My thoughts on the Egyptian coup...
Counter-coup the only way forward in Egypt
It is disappointing to see how events unfolded in Egypt. It is however unsurprising the democratic experiment in Egypt has ended in failure. There is nowhere where democracy actually works - when put under scrutiny.
Egyptians and the Muslim Brotherhood fell for the myth about democracy. Namely, the West progressed from impoverishment in the middle ages to enlightenment and prosperity through democratic reforms. What is less widely understood is the challenge to the millennium old feudal system did not come from renaissance ideas or the ballot box. It came from wealthy elites who prospered from genocide, rape and plunder of the Americas - repeated in Africa, Asia and Australasia. Attempts by the masses to have a say in political decision making were resisted by these elites, with changes arising from attempts at appeasement following violence and rebellions. The socialist backlash and the communist revolution of 1917 pre-empted the biggest reforms - welfare and health.
Socialist attempts to reform the capitalist systems through electoral participation have proven futile. Achievements after decades of struggle are rolled back at the first opportunity, as seen by the recent welfare cuts.
Paradoxically many socialist parties now promote the very system they set out to reform - New Labour being a case in question. Experiences of Islamists engaging with "democratic processes" reflect similar patterns in countries like Pakistan, Saudi, Turkey and Indonesia. Algeria witnessed a military takeover after Islamists won the elections in the 90s, facing a ruthless crackdown, drawn out over a decade.
The fundamental problem in the Muslim world is foreign hegemony - the core-periphery dependency relationships with colonial powers. The Iranian-American academic Vali Nasr's work details the social, political and economic structures imposed by European powers, embedding and perpetuating capitalist and secular ideologies, regardless of the personalities that enter political office. They are dependent on military and security forces - institutions that are oversized for the economies that are expected to pay for them. They then acquire large stakes in the economy and rely on foreign aid - which comes with conditions. Onlookers estimate Egyptian military elites control nearly half the Egyptian economy and receive $2 billion of US military funding. Collaboration with secular elites helps maintain the status quo. They also reflect similar patterns - the Mubarak family embezzling close to $70 billion. It is not difficult to explain widespread destitution and poverty with an economy in free-fall.
The counter-coup, orchestrated by General al-Sisi, reflects personal and foreign interests. The extent the military went to propping up Mubarak's regime was little more than breath-taking. It was surprising Morsi entered negotiations with such people when they should have stepped down. Power sharing was impossible as both sides had fundamentally conflicting and diverse goals.
As confirmed by Dr Azzam Tamimi, a veteran Muslim Brotherhood thinker, Morsi was powerless as a president, key institutions and levers of power controlled by his enemies. The constitution had been amended before he took power, elections were rigged with parties like Gama Islamiyyah banned from standing and he was forced to distance himself from his Islamic roots.
This article was not written to dwell on the mistakes of the past. The question it wanted to address was what should be done moving forward? In light of the above analysis, the answer is not complex. With society riddled with concentrations of power, wealth and prestige in the hands of a tiny elite, fundamental and systemic reformations are necessary to bring about changes to the lives of 80 million Egyptians.The route is twofold:
To encourage junior military officers to do the right thing, political protests and activities need to be directed towards them in cooperation with other movements - step in and stop the country's decades long descent into oblivion. The aim has to be that of dismantling the failed secular state and bringing about a collaborative, consensual alternative, the Islamic Caliphate. Junior officers are the only group in Egyptian society that can undertake a clean sweep of corrupt secular elites that have brought a once prosperous and dominant power to its knees.
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