What bad luck the Syrian President Bashar Assad’s enemies have had recently! They have lost Al-Qusayr. Qatar and Turkey have to grapple with instability. The strategically important city of Homs is on the verge of falling into the hands of government troops, Egyptian President Morsi is deposed. I wonder what will happen after Aleppo is freed, will the king of Saudi Arabia resign or will someone among Western sponsors of Assad’s enemies lose face once and for all? Doom and gloom appears to be perusing those guilty of unrighteousness and wrongdoing aimed to damage the ancient land of Syria with its historic roots going to the times of the Bible…
Any of these events has been caused by internal situations. But is there a link between the growing wave of Middle East counter-reforms and the goings-on in Syria? No doubt about it. There is a huge gap between the proclaimed ideas of Arab Spring and the policy pursued by the above mentioned regimes in this country. Under the slogans of freedom they have actually supported barbarity and savagery along with the United States of America and Israel which certainly don’t belong to Islam admirers. People are hard to deceive – they understand well what’s going on and have no desire to rush for support of thugs. It’s a rare occasion in the world history when there is such a great diference between the public opinion against the intervention in Syria and interventionist policy of rulers. The difference is irreconcilable and ubiquitous; the same goes for the East, as well as for the West.
Defence Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi behaved very much like General Pinochet in Chile when President Allende was overthrown (the same CIA-planned tried and true tactics). He was appointed and trusted by Morsi, like Allende trusted Pinochet. Sisi applied efforts to have a reputation of someone who is widely believed to be close to Muslim Brothers. Many in the Morsi’s camp lost vigilance in view the President seized control over the military from the very start by deposing all top commanders. (1) But military’s corporate interests have prevailed over declared loyalty. The experts of GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies, located in Hamburg, think the reason for military leadership’s discontent with Morsi was the fact that he encroached on the interests of their business which accounts for about a quarter of national economy. The military leaders are involved in tourism, construction, melioration and many infrastructure projects like building highways. (2) And the military aid coming from the United States is up to 1, 3 billion. (3)
The events in Egypt bring to memory what happened in Algeria in 1991. Back then parliamentary elections were held in on December 26, 1991, the first multi-party elections since independence. The results were cancelled by a military coup after the first round, triggering the Algerian Civil War, after the military expressed concerns that the Islamic Salvation Front, which was almost certain to win more than the two-thirds majority of seats required to change the constitution, would democratically form an Islamic state. President Chadli Bendjedid was made to retire. The Front was banned. 100 thousands perished in the civil war that followed the 1991 military coup d’état in Algeria. The repercussions are still echoed.
Will Egypt follow the Algeria’s scenario? It’s not fully excluded. Though there is a slim chance the Egyptian military may want to take full responsibility for the fate of the country. Unlike their colleagues in Algeria they lack oil and gas resources. The West may not want to directly support an outright military dictatorship. Being on the side of Muslim Brothers, Qatar, the country’s main Arab donor, may keep away from delivering financial aid to the new regime. Unexpectedly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates sided with the conspiracy, that’s why the Egyptian military got the Salafites’ support. (4) But they don’t measure up to Doha in terms of free resources at their disposal. Terrorist acts and bayonets are not what tourism, the core Egyptian branch of economy, needs. The only relatively reliable, though not sufficient, source of income in Egypt is the Suez Canal.
It’s hard to keep the country away from anarchy. The military would not be able to control it even if they wanted to. That’s why Adly Mansour, a civilian judge, is assigned to the country’s top position and the promises to hold elections and adopt a new constitution (no date set as yet) are made.
But any «under dictatorship» is weak a priori – it is defied by those who dare to openly challenge the powers that be making such regimes shaky. Egypt appears to have each and every opportunity to enter a long period of instability and power changes. The wind launched by president Obama’s Cairo speech will not die away soon. US Stratfor thinks the Tamarod coalition of political groups was united by the goal of doing away with the Morsi’s rule. But being a coat of many colors – from liberals to fundamentalists – it will inevitably split soon. The problems of the country remain the same whoever rules Egypt. (5)
It’s not easy to choose a leader under the circumstances. The top constitutional court judge Adly Mansour, the interim ruler, possesses no makings for the role. It’s not an occasion that former head of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) el-Baradei fully supported the change of power but refused to head the new transition government realizing it won’t be able to rapidly make the situation in the country turn for the better. The next candidate, Farouk El Okdah, former head of national central bank, is a figurehead; he is not the one who enjoys much authority. The Muslim Brothers’ main worry seems to be the fact their leaders are detained. The organization members are not making threats to use force and say they are intent to display restraint. Looks like they don’t want to provoke the military into getting them out of the list of hopefuls before the coming elections at the time they have all the chances to win (though nobody can improve the economy which is in doldrums, people will hit the streets again soon). Until now they limit their activities by mass protests and the attacks against new powers that be to gain psychological effect. For instance, Muslim Brothers spread information saying the interim President Adly Mansour is a member of the Jewish sect called the Seventh-day Adventists. It had been intensively going around among Arab bloggers till deleted from Facebook later. (6)
They have just established the National Union of Parties for Legitimate Power – a new movement getting together all proxy Islamic organizations of Egypt. It has already called for mass protests throughout the country while shying away from violence and clashes with the army. (7)
According to the Guardian, the Egyptian junta is supported by fundamentalists like Jamaat al-Islamiyya and the Salafite party al-Nour. (8) Morsi made a mistake to keep them away from power. As a result they became the most vociferous street protesters. Besides, the jihadists have accused their political rivals of betraying the faith and groveling before the West. So an alliance of Egyptian Brothers with the United States of America did not serve them well. Washington has nothing to rejoice about. Actually it gave away the Brothers like it had given away Mubarak before. Now the Islamist banner is going to be raised by Salafites, the more radical Islamists and staunch enemies of the West.
Still, the main feature of the «Egyptian Summer» regime change is the fact that the military have just deposed the former rulers without taking power themselves. In a way it looks like an ‘incomplete coup». The United States and the European Union have already declared that they don’t view the events as a military coup, something that makes possible for them to avoid imposing sanctions against Egypt. Anders Fog Rasmussen, the NATO Secretary General, said that it is not important if it were a coup or not. As to him, what matters is strengthening democracy in the country. (9) Calling a spade a spade, it sounds like Jesuit logic. On his part Barack Obama has only issued a murky statement saying the United States abstains from supporting any politicians or parties and believes in supremacy of democratic process and law. He called on the Egyptian military to get the country back to civil rule as soon as possible. (10) It makes it clear that no matter all the ritual calls for democracy, so far Washington is satisfied with the power change in Egypt, no matter it has taken place ignoring any democratic norms.
The US allies are discontent. Turkish state news agency Anadolu said there is no justification for the takeover. Prime Minister Erdogan called a cabinet emergency session. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the destitution of power can take place only through an election process respecting the will of people. It’s not acceptable to bring the democratically elected government by illegal means, especially by staging a military coup. (11)
Of course, Turkey may worry; the power change in Egypt is an illustration how easily the United States betrays their yesterday’s allies.
The Israel’s reaction is reserved. By and large it supports the coup perceiving it like kind of coming back of Mubarak supporters that Tel Aviv had enjoyed working relations with. The main concern there is the possibility of US military assistance suspension. In this case the Camp David accords may be threatened. (12)
Of all state leaders Bashar Assad gave the most detailed commentary in an interview to As-Saura Syrian newspaper. According to him, what is happening in Egypt is a prove that the attempts to politicalize Islam are futile. He said it meaning the system the Muslim Brothers tried to impose. The President said it was wrong to use Islam for political gains, because religion should be outside politics, «Any who uses religion in political or party interests, will inevitably lose where it wouldn’t occur – in Egypt or any other country of the world».
The collapse of Islam used as a political system of governance is explained by the fact that it is an artificial ideology; the Muslim Brothers political project has led to a split in the Arab world. The Brothers made Egyptians realize it. People understood they were deceived from the very first days of Egyptian revolution. (13)
When correspondents wanted to confirm the Reuters information received from Egyptian military sources that one of the coup reasons was the Morsi’s decision to sever ties with Syria, President Assad replied that he didn’t want to speak in the name of Egyptian people, but confirmed there were contacts between the Syrian government and those un Egypt who though the decision was a mistake. (14)
There is lesson to be drawn by all politicians worldwide. Leave Syria alone! It puts a career into jeopardy.