Steven A. Cook

From the Potomac to the Euphrates

Cook examines developments in the Middle East and their resonance in Washington.

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In Egypt, Lamentations Over a Lost Revolution

by Steven A. Cook
June 18, 2012

People walk in front of a wall sprayed with stencilled paintings depicting the Egyptian military council members in Cairo (Amr Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters).


This excerpt is taken from my article originally published here on Al Monitor on Monday, June 18, 2012. I hope you find it interesting and I look forward to reading your comments. 

By now, even those with just a passing interest in Egyptian politics are aware that last Thursday (June 14), the Supreme Constitutional Court nullified the election of one-third of the seats in the People’s Assembly. According to the Court, the two different methods by which independent and party-affiliated candidates were elected — “first past the post” and proportional representation, respectively — were unconstitutional because they rendered the candidates unequal. The decision threw Egypt’s political arena into turmoil, but that paled in comparison to what happened next.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces stepped in and dissolved the parliament, a power it does not have, and vested itself with legislative responsibility. Twitter feeds and Facebook immediately lit up with cries of “coup” and lamentations over a lost revolution. Still, the military was not done. By Sunday, the officers followed up with an addendum to their March 2011 Constitutional Declaration that effectively subordinates the new Egyptian president to the SCAF.

Despite endless questions about what the military’s actions mean, it should be clear that Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and his commanders were doing everything they could to put Humpty Dumpty back together again while their constitutional decree was a hedge against the possibility that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi would become Egypt’s next president, which now seems likely.

Read the article in its entirety here


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  • Posted by Nikos Retsos

    What happens in Egypt is choreographed by the U.S. and the Egyptian military to prevent Egypt from becoming another Iran.

    Mubarak never stepped down. He was ousted by the Egyptian military on contingency plans worked out with the U.S. to avoid the collapse of the Egyptian military as it happened to Iran’s military in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. After Mubarak was out, the U.S. and the Egyptian military worked out the scenario of phony elections under democratic slogans to resurrect the Mubarak regime with Ahmewd Shafic as his replacement. If the people elected someone else, the Egyptian military will take over actual governing, and limit their power to just bureaucratic duties, until the Egyptians fed up with their inaction to make any changes in the laws and improve their lives would eventually chase them out.

    That is the U.S. and the Egyptian military plan that evolves in Egypt now. The U.S. is fibbing when it claims that it wants the Egyptian Generals to move toward genuine democracy, and that the Congress might sanction the Egyptian military aid. It is all a smokescreen to cover the U.S. role behind the actions of the Egyptian junta.

    Are the Egyptians fooled by the U.S. official position? I doubt it. The Internet provides them with a good picture, even after the U.S. is forcing Google to censor its content – as Google revealed 2 days ago. The U.S. use of the Egyptian Generals to hold its grip on Egypt might turn out to be a curse in the long term. Nikos Retsos, retired professor

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