Bullet-Point Review of Events in Egypt

August 22, 2013 6:28 pm 0 comments Views: 316

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– The “rebel” movement, the National Salvation Front and people unhappy
with Mohamed Morsi’s presidency hit the streets on June 30 to ask for
early presidential elections, explicitly noting – repeatedly – that
Morsi could run in the new round of elections if he so desired. The
numbers of protesters were grossly and unrealistically exaggerated to
provide the impression that an overwhelming majority of Egyptians
opposed Morsi. [Numbers ranging from 20 million to 33 million were
repeatedly reported, but experts have used computer software and the
science of crowd-sizing to demonstrate that there could not possibly
have been more than a few million people at protest sites across Egypt.
Egypt’s population is about 85 million, and there are 52 million
eligible voters. Morsi received 13 million votes in the 2012
presidential election.]

– Contrary to the opposition’s demands, the military did not force
early presidential elections. Rather, it forcibly removed Morsi from
power, and arrested him, his presidential team, Muslim Brotherhood
leaders, and numerous other political figures – including some not
affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

– The military preemptively and immediately shut down all the
television networks that would have called the coup a coup and began
arresting journalists.

– The military then installed a loyalist government, announced a “war
on terrorism,” proclaimed the need to “cleanse” society of
Islamists (who had won five straight votes), and then, in an infamous
speech by General Al-Sisy, requested “authorization” from “the
people” to clear protests and remove terrorist elements.

– Leaders from the notorious state security apparatus – responsible
for many of the worst atrocities committed during the Mubarak era –
were reinstalled after Minister of Interior Ahmed Ibrahim announced that
their services were needed to fight terrorism.

– Paid thugs, a staple of the Mubarak regime, have been seen on the
streets in full force, collaborating with police and committing
atrocities.

– To date, four large massacres, including the August 18th massacre of
prisoners (in which anywhere between 36 and 280 unarmed prisoners were
slaughtered), have been carried out, with approximately 1,300
“terrorists” – including many women, children, and journalists –
killed overall.

– Human rights reports have concluded that peaceful, unarmed protesters
have been targeted and that security forces have been shooting to kill.
The Human Rights Watch report of the August 14th massacre can be read
here.

rw.org/news/2013/08/19/egypt-security-forces-used-excessive-lethal-force

– Many in Egypt are exhibiting what some analysts have characterized as
a fascist or Nazi-like desire to eliminate many of their co-citizens.
Many citizens have cheered, on social and other media, at news of the
mass killings.

– Journalistic and human rights reports suggest that a small handful of
anti-coup protesters have taken up arms in response to the mass
killings, but the overwhelming majority (nearly all) of the protesters
continue to be unarmed, and there are many marches at which not a single
firearm is seen by any of the western journalists in attendance.

– A few dozen from amongst the security forces have reportedly been
killed in retaliatory strikes. Militants in Sinai, who have been
attacking Egyptian security forces since the Mubarak days, have stepped
up violence. Several attacks have been launched. Most recently, on
August 19th, 25 members of the police force were killed in an attack.

– Churches have been attacked across Egypt, and, in the absence of
anything resembling a fair legal system, it is likely that we will never
know with certainty who perpetrated these attacks. In all likelihood,
and according to the testimonies of multiple Church leaders, the state,
which has a history of anti-Christian repression and violence, is
responsible for at least some of the attacks. It is also entirely
possible that Islamist extremists, also unhappy with the coup, are
responsible for at least some of the attacks.

– Most of the world sees the coup as a coup, something which has thrust
Egypt’s foreign relations into defense mode. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and
the UAE – beacons of repression – are currently funding Egypt’s
coup government and providing diplomatic support. According to reports,
oil-rich Saudi Arabia has announced it will make up for economic losses
created by any cutoffs to funding.

– According to news reports, Hosni Mubarak will be freed from prison
this week.

– In spite of a near consensus outside of Egypt — and in particular
amongst western scholars of political science — that the events of June
30 constitute a military coup, there are many in Egypt who continue to
consider the events to be a revolution.

– Political scientists have argued that democratic course would have
been strongly preferred to a military coup, after which mass repression,
violence, and anti-democratic policies could be expected. Egypt’s
liberals and secularists could have opted to wait until September
parliamentary elections, which could have given the opposition a
majority of seats and given them the final say on who would become
Egypt’s new prime minister. It is important to note that under the
2012 constitution, Egypt’s prime minister is about as powerful as the
president, creating what constitutional law experts consider a balance
of power. The opposition would also have been in charge of forming the
committee to revise the constitution and could have then organized a
formal impeachment of Morsi, if necessary. Under the 2012 constitution,
which an overwhelming majority (64%) of voters supported in a December
2012 referendum, term limits were established for elected officials, and
all Egyptians had the right to establish and join political parties and
own newspapers. Also, the election law, passed in early 2012, guaranteed
voting transparency and effectively eliminated the possibility of
election rigging. Almost all political scientists now agree that, in the
aftermath of events post-June 30, Egypt’s experiment with democracy is
effectively over.

Mohamad Hamas Elmasry

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