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Egypt: Coup d’État, Act II

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For two years now I have often been asked why I have not visited Egypt, where I had been forbidden entry for 18 years. Just as often I repeated that on the basis of the information I was able to obtain—confirmed by Swiss and European officials—the Egyptian army remained firmly in control and had never left the political arena.

I never shared the widespread “revolutionary” enthusiasm. Nor did I believe that events in Egypt, any more than in Tunisia, were the result of a sudden historical upheaval. The peoples of these two countries suffered from dictatorship, from economic and social crisis; they rose up in the name of dignity, social justice and freedom. Their awakening, their “intellectual revolution,” and their courage must be saluted. But to accept or justify a simple-minded, linear explanation of the political, geostrategic and economic issues would have been totally unconscionable. Nearly three years ago, in a book and then in a series of articles, I alerted my readers to a body of troubling evidences, and to the underlying geopolitical and economic considerations that were often missing from mainstream political and media analyses, and that insisted on submitting the euphoria that accompanied the “Arab spring” to critical analysis.

The Egyptian army has not returned to politics for the simple reason that it has never left. The fall of Hosni Mubarak was a military coup d’État that allowed a new generation of officers to enter the political scene in a new way, from behind the curtain of a civilian government. In an article published on June 29 2012->http://tariqramadan.com/?p=12118 ] I noted an Army high command declaration that the presidential election was temporary, for a six-month to one-year period (its title made the premonition explicit: “An election for nothing?”). The American administration had monitored the entire process: its objective ally in Egypt over the past fifty years has been the army, not the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The latest revelations (see the [International Herald Tribune , July 5->http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-217419991.html], and [Le Monde, July 6 ->http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2013/07/06/egypte-un-coup-d-etat-prepare-a-l-avance-par-les-militaires_3443524_3212.html]) confirm what was already clear: the decision to overthrow President Mohamed Morsi had been made well before June 30. A conversation between President Morsi and General al-Sisi indicated that the head of the country’s military had planned the overthrow and imprisonment of the president weeks before the popular upheaval that would justify the military coup “in the name of the people’s will.” A clever strategy! Orchestrate demonstrations involving millions of people in order to make believe that the army truly cares about the people! Coup d’État, second act.

How then to analyze the immediate reaction of the American administration, which avoided using the term “coup d’État” (which, if accepted, would mean it could not provide financial support to the new regime)? A curious position for a government that in its ‘surprise’ uses exactly the right words to exert full political, economic and legal leverage over the coup makers. European governments will follow suit, of course: the army has responded “democratically” to the call of the people. It’s all too good to be true! Magically, chronic blackouts, gasoline and natural gas shortages came to an abrupt end after the fall of the president. It was as though people had been deprived of the basic necessities in order to drive them into the streets. Amnesty International observed the strange attitude of the armed forces, which did not intervene in certain demonstrations (even though it was closely monitoring them), allowing the violence to spiral out of control, as though by design. The armed forces then accompanied its intervention with a saturation public relations campaign, providing the international media with photographs taken from its helicopters, depicting the Egyptian population as it cheered and celebrated their military saviors, as confirmed in [Le Monde-> http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2013/07/06/egypte-un-coup-d-etat-prepare-a-l-avance-par-les-militaires_3443524_3212.html].

Nothing, then, has really changed: the “Arab spring” and the Egyptian “revolution” continue under the guiding hand of General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi. Trained by the United States Army, the general has kept close contact with his American counterparts. The [New International Herald Tribune (July 6-7)->http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-217419991.html ] informs us that General al-Sisi is well known to the Americans, as well as to the government of Israel, with which he “and his office”, we are told, continued to “communicate and to coordinate” even while Mohamed Morsi occupied the presidential palace. Al-Sisi had earlier served in the Military Intelligence Services in the North Sinai, acting as go-between for the American and Israeli authorities. It would hardly be an understatement to say that Israel, like the United States, could only look favorably upon developments in Egypt.

What, after the fact, is surprising, is the simple-mindedness, the lack of experience and the nature of the mistakes made by Mohamed Morsi, by his allies, and by the Muslim Brotherhood as an organization. For the last three years, I have been sharply critical of the thinking, action and strategies of the “Liberty and Justice” party, as well as of the MB leadership (over the last twenty-five years, my analyses and commentary have been and remain sharply critical). The trap seemed glaringly obvious; my writings on the subject ([book, and articles written between March and December 2012 ->http://tariqramadan.com/?p=12109]) pointed to grave shortcomings. President Morsi cannot be fairly criticized for not doing all he could to establish relations with the opposition, either by inviting it to join the government or to take part in a broad national dialogue. But his approaches were rejected out of hand, with the opposition bitterly opposing his every initiative. The fact remains, however, that his management of the business of state, his failure to listen to the voice of the people and even to some of his trusted advisors, his exclusivist relationship with the highest echelons of the MB leadership, his hasty and ill-considered decisions (some of which he later acknowledged as errors) must be unsparingly criticized. But on a more fundamental level, his greatest fault has been the utter absence of a political vision and the lack of clearly established political and economic priorities, his failure to struggle against corruption and poverty, and his egregious mismanagement of social and educational affairs. The demands of the International Monetary Fund (and its deliberate procrastination) placed the state in an untenable position: the Morsi government believed that the international institution would support it. It is only today, now that President Morsi has fallen, that the IMF appears prepared to remove what were previously insurmountable obstacles. This, coming a mere three days after the overthrow of a democratically elected government.

The naivety of the president, of his government and of the Muslim Brotherhood has been stunning. After sixty years of opposition and military repression (with the direct and indirect benediction of the US Administration and the West), how could they possibly have imagined that their former adversaries would support their rise to power, invoking democracy all the while? Did they learn nothing from their own history, from Algeria in 1992, and, more recently, from Palestine? I have been and remain critical, both of the (superficial) content of their program and the ambiguous strategy of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood (compromise with the armed forces and the United States, surrender on the economy and the Palestinian cause, etc.) but their lack of political awareness has been quite simply stupefying. To hear President Morsi tell General al-Sisi, a mere ten days before his overthrow, that he might well demote him (after all, he had appointed him) and that the Americans would “never permit a coup d’État” was as mind-boggling as it was surrealistic.

Some observers were startled to see [the salafis->http://tariqramadan.com/?p=11908] , in particular the an-Nour party, join forces with the military alongside the “democratic” faction opposed to President Morsi. Were the outcome not so tragic, it would be tempting to label it farce. The Western media were quick to label the “Islamist” salafis as allies of the Muslim Brotherhood while; in point of fact, they were and are allies of the regimes of the Gulf States, who are in turn the regional allies of the United States. The idea was to undermine the religious credibility of the Muslim Brotherhood, and to force it into extreme positions. At the moment of President Morsi’s overthrow, they not only betrayed him but revealed their strategy and their strategic alliances for the entire world to see. It is hardly surprising to note that the first countries to recognize the new coup d’État regime were the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose powerful organizations provided, and still provide, direct and indirect financial support to the Egyptian salafis (as well as to their Tunisian counterparts). A superficial reading might lead one to believe that Saudi Arabia and Qatar support the Muslim Brotherhood; in reality they are the mainstays of American power in the region. The strategy is to sow division among the various political Islamic trends, to foment confrontation and to destabilize. This same strategy focuses on contradictions between Sunni political organizations and exacerbates divisions between Shia and Sunni. The United States and Europe have no quarrel with the political Islam of the salafi literalists of the Gulf States (and their denial of democracy, their non-respect of minorities, their discrimination against women, and the application of a strict “Islamic” penal code described as “shari’a”); they protect their geostrategic and regional economic interests while their repressive and retrograde domestic policies, as long as they are applied domestically, could not matter less to the West.

It’s all about keeping up appearances. Millions of Egyptians rallied in support of the “second revolution” and appealed to the armed forces, which were quick to respond. They now promise to turn over power to the civilians. The leader of the opposition, Mohamed al-Baradei, has played a central role in the process, and his prominence has been growing apace. He has been in close touch with the youthful cyber-dissidents and the April 6 Movement since 2008; documents of the U.S. State Department, which I quote in my book, point to his close connection with the American administration. His visibility has been promoted by a clever strategy, and even though he has declined the position of Prime Minister (and announced that he will not be a candidate for president, which has yet to be seen), he has emerged as an important player on the Egyptian political scene. He has notoriously—and democratically—[defended the arrest of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the closing of their television stations and the entire range of repressive measures imposed on citizens who continue to support President Morsi, even though they may not be MB members (some are supporting democratic legitimacy). The weeks to come will provide us with more details about plans for fleshing out the civilian character of this particular military state. It must be remembered that for decades the Egyptian army has managed close to 40% of the national economy as well as being the leading recipient of an annual American aid package of $1.5 billion.

An elected president has been toppled by a military coup d’État. There is no other word for it. The people, in their legitimate desire for a better life and for survival, for justice and dignity, have been unwitting participants in a media-military operation of the highest order. The situation is grave; the silence of Western governments tells us all we need to know. There has been no “Arab spring”; the perfume of its revolutions burns the eyes like tear gas.

In our day, it is not unusual for writer who does not accept the official consensus to be dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist,” for his analysis to be rejected before studying the facts upon which it is based. Are we to conclude that in our globalizing age, with its networks of national security policies and structures and its new means of communication, political scheming, malicious stratagems, manipulation of information and of peoples are a thing of the past? “Conspiracy theorist” is a new insult devised for those who think the wrong thoughts, who don’t fit in; paranoids, people who ascribe occult powers to certain states (the United States, the European countries, Israel, the Arab and African dictatorships, etc.) that they really do not possess. We must forget what we learned about the conspiracies that have left their mark on the history of Latin America and Africa (from the assassination of Salvador Allende to the elimination of Thomas Sankara); we must overlook the lies that led to the invasion of Iraq and to the massacres in Gaza (both presented as legitimate defense); we must say nothing about the West’s alliance with and support for the literalist salafis of the Gulf sheikhdoms; close our eyes to the benefit for Israel of regional instability and of the most recent coup d’État in Egypt. We must remain naïve and credulous if we are not to notice that the United States and Europe on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other, have agreed to disagree on Syria, and that the 170 Syrians who die each day count for nothing against the strategic and economic interests of the Great Powers.

Our obligation is to stick to the facts, to avoid oversimplification. The polar opposite of an over-simplified reading of events is not “conspiracy theorizing” but that of intelligence informed by history, by hard facts and by a detailed analysis of conflicting interests. The interpretation presented here may well be wrong or inexact, but substantial and verifiable evidence has repeatedly confirmed it. From those who have criticized or challenged our analysis, we look forward to a fact-based counter-analysis far from denigrations and facile slogans. When people refuse to call a military coup d’État by its real name, and when most media avert their eyes, the hour for critical conscience has struck.

46 commentaires - “Egypt: Coup d’État, Act II”

  1. This is what the UK Guardian said about Morsi
    “Falling back on the legitimacy of the ballot box is not much different from the husband who rapes his wife but insists that she is compelled by the legality of the marriage contract to accept his abuse.
    Morsi and his Brotherhood have been wrecking Egypt for a whole year, and are now screaming blue murder because they are not allowed to continue to do so with impunity.”

    I totally argree with this statement .

    When Morsi told the secularist Egyptians that they had to close their shops at 10pm so that they could go prayers in the morning here is an example of a muslim beginning to force the khilafah state onto everyone and is no more different to when Hitler forced his Nazi state onto Germany

    1. Is this really the best example of someone trying to force a certain kind of state upon a nation?

      And if it’s any consolation, shops were never forced to close at 10pm. On the night of the 29th of June, hours away from the acclaimed million man marches that forced the military to intervene, I was out until 10:30 pm buying a vase. After that I headed towards a confectionary to buy some marron glace; it closed at midnight, and the other shops in the same street were open for business.

      What you might not know in addition to all of that, is that Morsi never had enough control over the police to enforce this or any other kind of law, this or any other kind of state. If one is to comment on the analogy that was drawn, which I have to say is sick really, Morsi never had the “equipment” to start with.

    2. This is a great analysis of the situation in Egypt and rightly pointing out the role of the Generals.
      In technicality was a Coup E’tat, but not a Military Coup; The military wing did not took control of the central government, but temporally envested the courts with the reign of the country.
      _ Now, yes you right, what are your solutions.
      _ Could Egypt have better chances to revolt against the Generals and be smach like the Syrians are, like the Libyans had?
      _ Do you think to be a pacific solutions due to the nature of the situation in Egypt.
      _ Corruption, starvation and explotation of natural resources without the country being benefit.
      _ Suggestions.
      _ We all have written about, the bloggers, the news, the politicians, everI y one wrote but do we have solutions?
      _ I know that many inside Egypt were against the Muslim Brotherhood, since the beggining Saudi Arabia infiltrated “Islamists”, thats the Media term, Thugs/mercenaries is the right term. Starving people were paid to desecrate Muslim, Christians and Jewish tombs, and Churches, Mosques and Synagoges were burn by the same people.
      _ Why you think they did this?
      _ The Egyptian show restrained and eat their madness and wait for the elections, and the elections were rigged. The constitution was signed with only 30 % of aproval.
      _ Why since the beginning people did not left the streets, but were forced to go home.
      _

    3. The shop closures at 10pm were a suggested solution to the power shortages, nothing to do with prayers.

    4. Bruce said Guardian said: “Morsi and his Brotherhood have been wrecking Egypt for a whole year, and are now screaming blue murder because they are not allowed to continue to do so with impunity.”

      Morsi and MB wrecking Egypt?
      How about the 60 years of military dictatorship, most of it with American sponsorship?
      The truth is, with what the military had done or not done in all those years, any leader would have faced great difficulties. Morsi faced an extra difficulty – because of his Islamic ideology. The army and the corrupted elites wanted everything that Islam is against.

    5. For the record the suggestion of closing of shops was a measure to preserve electricity because of the power shortages, a great deal of shops close well after midnight and open their doors a couple of hours before noon. This didn’t apply to restraunts and the like. There was no statement regarding prayers in the morning, at least not by any governmental official.

  2. Looking at CNN and Aljazeera coverage supporting MB against the second revolution, I don’t see how US and Qatar are supporting the army!! A bit surprising in fact.
    I agree with the lack of leadership of ex-president Morsi and wish that he had vision but unfortunately, MB were not ready for the challenge and people never saw light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. Dear Dr Ramadan,

    I have read with interest your article. I might accept all of what your saying. However, how the united states would predict the “surprisingly” poor performance and naivety of Muslim Brotherhood and the ex-president. In you article you said that you were surprised to see the simple-mindedness, the lack of experience and the nature of the mistakes made by Mohamed Morsi, by his allies. I guess you are not the only who was surprised. A lot of Egyptian were surprised and I think USA. Therefore, I find difficult to believe that Army and the USA would make a plane to come back to power depending on someone else mistakes. what if the MB and Morsi acted for the benefit of the Egyptian people, improved the economy and fought against corruption and poverty. Do you think that still Millions of Egyptian would rally to get rid of Mr Morsi and MB ? The answer is NO.

    1. Magically, chronic blackouts, gasoline and natural gas shortages came to an abrupt end after the fall of the president. It was as though people had been deprived of the basic necessities in order to drive them into the streets. Amnesty International observed the strange attitude of the armed forces, which did not intervene in certain demonstrations (even though it was closely monitoring them), allowing the violence to spiral out of control, as though by design.

  4. Excellent analysis Dr. Ramadan…I agree that the U.S., and the Egyptian military are managing the whole affair and until the Egyptian people face this, they will never know who might represent their true interests and who denies these interests. The popularity of the military among the population is baffling. Perhaps at least the M.B. will come to their senses. Its obvious the secular liberals and left will not. I still have hope that the revolutionary era may bear fruit, but the catastrophe in Syria and this latest coup do not bode well.

  5. It is so painfull to see whats happening in Egypt. She has the potential to be a superpower in the region but they don’t let it be. Just like the micro-coup Rotterdam did to Egypts most precious son. They wont let it, they wont. And i feel so sorry for that. Thank you for your critical analyses.

    1. Salaamaleikoem, I am not really sure who you mean with “they” but I think you mean “the west”. Let me be the devil’s advocate and point out there are many in “the region” as well who have a problem with Egypt being a superpower, given Egypts recent past. Egypt has the tendency to be emperialistic in its outlook and if anything good may come from this, hopefully it will be a lesson in humility for Egyptians, both in the way they engage within as without. What the world needs now is cooperation not superpowers that lead to oppression and distruction. Maybe a UN like institution that sees to a distribution of power like what happened in the west after the fall of German nazi rule will be needed to ensure a better future for the region,

  6. While I agree that this was a military coup and a dangerous step in Egypt, I’m somewhat less convinced of the overarching narrative of coup by design. I don’t reject the possibility, but this article doesn’t convince me either. How, for example, could the Egyptian military secretly withhold the basic commodities – fuel in particular – without the MB catching wind of it? Are they that incompetent? Does the military control all of Egypt’s infrastructure and run it covertly so that government officials are unable to verify the distribution of essential goods?

    That the cards were stacked against the MB is intuitively true. Geopolitically, their ouster was a desired outcome. But how does any institution, even one as powerful as the Egyptian military, orchestrate a mass protest movement like the one we saw at the end of June?

    1. If you want to know how governments can manipulate populations through large protest, go to YouTube and look up Operation AJAX. It was a way the CIA’s manipulated the public to over throw the democratically elected leader of Iran Mogedesh and install the Shah. Also, read some of Noam Chomsky’s works such as “Manufacturing Consent”. This sort of thing has been modus operandi for powerful governments such as the U.S. in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    2. The MB are feared in Egypt, after 60 yrs of anti-MB propaganda (some justified) by the previous regimes, it was easy to build on those pre-existing fears, add in some fuel shortages, sprinkle MB incompetence (to be expected), pour mass media flames on (most controlled by moguls sympathetic to the old regime), and the “rebellion” was easy .. especially as there was no fear that the police would fight them (unlike in the real revolution)

    3. I think these are all valid questions, I for one don’t necessarily buy into the ‘coup by design’ analysis. It would prove incredibly difficult for the military to secretly withhold such a vast amount of basic commodities. While the military controls 40% of Egypt’s economy (mostly manufacturing and some infrastructure projects), its highly unlikely that government officials would be unable to verify the distribution of essential goods. I find it much more likely that there was probably some divestment and diversion on the part of Egyptian business tycoons who opposed Morsi’s government. There’s nothing conspiratorial about that as it was commonly understood that the MB had essentially burned all of their bridges. Another reason why the ‘coup by design’ narrative is unconvincing is because, as you mentioned, it would be remarkable if the military had the ability to orchestrate mass protests in order to stage a coup, I think that argument denies the people’s agency. Finally, some also believe that the participation of Egypt’s police force in the June 30th uprisings further suggest that there was a conspiracy by the deep state against Morsi’s government, but in actuality there’s really nothing conspiratorial about it. One of the major demands of Morsi’s opposition was security sector reform, but instead of answering these demands and engaging in serious institutional reform, Morsi attempted to co-opt the police force; the fact that it backfired isn’t all that surprising.

      I think its important to keep in mind that while foreign powers do play a large role in Egypt’s political development, we do have to take into account the agency of political actors in Egypt, as well as various components in the domestic political arena when assessing the current situation in Egypt.

  7. Well said Dr Ramadan. It seems to me however that evidences of Qatari support for he Salafis are scant, if any. I would opt rather for a more kaleidoscopic model where Qatar supports the MB while the Saudis support their lackeys, the salafis. The case of the EU is quite beyond ideological consideration. As a speculation-centered investment, the EU was alarmed by the conservative spirit through which the MB in Egypt tried to take on their investments, both in tourism and banking. Another aspect has something to do with the danger that the Swiss Canal put to the free zone in Dubai.

    My point is that, while you brought a consistent view, it was kind of cavalier with other geopolitical aspects. Also, you showed some negligence to the real factor of of discontent and disappointment with Morsi, which led to massive activism, and eventually brought him down. Your point that all this massive movement was orchestrated is far beyond me.

  8. A brilliant analyses as always. We must remember who trained the April 6 group as well.
    So, how do we break US & EU control and let real democracy fall.

  9. It’s really not too complicated, and we’ve got precedent in Pakistan for how a military can manipulate and utterly dominate a society. Militarys can and do undermine civil society. They create lawlessness by withholding action where policing is weak. They ally with likeminded civil servants to withhold every day services and create tough subsistence for the population. They pitch the “stability” narrative to win the support of the Great Powers. They even bribe and buyoff opposition.

    In short, they do everything within their power to undermine democratically elected outsiders, and reverse it all when they take over.

    Unfortunately for the Pakistanis things spun out of control with the Afghan war and the Frankenstein that is the Taliban.

    The longterm question is the dangerous one. What happens when after the several elections and failed rules of fabricated civilian governments fail and the military rules outright? At the end of the day the military can’t solve all the unemployment or lawlessness problems. Who do you revolt against then?

  10. What is your view on the future now? What will make things better? Do you ever write in Arabic for us to share with Arab friends?
    Excellent analysis Dr. Ramadan

  11. مقال مثير وفيه عمق التحليل وإحتماليه مقاربه بعض ما جاء فيه كبيرة لحقيقة ما حدث وما يحدث في العالم العربي و مصر بالتحديد.
    إلا أن المقال لا يعطي مقترحات حل لهذه الأزمة وللأزمة الأكبر و هي أن هناك عطب ما في بنية العقل العربي-عمليه إنتاج المعرفة- بدأت منذ مئات السنين ولم يتم معالجتها.
    بل تم تكريسها بواسطة حركات الاسلام السياسي بشكل كبير.
    أوافق أن ما حدث في العالم العربي -تونس ومصر- أبعد من أن يكون ثورة كما روج له. الثورة الحقيقية التي يحتاجها العالم العربي تبدأ بالدماغ!
    لكن مازال هذا المقال في جوهره يعبر عن رؤية ساذجة لبعض الأحداث و تجنب مقصود للتطرق المهم لحقيقة ممارسات ودور قيادات حركة الاخوان المسلمين التاريخي و المشبوه إلى جانب الأنظمة الحاكمة في المهزلة الموجودة الآن في شتى الدول العربية وفلسطين!
    برأيي خلاصة ما يود الدكتور طارق رمضان قوله في هذا المقال: أن الاخوان المسلمون مقصرون ولم يصلوا لمستوى متطلبات المرحلة وساذجون ولم يتعلموا من دروس التاريخ لكنهم أيضاً ظلمو- يبدو وكأنه عتاب! أما “الآخرون” – منهم الجيش ونظام مبارك وكل من يدعم الإنقلاب على مرسي – فهم فاسدون و متآمرون وتبعيون فبالتالي مشكوك بولائهم لوطنهم!
    لماذا لا يناقش آراء كثيرين من الشعب العربي الذي يرى أن الاخوان المسلمين “على الأقل قيادتهم” ليسو أقل من الجيش ونظام مبارك فساداً ونشاطاً في حياكة المؤامرات القذرة والتخوين. بل أفعالهم هي أكثر خطراً وأكثر إستبداداً من “الآخرين” لانهم فوق ذالك يتاجرون بالدين وينتجون الفتنة الطائفية بخطاباتهم التحريضية بشكل ممنهج.
    كنت اتمنى من أول رئيس عربي منتخب بعد “ثورة” أن يكون على إستعداد أن يحمي بدمه أطفال ونساء غزة – في الحرب الأخيرة- و عشوائيات مصر بدلاً من أن يعلن أمام ملايين الغاضبين أنه سيحمي الشرعية بدمه!
    ليس الاخوان و نظام مبارك و حكم الجيش بديلاً عن بعضهم البعض! كلهم مسؤلون عن هذه المهزلة. لكن يبقى التحريض على الجيش المصري بالعنف وقتل أفراده والدعوة لانشقاق فيه من قبل قيادات حزبية وحركية هو درب من دروب الجنون يشير إلى ظلامية بالتفكير و إنعدام الرشد.
    أهم شيء الآن هو أن يمتنع قيادات الاخوان عن خطاب التحريض والفتنة وتحييد الدين وعدم استخدام العنف والسلاح في القضايا السياسيه.
    يجب عليهم وعلى جميع أطياف المجتمع أن يلجأوا للحوار وللحوار فقط مع حق التظاهر السلمي وألا يعمقوا الهوة بينهم وبين الأحزاب الاخرى المعارضة لحكم مبارك ولرغبة الجيش بالحكم.
    الشيء الذي يجب أن يتم حمايته هو الحق في الحرية والعدالة والكرامة وليس بالضرورة السلطة “والشرعية” .
    ««»»

  12. Great analysis but you skipped a major point.
    Looking at the situation from the Egyptian perspective. The MB were hated by millions because they became a threat to their Egyptianity, a very deeply engrained and not clearly defined sensitivity affecting the way respond to everything including religion versus military rule . Now that is more difficult to analyse, I admit.

  13. Dear Brother Tariq, it is indeed a good analysis of Arab Spring, egypt’s current situation and MB / Morsi strategies, US and other international forces interest etc.

    But, I cent percent disagree with the conclusions you made on failure of MB/Morsi. I am not that much fan of conspiracy theories, they are reality but they dont work without “insider” collusion.

    The failure of MB/Morsi is not due to incompetencies and inexperience, do you think that the governments of 52 islamic countries are competent and experienced??? these people dont make blunders??? yes Morsi may had made mistakes but reason of MB governement removal is the fact that the Egyptian Army and Civil Establishment was not ready to surrender. It will be stupidity to dream that someone will surrender his/their powers. But one has to penetrate and face it till the time such powers surrender. This happens in families, organisations and off course in politics.

    For me its a start and if MB keep working on Dawah and Penetration, very soon (10 years) they will be at helm of things.

  14. Dear Prof. Ramadan
    Great Analysis, I thought I was the only one who understood the seen in Egypt as you explained it from day one.
    I always thought, this is too good to be true. It was very obvious to me that Egyptian Military never ever left the seen and it was all an act to bring things back to Mubarak era but with new faces. It was naïve from Morsy and his party to think that they could ever govern Egypt in a democratic process.
    But Allah plans will prevail regardless.

  15. Excellent analysis Tarek, very contrarian and acceptable from someone who has not visited Egypt for sometime. Allow me to tell you this: Egypt is changing and heading for a renaissance in the medium term. Egypt is gradually changing bottom up not top down. The level of informed activism from the young generations is amazing. Despite poor education, young generations are self educated via exposure to Internet. Those who left the square after 25 Jan are changing the country in their own field of work/community now. It difficult to take down the old patriarchal political & social system, but we will be there. Adding to this, poor people are now in the street showing their sense of ownership. Street vendors, tuck tuck drivers reaching elitists areas are good example. What seems like a chaos in the streets appears to me like a struggle to make a living. We will be there slowly but surely!

    1. We will get there, slowly but surely, eventhough we are working from the bottom up. This will include Inch’Allah the rural communities who up to now only cared for a roof over their heads and some bread to eat.

      Those who thought they were manipulating Egypt will realise how foolish they have been.
      People seem to see through eachother ‘s souls and communication is made from the heart and with sincerety. The world is changing so rapidly now.

      Have faith. All will be well, after all all the 99 names of God are all benevolant.
      Ramadan karim, peace and love to all beings.

  16. Salams,
    Great article.
    Please see an article by a left leaning scholar http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/07/20137782914364238.html

    The most effective pressure can be put to create space and opportunity for democratic movement to work freely in Arab lands is if the US Muslims get empowered and bring pressure on the Us govt. It will happen only when the indigenous and second generation Muslims take the leadership of the community.

    Arab masses will be looking for instant gratification it was the job of the leaders who should have asked the masses to be patient till the next elections. the leaders of the opposition are either short sighted or sold. The sincere and emotional youth of the opposition must study the founding of the US and the initial years of independent India.

    Muslim Brotherhood should have let somebody else take the hot seat by not running for president. Egypt is such a mess that no body could have delivered. They should have focused on the constitution and legislative bodies

    Three things should happen for democracy to take root faster rather than slower (as eventually it will):
    The armed services must be de-herofied-Egyptian army is an enemy of freedom and good in coups, cronyism, corruption, cowardice & capitulation on battlefield

    Muslims should empower themselves in the West

    Arab monarchies must be brought under pressure by their internal democratic movements and from outside by the empowered American Muslims

    https://twitter.com/shaikubaid

  17. “A conversation between President Morsi and General al-Sisi indicated that the head of the country’s military had planned the overthrow and imprisonment of the president weeks before the popular upheaval that would justify the military coup “in the name of the people’s will.” A clever strategy ! Orchestrate demonstrations involving millions of people in order to make believe that the army truly cares about the people ! Coup d’État, second act.”

    I stopped reading at this point. I don’t believe this for one moment. What I think actually happened was that Sisi tried to talk some sense into Morsi to try to get him to stop his bull-headed, exclusionary, majoritarian approach to governance and be more conciliatory to his opponents, whom he was in the process of crushing. Morsi, being what he is, paid no attention and thought he could, as usual, steamroll his way through whatever obstacle presented itself. His tragic flaw.

  18. Tarik Ramadan sounds like an Islamic group known in the history of Islam as the Jabriyya. This group believed that man is destined to whatever action he takes in his life because God is the creator of all actions not man. Tarik’s theory, however, attributes the metaphysical inevitability to the West and Israel rather than God. According to his conspiracy theory, no population in the Middle East can escape dictatorship simply because it is destined to it. The theory is thus annihilating as it invites all Muslims in the Middle East to submit to tyranny and even to quit Islam for there will be no way that a hard working honest group will ever escape the “clutches” of the West nor win the support of God.

    Tarik’s theory is an easy way out to save the Muslim Brotherhood from blame. It is my understanding that every group working their way up in any field will be faced with competitors. If the group wants to win, it must do its homework and take into consideration all the opposing elements before making any move. In the Egyptian situation, the MB undermined the demands of the Egyptian population and their opponents. They came into the political scene unprepared for leading a country. They had very outmoded way of thinking about civil liberties, treated Egyptians like simple-minded villagers, nominated for presidency a clown figure with no experience whatsoever on foreign policy or governmental administration. They even lied in the name of Islam, incited hatred among different religious sects and groups and finally announced their opponents as infidels. If I were Tarik I would find a political advisor for the MB as soon as possible.

  19. 1- On the eve of election run off Morsi/Shafiq a meeting at Vermont Hotel in Cairo betwee most of the now leaders of the opposition pledged to back Morsi based on a 6 point decleration read in public and endorsed by Morsi who was present. When he did not honor a single point in the agreement, his calls for dialogue was rebuffed by everyone until there is assurances, he will honor his word
    2- He spent most of the year just planning for victory in elections a la Carl Rove, reditricting, appointing cronies as governors, Prosecutor General, controlling the Judiciary, calling publicly for Jihad in Syria and condoning secterian violence… just to name a few.
    3- I would prefer to call what happend a RECALL of a president whose action in office led 20+ million Egyptians to ask for early elections.

  20. There is no doubt that the military’s intentions are not clear and they cannot be trusted. However, if the Morsi’s rule had continued, it would have taken a similar path to that of Iran.
    A democratic revolution 33 years ago in Iran was taken over by extremist Islamist elements and once they were established, they gradually and systematically eliminated all the opposition. They are now firmly in power and the country has been in a downward spiral.
    With the Morsi gone, there is at least the hope that the military may do the right thing and transfer the power to an elected government and Egypt may take the path of Turkey instead of Iran.
    What is interesting is that the author once again blames everything on the United States, Israel, and Western governments and Arab states. Whatever goes wrong in this part of the world is blamed the same way. The author acknowledges that Morsi and his MB supporters were grossly mismanaging the country but he then places the final blame with the Americans and their hidden plans for the region and the world. Please don’t forget that America’s economy was in the verge of collapse nearly 4 years ago. How can America have so much power over the rest of the world but not able to control its own economy from near collapse? Please stop giving so much credit the United States and Western powers for whatever happens in the Middle East (or elsewhere in the world). The blame goes with the people and their lack of participation, tolerance, dialog, and hard work.

  21. I participated in the demonstrations on the 30th of June. I was neither hired, inspired or forced to do so by anything other than my conscience. I have a family that includes ailing parents and two young children. They too were supportive. I am a Moslem Egyptian from Upper Egypt. I believe that Egypt has a long way to go to become a democratic state. For this to happen we need more faith, humanism and a sense of suffering and moral responsibility. I was sad to find that your analysis deprives us of our humanity and of our rights to make decisions, change them and to risk life and limb so as to find our way thorugh life. When I marched I had no idea that the army would inetrvene. My highest hope was for president Morsi to respond. I was failed by the civilian president who is responsible for the situation we are in.
    Had you come to Egypt you would have a better sense of the dismay and despair of the last year. You would also depend less on media condoned and constructed neat anecdotes and would at least comprehend that the support for the project of the Ikhwan is real and its opposition is also real. Neither camp hold a higher moral ground. You would also feel compassion for people who know that the situation now is dangerous but who are in Egypt and are trying to make a living and to build a future.
    Please when you write remember that we are people not pawns!

  22. The first thing the military coup tells is that the Arab World is not ready for democracy. The military mentality that holds sway in the Arab World does not accept a principles of democracy, let alone these principles turn out to be on the advantage of the Islamists, whose public support grows day by day…

  23. Tariq Ramazan, most likely, has been waiting for the rise of a wave of Ïslamic awakening” from the Arab Spring and thus has expected the West and the US to back him, like Khomeini in Iran’s 1979 revolution, for becoming the leader of another Islamic revolution in Egypt. But, the world, the region, and the people, taking the experience of political Islam, over the last three decades, into account, has changed. That’s why he’s got disappointed from envisioning any future for his dreams of creating another Islamic state, empire or Ummah, These bitter realities, which have developed against his ideas, ideals and dreams, have made him to utilise “the conspiracy theory” for explaining the current circumstances in Egypt. His ideological mind might prevent him from having this message being heard that many Iranians nowadays wish they had such a capable national army to prevent the forces of Islamisation and Khomeinism in the 1979 revolution.
    and when a facebook friend replied that Tariq is a rather a researcher and Muslim scholar than a political activist, I replied: I know Tariq and his works for some years, I am wondering why in all those universities that he teaches Islamic studies, there is no any subject or college for Christian studies? and why he doesn’t relate this special support for Islamic scholars in the western secular universities to the conspiracy theory?

  24. In demokratic system military should not be involvd in politic. At same time MB’s will and try to have all power is not less dangerous than military coup.How we should react,if German military did military coup aganist demokratic selected Adolf Hitler?
    Other example is Islamists building theocracy and dictatorship in Iran after democratic referendum post revolution and never repeat referendum or free election.
    How can man stopp those that use democratic instrument to build oven dictarorship?

  25. Morsi is doing right. After 60 years of military dictatorship you can not expect wonders. hosni mubarik left but all his supporters and people that had common interest in the dictatorship of Egypt does not want Muslim brotherhood to be successful .Actually this is a pain in the ass for america and israeal. They lost a nation which was under their control … so they are campaigning against it … the power thirsty military is an american pet …
    After long Egypt has got its true leadership and it will remain like that … the europe and america are troubled to see a Muslim government in Egypt … but they were fine with the dictatorship of 60 years …
    Egypt will rise and Egyptians will enforce laws as they wish … no matter what others think … those who are criticizing on Egypt can’t explain what happened in Vietnam? why they demolished Iraq and Afghanistan? Why have they not got any proofs and arrested terrorists? Why are they pushing Pakistan in their war? How are israel’s bombings on Palestine justified ?

    What is happening in Egypt and what Egyptians want is no concern to them … so keep your chattering voices to your countries only . :@

  26. Thanks for the analysis, although it seems a bit superficial and simple minded. The reality on the ground is the Muslim Brotherhood were [resented with a golden egg in terms of the presidency and ruling over Egypt. Many people suspicious of the MB agenda gave them a chance and gave Morsi the edge over the remnant of the Mubarak regime (Shafiq). The outcomes were disastrous starting with favoritism and nepotism in government positions to deteriorating economic and security situation on the ground.

    The first revolution toppling Mubarak has three simple demands, Bread (sustenance), Freedom, and Social Justice. The MB and Morsi delivered on none and were too occupied furthering their own Group agenda and following a trend in Islamic politics seen in Afghanistan, Somalia, Mali and other places. One that focuses on righteousness in an already pious society (Muslims and Christians). Had they instead focused on the underlying issues related to poverty, lack of education, end deteriorating social conditions perhaps the people’s support would’ve been there to help them through.

    Morsi was given many chances to correct course and deliver to people’s needs but he utterly failed as you point in your article. And for that Morsi and MB can only blame themselves and should rethink their strategy to focus on social services and get out of politics and their global agenda. May God protect Egypt and the People of Egypt against all transgressors.

  27. Dear Mr Ramadan,
    Many times I watched you on TV5 Orient channel, and admired you being a good moderate Muslim.
    But writing all that immence article only to declare that the 30th of June was not a popular revolution in Egypt but a Coup Détat !!
    To this “gigantesque article” you wrote, I will answer in a only few words:

    Coup D’etat, ou pas coup D’état this only concerns us the Egyptian people…
    WE GOT RID OF THE WORST BANDITS WHO DID NOT CARE ABOUT EGYPT AND ONLY CARED ABOUT THEMSEVES, THEY ACTED LIKE THE ZIONISTS.

  28. to make it simple for people to understund what happened in egypt, the mubarek mafia regime withdraw in january 25 and they waged a silent war from the first day against the elected government, using mass propaganda using staged shortage in water gas making mass labor strikes they used the old regime gestapo to they did everything to make people hate freedom and democracy and the gov

  29. Ramadan’s analysis is on point. It is insighful and supported by the facts. I agree 100% with his conclusions. The seeds of democracy have been uprooted in the region. I published a piece last week in Al-Quds Al-Arabi warning Egyptian of the return of military dictatorship.

    Who is next? Egyptian, beware of the military

    http://www.alquds.co.uk/?p=63659

  30. As an Egyptian muslim woman who has faced harassment and mistreatment like most, I am very disappointed to see a “democrat” like yourself write an article about Egypt without even mentioning women’s rights. How is it possible to defend the patriatich and archaich Ikhwan, when millions of women face bad treatment and female circumcission is on the rise and condoned by Ikhwan’s “islam”. I love Egypt but I also think it’s a sick society and the Ikhwan are only making it sicker.

  31. So Egypt is back to the square one. Was it a coup? Yes, it’s. Was it a typical coup? No it’s not. What triggered the coup is popular anti-government protests. Those who look at the coup angle moralistically, deliberately overlook the massive protests going in Egypt–in several cities. At least a quarter of the living population of Cairo was in the Tahrir Square on June 30, which was unprecedented even by the Egyptian standards. More than half of the electorate had signed a memorandum prepared by the rebellion demanding Morsi resign. And this did not happen an overnight. Protests were building up over the last year. Morsi has to blame himself. The Muslim Brotherhood waited decades to come to power, patiently. And they got a historic opportunity when Mubarak fell. They were the only organised political movement when Egypt’s polity was suddenly opened up after the revolution. And they reaped the gains. But miserably failed to sustain those gains. Morsi and his Brothers could have charted a different course from the old regime– a new economic model, a different foreign policy, etc. Instead he tried to become an Islamist Pharao, with his primary goal being to consolidate power for his Islamist cause. He misread the message of the revolution that brought him to power. It was not a revolution of the Brotherhood. It was Egyptian people’s. The army is now riding the wave of popular protests. They cannot be trusted. They have their own vested interest. Who can be trusted is the people in the street. Those who toppled Mubarak, those who stopped Morsi. The Spring is not over yet.

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