Evidence that the US sponsored coup leaders

By Ameen Izzadeen
Two months before Mohammed Morsi was unceremoniously thrown out of office at gunpoint, a PEW poll gave him an approval rate of 53 per cent. No leader in the so-called Tamarod (Rebellion) movement which together with the military got rid of Morsi last week could come close to him. They included the putschists’ new Vice President Mohammed El-Baradei, who was a one time chief of the UN nuclear watchdog.
The poll debunks the claim made by the putschists that Morsi had lost the support of the Egyptians: A sweeping untruth indeed. The ongoing protests are an indication that a substantial number of Egyptians still support Morsi who won last year’s presidential election that was deemed free and fair by Egyptians and the rest of the world. His was a popular government. Even if 14 million people – as Tamarod leaders have claimed – had gathered at Tahrir last week, 76 million Egyptians did not. Of this 76 million, what percentage supports Morsi is a topic for pollsters. Besides the PEW poll in May, Morsi’s resounding victory in the December referendum for the new constitution also showed that a substantial segment of the population were with Morsi.
Yet, millions thronged Tahrir Square for what was being touted as the biggest protest in the world’s history. If Morsi was popular, why did millions gather at Tahrir? Who paid for whom? According to an al-Jazeera exclusive posted on its website on Wednesday, documents obtained by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley showed that the US bankrolled the anti-Morsi opposition under its “democracy assistance” initiative.
The al-Jazeera article by Emad Mekay says:
“Activists bankrolled by the programme include an exiled Egyptian police officer who plotted the violent overthrow of the Morsi government, an anti-Islamist politician who advocated closing mosques and dragging preachers out by force, as well as a coterie of opposition politicians who pushed for the ouster of the country’s first democratically elected leader, government documents show
“Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, interviews, and public records reveal Washington’s ‘democracy assistance’ may have violated Egyptian law, which prohibits foreign political funding. It may also have broken US government regulations that ban the use of taxpayers’ money to fund foreign politicians, or finance subversive activities that target democratically elected governments.” http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/07/2013710113522489801.html
The article also says that among those who received funds were the National Salvation Front, an anti-Morsi coalition led by El Baradei, and an NGO led by an Egyptian woman, Esraa Abdel-Fatah, who exhorted activists to lay siege to mosques and drag out the pro-Morsi preachers and religious figures who supported the new constitution.
With Morsi and his Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice Party winning every poll since dictator Hosni Mubarak was thrown out in February 2011, the pro-West liberal leaders felt that they could come to power only through the back door. So they colluded with the pro-US military and foreign powers which were uncomfortable with the Brotherhood’s political agenda. Among them were the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Concerned that a democratic government could go against the US interests in the region, the United States backed the Mubarak regime till the last minute in spite of its horrendous human rights record and the Arab Spring street protests.
Washington was worried that a democratic government would be hostile to Israel. It feared the consequences if the Arab Spring spread to Saudi Arabia, its staunchest Gulf ally, and removed the monarchy there.
Washington also entertained fears that the secrets it had shared with the Mubarak regime and the designs of the state-of-the art weapons it had supplied to Egypt might fall into the hands of the democratic regime’s new friends such as China, Russia or even Iran. When the protests in 2011 reached the point of no-return, Washington advised Mubarak to stand down and hand over power not to the leaders of the people’s movement but to Omar Suleiman, his vice president and a notorious torturer. Of course, the Barack Obama administration issued statement after statement recognising the people’s right to demonstrate and called on the Egyptian authorities to shun violence. Such statements were aimed at pulling the wool over the eyes of the American people, lest they question their government’s need to prop up a dictator.
Washington’s worst fears became a reality when Islamists swept Egypt’s parliamentary and presidential polls after the Arab Spring revolution. The Morsi government, to the annoyance of the United States, took Egypt away from the 30-year servile foreign policy, by supporting the Palestinian cause, renewing ties with Iran and looking towards China as a benefactor. Emerging evidence – which is still sketchy – indicates that Washington had a direct role in the overthrow of Morsi. Even if it did not, it cannot be unhappy with the outcome.
Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s royal family were shaking in their gilded robes that the Arab Spring would spell the end to their rule in much the same way that they feared the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979 would. So they tried to destabilise the Morsi government just as they have been trying to destabilise Iran.
In a desperate move, Saudi Arabia offered various financial benefits to its citizens to stop them from even dreaming of an Arab Spring in Riyadh. The royals feared the spread of the revolution or the democratisation of the Gulf region – a Brotherhood agenda.
Saudi Arabia also did not like the Morsi government’s close alliance with Qatar, which has given US$ 8 billion in aid to Egypt after the revolution. The Saudi-Qatari rivalry came to light again this week when the Saudi-backed faction defeated the Qatari faction in the leadership struggle in the Syrian opposition. In Egypt, it is not surprising that the pro-Saudi Salafist party, An-Nour, has agreed to join the new government under the interim prime minister Hazel al-Beblawi.
The United Arab Emirates also had a score to settle with the Brotherhood. Since the 1980s, Emirati officials have been accusing the Egyptian Brotherhood of trying to destabilise the UAE and other Gulf states. UAE authorities recently claimed they had uncovered a Brotherhood-linked subversive cell which had tried to topple the government. Last week 69 people – 30 of them Egyptians with Brotherhood links – were sentenced to prison terms of upto 15 years. They were among some 94 people – Egyptians and Emiratis – arrested on charge of forming a secret or illegal group to topple the government. Ties between the Morsi government and the UAE were strained when the Emirati authorities ignored repeated pleas from Cairo to free the Egyptians. On Tuesday, Egypt’s interim regime president Adli Mansour, met a high-level UAE delegation in Cairo.
No sooner the Qatari-backed Morsi government was ousted than Saudi Arabia and the UAE issued statements endorsing the overthrow. Moreover, this week, the two oil-rich states announced US$ 8 billion in aid to Egypt, matching Qatar’s aid. Kuwait offered US$ 4 billion in aid to prop up the pro-US interim regime. With the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and, of course, Israel elated, one finds it difficult to believe that they played no role in the ouster of Morsi.
It is also interesting to note that neither the United Nations nor any major western power has condemned the arrest of Egypt’s democratically elected President. Only Turkey and Australia called for the release of Morsi. The United States, for its part, was even quick to deny reports that it had called for Morsi’s release. The US has also shied away from describing the overthrow of Morsi as a coup. Instead it refers to the overthrow as a takeover triggered by civilian demands. The avoidance of the word ‘coup’ is deliberate because US legislation requires discontinuation of all military and economic aid to the country where a coup has taken place until democracy returns. Washington provides US$ 1.5 billion in aid to Egypt annually with US$ 1.3 billion going directly to the Egyptian military led by coup leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. In other words, the US aid has been destructive or for destructive purposes rather than constructive or for constructive purposes. Even on this note, one cannot be wrong if one describes the Egyptian coup as a putsch carried out by the US-funded and US trained military – a putsch that has brought back the Mubarak era remnants — the elitists and the pro-West Deep State.
The US also fails to condemn in unambiguous terms the violence in which more than 50 unarmed or lightly armed Morsi supporters were killed early this week by the Egyptian military which has regained its Mubarak-era notoriety.
The US with its myopic policy – both before and after the ouster of Morsi – has only added credibility to the Jihadis’ claim that democracy is a sham. In the 1980s the jihadists saw it in Algeria. When the Islamic Salvation Front swept the first round of the elections, the military staged a coup and cancelled the polls. The jihadists will now cite Egypt to back their assertion that however popular the Islamists may be, they can come to power only through an armed struggle and not through free elections.
The question that arises is how can an interim administration said to be committed to upholding democracy detain the democratically elected president who has not violated Egypt’s constitution or the law. Besides, the interim administration’s crackdown on the independent media, including al-Jazeera, only confirms its shallow commitment to media freedom and other democratic ideals.
Egypt’s next elections are unlikely to be free or fair. They will be similar to elections held during the Mubarak era, when an unpopular president and the party approved by him always won. The coup leaders of Egypt are likely to manipulate the political events in the run up to the parliamentary elections to be held in February next year – that is only if they honour their promise – to keep the Brotherhood and its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, out of the running. The process has already begun.
On Wednesday, Egypt’s state prosecutor ordered the arrest of Brotherhood chief Mohamed Badie and a number of other senior figures. They face charges of inciting violence, disrupting public order and carrying unlicensed firearms – charges that may warrant a ban on the Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party.
(This article first appeared in the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka)

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About ameenizzadeen

journalist and global justice activist
This entry was posted in Political analysis and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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