action against the Brotherhood sit-in camps. It was clear even then, he said, that the actions would cause a certain number of deaths, perhaps hundreds. “We were calculating this possibility from the start,” he said. [.....]

    The full article does get into his background, the author has talked with him before, an academic fighting for university freedoms, with absolutely nothing to suggest any pro-military leanings or connections in the past, quite to the contrary.


    Tamarod aims to ban US aid and cancel Camp David peace treaty
    By Fady Ashraf, Daily News Egypt,  August 17, 2013

    New campaign “to revive national sovereignty”

    The Tamarod (Rebellion) campaign joined the Emna' Maouna (Ban the Aid) campaign to stop the US aid to Egypt, on Saturday, according to their official website.

    Tamarod said this is in response for the unacceptable US interference in Egyptian political affairs, and their support for terrorist groups.

    Tamarod issued another statement on their website, entitled, No to Aid, in which they demanded that the Egyptian regime hold a referendum banning US aid, cancelling the 1979 Camp David peace treaty with Israel and rewording security-related treaties to allow Egypt to secure its borders.

    The Tamarod campaign, which played a major role in the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi, stated that these actions are aimed at reviving national sovereignty, “after it was broken for many years.”

    Mai Wahba, Tamarod’s media coordinator, said the campaign will gather signatures from the people, as the primary method to push for the referendum. She added that there is no timeframe for the campaign yet.

    State-owned Al-Ahram reports that the Emna Maouna campaign started on 1 August, and was responsible for the electronic occupation of US President Barack Obama’s Facebook page.

    If you want to talk about using the word coup, we shouldn't fail to mention that

    yesterday Juan Cole called what Morsi did as president a "slow-motion coup "

    and said that Morsi and the Brotherhood "bear a good deal of the blame for derailing the transition":

    [....] In 2011-2012, the revolutionary youth, the liberals and the Brotherhood made common cause to return the military to their barracks.

    But then the Brotherhood broke all of its promises and threw a fright into everyone– youth, women, Coptic Christians, Liberals, leftists, workers, and the remnants of the old regime. The Brotherhood cheated in the parliamentary elections, running candidates for seats set aside for independents. Then they tried to pack the constitution-writing body with their parliamentarians, breaking another promise. They reneged on the pledge to have a consensual constitution.

    Once Muhammad Morsi was elected president in June, 2012, he made a slow-motion coup. He pushed through a Brotherhood constitution in December of 2012 in a referendum with about a 30% turnout in which it garnered only 63%– i.e. only a fifth of the country voted for it. The judges went on strike rather than oversee balloting, so the referendum did not meet international standards. When massive protests were staged he had them cleared out by the police, and on December 6, 2012, is alleged to have sent in Brotherhood paramilitary to attack leftist youth who were demonstrating. There were deaths and injuries.

    Morsi then invented a legislature for himself, declaring by fiat that the ceremonial upper house was the parliament. He appointed many of its members; only 7% were elected. They passed a law changing the retirement age for judges from 70 to 60, which would have forced out a fourth of judges and allowed Morsi to start putting Brotherhood members on the bench to interpret his sectarian constitution. He was building a one party state. His economic policies hurt workers and ordinary folk. He began prosecuting youth who criticized him, his former allies against the military. 8 bloggers were indicted. Ahmad Maher of The April 6 youth group was charged with demonstrating (yes). Television channels were closed. Coptic school teachers were charged with blasphemy. Morsi ruled from his sectarian base and alienated everyone else. He over-reached.

    In my view Morsi and the Brotherhood leadership bear a good deal of the blame for derailing the transition, since a democratic transition is a pact among various political forces, and he broke the pact. If Morsi was what democracy looked like, many Egyptians did not want it. Gallup polls trace this disillusionment.

    But the Egyptian military bears the other part of the blame for the failed transition. Ambitious officers such as Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Morsi’s Minister of Defense, were secretly determined to undo Morsi’s victory at the polls. They said they wanted him to compromise with his political rivals, but it seems to me they wanted more, they wanted him neutered. When the revolutionary youth and the workers and even many peasants staged the June 30 demonstrations, al-Sisi took advantage of them to stage a coup. Ominously, he then asked for public acclamation to permit him to wage a war on terror, by which he means the Brotherhood [....]

    And Juan Cole's new post today is a must read: Egypt's Waco, about the questions about MB weapons use and stockpiling and the massacre.

    While much of what you have written is true I question the conclusions you draw from those facts. The Egyptian upper house and the judgeships you mention were where the Mubarak loyalists were entrenched from what I have read. We don't have a clear picture of who the real power players in Egypt are especially since we have to view most of this story through the narrow, slanted Western Media. Trying to justify this coup by blaming the victim, even though he may have overreached, is reprehensible IMHO. Juan Cole is just another biased Western talking head and why does this world event have to relate to some incident that happened in our failed democracy?

    Possible Saudi effects forthcoming:

    also to consider in that light, Arabist's response here:

    Fascinating but frustrating discussion, though any kind of discussion beats murdering each other in the street. Many early commenters took the rhetorical question in the head too literally, focusing on whether the U.S. should bite the bullet and cut off aid. That wasn't what I was asking. What I meant was: Can "we" -- rational, thinking, moral people, Americans or not -- open our eyes and recognize what is really going on in Egypt: a brazen, cynical bid by the military-dominated "deep state" to reassert its absolute control?

    Arguments over "losing our leverage" are ludicrous; the U.S. no longer has any over any side in Egypt. John Kerry tossed it away when he declared (after Morsi was deposed but before this week's massacres) that the army had stepped in to fulfill the will of the people. The White House tried to walk that declaration back, but the generals saw their green light, and acted. Denying the Egyptian junta a billion or so isn't going to prompt it to moderate its violence, but I think Obama should do the right thing even if brings zero political advantage. It's called principle.

    Issandr al-Imrani has a nice analysis I concur with. Some of the comments are interesting, too:

    For a more detailed look at the players, roles and timeline of this staged counter-revolution read Esam Al-Amin's Counterpunch article, The Grand Scam.

    Skimmed it but then my eyes started to glaze over at the infinite complexity of this conspiracy. I'm not impressed. Geez I was half expecting the JFK assassination to pop up in there somewhere. It's like this: if you see Bandar cited one day, it's got to be a conspiracy, and you just have to follow the Bandar to start writing it. Scour the Arabic language web sites for stuff that fits the conspiracy narrative we are building, start a web yourself, map it all out, soon you'll have a spiderweb so intricate that even John Forbes Nash Jr  couldn't compete. There is so much stuff in there that he couldn't possibly know unless he was Prince Bandar of Darkness his royal self (who also has been known to weave a complextale or two) and also had every middle east potentate bugged to max, where he could give the NSA a real run for their money.

    So I didn't like the looks of it, nope, sorry, and I look up Al-Amin, he  looks to be a self-promoting type and self-labeled "expert", very resourceful in that, and also in conspiracy building, with few actual credentials that he is proud of. This is all he could offer as a bio to Jaddilya when he did an interview with them about his only book The Arab Awakening Unveiled: Understanding Transformations and Revolutions in the Middle East.:

    Esam Al-Amin is a writer and an expert on the Middle East and US foreign policy. His work appeared on many websites and publications. His articles on the Arab Spring and Middle East politics have been translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Turkish.

    and that book was not published by a actual book publisher but by this American pro-Palestinian lobbying group.

    Yes, there's a lot of facts in that article, but they are all tied up with all kinds of stuff that is very dubious and presented in a very messy manner, it's not even a tight conspiracy, it's just throwing all kinds of shit and hoping it strikes fear and loathing and hopelessness about the world today into Counterpunch users about the evil powers that be. He sounds like a combo of some Firedoggers as well as a bit of the late career Howard Beale, and these two Tweets I just saw surfing, from Egyptian journalist:

    By the way, Hussein also has a blog, I checked out, here's his second last post on it, March 10: Despair is Betrayal, where he's trying to buck himself up about his despair about what Morsi's been doing, stuff like this, sounds familiar, don't it:

    The Interior Ministry can kill, maim, torture scores more as it has been doing a lot of recently and that will not restore it’s corrupted luster or sense of power. It’s just not going to happen. The same applies to the army, or the government. The top officials from Morsi downwards can bleat on all they want about dealing with events with a firm hand, an iron will and a callous heart, it will not restore whatever it is they deem worthy of restoration [....]

    Morsi has not finished his first year in office and it is already clear that from him and the Brotherhood – and their cheerleaders both domestic and foreign – there is not just an absolute failure of vision, of leadership and of any morality whatsoever but also a disconcerting comfort with all this death. They join the ranks of Mubarak’s coterie, the military and the police as ones who have betrayed this country and its people [....]

    So somehow he's got to be part of Al-Amin's conspiracy, I guess? Or just a dupe of The Conspiracy's anti-Morsi agitprop happening in March?

    Well, you did it, congratulations, you got me wasting time talking to you about precisely the grand guignol debates I wanted to avoid. And looking at and wasting time countering Counterpunch agitprop. Which I have never found productive even though giving it a chance many many times since circa 2002.  No more, thanks but no thanks.

    Edit to add: I'll grant you that Juan Cole has gone celubu-prof over the years, goes for the crowd pleasing antics a bit too much. But he still has a scholarly background and training and I personally think it still shows. I think using a comparison like Waco would be a good thing, a great tool, if you were teaching a class on this topic, so why the heck is it a bad thing when you're writing a popular blog? Ain't much wrong with being a thought-provoking teacher.

    It's a shame that you suffer the same attention disorder that many Amerikans share Art. Skimming a real analysis of the Egypt  tragedy and replying with tweets is telling.   The real questions here go far beyond Morsi's failures and should be directed at the forces of counter-revolution in Egypt and wherever the US projects it's power.

    Paul Bremer, US Chief Administrator of Iraq, 'on principle' fired all Iraqi military, security, and intelligence personnel, and disbanded the associated infrastructure within hours of his arrival in the nation.

    It got a whole heaping amount of worse from there. Even with a trillion dollars spent, and a couple hundred thousand US boots on the ground.

    It just may be the Egyptian Army/police know more about Egypt and Egyptians than we do, and it may be Egypt isn't ready for western democracy, maybe it never will be.

    Your last paragraph might be less offensive if this " western democracy" wasn't actually a farce and tragedy itself. The reason the MB government had to go was that it didn't conform to the controlled, groomed and neutered democracy we enjoy.

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