June 14, 2012
Egypt: The Counterrevolution Won - For Now
The parliamentary elections in Egypt gave a large majority to the Muslim Brotherhood the Salafi parties. That scared many of the liberals who had protested at Tahrir square as well as the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Behaving quite unprofessionally the various fractions in the parliament could not agree on a way to set up a constitutional assembly and on procedures on how to write a new constitution. But they agreed on a law banning former Musharaf government members from the presidency.
Then came the presidential elections. The most popular candidates were dismissed by a SCAF election court for this or that fudged reason. Then the first ballot round eliminated some others and left for the second round only the candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood Morsi and the candidate for the SCAF, Mubarak's last prime minister Shafiq.
Yesterday the military reinstated parts of the emergency law that allows arbitrary arrests by the military and state security forces.
Today the constitutional court ruled that the law to ban former government members from the presidential election is illegal. Mubarak clone Shafiq can thereby continue in the run-off and whoever will count the votes will make sure that he wins.
The court also ruled on the legitimacy of the parliament. With a fluffy interpretation of the law it found that a third of the parliament members, those directly elected instead of through party lists, were not legally elected. It dissolved the whole parliament.
Egypt now has no parliament, no constitution, no way to create a new constitution and a joke of a legal system.
Shafik, the SCAF puppet, will win Sunday's run-off vote. Today he already held a well prepared victory speech. Mubarak, currently in jail with a bad case of jail flue will then likely be freed and allowed to live in some luxury comfort where he can continue to pull the strings. Everything will be back to where it was before the Tahrir protest.
Or not. Whenever Islamist parties got cheated out of a democratic victory the troubles only began. The 1991 election in Algeria and the non-acceptance of the result by the military was followed by some great and brutal troubles. Hamas won the Palestinian election in 2006 but was not allowed to rule. After a fight with Fatah Hamas took over Gaza and strife within the Palestinian people continues today.
It is therefore quite likely that the now completed counterrevolution by the military, in the bigger historic view, will only be seens as a phase in a longer and likely more violent process of re-balancing the Egyptian political system.
Posted by b on June 14, 2012 at 11:14 AM | Permalink
When Mubarak was in the dock being sentenced, he was sitting with his arms defiantly crossed, looking as mean as ever. I don't think there's that much wrong with his health at all (beyond the sinking spell that comes with losing power). The cover story about him slipping away--almost in a coma--is no doubt complete bullshit.
Posted by: Copeland | Jun 14, 2012 11:48:08 AM | 1
It should be Mubarak* government and NOT Musharaf government (altough you are right - they both were Western backed tinpot dicatators).
Posted by: Irshad | Jun 14, 2012 11:58:21 AM | 2
The difference now is that people are politically aware and aroused.
Let's hope that Egyptians show the military just what they think about the SCAF/Saudi/American imposition on them.
Posted by: JohnH | Jun 14, 2012 12:48:29 PM | 3
back to Tahrir square! the people will not settle for this.
Posted by: annie | Jun 14, 2012 1:17:07 PM | 4
this blog seems too intelligent and aware to really believe that the Arab Spring fakeries were not Western-orchestrated hoaxes, exploiting the populaces' real and legit anger over corruption, poverty and oppression. those mass elements are what are real. but the bogus 'revolutions' are more psyops to herd the masses into overthrowing the regimes that the west wants to remove for cheap. just tell them its all democracy and the herd charges. look to see islamic fundamentalists put in power all over the region. that is the western plan, with the outcome worse than before.
Posted by: JL. | Jun 14, 2012 1:48:06 PM | 5
@JL - i agree with the first part - the (media-)revolutionaries were western trained, quite dumb idealists. But they quite immediately lost the plot when the real forces in those societies came up. Those are the more or less political Islamist forces with big Gulf money backing them.
The "democratization" plan, which was a neocon project from Bush times, totally miscalculated when they thought that Middle Eastern people are "just like us" and want "liberty" and "freedom" and whatever irrelevant concept the "west" tries to push on people who often to not have the money to by bread for their families. Those people turned to those who do care for social issues. The brotherhood is the major example.
But those brotherhood folks are also a bit stupid as one can see in Egypt now. The MB there fell for every trick the SCAF tried on them. I do not think for a moment that lifting them into rule was the "western" plan. The "realist" "west" wants reliable dictatorships with some pseudo-democratic paint on them.
Interesting Interview especially about Egypt with Tariq Ramadan ‘Arab Spring is West-pushed process out of control’
Posted by: b | Jun 14, 2012 2:26:02 PM | 6
Legal experts, activists react in anger to Egypt Constitutional Court verdicts:
Similarly, Sally Toma of the Revolutionary Youth Coalition remarked in an upset and angry tone that "We did not expect a different verdict, we know our judicial system."
Toma also blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for refusing to accept the roadmap, which was repeatedly demanded by revolutionaries, to establish a civil presidential council under which parliamentary and presidential elections would take place.
Meanwhile, Mahmoud Ezzat, a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, commented in a statement to the Al-Ahram Arabic language news website that he believed the Egyptian people would still vote for the Islamist group in both the upcoming presidential runoff and the new parliamentary elections.
He added that the Brotherhood was, however, waiting to read the rationale of the court's verdicts before it could comment officially.
On the other hand, Dina Zakaria, co-founder of the Brotherhood's Committee for Foreign Relations, told Ahram Online that the Brotherhood believed the court decision was political and not constitutional.
"The counter-revolution is trying to revive the old regime and will not accept civilian rule," she added, explaining that Egyptians from all political backgrounds should jointly decide on how to deal with the current situation.
Egypt constitutional court rulings tantamount to 'military coup': Abul-Fotouh:
Eliminated presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh on Thursday declared that allowing Ahmed Shafiq – the military's preferred presidential candidate – to vie for Egypt's highest office while dissolving the elected parliament and granting military police the right to arrest civilians represented a de facto "military coup."
"Anyone who believes that Egypt's millions of revolutionary youth will allow this to pass must be delusional," Abul-Fotouh declared.
Egypt activists blast constitutional court rulings on parliament, presidency.
Posted by: lysias | Jun 14, 2012 2:31:17 PM | 7
Debka says the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood is beginning to form its own version of the Iranian revolutionary guards
Posted by: nikon | Jun 14, 2012 2:40:30 PM | 8
"Debka says the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood is beginning to form its own version of the Iranian revolutionary guards."
Sounds very unlikely to me. The MB are clearly incapable of organising anything unless guided by the Saudis, armed by the Americans and bribed to the gills.
As to what happens next, the eurozone, which is the other half of NATO, is in a very dangerous condition. The "bailout" of Spain has been an expensive disaster and Italy is next in line, then France... The elections in Greece will give us an indication of whether there is going to be any resistance, this side of mass starvation, by the European peoples. If there is, the situation in the middle east will take on a very different appearance.
This is beginning to look like a major crisis in which the US Empire has nothing to suggest but force and more force: force in Syria, force in Lebanon, force in Iraq and a reliance on what is likely to be a very shaky military force in Egypt.
It is worth noting that Mubarak style neo-liberalism is hardly a viable option in the current Depression, so that if Shafiq does take power his ability to reward any section of society is going to be very limited.
We live in interesting times. Anyone in the publishing business ought to invest in a new edition of Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution; it should sell like hot cakes.
Posted by: bevin | Jun 14, 2012 3:06:21 PM | 9
>>> Sounds very unlikely to me. The MB are clearly incapable of organising anything unless guided by the Saudis, armed by the Americans and bribed to the gills.>>>
Bevin, you have an odd view of the MB. They are very well organized to have won the most seats in Parliament and more than the Salafists. They are not as stupid as you and B think since they are the ones that are keeping the Salafists in check and the Americans nervous about what they may do about Israel. Many are clean shaven and dress in suit and tie and don't fit the preconceived picture people have of them. Also, they are the ones guiding the Saudis and the Qataris and not the other way around. The very advanced Arabic Jazeera is staffed in good part by Brothers and its most popular program is Cheikh Qaradawi's weekly religion show that has an audience of 40 million. The cheikh was the Egyptian MB's spiritual head until his exile to Qatar 40 years ago. He was allowed to return to Egypt and was invited to Tahrir Square after the fall of Mubarak and offered to take a leading role in the MB but he refused. The bribes by the Americans are to keep them from turning on Israel. Sooner or later, they will.
Posted by: www | Jun 14, 2012 4:35:02 PM | 10
so the sharia law wielders have won? thanks to the Revolution Businessmen of OTPOR and the US state dept apapratchiks
Posted by: brian | Jun 14, 2012 5:50:27 PM | 11
As of 2:30 pm. EDT, no statement by Obama regarding the situation in Egypt.
Meanwhile Hillary the Horrible said the "US is particularly "concerned" by a recent decree from the country’s Judicial Ministry allowing the military to detain Egyptian citizens"...though she has never expressed the least concern about recent US legislation that allows the military to permanently detain US citizens...or kill them without trial.
And Hillary the Horrible said that she expects the elections to take place in a "peaceful, fair and free" atmosphere--give the appearance of being free and fair while Mubarak's PM steals the election!
When the street explodes, H the H will dutifully request both sides to exercise restraint, meaning "keep the status quo."
The attitude of the USG seems to be that they will prevent regime change at all costs for allies, pursue it at all costs for recalcitrants. Civil war? No problem. Heck, the West already survived civil wars in Algeria and Iraq and came out with regimes that pumped lots of oil. Civil wars are an inconvenience to US policy makers, not something to be avoided if it brings the right lackeys to power.
Posted by: JohnH | Jun 14, 2012 5:55:23 PM | 12
I don't notice the Angry Arab cited here too often but he made one of the more sensible comments about the Egyptian uprising a week or so after it began. He thought it would be premature to call it a revolution, though he did acknowledge its revolutionary potential but felt it would probably take a few years to see if that potential develops.
The close affection the masses of Egyptians had with their military was what hindered any real change. This coup should be a wake up call that will educate the people that their current military is the problem, not the solution. This will be an interesting story for some time -- will a coalition between the secular forces, middle classes, MB and, the big unknown, dissident forces inside the military form and carry out the real revolution.
Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 14, 2012 6:45:45 PM | 13
Posted by: b | Jun 14, 2012 2:26:02 PM | 6
What politicos SAY and what they DO are rarely in synch. Bush, Jr was meeting with the MB in 2002-3 already (not counting their courting of anti-Saddam stooges. Also their dealings with Hariri era MB to oust Hezbollah is well known. Brits supported MB boing back half a century or more, and US created MB offshoot Al Qaeda. Circle of kingmakers seems pretty small. The intent to bring in the muslim extremists is akin to British MI6's using Arabs against Ottomans or using Khomeini to dump Shah. Their ace is controlling all sides.
Posted by: JL. | Jun 14, 2012 9:17:21 PM | 14
@9, "...sell like hotcakes..." No need; it's free online.
Posted by: ruralito | Jun 14, 2012 9:42:49 PM | 15
"Many are clean shaven and dress in suit and tie and don't fit the preconceived picture people have of them. Also, they are the ones guiding the Saudis and the Qataris and not the other way around.."
The problem is that while the Saudis and Qataris are frankly nihilists who understand that they will survive only as long as they can kill or intimidate opponents, the Brotherhood believe that they can reconcile religious populism with neo-liberalism.
The real problem in Egypt is that there are millions of desperately poor people and things are not going to get better. There is a global Depression and the sort of economic options the Brotherhood offer (IMF loans, belt tightening and austerity) are not viable without lots of machine guns and conscripts eager to kill their family and neighbours.
What we have been watching in Egypt is a revolution without a programme. The Brotherhood don't have a programme, if they did they would be unassailable even though they dress like white men. It will be interesting to see how they react to being told, by Mubarak's legal appointees, that the election that they won is void. Maybe they will manipulate the Gulf Wahhabis into getting SCAF to give in to them.
Posted by: bevin | Jun 14, 2012 10:11:54 PM | 16
The Prague Spring ended on August 21, 1968; the Arab Spring on June 14, 2012.
Posted by: JohnH | Jun 15, 2012 12:49:30 AM | 17
>>>The problem is that while the Saudis and Qataris are frankly nihilists who understand that they will survive only as long as they can kill or intimidate opponents... are not viable without lots of machine guns and conscripts eager to kill their family and neighbours... we have been watching in Egypt is a revolution without a programme... they dress like white men>>>
Bevin, that's another misconceptions rooted in overall ignorance of what Islam is about and from Israeli propaganda aimed at disparaging the Arab collectivity. While the term could apply to a very few holy rollers with a glint in their eye on some self-appointed divine mission (America and Europe have a few of those too), saying that Saudis and Qataris will survive only as long as they can kill or intimidate opponents is way off the mark. If you absolutely want to fault them on something or simply assault them because of your political leaning, you can accuse them of satiating the beast in other countries like in Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria so it wouldn't come for them in their own countries, as they did for years when they were throwing money at Arafat to keep him away from their shores, but drop the horseshit that Qataris and Saudis are killers.
The real problem in Egypt is not very different from problems in most parts of the world. Again that horseshit you are shovelling with your comment about the Brotherhood having no other option but to kill family and neighbours with machine guns is making you into a typical ignoramus and most probably of the Israeli kind. Essentially, the problem in Egypt is that its annual population growth is about 800,000 with no job-creation programs anywhere on the horizon to take care of 90% of those entering the job market each year. Put that into the perspective of fellow Arab countries spending tens of billions on arms purchases when a fraction of these amounts would go a long way of helping create the needed jobs in Egypt. It isn't any wonder then that so many desperate Arabs are being driven into the comforting arms of the religious parties. You say the Brothers had no program, did most Egyptians vote for this party because they were on something?
Your reference to the white man makes you into another Eli Yishai; bravo, you'll take this as a compliment, I'm sure.
Posted by: www | Jun 15, 2012 3:12:17 AM | 19
JohnH, the Arab spring hasn't yet happened. What you've been seeing is the revival of Islamic fundamentalism riding in on the coattails or in the shadow of what on the surface appeared as freedom movements. The freedom bit was all spin and no meat, somewhat like the green movement during Iran's 2009 elections that was in most part an American choreography.
Posted by: www | Jun 15, 2012 3:42:04 AM | 20
>>> The close affection the masses of Egyptians had with their military was what hindered any real change>>>
That wasn't love, ToivoS #13, it was appreciation for not getting their heads bashed by the military during the demonstrations. The military did not bash heads out of love either or a sense of justice, it wanted to get rid of Mubarak whose time had come up, especially with the planned succession by his son and it simply stepped aside and let the masses scream Mubarak out of office. You're right about the military being the problem; it's said that about 30 or 40%of Egypt's economy is controlled by the military that doesn't pay taxes or salaries since the labor force involved is conscripted. The military has been in control since the early 50s and it's not about to let go whether the MB wants it to or not.
Posted by: www | Jun 15, 2012 4:08:03 AM | 21
I have a feeling we aint seen nothin yet.
Why is the Brotherhood saddled with so much calumny?They've never been in power,and religious people scare me a whole lot less than atheist(anyone who does what they do does not believe in God,or even nature) monsters(US and Israel) anyday.
Posted by: dahoit | Jun 15, 2012 10:50:29 AM | 22
Sorry www, the Prague Spring never happened either. It got crushed in its infancy by the military of the Warsaw Pact. The Arab Spring got crushed by the military of the "international community."
Posted by: JohnH | Jun 15, 2012 10:57:08 AM | 23
Chafik was seen a a successor of Mubarak, afaik, by those who did not like the son Gamal taking over. Chafik is 70+.
Chafik: If I am elected, I will restore order in one month. Security is my priority.
To a meet of the US Chamber of Commerce, April 2012. He also brandishes the possibility of a ‘new Iran’...
The rich are afraid of the Muslim brotherhood, the poor want only one thing - jobs.
Only two organizations or pol forces in Egypt that have a consequent network, structure, local grip or influence.
The previous régime, which is not just military/Gvmt but commercial, land-owning, big biz owning, e.g. owns agri, hotels, industry, thus is job offering, law-making (kind of) and more -- and the Muslim brotherhood who has a loose or dense network, and in the area of spiritual comfort, religious dominance, social aid, social harmony, support for the poor, with NO rivals.
It is completely natural that the two candidates come from these factions.
There are 80 million plus ppl in Egypt.
Most can only judge from their local experience, have never heard of Twitter, and care not a fig for edjucated young bloggers in Cairo.
Many Egyptians work in the tourist industry and all they want is a return of the foreignors and stability. Chafik is perhaps a better candidate for them.
Many may hate the choice.
Posted by: Noirette | Jun 15, 2012 12:35:18 PM | 24
this blog seems too intelligent and aware to really believe that the Arab Spring fakeries were not Western-orchestrated hoaxes, exploiting the populaces' real and legit anger over corruption, poverty and oppression. - JL
This is not true of Tunisia or Egypt. The W was very surprised, and dismayed, by the potential loss of Ben-Ali and Mubarak.
Israel - Arms - Biz deals, massive, in many areas - and right down below, cheap vacations and juicy deals in lux spots by the likes of Alliot-Marie, Defense Min of France, Interior Min, and then of Foreign Affairs. Blinded, if you like, by the status quo, or the right. Old and new style colonialism, we are the masters here and will organize so that all boats are lifted. Sark. sent some envoys, priceless, suits of the chattering class.
The US - Obama and Hillary - were extremely unhappy and hesitant, but understood they could not, after some point, condemn ‘popular democratic peaceful’ (to make it short) ‘revolutions.’
Egypt’s revol. started with well organized labor unrest, which went on for many years and was suppressed. They lost the plot to ‘modernists’, who were doomed to fail. Sure they had some ‘foreign support.’
Posted by: Noirette | Jun 15, 2012 1:07:00 PM | 25
Hmm The Five Stages of Egypt's Revolution
The failure of the moderates will bring about stage three: the wholesale disintegration of a measured transition process, leading to widespread political confusion, major clashes, and the beginnings of violence verging on anarchy. Stage four ushers in the radical, purging, period -- terrifying for its uncompromising zeal and tyranny. This "fever," in Brinton's terminology, breaks in the final stage, as the radical leadership burns itself out and is replaced by a more stable and long-term representative government.
It's unclear who the "stage four" zealots will be in the Egyptian context, though some kind of militarized religious force seems probable. Indeed, the Salafists and other more extreme religious groups are conspicuously absent from the current clash of the mainstream factions -- particularly considering their astonishing election performance that gave them 25 percent of parliament.. Their silence, like that of France's Jacobins or Russia's Bolsheviks, is telling. They are, quite obviously, patiently awaiting the weakening of the military and the mosque, which are just now in the process of weakening each other -- as the contending moderate parties in revolutionary France and Russia weakened each other -- paving the way for the extremists. ...
Posted by: b | Jun 15, 2012 1:29:54 PM | 26
The sad part of this is that neither party (elites or religious parties) represent the basic interests (work, food and shelter) of the people.
As Marx said, religion is the opiate of the masses. Religious parties care mostly about imposing their moral values on the masses. Through history these religious parties do a deal with the powerful and wealthy, the former getting a lock on "right behavior," the latter getting a lock on wealth.
What's true of Saudi Arabia is also true of America. Wahhabi fundamentalists like Christianists don't much care about equality and justice. Meanwhile, they let wealthy elites do whatever they damn well please, out of site behind their high-walled estates.
When the rich and powerful lose their control over an open society--when the military and the media are no longer sufficient--then they just do a deal with religious extremists.
In Egypt like Tunisia, the Muslim Brotherhood have done nothing about economic issues but made lots of noise about moral values.
No wonder that informed Egyptians and Tunisians (and many Americans) are appalled at their options!
Posted by: JohnH | Jun 15, 2012 4:01:41 PM | 28
b's use of the five stages of revolution is interesting. I hate to see stage 4 as the one he envisions. Myself, being an optimist, believes that a coalition that includes more knowledgeable secular forces and less fanatic MB followers can work together to defeat the military hierarchy. Of course the military and the salafis will initially have the monopoly on violence and may very well determine events.
Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 15, 2012 6:02:21 PM | 29
>>>The Arab Spring got crushed by the military of the "international community.">>>
JohnH #23, I'm not saying something didn't happen, just that what you saw wasn't really an Arab spring somewhat like Indian summer isn't really summer or silicon boobs aren't really boobs. The West rushed to give it this tag because the West loves to attach tags to everything. The military of the international community, with one exception, did not crush what was happening but capitalized on it to give it momentum and direction as in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and now with the rebels in Syria by helping the Islamic fundamentalists. Where the fundies were in short supply as in Libya, the international community obiged by flying-in some seasoned fighters. Proof of that is that in all these countries that you are associating with an Arab spring movement, things are now much much worse than before this bogus spring happened and is turning into an Arab nightmare. The exception was in Bahrain where the uprising was an authentic Arab spring where no fundamentalists were involved. But Bahrain was completely ignored by the Western and Gulf media with exception of CNN that was interested in it for all of 5 consecutive days before dropping it altogether.
Posted by: www | Jun 16, 2012 1:22:10 AM | 30
The Greeks and the Egyptians vote this w-end.
It is possible that which candidate is elected in Egypt may make a difference, somewhere in the future (?) But, in view of the fact that Egypt has been returned to its status quo ante, or some might say, has experienced a soft military coup (well, corporate military, as the military is part of the state, and a big biz. and land owner) or whatever other formulation one likes, these are sham elections.
As for Greece, the EU/banks/others/Greek oligarchs, rich/Germans/the right seem attached to keeping pro-Memorandum pols and parties in power, Syriza being painted with a big red brush, it may not make that much difference either.
Firstly, because the Gvmt. and by extension the pol. parties de facto have little power, they are in a reactive mode, not a creative one. Second, because the Memorandum cannot be applied in full, has not been, and doesn’t solve core problems in any case, it is just crack-pot superficial social engineering, strong-armed, buying time, etc. I blame Merkel, a lot.
An anti-Memorandum platform faces different difficulties, just as dire in a way.
In both cases, the best outcome one can hope for is a special status for Greece, some kind of orderly exit from parts of the EU (legislation / currency) with continuing help, which will be needed, by European and other countries or orgs. I’m not optimistic. The whole Greek story shows up extremely ugly sides of Europe (the EU, but not only) and a very wide cultural gulf, hard to bridge, not that anybody paid it any attention or tried. Syriza’s program shows this clearly.
The program, for us, goes beyond mere slogans and measures, although we know that these are necessary as well. For us program means a set of values, principles, straight-out orientations and diligent positions. Our program is based on the values of solidarity, justice, freedom, equality and environmental responsibility.
more at, eng:
Syriza is just as reformist as the ‘Memorandum’, even more stiffly so, and often in the same direction.
Everything must change: the political system, the state, the relation of the citizen with the state and with politics. Consequently, the way out cannot be found in a return to some version of the past.
(...) because important reforms, such as in the tax regime, public administration and the redrawing of the relations of the state with the church, all constitute pending issues from the past, even the distant past. These pending issues of our collective historical life, have become pressing necessities and conditions for survival, and urgent preconditions to avert a catastrophe.
Egypt? Return to the past, or see Algeria, as b mentioned.
Posted by: Noirette | Jun 16, 2012 10:43:30 AM | 31
"...that horseshit you are shovelling with your comment about the Brotherhood having no other option but to kill family and neighbours with machine guns is making you into a typical ignoramus and most probably of the Israeli kind."
The point, www, is that there is no way out of the economic crisis in Egypt which does not involve breaking decisively with neo-liberalism, globalism and capitalism. And not only in Egypt. I am not suggesting that the MB is eager to resort to machine guns or terrorism, their problem is that they if they want to share power with the neo-liberals they will be drawn into suppressing revolution.
As to the balance of your remarks, suffice it to say that, you have beaten the shit out of a straw man: where he came from I have no idea.
Posted by: bevin | Jun 16, 2012 7:44:05 PM | 32
Bevin, maybe it wasn't your intention, but your words about Qataris and Saudis being nihilists and whose survival was dependant on intimidating and killing opponents were screaming for a reply. It wasn't your suggestions that were offensive but your assertions. Your white-man thinking hasn't grasped that the MB has no designs on sharing anything with anyone or in being forced into the suppression of a revolution, they are the revolution, but they have been manipulating it from the shadows. As a political party, they had been banned in Egypt for 57 years until the US recently put in a good word for it with Egypt's military to remove this ban.
Posted by: www | Jun 17, 2012 2:36:06 AM | 33
@24,"...the poor want only one thing - jobs."
Posted by: ruralito | Jun 17, 2012 11:46:08 AM | 34