Egyptian Aak: Week28. Coup, Plots, and “Useless Idiots”

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A Few Thoughts

Coup, plots, and useless idiots

 It has been two weeks since Egypt’s massive June 30 mass protest, but the debate is still raging about its narrative, significance, and possible future outcomes. If the 65-year-old Arab-Israeli conflict is any guide, the debate about the coup will continue for years, just as the Nakba/Naksa debates are still ongoing.

 Nonetheless, aside from the coup banter, there are two simultaneous ongoing battles. One is a battle of perception, while the other battle is realpolitik going on behind the scenes between the various parties involved who are trying to find a way out that restores stability and avert violence. Both battles are interrelated and crucial to the final outcome.

 The Islamists

The Brotherhood who initially looked shocked by the ouster of Morsi are now re-grouping and trying to regain the initiative. They work with their non-Brotherhood Islamists allies on two fronts: first, the perception battle by framing the debate about June 30 as democracy versus counter-revolution. They do this while trying to sideline Morsi’s role in the whole crisis and their own past strategic mistakes. On the other hand, Islamists has managed to maintain their sit-in in Cairo, and organized a peaceful Friday protest (although the numbers failed to match June 30). The protest was intended to put more pressure on the military and interim presidency, and strengthen their position in the ongoing, behind-the-door negotiations.

 Although reinstating Morsi is the main official demand of the Islamists, there are three other more serious issues:

1)   Post- coup witch-hunting, which has already started with the ludicrous accusations against Morsi of “spying and ruining the economy.”

2)   Election fairness, and guarantees to honor results, particularly if Islamists win.

3)   Future role of the armed forces, and veto privilege.

 The interim leadership Adly Mansour is trying to focus on the reality of governance, and the formation of a new government. The more they can build facts on the ground, the harder it is for Islamists to “undo the coup.” There is already mounting pressure on General Sissi to release Morsi, with international players joining in.

 The non-Islamists

 Many non-Islamist revolutionary forces are suffering from a crisis of confidence. Their understandable mistrust of army intentions make them divided on what to do next. Opposition forces are also equally divided_____ as they always have been ____ and unable to prove themselves as serious forces on the ground.

 What’s next?

 There are four possible outcomes: A grand bargain, a full-fledged police state, a long uncertain stalemate, or a rebooting of Egypt’s stalled democratic process. The Muslim Brotherhood is banking on their core loyal supporters and also on possible divisions within the military ranks. If it turns out that their assessment is correct, then a bargain will be reached soon, with possible international guarantees to ally their fear about future political participation. However, if the generals turn out to be united, and fully in control of their junior ranks, they may feel tempted to turn conspiracy theories into a harsh reality in order to secure their power, although Army Chief Sissi must remember that Egypt 2013 is not the same as Egypt 1954

 Watching how the fault lines have been redefined over the last few days, I am not optimistic that reconciliation can be achieved in the near future. Egypt could be heading for a stalemate, or at least a hiatus during Ramadan, even if protests continue. Regardless of what will happen, it is important for non-Islamist revolutionaries to understand that they are on their own, underestimated and even despised. Meanwhile, the Islamists have a chorus of supporters of Turkish Ottomans, western leftists, and fellow Islamists, all armed with pundits who are happily magnifying half the story and ignoring the other half. Non-Islamists voices are few and far between.

 Painting a grand plot behind June 30 is sexy these days. We are led to a belief that fashioning a coup was an ongoing master plan since last year. Many are happily linking previously un-linkable “vignettes” to prove this theory. It seems that Egypt’s three deadly sins: selective memory, selective blame, and selective outrage have infested, not just the local Egyptians, but also analysts following Egypt. The Wall Street Journal reported that Egypt’s top generals met regularly with opposition leaders in the months before June 30, and The New York Times reported “Sudden” improvements in Egypt after June 30 as suggesting a campaign to undermine Morsi. Ironically, the piece was tweeted by many respected analysts and observers, but was challenged, not just by a snarky Egyptian parody piece, but also by a rejoinder from Rebel Economy, with the news of the government’s fund to import gasoline, not to mention the countless reports on social media of ongoing electricity cuts and petrol queues. Another grossly misleading report claiming that the US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists, which was rightly described as brain dead by Juan Cole, and refuted by Dan Murphy

 Tamarod-SCAF is at best an alliance of convenience; the fog about June 30 is no different than the many unanswered questions about the January 2011 revolution. Morsi and his public prosecutors have ignored the Wadi Natroun prison escape case, and the allegations of Hamas involvement in the escape of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders from the prison during January 2011 revolution. Nonetheless, it is dangerous to re-open this Pandora box now, as it can ruin the possibility to break the deadlock, and efforts of reconciliations.

 Even if there was a plot, it is pointless to dwell about it now. Instead, revolutionaries must work to counter both claims of exclusive guardianship of their revolution by both the Junta and the Islamists, while working on resurrecting Egypt’s democratic path, amending constitutional declaration, and more importantly fighting polarization. I doubt that reconciliation can really happen now, but mutual acceptance could be a more realistic goal.

Egypt cannot afford army rule, stalemate, or any grand bargain that appeases the Islamists, which could easily mean demoting non-Islamists and their rights. Egypt also cannot afford selective memory that delete why Morsi lost his legitimacy, or why Mubarak was booted out. Egyptians must remember that journalists are paid to find stories, pundits are paid to articulate cool analysis, but none will pay the consequences of failure except ordinary Egyptians. Those youth who inspired the public to protest on June 30 would really be “useless idiots” if they let the country regress back to either a police state or Islamic autocracy.

Good reports

Finally, here are Jayson Casper‘s prayers for Egypt 

About nervana111

Doctor, blogger and Commentator on Middle East issues. The only practising doctor who write in Middle Eastern politics in UK.
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8 Responses to Egyptian Aak: Week28. Coup, Plots, and “Useless Idiots”

  1. Sisi King says:

    Nervana says, “debate about the coup will continue for years, just as the Nakba/Naksa debates are still ongoing.”

    WHAT?! A coup is a coup. And the Nakba was an ethnic cleansing.

    800,000 out of 1.2 million Palestinians were forcefully removed from their lands because they were Arabs.That’s ethnic cleansing.

    A democracy was ousted by tanks and generals. And TV stations opposing the tanks were closed down overnight. An entire political party (that’s won all 5 elections) was arrested. That’s a coup.

    Hack job journalism aka Nervana.


  2. nervana111 says:

    Dear Sisi king:
    I wrote it is a coup in earlier pieces, however, there is an going debate in Egypt about the nature of the coup and its implications, This debate exist whether you like or not, and regardless of what isright and what is wrong, and it is similar, in my opinion, to the endless debate on the Arab rule in the Naksa and the Nakba


    • Sisi King says:

      Its pretty sick that you think the events of the Nakba are topics to debate over instead of events grounded in historical fact. For 4 million Palestinian refugees today, the reality is simple: Israel massacred their people, razed their villages,and called it a war.

      It seems that you enjoy playing word semantics for ethnic cleansing. I am not surprised that you enjoy word semantics on a military coup, too.

      Your commentary is as laughable as your ideals of a democracy.


      • nervana111 says:

        Again, for perspective, leftists and islamists in Egypt had intense debate about the role of Nasser in the Naksa. If you are not happy with their debate, go and blame them,but do not blame the messenger who highlight their silliness. What is truly laughable is your shallow reading skills.


  3. oldrogue says:

    “..undue the coup.” I think you meant, ‘undo the coup.’


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