The bloody coup d’état in Egypt that ousted the democratically elected Islamic leaning President Mohamed Morsi was jointly orchestrated by the liberal elite, corrupt Mubarak era leftovers and military tutelage backed by the United States, European Union, Israel and Gulf monarchies. The alarming turn of events has inflicted an enormous dent on the mindset of ordinary Egyptians, especially those who have waited for decades hoping for a democratic transition in the country.
In order to understand the factors in play here, we need to revisit the history of the Iranian coup in 1953 and its ramifications on regional and global geopolitics. It took 16 years for a Khomeini to emerge in Tehran; who not only deposed the western backed Shah but at the same time created a system of governance which was essentially based on defiance and hatred of West in general and the United States in particular.
Iran, being a predominantly Shi’ite and Persian country, could not influence the larger Arab-Muslim world as desired by Khomeini. However, Egypt, being a beating heart of Arab world and a pious Sunni Muslim society with sophisticated military might, creates havoc in the region and greatly spoils the hegemony of the United States here.
Being a predominantly Sunni-Arab country with a large population, strategic location, ancient history and most importantly, a geographical connection with the state of Israel makes Islamist Egypt a great cause of concern for Israel and the United States. It is pertinent to say here how deposed President Morsi thwarted Israeli efforts to diplomatically isolate Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, during 2012 Israeli attack on Gaza. Morsi not only sent his Prime Minister Hisham Kandil to Gaza but also facilitated the delegation of foreign ministers of Muslim majority countries to pay the visit to Gaza Strip.
Getting rid of Muslim Brotherhood ruled Egypt through a well-managed military coup d’état may provide an instant relief for US, Israel and Gulf monarchies, but in the long run they need to consider that the same Islamist forces will reemerge with greater resolve and with more planned paradigm towards their foes.
The heavy-handedness of Egypt’s security and intelligence apparatus reminds us of the atrocities of Shah’s Iran where Police and SAVAK (the Shah’s intelligence) killed and tortured the anti-coup protestors and harshly implemented west backed secularisation of the country during his 16 years of rule.
Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Gulf monarchies who were frightened with the rise of Muslim Brotherhood in the region have unwrapped their coffers for the junta regime in Cairo. Billions of dollars are being poured in to keep the regime in power. However, it can be said with confidence that the Brotherhood, having faced decades of repression, has shown that it is immune to extinction, and will surely emerge stronger this time.
Al- Sisi and his co-conspirators miscalculated the scope of popular opposition to the sudden coup that was tacitly approved by Washington, in light of US President Barack Obama’s decision to refrain from labelling the military takeover a coup. Denigration of Muslim Brotherhood and of other Islamist political forces in the country is slowly but surely sowing the seed for a full-fledged revolution that will be tantamount to the Iranian revolution of 1979.
The basic distribution of power within Egyptian society has not changed. The military with its might and huge business empire and the Muslim Brotherhood led Islamists with massive popular support are the two main powerful blocks in the country. The western-oriented liberals do not have any real power and stand, as we are seeing now; they have only proved to be the fringe block striding on the military’s shoulders.
The atrocious old guards of Egypt are back with the reinstatement of Mubarak era cliques. Two years after Egypt bravely stood against tyranny; its military apparatus has cleverly reintroduced the former regime’s men under the cover of the so-called second revolution.
It is observable that the Egypt’s military does not possess the necessary political and social skills or acumen to deal with the new situations in the country. Their only resort revolves around the trigger of guns and marching with tanks on the streets. With every killing by security forces, it is only natural that the resolve of people will be augmented. The dismissal of decades of tyranny of Mubarak has opened the minds of ordinary Egyptians and fear of guns and tanks will no longer be able to stop the people in filling the streets for prolong protests.
The initial euphoria at Tahrir Square created by the western backed liberals and Egypt’s military planners has already started fizzling out and cracks are emerging among the coup backers after the resignation of junta appointed Vice President El-Baradei and NSF spokesperson Khaled Dawood in Cairo. It remains to be seen how long the US-EU patronage and GCC hard-cash will be able to hold the ‘Pinochet’ of Cairo in power.
It can only be hoped that Egypt’s “junta mentality” military leadership will take a lesson from Turkish courts which on 5 August 2013 gave fitting sentences in the Ergenokon coup trial to dozens of retired and serving Pashas for planning the coup against the democratically elected government.
There is no doubt that the coup in Cairo by Egypt’s new Pharaoh, Al-Sisi has brought delight to the pro-status quo US-GCC-Israel block. Suffice it to say here that an Iran style remodelled Egypt having greater geostrategic depth and regional influence will be a nightmare for US and its regional allies.