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The Grand Scam: Spinning Egypt's Military Coup

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Headlined to H3 7/19/13

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The plan to topple the MB was built around a plot to assassinate Morsi in his residence on December 5. However, it was exposed by a loyal mid-level presidential guard hours before it was to take place. With the help of the MB, Morsi was able to thwart the plot, though he declined to expose it or discuss it publicly.

In March 2013, NSF leader ElBaradei met with Shafiq and Bin Zayed in the UAE. They all agreed that the only way to dislodge Morsi and the MB from power was by undermining his rule and the stability of the country internally and convincing Western governments, particularly the U.S., the U.K., France, and Germany, to back a military takeover. According to a recent WSJ report, a series of meetings took place in the Naval Officers Club between senior military officers, fulool representatives including the attorney of billionaire and Mubarak crony, Ahmed Ezz, the architect of the 2010 fraudulent parliamentary elections, and opposition leaders including ElBaradei. According to this report, which was not refuted or denied by any side, the army generals told the opposition that they would not move to oust Morsi unless millions of people take to the streets on their side.

The Plot Thickens

While the opposition was sending mixed messages about whether or not it would participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, the MB and its Islamist allies were preparing for the impending contests. Meanwhile, many of the youth and revolutionary groups, which spearheaded the 2011 uprising, were frustrated with the political scene: A regime that ignored their demands and an ineffective opposition bent on obstructionism. Suddenly, a new youth movement came to the fore in late April 2013. Its previously obscure leaders called it Tamarrud or Rebellion. Their stated reason for launching the movement was to collect 15 million signatures from the public, a million more than Morsi received in his presidential bid, to demand early presidential elections.

Opposition groups immediately embraced Tamarrud and promised to help it reach its goal. Billionaire businessman and severe MB critic Sawiris claimed in early July that he gave millions of dollars worth of publicity and support to the group. Moreover, the machinery of the former National Democratic Party (NDP), Mubarak's political party, was in full force, as many of its former officials led the efforts in providing resources and collecting signatures across Egypt. Meanwhile, private media outlets started a vicious vilification campaign against Morsi and the MB. For several months, over a dozen satellite channels were devoted to the demonization of Morsi and his group. They were accused of every crime and blamed for every problem the country faced. At times even the public media, which is supposed to be neutral, joined in this campaign. In addition, the pan-Arab, Saudi-financed, and headquartered in the UAE, Al-Arabiyya satellite channel, joined the campaign in earnest by repeatedly promoting Tamarrud  activities and featuring opposition figures. In one instance a famous host was inadvertently taped while holding a paper with the answers to his questions as he was interviewing a Tamarrud spokesman.

Strikingly, not only was the MB ill-equipped to deal with this propaganda warfare, but also to its detriment, it did not take it seriously. Even when their Islamist allies warned the MB leadership about the impending potential overthrow a week before Morsi was toppled, they dismissively answered that, "they (the opposition) had previously held 25 feeble demonstrations, and this one would just be their 26th."

There are two major reasons why Morsi and the MB were not worried about the impending demonstrations. First, army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi repeatedly assured Morsi that the army would not topple the government and would stay loyal to the democratic process. Even when Sisi issued a call for compromise a week before the fateful day of June 30th, he told the president that he had nothing to worry about and that he had to issue this warning in order to mollify some of his military generals.  The second reason was that Morsi and the MB were regularly assured by U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson that the U.S. would not support any move by the military to depose a democratically elected president.

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Meanwhile, ElBaradei was fully engaged in contacting world leaders to convince them that the only way out for Egypt was the dismissal and overthrow of Morsi. In early July he proudly admitted, "I spoke with both of them (Obama and Kerry) extensively and tried to convince them of the need to depose Morsi." Furthermore, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait pressed the U.S. to support the impending military intervention in Egypt. Ironically, during May and June, Western leaders, including Obama and Kerry, pressured Morsi and the MB leadership to appoint ElBaradei as Prime Minister while the latter was arguing for Morsi's overthrow.

As part of the demonization campaign to convince the West that the popularity of the MB was dwindling, the Arab American Institute (AAI) in Washington D.C. was commissioned to conduct a poll about the declining popularity of Morsi and the MB. AAI president and UAE lackey, James Zogby, called for a press conference on June 28 to announce that "Morsi heads a minority government whose public support is now limited to its own party," and that, "Egyptians have lost confidence in President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood's ability to govern." He further predicted that, "millions of Egyptians would demonstrate in the streets against Morsi and the MB government." No one in the press conference bothered to ask who actually commissioned and paid for the survey that claimed to poll more than five thousand people across Egypt.

Unpacking the lies

All Democracies do it: America, France, Argentina, Brazil

By mid-June, the campaign was in full force. Many political science professors and public intellectuals from the opposition including Waheed Abdelmagid and Hasan Naf'ah, as well as constitutional law professors such as Noor Farahat and Husam Issa, were arguing across several television networks that the call for "early presidential elections" was not only an acceptable mechanism available in all democracies, but that it had been used many times before. As examples, they cited Nixon's resignation in 1974, France's Charles de Gaulle in 1969, Argentina's Raul Alfonsin in 1989, and Brazil's Fernando Collor de Mello in 1992.

The intellectual dishonesty of these liberal elites is appalling, since none of the examples they cited were actual calls for "early presidential elections," let alone the deposing of a democratically elected president by a military coup. Nixon resigned the presidency on the eve of his impeachment by Congress. Gerald Ford, his vice president was sworn in as president. No early elections. De Gaulle voluntarily resigned the presidency after more than 10 years in power after promising that he would do so if the public did not endorse his reforms of the Senate and local governments. When the public rejected his referendum, he kept his promise although he was not obligated to do so constitutionally. After six years in power, Alfonsin was not even on the ballot for the 1989 presidential elections. However, both parliamentary and presidential elections were held simultaneously in the summer of 1989. The new president was supposed to be inaugurated five months later, but when his party's candidate was defeated by the opposition, Alfonsin stepped down early to allow the new president from the opposition to assume power. No early elections. After two years in power, De Mello was impeached by the legislature for corruption in a constitutional proceeding and resigned. The fact that no constitutional mechanism in the world allows for a removal by popular protests did not bother these liberal figures who were intent on removing a freely elected president by the military regardless of the dangerous precedent it sets.

Noted author Alaa Al-Aswani not only cited some of the above examples as valid precedents to depose and overthrow Morsi, but he did not miss a beat or see the irony when he showered the military with accolades before ending his weekly column with his usual declaration "Democracy is the Solution." It is a fact that some democracies have a constitutional mechanism to recall a head of state. Although there is no such mechanism for the U.S. president, many state constitutions allow the recall of their governors. In 2003, the people of California recalled Gov. Gray Davis. But that recall was not the result of street protests and the intervention of the National Guard. Rather, it was a constitutional process that involved the signing and authentication of millions of petitions by the State Supreme Court that authorized the recall process. Although the 2012 Egyptian constitution allows for the impeachment of the president by parliament, it did not allow for a recall.

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Esam Al-Amin is a regular contributor for a number of websites.
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