General Al-Sissi announces the destitution of President Morsi.

My chronicle of international politics on the Egyptian crisis, which was published yesterday in the written Press and again today on our Internet site [1], seems to have troubled some of our readers. How can I « a military coup d’état against a democratically elected President? », they write.

But where did you hear that the constitutional President had been « democratically elected », and that he had been acting « democratically »?

The Presidential election of the 17th and 18th June 2012 was characterised by a record abstention of 65 % of the voting public, while 2 million Egyptians serving under the flag are forbidden their voting privileges. Finally, Mohamed Morsi obtained less than 12 million votes out of a population of 70 million citizens of voting age (including the military), or 17 % of all Egyptian adults. After 80 years of attempted putsches and terrorist actions, in Egypt and elsewhere, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood gained legal access to power for the first time.

Of course, the Constitution does not provide for a quorum to validate the election, which explains why it was never questioned at the time. Nonetheless, in order for the election to be « democratic», the President had to demonstrate great talent for consultation and federation. He had to confirm that he was indeed the President of all Egyptians, and not just the 12 million who elected him.

But what happened was quite the opposite. Mohamed Morsi, who was simply a channel of communication for the Muslim Brotherhood, quickly got to work infiltrating the administration for their benefit, going as far as nominating as governor of Luxor the head of the commando which massacred more than 60 people there in 1997. He launched a wave of privatisation which swept as far as the Suez Canal, the symbol of national independence since Gamal Abdel Nasser’s victory over the imperialist coalition of France, the UK and Israel. Faced with nation-wide protests, President Morsi allowed the development of a fictitious Suez Canal independence movement which was entirely financed by Qatar, who, as it happened, was also the « best-placed candidate » to buy the Canal.

Instead of seeking a compromise with the army, which continued to resist control by civilians, and with the Egyptian people, who had boycotted his election, President Morsi revealed himself as the servant of a cult and of foreign interests. First of all, of course, the business interests of Qatar (which supported him to the tune of 8 billion dollars a year), then of Turkey (which handled his political communications), and finally of the Anglo-Saxons (United States, UK and Israel).

While the People reacted to the sectarian and anti-national character of the Muslim Brotherhood, the army adressed the question of the military consequences of his policies. Since the 15th June, the Brotherhood had modified its declarations to describe as « infidels » not only the partisans of the Syrian Bachar el-Assad, but also Chiite and Christian Egyptians, in other words, about 15 % of the population. By doing so, the Brotherhood set the stage for civil war.

In a Press conference which took place on the same day, President Mohamed Morsi, who has no authority over the army, called them to a « Jihad » against the « infidels of Damascus ».

Let’s not forget that between 1958 and 1961, Egypt and Syria were joined as a single State, the United Arab Republic. Even though this tentative only lasted three years, the links between the two countries remain visceral.

Without hesitation, the following day, the Chief of Staff of the army, General Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, delivered a categorical refusal – the function of the army is to defend the country within its borders, not to engage in a « Holy War » with other Muslim states. From then on, the army allowed the development of the Tamarod (« Rebellion ») movement, which, within a few days, united 15 million signatures recusing President Morsi, and prepared the destitution of the President.

The President’s proposition to enter into war against Syria may be understood as a reprisal of the Turkish position, since Ankara partially withdrew from the conflict at the beginning of May. The Muslim Brotherhood clearly decided that Brother Morsi should take over where Brother Erdogan had left off.

When the anti-Morsi demonstrations reached a critical point, much superior in number to the votes obtained by Morsi (17 million demonstrators), the army intervened to destitute the President. General al-Sissi had first of all spoken with the US Secretary of Defence to ensure that the US would make no attempt to help him stay in power, given that Morsi is a citizen of the United States and an agent of the Pentagon (he has access to US defence secrets). He seems to have received the assurance that Morsi’s anti-Syrian initiative involved only the Muslim Brotherhood , and not Washington. Prudently, he waited until the 3rd July at 10 p.m. (local time), to announce the army’s decision – the hour at which the Washington administration closes down (the 4th July is the US national holiday). The announcement was made on television by General al-Sissi, who was surrounded by the country’s principal civil and religious leaders, excluding the Muslim Brotherhood.

I would like to point out that there was no possible solution to the Egyptian crisis other than the intervention of the army, which explains why 33 million Egyptians took to the streets to celebrate the coup d’état. The choice was not between democracy and a coup d’état, but between a coup d’état and civil war.

I deplore the fact that the Egyptian army has accepted a separate peace with Israel to the detriment of the Palestinian people. I do not support the coup because the army refused to go to war with Syria, but because they are attempting to safeguard the unity and civil freedom of their country. The intensity of my reaction is certainly the fruit of my experience – I have witnessed the crimes committed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and Syria.

Furthermore, the aim of this coup is not to put the army in power, but to prevent the confiscation of power by a putschist cult. The leaders of the political parties, the rector of Al-Azhar and the Coptic pope, who were present with the military Chief of Staff when he made his announcement, had previously accepted a common « road map » which specifies the type of regime which will follow, and the stages necessary to implement it – a logical process in a country where, for the last 4000 years, every head of state with the exception of President Morsi has been a military man.

They were all in agreement to re-adopt the democratic experience which had been interrupted by the Muslim Brotherhood, once the threat of civil war has been avoided.

In fact, the primary duty of any government, whether it be civil or military, is to avoid civil war rather than provoke it. This is why the army organised the arrest of 300 of the principal leaders of the Brotherhood, except for its supreme leader.

Then it blocked the tunnels that link Egypt and Gaza. The aim of this action is to prevent the combatants of Hamas – who have adopted the strategy of the Brotherhood under the direction of Khaled Mechaal, and using money from Qatar, and who are fighting in Syria with Mossad support against other Palestinians - from coming over to lend a hand to their Egyptian Brothers. But the closure of the tunnels is hurting the Palestinian people as much as it is preventing the movements of Hamas.

Also, the military council has designated and installed an intermediary civil President, Adly Mansour, the Francophile President of the Constitutional Council. Thus, under the pressure of events, the army has violated the constitutional order to put a part of the power back into the hands of the man who was charged with guaranteeing it.

Acting in an emergency, the military council thought they would be able to designate Mohamed ElBaradei as prime minister, a man who enjoys the trust of Washington. In this way, they would be able to guarantee the continuation of US subsidies to Egypt, totalling 1.39 billion dollars annually. Faced with the opposition of the Salafists from Al-Nour, and faithful to their « road map », the army has suspended this nomination while awaiting further negotiations. The future will tell us whether the military council is capable of maintaining national unity despite the danger represented by Muslim Brotherhood, or whether it will be provoked by the fury of conflict into imposing another dictatorship.

Pete Kimberley

[1Does Morsi’s fate foreshadow that of the Muslim Brotherhood?”, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 8 July 2013.