TueSep262017

The Army's Imposed War in Egypt and the US Strategy

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Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal

 

The terror industry and the war

The Muslim country's problem is not only the military occupation by its external enemies, but also have enough home-made enemies to cause bloody internal occupation. Many of the horrendous massacres are indeed caused by these internal enemies. Egypt and Syria are the two recent examples. After a very short gap of only a year, the Egyptian military is again fully back to the power. The country is now highly polarised and has deep internal split. It is divided into two main camps: one is Islamic and the other is secularist. Out of this polarised division, Egypt had a long political strife, but luckily had no internal war. But now, the army has manufactured fully fledged war out of these divisive ingredients and has named it as “war against terror”. They have turned cities like Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said, Arish and others into full war zones. Tanks, artillery guns, helicopters, armoured vehicles, machine guns and thousands of war-ready troops are back in the streets.

 The army claims that they returned to the power only to fight terrorism and promote democracy. But the emerging events in Egypt tell otherwise. Terrorism is never a tool of the un-armed street protestors. It has always been the weapon of the armed thugs; and the Egyptian Army has enough of that. The unarmed street protestors are the innocent victims. Since the fascist rule of Col. Gamal Abdun Nasser in the fifties, the Egyptian army proved to be the country’s most brutal terror industry, and now fights to protect the same old legacy. Using the state-run terror, the army ruled Egypt for the last 60 years, and never bothered to go for a fair election. A fair election could happen in 2012, only after the end of the army rule of Husni Mobarak, and Dr. Muhamad Morsi emerged as the first elected president in the whole Egyptian history. But such election made him the number one enemy of the army.

 Army: the Ruling Clan

Egypt’s army is much more than a professional army; it is a powerful ruling clan. Like monarchs and feudal aristocrats, the Egyptian army developed its own powerful organisational culture through its 60 years of rule. In that cultural domain, a civilian receives little respect. They follow only their own chain of command. The army was not ready to accept even Husni Mobarak's civilian son Jamal Mubarak as their future ruler, because he was out of that command chain. This is why they did not give any fight for Husni Mobarak against the protestors. Dr. Muhannad Morsi's civilian and Islamic background made him incompatible to that cultural milieu. So they desperately needed to remove him.

In such move, Dr. Morsi -the unarmed president of Egypt become the first victim of the army's so-called war against terrorism. The question is: what can be more blatant act of terrorism than this ugly use of the military terror against a civilian president? Like Saudi monarch, all the autocrats of the Arab countries were very quick to support it. But the irony is: very few democratic leaders condemned it!

 Now the whole Egypt is under the occupation of this terrorist army. To terrorise the un-armed civilians, the army has now deployed its huge war machines on streets of major Egyptian cities. Only on one day, on Wednesday, 14th August, and only in one square named Rabaa al Adabiya, the army have killed more than two thousands unarmed men and women, and injured many more thousands. According to Muslim Brotherhood, the number of martyrs is 2600. Such a huge massacre in a single day never happened in the whole history of Egypt, even not during the rule of autocratic Pharaohs. Again on Friday, on 16th August, after two days of Rabaa al Adabiya massacre, they killed more than two hundred protestors all over Egypt –one hundred only in Ramsees square in Cairo. On July 7, moree than hundred unarmed protestors were killed by the republican guards while they gathered in front of republican guard head-quarter in Cairo. After all these horrendous killings of the unarmed protesters, the army must answer the question: is it war against terror or war against unarmed civilians? Can such massacres be the part of the road-map towards democracy –as was envvisaged by General Abdul Fattah Sisi –the Army chief?

 Recent Arab spring brought some promising positive changes in the Arab world. This part of the world was known for army coups, autocratic fascist rulers and corrupt monarchs. In most of the Arab countries, the basic human rights were conspicuously extinct. However change stared with the ouster of Bin Ali of Tunisia. After Tunisia, revolution came to Egypt. On 25th of January in 2011, sixty years’ of brutal military rule was ended by the ouster of Husni Mobarak by the street protestors. In Egypt, the army rule started in 1952 with a coup by Col. Gamal Abdun Nasser, and followed by Anwer Saadat and then Mubarak. Such a long military rule helped the Egyptian army to establish it more as a powerful ruling clan than a professional army. It has a huge vested interest in Egypt’s politics, society and business which they are reluctant to desert. The common people were not given any access to the corridor of power; neither was given the basic human rights of free expression and free participation in politics. The USA and the European imperialist power were very happy to work with these repressive military rulers for the last six decades. They found them very trustworthy partners in suppressing the emerging Islamists, thus protecting the national security interest of the west and the interest of Israel.

 The USA investment in Egypt is huge. Since signing of Camp David Treaty in 1979, the USA invested 66 billion US dollars in military and non-military sectors. More than 500 Egyptian army officers receive training in USA annually. The current Army chief General Abdul Fattah attended the US Army War College in Pennsylvania, and another high profile recipient of such training is the Air Force chief Reda Mahmoud. The main purpose of such training is not to increase their war-skills, rather to enhance their compatibility with the US policies of imperialistic dominance through deep paradigm shift in their mind –especially through secullarisation, de-Islamisation and indoctrination with the western world-views. Such indoctrination is giving enormous out-comes for protecting the imperialist interest of the West –not only in Egypt, but also in other Muslim countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and others. These cultural converts look alike to their western trainers, and far alienated from the Islam-loving common people of their own country. Therefore what happened in Baghdad, Basra, Fallujah, Ramadi, Kabul or Kandahar by the US army, are also common occurrence in other Muslim cities by the so-called Muslim armies. They feel trigger happy to kill their own people –as now get commonly displayed in the streets of Cairo, Alexandra, Port Said and other Egyptian cities. Such massacre of the Islamists also happened in Dhaka’s Motijheel in Bangladesh in May 2013 and in Islamabad’s Lal Masjid in Pakistan during General Musharraf's era.

 

The pet army and the imperialist strategy

After the costly and humiliating defeat in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, the USA and her ally are now reluctant to deploy their own forces in a foreign land. They brought a major policy shift. They don’t want to see more body bags of their own dead soldiers. Therefore they train and indoctrinate others to fight their wars -especially the so-called Muslims in the Muslim lands. To raise such a pet army, since 1987 the USA government alone has been donating more than 1.3 billion US dollars annually to the servile cronies in Egyptian army. Such money and training are causing such a critical depletion of moral values in trainees that they do not hesitate to launch genocide against their own people. In presence of such servile cronies, the USA and her ally do not need to deploy their own troop to kill the anti-Imperialist Islamists on the streets of any Muslim city. The native armies are doing the job. The Egyptian army is a true example of that.

 

This is why the USA government was not happy with the end of the Army rule in Egypt in January in 2011. Since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, the West’s trusted army generals were thrown out of the central stage of politics. Hence, the west found their huge investment at risk. Unlike the army generals, Dr Morsi did not receive any money or training. So they did not have any trust on him either. Through the elected president and the parliament, the newly empowered common mass emerged as the main stake-holders of the politics –not the army generals. It was ddifficult both for the USA and the Egyptian army to adjust with such a changed situation. They want to return to the central stage again. Hence from the day one of the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, the Army and their foreign patrons were waiting in ambush to regain back the power and punish the people for taking part in the revolution. They started with inciting people against Dr Morsi. During Dr Morsi's short rule, they created artificial gas, oil, electricity, and water crisis to make him unpopular. And the final opportunity came on 3rd of July when the army Chief General Abdul Fattah Sisi overthrew Dr. Muhammad Morsi. Now the army generals turned towards the people to take the full revenge. He dishonoured their voting right and views by dissolving the parliament and throwing their approved constitution to the garbage. And to punish further, the army’s huge killing machines are also back to the streets.

 The Return of Mubarak Era

The army generals have no affection for democracy or democratic values or institutions. In democracy, the legality of the rule comes only through election, not by military coup. In a democratic country, member of the army does not enjoy any extra power or privilege than any other citizen. But the Egyptian army has now proven that they are not ready to comply with such equalising norms and values. Rather they have chosen the path exactly opposite to that. They have killed not only the legality of an elected president, but also denied the existence of the elected parliament and the existence of constitutional law. Hence the current president need not get his appointment through a general election. He got his job by an appoint letter from another government servant like the General Abdul Fattah Sisi –the army Chief. Democracy also entails a constitutional rule: but the army made it non-functional, too. Hence no such constitution now exists in Egypt.

 

After removal of Mubarak, Egypt went very fast to establish democratic institutions and procedures to ensure a civilian rule. In a period of only one year, not only a civilian president was elected by a highly contested election, but also a constituent assembly was voted to frame a constitution -which did its job successfully. The newly made constitution was put to a referendum; and the people ratified it by a huge majority. Many countries like Pakistan could not attain such success even in decades. But such achievements did not impress the army; rather they were infuriated by huge empowerment of the people and their Islamic adherence. They did not like the newly built civic institutions like elected presidency and the parliament either. Hence they pushed the wheel backward. Like a tyrant king, the Army Chief dismantled all the progress made in the last one year by a single dictatorial announcement. The people’s millions of votes, the newly made constitution, the new parliament and the newly elected president -all are given place only in the garbage, and the country is now being ruled an Army General and by his decrees. All the money, all the time, all the efforts and energy spent to hold so money elections and to write constitutions went totally in vain. The country is back again to the square one, the Mubarak era returned with all its vices. Is it not enough to kill the confidence in democracy?

 

Obama's moral depletion

The moral depletion of the US president Mr Barak Obama and the US approval for the coup are now quite evident. Mr Obama's very myopic view of the events restrained him to realise that the army take-over was a 100% military coup. His recent narratives on Egypt also look biased and charged with pro-army overtone -as if the US government wished and worked for such a coup. Like Gen. Abdul Fattah Sisi, President Obama also claimed that the military take-over was made to promote democracy and added that the army has popular support. How can he nurture such a wishful optimism about the military coup? Did an army ever make a coup to promote democracy? The army make coup only to dismantle democratic institutions and to promote its own hegemony on the state. It only imposes Army’s internal occupation on the people.

 The US envoy and the EU delegate made recent visits to Cairo, but they did not put any pressure on the army to avoid eminent blood baths. Rather they tried hard to generate support for the coup. They even tried to persuade the Muslim Brotherhood leaders to accept the coup as a way forward for democracy and join the army's road map. How a party with people’s mandate can accept such a coup as a way forward for democracy and take part in an army engineered road map? The army holds election only to make way for its own people to get elected and to ensure a sure defeat for its political opponents. Rigging election is their finest art. Hence, Mubarak had no difficulty to get more than 90% votes in each election, and could easily extend his rule for 3 decades. For the same reason, General Abdul Fattah Sisi will face no difficulty to win any election either. Like Col Naser and Mubarak, he will also easily manage to get more than 80% votes in the general election. He will discover ample pretexts to make Muslim Brotherhood constitutionally illegal in the politics. In such anti Brotherhood project, the country’s pet judges are ever ready to make every co-operation with Gen. Sisi, as they did with the previous military rulers.

 If Barak Obama had any interest in democratic process in Egypt, he would have at least labelled the military coup as a coup and asked for the restoration of the legally elected president and the constitution. This way he could frustrate the usurper of the democratic rights of the people by the army and discourage further coup. But the US government is not taking that route. The dismissal of the elected president and the annulment of the constitution by the army have no legality –neiither in Egyptian law, nor in international law. Constitution is the property of the people; only the people have the right to make any change or discard it through their votes. They people have not delegated such right to an Army General. Likewise, the president can only be removed by a general election. These are not only the norms in the USA, but also in Egypt. In the USA, breaking such norm is a criminal offence. The USA constitution prohibits its government from sending any aids to such criminals living in other countries. But President Obama has taken a different posture. For the sake of protecting such criminals from the prosecution and continuation of the aid, he is not even ready to call the criminal as criminal. Nor is he ready to label their criminal act of coup as coup. Here lies the serious moral deprivation of President Obama. With suck sick morality, President Obama can go to any extent with the criminal coup makers. But how can he ask others to do the same?

 

Obama does not consider restoration of democratic rights of the common Egyptians helpful for his country’s national security interest. Protecting such national interest is the only sacred item in their politics, not the lives of millions of innocent people, nor their basic human rights. For securing such national interests, the US government keeps every option on the table. In the past, they did not bother even to drop atom bombs on Japanese cities. Neither did they bother to occupy counties like Afghanistan and Iraq, and flatten the cities of these two countries and kill millions. Nor do they dislike to working with autocratic devils like Saddam, Pinochet or Shah of Iran. President Obama and his western colleagues must be celebrating the engagement of the Egyptian army in doing the same thing as the US army did in Afghanistan and Iraq.  For the USA, such military coup is not a vice, rather the desired necessity. It is will be naïve to believe that the army made the coup without President Obama’s prior approval.  How the army leader can make such a serious decision of a coup without the consent of their US paymaster -who made a payment of $66 billion since 1979. The Americans are not so foolish to keep such disobedient and disconnected officers in their payroll.  

 

The Grand Alliance

The coup leaders are the long-time trusted partners of the USA. The American national interest lies in protecting not only American interest, but also the interest of Israel. It also entails protecting the oil-reach monarchs in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Arab Emirate and others from the emerging Islamists. That implies effectively preventing the Islamic resurgence. After the ouster of Tunisia’s Ben Ali, Egypt’s Mubarak, Libya’s Gaddafi and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, these monarchs were trembling for their own turn. The USA was worried not only about the vulnerability of these monarchs, but also about their secure oil supply.  So it was important for the USA and for her ally to stop the tide of the people’s up-rise without any further delay. Hence they planned and heavily invested for a counter coup in Egypt. So the coup in Egypt is not of the Army’s own making, rather the joint venture of the grand alliance.   And it became clearer after the coup, when the USA denied condemning it as a coup and huge amount of money started flowing from the authoritarian Arab monarchs. Saudi Arabia alone gave $5 billion to the military ruler, and many more billions are coming from Kuwait and the Arab Emirate.

 The Imposed War

The army and its secular ally not only deposed the elected president and his democratic government, but also imposed a very brutal war on the Islamists. In Egyptian history, such crime of the army and the secularists will never be forgotten and forgiven. The Muslim Brotherhood entered into democratic politics and won the presidency and the majority parliamentary seats by peaceful elections. They even compromised on some sharia issues to make them acceptable to their democratic colleagues. But the army and its secular ally do not want them to take that route. In fact, they have dragged them out of the newly-set democratic train. Now the army and its secular ally are labelling them as Islamic fascists and terrorists. They are using the same allegations against the Islamists as were used by the Americans against Al Qaida after nine eleven and during invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Implied message to the Brotherhood is clear: “You –the Islamists, have no place in democracy –even if you get majority vottes in elections. It is the sole domain of secularists and liberalists.”  Is it an argument for political reconciliation or peaceful co-existence? Such notion can only provoke to political elimination of the Islamists. And the army and its ally have already taken that route. So the agenda is clear, they are decided to make another Afghanistan in the Middle East.

 To justify their coup, the Army and its secular ally are spreading lot of lies against the Islamists. They are telling that Muslim Brotherhood people are terrorist and they had weapons while had sit-in in Rabaa Al Adweya and Al-Nahda squares. But there is no proof of such allegation. Many foreign journalists and human right activists were there: but none could find any trace of such arms among the Islamists. Moreover, how could they label Dr Muhammad Morsi and his supports as fascists and terrorist? While Dr Muhammad Morsi was the president, no massacre took place in any part of Egypt. No gun, no tank, no artillery and no helicopter gunship were deployed to terrorise and kill people in any city –as is being donee today. On the contrary, Dr Morsi’s opponents caused havoc on Cairo’s streets. They killed Muslim Brotherhood’s many workers and destroyed many offices including the party’s head quarter. The ruling army and its secular bedfellows made it clear that they are not ready to give any pace for the Islamists in Egypt’s politics. Rather, they are desperate to break their back bone –as was tried bby Gamal Abdun Nasser and Husni Mubarak in the past. Now the Islamists have their back on the wall. They have only two options: either to surrender or fight back. But concept of surrender does not exist in Islamists’ vocabulary. So resistance is not only eminent, rather it has already started.

 

So far, the Islamists resistance has been peaceful and non-violent. But the army does not want such non-violent protest to survive in Egyptian cities. They are labelling such protests as Egypt's security threat. They want to remove such threat by using indiscriminate fire arms and thus killing thousands –as they did inn Cairo's Rabba Al Adabiya, An Nahda and Ramsees squares. This way, they want to bring an end to the non-violent street protests. The Islamists are now realising that Gandhian non-violence is not going to work against helicopter gunships and tanks of the blood thirsty generals. Many of them must be thinking about Islam’s own option –that is Jihad. So far, Muslim Brotherhoood has worked as a huge firewall against such jihadi option. But now such fire wall is being dismantled by the army tanks, artillery fires and helicopter gunships.

 

So the outcome is quite eminent. Egypt is going to be another Afghanistan. Many western leaders and thinkers already understood that. They also know that the USA and its NATO ally are losing war to the jihadist in Afghanistan. They also know that the Egyptian army is not stronger than the USA army; and the Egyptian jihadists are not weaker than the Afghan jihadists. So they asked the Egyptian army generals not to take that route. But such advice fell on deaf ears. Now the days of peaceful protests, sit-ins, negotiation and further election are over. Egypt is now entering into a new phase of politics: politics of armed encounters. In such politics, blood of thousands of martyrs will have greater say and influence than the living ones.  

Dr. FM Kamal is a reseacher and freelance columnist from Bangladesh:

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