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ANALYSIS Anyone in doubt that Egypt’s military conducted a coup to overthrow that country’s first ever democratically elected Prime Minister only needs to look at today’s farce of a court judgement to realise they are either deluded or have spent too much time on the PlayStation. Hosni Mubarak the brutal dictator of decades standing who made Saddam Hussein and Assad’s father look like prep school principals has been cleared of all charges relating to the murder of demonstrators in Tahrir Square in 2011, protesters who were only asking for the kind of rights citizens in America and Europe enjoy.
But that was too much for the military and the people who have flourished under their inept and corrupt regime – it was also sadly too much for the US who preaches the need for democracy in the world as long as its the type enjoyed in Turkey, Colombia, South Korea and Japan. Under the Muslim Brotherhood Egypt was taking its first steps towards the modern world, the Islamist party understood that theirs was a transitory time for other political parties would emerge to take their place for that is the nature of democracies. All they wanted to ensure, like they have always wanted to ensure, was that change occurred within the framework of its Islamic heritage – that the eventual secular future would be the outcome of Egypt’s Muslim identity.
But the military perhaps at the behest of the US launched its crackdown that killed thousands and imprisoned thousands more. Egypt was seen by many as the birthplace of the Arab Spring, despite it starting in Tunisia, and so it is symbolically from here that the West has launched its crackdown on political Islam in the Middle East and North Africa.
Nothing to answer for? This was Mubarak’s response to protests in 2011Israel’s assaults in Gaza to break Hamas are part of a process that John Prescott described as an attempt to de-islamify the Middle East and North Africa. Within this context the so called Islamic state can be seen for what they are – Islamists created by the West as useful tools in their ‘crusade’ to relegate Islam to the private sphere in the way its practised in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. In every way Islamic state represent everything that the West believes Islam to be, they follow the teachings of Mahound, not the noble Prophet. But they are useful because they will get in the way of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood. And their gruesome actions also justify Western military intervention in the Middle East.
Of course, there are still many who fight for a democratic future in the Middle East, but until the West led by the US understands that those people have rights too, and that it may even be in their interest to allow a free and independent Middle East and North Africa to flourish the current state of affairs will remain – a downward spiral where questions are raised about the Arab mind and why it resorts to violence at home and to terrorism abroad.
The democratically elected President of Egypt stood before the world, behind bars in a cage – his crime that he had ‘incited’ the murder of demonstrators.
If those who had orchestrated the coup to oust Mohamed Morsi from power expected him to cower they were to be disappointed.
Morsi is not the monster that was the military dictator Hosni Mubarak, the former leader who now lives in virtual freedom after the military apparatus he left behind orchestrated demonstrations, and committed mass murder against their own people.
If this is not a coup, then what is the Egyptian military doing on Tahrir Square?
And what is Morsi standing trial for?
The Muslim Brotherhood have shown they will not accept the actions of the Egyptian military who were backed by a noisy well-heeled elite who were furious at the prospect of losing their privileges to the poor who make the majority of the country.
They have also shown that despite the considerable risk of being killed they are prepared to stand up for a principle – namely that if you don’t agree with a government, wait for the next election and vote them out.
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An Egyptian court has ordered the release on bail of former President Hosni Mubarak in a corruption case.
Reports from Cairo suggest he may be freed from prison on Thursday, but the prosecution may still appeal.
The 85-year-old is also being retried on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters during the uprising that forced him from power in 2011.
He was sentenced to life in jail last year, but a retrial was later ordered after his appeal was upheld.
That retrial opened in May but Mr Mubarak has now served the maximum amount of pre-trial detention permitted in the case.
Egypt’s ambassador to London has denied the force used by his country’s military was excessive. He denied the use of sniper fire, and argued that the measures taken in the massacre were necessary to restore order and to protect the people of Egypt.
He drew parallels with the British police breaking up demonstrations in London two years go.
To make his point, he distributed videos probably compiled from Youtube which he says shows Muslim Brotherhood members firing at the police.
That was the tactic used by protesters who first gathered at Tahrir Square to oust the long-standing dictator of Egypt.
Unverified footage, was good enough then, why is not now?
Of course, as Sky News showed today, there are videos of the Egyptian security forces shooting arbitrarily and hitting protesters.
From day one of protests, as BBC’s Jeremy Bowen observed, the army has fired directly into the crowds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
The death toll is at leat 500 and if the Muslim Brotherhood are right is in excess of 2,000, and that does not include the injured.
As the casualty figures mount, Egypt’s military and government who successfully convinced the Americans that they were acting for the people when he overthrew a democratically elected President, are fighting a propaganda war.
The obvious parallel to these horrendous events is the putsch conducted by Gamal Nasser against the Muslim Brotherhood during the fifties.
Egypt’ suffered for decades afterwards with incompetent miliary rule headed by first Sadat and then Mubarak, who was only ousted two years ago.
Yesterday’s heavy-handed tactics has taken the Arab World’s most populous nation to into a new and more frightening direction.
The Muslim Brotherhood got what they wanted, Sky’s Dominic Waghorn said the Egyptian military is currently thinking, that is martyrs for its cause.
If that is indeed the case, then the bloodshed on 14/08/13 could well have ensured that the Egyptian military’s attempt at a counter-revolution to push back the ‘Arab Spring’ and to restore military-led control of the country has failed
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Britain has condemned the barbaric actions of Egypt’s Security Forces in the strongest possible terms, whilst in Washington whose government provides 1.2 billion dollars in aid, most of which goes to the very military that is employing machine gunfire, snipers and tear gas on its own people, there’s a reported air of resignation, that this was bound to happen.
Words, or worse still passive acceptance of the unfolding massacre in Cairo, will not do – not if Western governments ever want to be taken seriously went they decide to lecture others about human rights or attempt to seek allies in future interventions on humanitarian missions.
Islamists – including the Muslim Brotherhood – won 75 per cent of the vote in the country’s first ever election.
The army, backed by groups who had everything to lose by allowing a party whose sole cause is greater social justice to prosper overthrew them, caged the elected President, opened fire directly into crowds from the first day of protests against the coup and are now committing murder against its own people.
Some have said this is Algeria all over again, it is worse.
Of all the Arab countries in turmoil – Iraq, Gaza, Syria, Libya – Egypt looks the most likely to go the way of Sudan.
And if no one acts now, Egypt will collapse into at least two, the elite backed by the army and the Islamists.
And that could be three, if the Christians feel they are better protected by outside Western powers rather than the blood-stained armed forces of Cairo.
Friday has been designated as the day of rejection by the ousted government of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The military who say that their actions are not a coup almost immediately fired in to protesters who had gathered outside the building where they believe to be where the toppled President Mohammed Morsi is being held.
Three people were killed as a result.
And the newly appointed interim President has suspended the upper house of parliament which was the only functioning arm of government, after the suspension last year of the lower house.
And still this is not a coup.
Key figures of the Muslim Brotherhood are also under arrest, as the supporters of the largest political and social party in Egypt gather on the streets, many no doubt wondering whether they will come back alive.
What we are seeing unfolding on our screens is the struggle for the future of Egypt.
If no one says anything, the military will have been allowed to stage a coup which by any standard makes a mockery of the idea of democracy.
What we are also seeing is struggle for the soul of Egypt, a nation which has known decades and decades of corrupt and incompetent military rule and which after one year may never see democracy ever again.
No one has benefited from the army’s decision to oust the country’s first democratically elected President – not the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters who took 51 per cent of the vote in the national elections, nor the celebrating mob who at best can conjure up 25 per cent at the ballot box.
Already, there is talk of putting in place a strong man, someone who will be able to deliver stability. And that may well be the best solution to prevent this nation from breaking apart.
For no election can ever be regarded as anything more than a sham, after what has just happened in Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood must have known they were living on borrowed time, but not even in their worst nightmares could they have imagined that they would last just one year.
Egypt has taken a step back today – the journey to modernity championed by Arab intellectuals has succumbed to the power of the mob, that Arab Street that the West has so warned us all of.
Perhaps, intellectuals in the West are right – the Arab mind is not capable of understanding a process as brilliant, yet as nuanced as democracy.
It hasn’t worked in Iraq, and now it’s completely failed in Egypt.
No one forced the crowds out on the street, they came of their own accord, and they will have to live with the consequences of their actions which could reverberate for decades to come.
Egypt may never recover from the army’ s prehistoric actions.
And as a result, we may just seen the beginning of the break-up of this north African state.
(Pictured above – the head of Egypt’s army Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi on state TV announcing that the constitution had been suspended and that the chief justice of the constitutional court would take on Mr Morsi’s powers)
With the army’s ‘sort it out’ deadline approaching, the democratically elected government of Mohammed Morsi remains defiant.
The Muslim Brotherhood did after all win elections for the presidency and the prime minster’s office, with turn out high.
That was history – the first time Egypt had ever allowed its people choose who leads their nation.
And yet a year on, some people are trying to bring it to an end.
This is not the birth pangs of a new democracy in Egypt, but rather an attempt by a mob to overthrow a ruler chosen by the majority of people.
As a result, those of the street will set back a process that had only just begun, a process that was taking this third world country into the modern age.
At best, Egypt will become another Tunisia or Algeria, with weak governments who answer to the military.
Perhaps, the best indicator of who is behind the scenes we are witnessing on television comes from the demeanor of the fallen dictator, Hosni Mubarak.
At his trial, he lay in bed, a man said to be dying.
At his retrial, he seemed to have miraculously recovered.
In fact, he seemed to know something that the rest of us didn’t.
Perhaps that it’s still the country’s military that rule the roost and that they were finding allies quickly.
Those who believe that the hated dictator never left may well be right.
When Gamal Abdel-Nasser seized power of Egypt through an army coup, he immediately threw the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al Banna into a concentration camp.
It did not matter that the Brotherhood had backed his struggle, he just did not want to see Islam playing a role in governing his people.
So, he is probably turning in his grave as crowds in Tahrer Square and elsewhere greet Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood as the country’s first ever democratically elected President.
Sunday’s momentous declaration has of course to be treated with caution.
Egypt’s army has seized on a court ruling to curtail the outcome of parliamentary elections that had given the Muslim Brotherhood the majority share of the vote.
Of course, the whole system was designed by Hosni Mubarak to ensure that the Muslim Brotherhood would never rule.
So, getting as far as they have is incredible.
Those who say that the ‘Arab’ Spring did not have this outcome in mind, may be right.
Yes, this is a vote for reactionaries, and yes it would be great to see a truly secular party born of the Islamic tradition being elected into both seats of power.
However, this result is also a consequence of the actions of Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak, all of whom were of course strong figures backed by a ruthless military. the very military that is now showing no sign of allowing the country’s first democratically elected President any room to rule.
And until that happens, the dreams and ambitions of the protesters will never be realised.