Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 02, 2013

Did Kerry Call For A Coup In Pakistan?

Yesterday Secretary of State John Kerry visted Pakistan. In an interview with Geo TV he remarked on Egypt:
SECRETARY KERRY: [...] The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people, all of whom were afraid of a descendance into chaos, into violence. And the military did not take over, to the best of our judgment so – so far. To run the country, there’s a civilian government. In effect, they were restoring democracy. And the fact is --

QUESTION: By killing people on the roads?

SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, no. That’s not restoring democracy, and we’re very, very concerned about, very concerned about that. And I’ve had direct conversations with President Mansour, with Vice President ElBaradei, with General al-Sisi, as have other members of our government. And I’ve talked to the Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, so I’ve been in touch with all of the players there. And we have made it clear that that is absolutely unacceptable, it cannot happen.

Now, as you know, these situations can be very confusing and very difficult. We’re working very hard right now with Lady Catherine Ashton, with various officials, with other foreign ministers of other countries, in order to try to see if we can resolve this peacefully. But the story of Egypt is not finished yet, so we have to see how it unfolds in the next days.

The story of Egypt is certainly not finished yet. The military has ordered the interior ministry to clear the Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins. That will likely be a bloody affair and the U.S. will merely comment on it. "Absolutely unacceptable" will be the public stand. The private call to General Sisi will probably be "congratulations, well done."

But saying the military in Egypt "were restoring democracy" is not only about Egypt.

Indeed the context of an interview in Pakistan is very important here. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was recently elected for the third time. Sharif is a conservative Islamist and is not pro-American. Both of his former premierships were terminated by the Pakistani military. In 1993 he pressed to step down by the military and during his second term in 1999 then Chief of Staff General Musharraf removed Nawaz Sharif in a military coup.

Despite Kerry's visit and somewhat friendly words to Pakistan there is a lot of trouble brewing between the U.S. and Pakistan over U.S. drone strikes and the U.S. infringement on Pakistan's sovereignty. The U.S. is also very much against Sharif's support for the Afghan Taliban and his plans for reconciliation with the Pakistani Taliban.

The military "restoring democracy" remark can thus be understood as an invitation to the Pakistani military to repeat in Pakistan what happened in Egypt. Prepare some "popular protests", launch a coup against Sharif, put in a compliant "civil" government and you will be lauded by the United States government for "restoring democracy".

That is certainly what the Pakistani military in Rawalpindi will take away from Kerry's interview. A few month from now, when Sharif starts to implement his agenda, strings can be pulled and confidential phone calls made to again coup against a somewhat popular elected government. All in the name of "restoring democracy."

One also wonders what the rather paranoid Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan may think about Kerry's "restoring democracy" remark. Were those protests over Gezi Park, which Erdogan blames on foreign intervention and the "interest lobby" aka the Jews, really about one of the few green spots in Istanbul or were the about "restoring democracy"?

Posted by b on August 2, 2013 at 7:20 UTC | Permalink

The military "restoring democracy" remark can thus be understood as an invitation to the Pakistani military to repeat in Pakistan what happened in Egypt.
Oh, no. This is Jackass Kerry we're talking about. He's not intelligent enough to embed a hint like that.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 2 2013 8:21 utc | 1

With the military withdrawal from Afghanistan looming on the horizon the US most likely would not want to roil things in Pakistan for the time being.

The Nawaz Sharif government is under the influence of the Saudis and this gives the US leverage over them, too.

Also, the US has enough problems on its hands currently to not want to add another one. Of course, the potential for stupidity on their part is almost limitless.

Posted by: FB Ali | Aug 2 2013 15:40 utc | 2

Breaking up the two sit-ins in Cairo will just spread the violence to other neighborhoods in the city. Sit-ins are not easy to clear. There will be plenty of images of peaceful protesters being brutalized, which will galvanize others to take to the street. The Muslim Brotherhood, once avowedly non-violent, will start forming arming a militia.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Aug 2 2013 18:26 utc | 3

Almost every time Kerry opens his mouth he gushes such pointlessly vacuous inanities that I can't help wondering ... "Would Lavrov say that?"

And the answer is always the same ... "No. Not in a million years."
America's Chief Diplomat is the Clown Prince of Lies and Diversionary talking points - the same template which has defined his predecessors.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 3 2013 6:31 utc | 4

Well, the US has quite a history of welcoming coups when they want "regime change." And when there is a coup d'etat which the US likes, it is never labeled as such. Because of that law about no aid to states under rule through a coup.

Obama did not view the military take over in Honduras in his first administration as a coup d'etat. For the US, definitions are infinitely maleable, based on its interests at the moment. NO stand on principles.

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 3 2013 13:39 utc | 5

Well, B., you were the one who, a month ago, was doing a lot to excuse the coup-makers in Egypt. Have you recanted yet?

Posted by: Helena | Aug 4 2013 19:36 utc | 6

My, my, Helena Cobban. You want the MBs back in power? Why?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 4 2013 20:11 utc | 7

Hilarious Egyptian pop song propaganda for Sisi:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 5 2013 7:46 utc | 8

In addition to those you mention, there's another irritant between the U.S. and the gov't of Pakistan: a possible pipeline for obtaining natural gas from Iran.

"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday said the United States has warned that the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project could invoke sanctions on the country in the future." See:

Posted by: Patrick Cummins | Aug 6 2013 3:21 utc | 9


Speaking of Egypt and the "coup" approved by Kerry.
Because a military take over is restoring democracy?
I am not sure where that line is ever a reality, but....

Kerry has chosen Robert S Ford as the new Ambassador.
This is extremely ominous for Egypt.
I am unsure if "extremely ominous"is accurate enough to describe what a bad omen this appointment is.
Think death squads. Think of his role in Syria.
Think of his mentor Negroponte.

Posted by: Penny | Aug 7 2013 13:38 utc | 10

Re Robert Ford, #10 - Agreed. It's a horrible choice. Kerry is a lobotomised fool. I always refer to him as "Jackass". Tarpley never ceases to remind us that Kerry is a Skull & Bones product.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 7 2013 13:52 utc | 11

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