MASS PROTESTS IN EGYPT
They have built up a unique culture and art and culture that are regarded as among the wonders of the world. Egypt is key to global trade via the Suez Canal, and will be the concern of all trading nations. It is easy to forget that Egypt has been subject to French, British, Ottoman, USA controls and has rarely been free. Egypt was part of the British Empire as a protectorate until 1956; when the British forces withdrew, and General Nasser took control. Since this time there have been multiple coups. Over the last 200 years Egypt has been dependent on foreign aid from France, the UK, the USA, Russia. At this time, Egypt is best regarded as a military state, a satellite of the USA, dependent on billions of dollars from the USA. Their leaders control the Military, and the military operate corporations in Egypt!
THE STRUGGLES FOR DEMOCRACY
A number of commentators have tended to regard the protests and marches on the streets and in the squares of Cairo and Alexandria as the development of democracy in Egypt. But democracy depends upon more than marching and shouting. In fact, July 4 2013 witnessed the reassertion of military rule in Egypt, [associated with the support of the USA.] and the failure of representative democracy.
Egypt has been a satellite state of the USA since the Camp David Peace Treaty of 1979. The USA has provided military aid to Egypt. This aid has been up to $4 billion a year for a decade, and enabled Egypt to purchase tanks, combat aircraft, support weapons, along with technical expertise. The latest report from SIPRI indicates that in 2012, Egypt spent 6.5% of GDP on military equipment to make it the 11th largest armed force in the world.
Whatever happens in public, no matter how many marches took place, political power in Egypt lies with the military forces……the Army….. the Air force……the Navy…..as well as the police forces and security forces. The military did not approve of the rule of Morsi and have used the protests as the means to destroy democracy. During July 4 the military leaders supervised the initiation of a new President of their choosing, and a new cabinet. The efforts of the military forces have been cheered on by protestors in the squares and streets of central Cairo. The Army has set up a ‘technocrat government’. It is organized by those who are considered by the Armed Forces to be best qualified to rule the country. Egypt is no longer a democracy in which the electorate votes for president and representatives. It is a military bureaucracy.
The military coup has been welcomed by the USA, the UK, the EU.
What we do not know is what the people who voted for Morsi will do. How will they react to the dismissal of their President? They have shown by their interviews on the media that they consider their votes a waste of time in the face of military action.
On July 6th, there was evidence that these supporters of Morsi were willing to take direct action to reinstate the President.
The Egyptian military had worked carefully to identify with the millions of protesters in Cairo. There was no attempt to attack the protesters. They operated in the background, providing tacit approval for them. Once Morsi asserted that he was not going to listen to any of the protesters, he was caught in a trap, ready to be taken by the Army. The mass protests provided a door for the military to assume power as a ‘saviour’ from religious extremism.
What about the implications of the coup in Egypt for the stability of the rule of various governments with large Armed forces. For example, what if the Armed Forces of the USA, the countries of the EU, Russia, China. Japan, UK, among many countries in the world, decided that it was necessary to get rid of their present government? What would happen? How many governments are thinking about this possibility?
On June 30 2013, Egypt was ruled by the first Muslim President, elected freely and fairly by the majority of the electorate. On July 5 2013, the vote of the majority had been overturned and replaced by a military junta.
So we have to confront the reality that the mass protests, or what has been called ‘the Arab Spring’, did not have a mandate nor any stated manifesto and in fact were anti-democratic;
The protests enabled the expression of opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood;
And at the same time, expressed support for the Muslim Brotherhood;
supported Morsi as president;
and rejected Morsi;
the protests can be seen as the assertion of male dominance;
men using their ‘weapons’ to keep women in their place.
support the USA; eliminate any Muslim principles in government; assert the position of men in society, and deny the modernization of social behaviours. Of course, all these contradictions will be played out over the next years!
Go to Post 30: COMMUNITIES IN CONFLICT.