Al Qaeda, Alliance of Youth Movements, Arab spring, AYM, Cairo, Dick Cheney, Egypt, EIPR, ElBaradei's, Fouad Siniora, Hersh, Hosni Mubarak, Israel, James Glassman, Jared Cohen, Libya, Michael Posner, Mohamed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, National Front for Change, NED, NGOs, North African Arab nation, Saad Hariri, Saudi, Serbia, Sinai, Syria, Tahrir Square, Tunisia, Turkey, US State Department, USA, Wael Ghonim
The West’s next proxy war is being stopped before it starts in Egypt
The unprecedented sentencing of over 500 Muslim Brotherhood members to death in Egypt for their role in the attack, torture, and murder of an Egyptian policeman, is the culmination of a lighting fast, all encompassing security crackdown across the pivotal North African Arab nation. The move has created a chilling effect that has left the otherwise violent mobs of the Muslim Brotherhood silent and the streets they generally sow their chaos in, peaceful and empty.
Photograph: Cairo, Egypt. Tarek Wajeh/Almasry Alyoum/EPA
The New York Times reported in its article, “Hundreds of Egyptians Sentenced to Death in Killing of a Police Officer,” that:
A crowd gathered outside a courthouse in the town of Matay erupted in wailing and rage on Monday when a judge sentenced 529 defendants to death in just the second session of their trial, convicting them of murdering a police officer in anger at the ouster of the Islamist president. Here in the provincial capital just a few miles away, schools shut down early, and many stayed indoors fearing a riot, residents said.
But the crowds went home, and soon the streets were quiet.
The move by the Egyptian courts has attracted the predictable condemnation of the US State Department. The Washington Post’s article, “Egyptian court sentences 529 people to death,” stated:
The United States was “deeply concerned, and I would say actually pretty shocked,” about the mass death sentences, said Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman. “It defies logic” and “certainly does not seem possible that a fair review of evidence and testimony, consistent with international standards,” could have been conducted over a two-day period, she said.
While the US continues to feign support for the government in Cairo, it was fully behind the Muslim Brotherhood-led regime of Mohamed Morsi, its mobs in the streets, and the networks of NGOs inside Egypt supporting and defending their activities.
The most recent of these NGOs on display is the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) cited by the above mentioned New York Times article which claimed:
“We have never heard of anything of this magnitude before — inside or outside of Egypt — that was within a judicial system as opposed to a mass execution,” said Karim Medhat Ennarah, a researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights who specializes in criminal justice.
“It is quite ridiculous,” he said, arguing that it would be impossible to prove that 500 people each played a meaningful role in the killing of a single police officer, especially after just one or two short sessions of the trial. “Clearly this is an attempt to intimidate and terrorize the opposition, and specifically the Islamist opposition, but why would the judge get so deeply involved in politics up to this point?”
EIPR is funded by among others, the Australian Embassy in Cairo, and carries out the same familiar role that other Western-funded NGOs did during the “Arab Spring” in 2011 – the covering up of the opposition’s violence and atrocities, and the leveraging of “human rights” to condemn the subsequent security crackdowns carried out in return by the state.
How Egypt Got Here
Egypt’s current turmoil is a direct result of the 2011 so-called “Arab Spring.” While nations like Libya lie in ruins with the “revolution” a “success” and the Libyan people now subjugated by pro-Western proxies, and Syria as continues to fight on in a costly 3 year conflict that has cost tens of thousands of lives, Egypt has taken a different path.
When violent mobs began inching Egypt toward violence of Libyan and Syrian proportions, the Egyptian military, who has been the primary brokers of power in Egypt for decades, bent with the winds of change. Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power and the military tolerated the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood itself into power. However, before they did so, they laid the groundwork for its eventual undoing.
The military leadership bid its time patiently, waiting for the right moment to unseat the Brotherhood and swiftly shatter its networks politically and militarily. It was a masterstroke that has so far saved Egypt from the same fate suffered by other nations still burning in the chaos unleashed by the “Arab Spring.”
Egypt’s Internal Crisis is Driven by External Meddling and Interests
Image: Protests in Egypt.
In January of 2011, we were told that “spontaneous,” “indigenous” uprising had begun sweeping North Africa and the Middle East in what was called the “Arab Spring.” It would be months before the West’s media would admit that the US had been behind the uprisings and that they were anything but “spontaneous,” or “indigenous.” In an April 2011 article published by the New York Times titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” it was stated:
“A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.”
The article would also add, regarding the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED):
“The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department. “
Far from simply capitalizing or “co-opting” genuine unrest, preparations for the “Arab Spring” began as early as 2008. Egyptian activists from the now infamous April 6 movement were in New York City for the inaugural Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM) summit, also known as Movements.org.
There, they received training, networking opportunities, and support from AYM’s various corporate and US governmental sponsors, including the US State Department itself. The AYM 2008 summit report (page 3 of .pdf)states that the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, James Glassman attended, as did Jared Cohen who sits on the policy planning staff of the Office of the Secretary of State. Six other State Department staff members and advisers would also attend the summit along with an immense list of corporate, media, and institutional representatives.
Shortly afterward, April 6 would travel to Serbia to train under US-funded CANVAS, formally the US-funded NGO “Otpor” who helped overthrow the government of Serbia in 2000. Otpor, the New York Times would report, was a “well-oiled movement backed by several million dollars from the United States.” After its success it would change its name to CANVAS and begin training activists to be used in other US-backed regime change operations.
The April 6 Movement, after training with CANVAS, would return to Egypt in 2010, along with UN IAEA Chief Mohammed ElBaradei. April 6 members would even be arrested while awaiting for ElBaradei’s arrival at Cairo’s airport in mid-February. Already, ElBaradei, as early as 2010, announced his intentions of running for president in the 2011 elections. Together with April 6, Wael Ghonim of Google, and a coalition of other opposition parties, ElBaradei assembled his “National Front for Change” and began preparing for the coming “Arab Spring.”
Clearly then, the “Arab Spring” was long planned – and planned from abroad – with activists from Tunisia and Egypt on record receiving training and support from the West so that they could return home and sow unrest in a region-wide coordinated campaign.
An April 2011 AFP report would confirm this, when US State Department’s Michael Posner would admit that tens of millions of dollars had been allocated to equip and train activists 2 years ahead of the “Arab Spring.”
The Muslim Brotherhood’s role was hidden in plain site. While the Western media focused on the more presentable “pro-democracy” leaders it had trained and put at the head of the mobs in Tahrir Square, it was the Muslim Brotherhood’s large membership that filled the rest of the square. They were also responsible for launching armed attacks across Egypt leading to the “revolution’s” 800+ death toll.
Image: Mohamed Morsi – hardly a “hardline extremists” himself, he is the embodiment of the absolute fraud that is the Muslim Brotherhood – a leadership of Western-educated, Western-serving technocrats posing as “pious Muslims” attempting to cultivate a base of fanatical extremists prepared to intimidate through violence the Brotherhood’s opposition. Failing that, they are prepared to use (and have used) extreme violence to achieve their political agenda.
Egyptians quickly became distrustful of the protest’s leadership, particularly ElBaradei who’s ties to Western interests were uncovered and led to his swift fall from influence. The protest movement lacked the political machinery to actually fill the void their movement had created. Once again, the West turned to the Muslim Brotherhood – and the Western-educated Mohamed Morsi for results.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Resurrection
The Muslim Brotherhood is a faux-theocratic sectarian extremist movement – a regional movement that transcends national borders. It is guilty sowing decades of violent discord not only in Egypt, but across the Arab World and it has remained a serious threat to secular, nationalist states from Algeria to Syria and back again.
Image: Backlash against the Brotherhood. Despite the Muslim Brotherhood’s political success, it represents a violent, loud, minority that is quietly opposed by the vast majority of not only Egyptians, but Arabs across North Africa and the Middle East. Its high level of organization, immense funding provided by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and even the West, including Israel, allows it to perpetuate itself in spite of its unpopularity, while its violent tactics allow it to challenge dissent.
Today, the Western press decries Egyptian and Syrian efforts to curb these sectarian extremists, particularly in Syria where the government was accused of having “massacred” armed Brotherhood militants in Hama in 1982. The constitutions of secular Arab nations across Northern Africa and the Middle East, including the rewritten Syrian Constitution, have attempted to exclude sectarian political parties, especially those with “regional” affiliations to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda affiliated political movements from ever coming into power.
And while specter of sectarian extremists taking power in Egypt or Syria may seem like an imminent threat to Western (including Israeli) interests – it in reality is a tremendous boon.
Morsi himself is by no means an “extremists” or an “Islamist.” He is a US-educated technocrat who merely posed as “hardline” in order to cultivate the fanatical support of the Brotherhood’s rank and file. Several of Morsi’s children are even US citizens.
Despite a long campaign of feigned anti-American, anti-Israeli propaganda during the Egyptian presidential run-up, the Muslim Brotherhood had joined US, European, and Israeli calls for “international” intervention in Syria. Egypt had also broken off diplomatic relations with Syria which were only restored after Morsi was finally ousted from power.
The Syrian Connection
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Syrian affiliates have been funneling weapons, cash, and foreign fighters into Syria to fight Wall Street, London, Riyadh, Doha, and Tel Aviv’s proxy war.
In Reuters ‘May 6, 2012 article titled, “Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood rise from the ashes,” it stated:
“Working quietly, the Brotherhood has been financing Free Syrian Army defectors based in Turkey and channeling money and supplies to Syria, reviving their base among small Sunni farmers and middle class Syrians, opposition sources say.”
The Muslim Brotherhood was nearing extinction in Syria before the latest unrest, and while Reuters categorically fails in its report to explain the “how” behind the Brotherhood’s resurrection, it was revealed in a 2007 New Yorker article titled, “The Redirection” by Seymour Hersh.
The Brotherhood was being directly backed by the US and Israel who were funneling support through the Saudis so as to not compromise the “credibility” of the so-called “Islamic” movement. Hersh revealed that members of the Lebanese Saad Hariri clique, then led by Fouad Siniora, had been the go-between for US planners and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
Hersh reports the Lebanese Hariri faction had met Dick Cheney in Washington and relayed personally the importance of using the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria in any move against the ruling government:
“[Walid] Jumblatt then told me that he had met with Vice-President Cheney in Washington last fall to discuss, among other issues, the possibility of undermining Assad. He and his colleagues advised Cheney that, if the United States does try to move against Syria, members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood would be “the ones to talk to,” Jumblatt said.”
The article would continue by explaining how already in 2007, US and Saudi backing had begun benefiting the Brotherhood:
“There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.
Jumblatt said he understood that the issue was a sensitive one for the White House. “I told Cheney that some people in the Arab world, mainly the Egyptians”—whose moderate Sunni leadership has been fighting the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for decades—“won’t like it if the United States helps the Brotherhood. But if you don’t take on Syria we will be face to face in Lebanon with Hezbollah in a long fight, and one we might not win.””
It was warned that such backing would benefit the Brotherhood as a whole, not just in Syria, and could effect public opinion even as far as in Egypt where a long battle against the hardliners was fought in order to keep Egyptian governance secular. Clearly the Brotherhood did not spontaneously rise back to power in Syria, it was resurrected by US, Israeli, and Saudi cash, weapons and directives. It was similarly resurrected in Egypt as well.
Syria’s Chaos is a Warning of Egypt’s Possible Future
Even as the world begins to reap what was sown in Syria through the intentional resurrection of the Muslim Brotherhood by the West and the extremist factions that the Brotherhood has on record facilitated, it appears that there has been no collective lesson learned by the general public, including many claiming to be “geopolitical experts.”
The same destabilization, step-by-step, is being carried out in Egypt once again through the Muslim Brotherhood. Legions of terrorists are waiting in Egypt’s Sinai region for the Brotherhood to sufficiently lay the groundwork in Egypt’s population centers so that they can be destroyed, just as has been done in Syria. And behind it all is the West, desperately trying to dislodge the Egyptian military from power with a combination of unpalatable carrots and broken sticks.
US corporate-funded policy think tanks like the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, have expressed America’s desire to see the Egyptian military cut down to size, and removed entirely as a political power broker, just as has been done in Turkey. In fact, the West is so proud of what has been accomplished in Turkey, it refers to the removal of any independent military institution around the world and its replacement by an easily manipulated proxy regime, the “Turkish model.”
The Endowment’s post titled, “Egypt Can’t Replicate the Turkish Model: But It Can Learn From It,” best articulates this desire by stating:
In Egypt, a number of younger and more moderate Islamists have pointed to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a source of inspiration, citing legal reform, successful economic management, and electoral victories as models to be emulated. In some policy quarters, Turkey has even been presented as an overall model for the Arab world—a characterization which derives largely from its seemingly unique ability to couple secular democracy with a predominantly Muslim society.
And that (emphasis added):
The party has not only increased its support in secular businesses and the middle classes, but also rendered the idea of a powerful state—which commands the economy as well as the lives of Muslims through Islamic principles—an obsolete one. For the most part, the AKP has maintained the basic constitutional and institutional structure of the Turkish state, but has enacted constitutional amendments for EU harmonization and curtailed the power of the military. In other words, Islam and democracy have become compatible in Turkey under neoliberalism.
The Egyptian army considers Turkey’s Justice and Development Party to be a political rival and an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, the Egyptian military establishment views the Turkish model of limiting the power of Turkey’s military establishment by means of an alliance with Washington as a model that threatens the presence and interests of the Egyptian army.
Another US corporate-funded think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), cites another, older “Turkish model,” the one where the Turkish military was wielding power before being reduced in size and influence – and blames it for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In his post, “In Egypt, the Military Adopts Turkish Model to Check Morsi,” Stephen Cook of the CFR wrote:
Shortly after the fall of Mubarak, Field Marshal Tantawi asked for a translation of Turkey’s 1982 constitution, which both endows Turkish officers with wide-ranging powers to police the political arena and curtails the power of civilian leaders. In the June 17 decree, the military hedged against a Morsi victory by approximating the tutelary role the Turkish military enjoyed until recently.
US foreign policy think tanks and editorial columns are awash with comparisons between Egypt and Turkey and how Egypt can be transformed through the elimination of its politically influential military into a proxy state more like Turkey – a NATO member permanently bent to the will of Wall Street, London, and the European Union.
How far the West is willing and able to go in Egypt to achieve this reordering and along what path they will do it is still difficult to tell. How far they are willing to go in general can be seen in the rubble strewn streets of Syria’s smoldering, decimated cities. With the addition of the Muslim Brotherhood to the formula, and considering their role in Syria’s continued destruction, Egypt’s military-led government may be accused of using excessive force – but with Egypt many times larger than Syria in terms of population and land area, and considering the devastation and loss of life that has occurred in Syria, the alternative – appeasement, temporary accommodation, denial, or inaction – is utterly unacceptable.
Image: While the Western media attempts to portray the military coup as an antiquated feature of failed states, it has been and always will be an essential “check and balance” of last resort. In Egypt, the military initially bent with the force of foreign-funded political destabilization as part of the “Arab Spring,” bid its time, and when the moment was right, overthrew the West’s proxy-regime of Mohamed Morsi. It did so with decisive and unyielding security operations to permanently uproot the regime’s power, and stem any attempts of triggering armed conflict backed by the West to reclaim power. The “Egyptian Model” may prove instructive for Thailand’s current political crisis.
The swift decisiveness the Egyptian military has acted with against what is clearly a foreign-driven, armed, dangerous subversion of Egypt’s stability serves as a model for other nations to follow, including Thailand which is facing down the prospect of widespread terrorism carried out by extremists loyal to the US-backed, crumbling regime of Thaksin Shinawatra. It is a model that had Syria or Libya followed, tens of thousands of lives could have been spared, and the lives of millions more left unscathed by years of bloodshed and war.