Friday, July 5, 2013

The Coup In Egypt And Why It's Important

JoshuaPundit – h/t and thanks to Rob Miller: The military coup in Egypt is pretty much a done deal. Former president Morsi's in jail, along with the real people who were pulling the strings, the top figures from the Muslim Brotherhood including its chief Mohammed Badie and his deputy Khairat el-Shater.

I first saw this coming back in late June, and those of you who were awake and online at 3 AM Left Coast Time got the first reports of the army's move, thanks to a couple of my notorious Lil' Birdies.

So why is this important? To put that together, we have to get into the back story on what happened. Thanks to the Lil' Birdies, I have some new details on how the whole deal went down.

The Egyptian Army is not like the U.S. Army. Like China's PLA, it owns farms, companies and private businesses that are often staffed by conscripts.  A lot of the 'military aid' from us goes to the army directly to fund these enterprises.

Morsi had purged a number of the top generals of the Egyptian military and replaced them with men whop were either fellow Islamists or apolitical.. or so he thought. With the Muslim Brotherhood government receiving support and patronage from President Obama, Morsi figured he had the Army under his thumb.

One of his appointments, as defense minister and chief of the Army was General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, a former junior member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the junta that ruled Egypt until the Brotherhood took over.

As Egypt's economy spiraled out of control, Morsi and his Brotherhood allies began leaning heavily on al-Sissi and the military to eliminate a number of their prerogatives and to transfer most of the military aid they receive back to the government, so the government could use it for their own purposes.

Morsi and the Brotherhood were fairly certain that they would be able to put the squeeze on al-Sissi with President Obama's help. They were wrong.

After his phone call with Morsi, President Obama tried exactly that, telling al-Sissi and the other generals that a military coup would have a loss of U.S. aid as a consequence. That had worked before for the president, when the SCAF tried to limit Morsi and the Brotherhood's power and President Obama intervened.

This time, Al-Sissi and the other generals decided to call Obama's bluff. They realized that giving in to Obama and Morsi would lead to them losing any vestige of independence and freedom they had, and since Morsi was already poised to take their aid money away they had nothing to lose anyway. In the end, al-Sissi and his fellow general's first loyalty was to Egypt and the army, not the Brotherhood.

Not only that, but not only had Morsi and the Brotherhood become deeply unpopular, so had President Obama. The Egyptian street was very much familiar with Obama's role in putting the Brotherhood in power and keeping them there.

Once the decision was made, the coup proceeded smoothly, without any hesitation from the army generals or the soldiers under their command.

So what does this mean? Why is it important?

Today's events amounted to a tremendous loss of prestige for the genocidal Muslim Brotherhood. It was one thing to be the romantic opposition, operate a few soup kitchens, schools and clinics and tell everyone that if only Mubarak was out and they were in power, they would bring true greatness and prosperity to Egypt by following Allah's divine sharia-licious path.

But when they finally got in power, things were different. They were almost as corrupt, far more dictatorial and brutal and far more incompetent than Mubarak ever was. They will not be trusted with power for years, if ever. And their loss extends to other countries aside from Egypt, like Jordan, Libya, the rest of the Maghreb and the Arabian Peninsula. Egypt was the Muslim Brotherhood's chance to show that their version of a Sunni Islamist state could work. They failed miserably, and not only did they lose Egypt but they did major damage to the Caliphate President Obama and his administration were trying so desperately to put together in the Arab World. People who were prepared to put the Islamists in power are now looking at what happened in Egypt are having second thoughts.

That is probably one of the most important effects of the coup - the damage it did to the Muslim Brotherhood and the nascent Caliphate that was forming.This is huge and cannot be underestimated.

As Dave Burge ( IowaHawk) wittily tweeted, the only Muslim Brotherhood fans left are in Washington DC.

President Obama also suffered a tremendous loss of prestige. The Prevaricator-In-Chief is having his people work overtime to spin this and revise what happened here, saying he was, you know, always pimping for freedom and democracy in Egypt.

The people of Egypt know better. Obama was for the Muslim Brotherhood first, last and always.

It's an open question how much influence the U.S. has with the new junta.If President Obama offers them aid, they need it and will probably take it. But they're not going to forget how this president tried to muscle them into knuckling under to Morsi.

The junta could very well decide that they've had enough of Mr. Hopey-changey and decide to switch sponsors. The Russians are the most likely candidate. With Syria in turmoil, the Russians might well find another warm water strategic Mediterranean port useful. On the other hand, there are bad memories in Egypt from the last time it was a Russian client state.

Another source of non-US funding is apparently coming from the Saudis and GCE countries,  whom want Egypt as an ally in the ongoing Sunni-Shi'ite war in the region. This support involves pledges so far, which the Arab countries are notorious for reneging on. But it could very well be that the generals set this up with the Saudis before making their move. The Brotherhood regime, after all, had been making some friendly noises towards Iran.

But if the Saudi money comes through, the junta  may very well decide to go along with the U.S. for the present,especially  if fresh financial aid is forthcoming. That's especially true of the army, whose gear is all American made  and dependent on U.S. supplied spare parts.
In any event, Egypt's economy is in crisis mode, and the breakdown of simple law and order is something the country's new rulers are going to have to devote an awful lot of time and attention to if they're to succeed in governing.

While the Obama Administration has certainly suffered a major loss of influence and prestige, one winner here is Israel. Instead of a hostile, Hamas friendly regime in Cairo, they will now have a much more pragmatic and coldly neutral Egyptian government to deal with. While anti-semitism and Israel Derangement Syndrome is firmly engrained in Egypt, the new junta, to put it bluntly, needs stability and has other things to worry about. In addition, they will undoubtedly do a lot more than Morsi did to keep the Brotherhood regime in Gaza  isolated, in their own self interest. Just as Mubarak and SCAF di dbefore, they will crsack down on the smuggling tunnels and keep the Egyptian border with Gaza shut. And due to Egypt's financial difficulties, the junta might even welcome some discreet trade with the 'Zionists'.

Egypt's chief tasks in the immediate future will be creating stability in the country  and doing something about the execrable economic situation. The first is probably doable, since the military is widely respected. The second one is systemic and probably not doable in the short term. But  if the Army can at least tread water or even improve things slightly economically, especially when it comes to food supplies,  they should be able to hang on.

And thus far… the Obama administration will not call this a coup…  But the effects on the region are already surfacing as Huge! Qatar Expels Brotherhood's Sheik Qaradawi, Hamas Leader Mesha'al

The emirate of Qatar reacted to Wednesday's events by stripping Sheik Qaradawi, the Brotherhood's spiritual leader of his citizenship, closing down all Brotherhood offices and expelling Qaradawi and Hamas leader Khalid Mesha'al from the country.
The link's in Arabic… here's a loose translation, adjusted so it makes more sense in English:

Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa second, the Emir of Qatar, on Tuesday evening, said that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi must leave the country, and ordered the withdrawal of Qatari nationality from him, and the closure of all offices of the Muslim Brotherhood in order of state policy not to choose a political faction or movement. Confirmed Prince Tamim, in an interview, we are all Muslims, but not the Muslim Brotherhood, and are dealing with matters of State and Government and not allied with any political faction. Al-Nahar reported that Prince Tamim gave Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, 48 hours to leave the country.

The Emir has always been a huge supporter of the Brotherhood, until know. As a matter of fact, Sheik Qaradawi (a foul, genocidal maniac who is not allowed into the U.S. for very good reasons) is (or was) a major star on al-Jazeera, which is owned by the Emir and his family.I have a feeling his show has been cancelled for lack of a sponsor, as they say in showbiz.

Mesha'al is the political head of Hamas, who took refuge in Qatar after he was forced to leave Syria by Assad after the Syrian Civil War broke out and Hamas refused to send fighters to his aid.

You can expect Qatar to cease all financial support for the Brotherhood as well.deposed Egyptian president Morsi and his friends made a few too many friendly overtures to Iran, which put them on the wrong side of the Sunni-Shi'ite war led by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Now that Wednesday's coup removed them from power, expect Qatar and Saudi Arabia to establish ties to the Egyptian junta and support it financially. The Brotherhood has now been revealed as a weak horse, and we know what happens to weak horses uin this part of the world.

This is absolutely huge, and very good news for the West.

We can only hope that some of this courage flows back to the U.S.A!!

Background: Celebration from Egypt ==> Morsi, denouncing ‘full coup,’ is ousted by Egypt’s military – Updated

Update:  Muslim Brotherhood Riots In Egypt; The Army Pushes Back

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