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Who Benefits From the Coup in Egypt? (Cui bono?)

2013-07-15

Here’s a nice quote that summarizes the situation in Egypt today:

“We are moving from the bearded, chauvinistic right to the clean-shaven, chauvinistic right,” said Rabab el-Mahdi, a left-leaning scholar at the American University in Cairo.

We have seen the enormous demonstrations and the arrests of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood– that is the face of the continuing Egyptian revolution.  But we have not seen the people behind it.  It is not just the Army and the millions of protesters in the street.  There are also many organizations and wealthy individuals who supported the coup in myriad ways, preparing Morsi’s downfall.

For example, despite President Morsi’s controversial and disputed claim to be above all other branches of the government, he was never able to control the Interior Ministry or the security apparatus, much less the local police.  Heads of departments that he installed, Islamists all, were unable to persuade rank and file government workers who had been there since Mubarak’s day to follow their orders.  At the end, the Army was constrained to use force because their was no constitutional mechanism available to remove Morsi from power such as an impeachment– there was no legislature seated in any case.

Residents of Cairo said that, the day after the coup, the police reappeared on the streets in full uniform, acting as if they had never left.  Many other departments of government suddenly started functioning efficiently again.  Lines of people waiting for gas disappeared as the shortages were relieved instantly.  This realignment of the social system appears to have been deliberate; many workers who disliked the Islamists simply stopped working of their own accord as long as Morsi was in power.

Despite the fundamentally retrogressive mechanisms of the coup, a large segment of the Egyptian population supports it after the fact.  Whether this enthusiasm is manufactured will take time to discern; if it is genuine, there will be a steady improvement in the security situation and tourists will return.

Whether the poorest people of Egypt benefit from the coup remains to be seen, but the status quo was untenable.

The people who really benefit are the “clean-shaven chauvinistic” party, that is, the government of the USA and its allies, and especially Israel and Jordan.  We should keep in mind that we are, unwillingly, drawn into war against the Islamists, because they will not leave us alone.  If we do not fight, they will oppress us, and that will be worse than the oppression of our own government.

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