Former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak has been released from jail.
The military has taken over Egypt again, as they did in the transition between Mubarak’s overthrow and Morsi’s election. By the time they left, they were extremely unpopular, as Morsi is now.
Morsi is in an “undisclosed location.” I hope the military is protecting him, since the last thing they want to do is make a martyr of him.
The military has suspended the new constitution and installed the chief justice of the Egyptian Supreme Court as acting president. They say “technocrats” will run the government until new elections are held, but obviously they are pulling the strings.
Egypt’s President Morsi is about to impose martial law. Mubarak used martial law as an excuse to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from coming to power!
“I never thought I would say this, but even Mubarak was more savvy when he spoke in a time of crisis.”
Hossam Bahgat, executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, commenting on Morsi’s speech dealing with his power grab and the resulting demonstrations and violence.
About 200,000 Egyptians turned out to protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square against President Mohammed Morsi’s power grab. That’s about how many had protested against Mubarak back in the Arab Spring.
From “Why Russia Is Backing Syria,” Ruslan Pukhov, NYT:
“Many Russians believe that the collapse of the Assad government would be tantamount to the loss of Russia’s last client and ally in the Middle East and the final elimination of traces of former Soviet prowess there — illusory as those traces may be.
“Such attitudes are further buttressed by widespread pessimism about the eventual outcome of the Arab Spring, and the Syrian revolution in particular. Most Russian observers believe that Arab revolutions have completely destabilized the region and cleared the road to power for the Islamists. In Moscow, secular authoritarian governments are seen as the sole realistic alternative to Islamic dominance.
“The continuing struggles in Arab countries are seen as a battle by those who wear neckties against those who do not wear them. Russians have long suffered from terrorism and extremism at the hands of Islamists in the northern Caucasus, and they are therefore firmly on the side of those who wear neckties.
“To people in Moscow, Mr. Assad appears not so much as ‘a bad dictator’ but as a secular leader struggling with an uprising of Islamist barbarians.”
The Russians are backing Assad for the same reason we backed Mubarak for all those years. We both fear the Arab Street. The Russian have their bastards, and we have ours.
The Russians have never been fond of Islam. Under the Czars, the Russians viewed the Muslims in their empire as a threat to Christianity. Under the Communists, the Russians viewed the Muslims in their empire as a threat to atheism.
AP is reporting that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is “clinically dead” and has been placed on life support at a military hospital.
Another Francisco “Still Dead” Franco bit for SNL?
Meanwhile, both sides are claiming victory in the presidential election, with an official announcement coming on Thursday.
Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is doing its best to ensure that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi won a hollow victory as president and will essentially be a figurehead.
SCAF is keeping the power to draft a new Constitution, make laws, and control the budget and the military.
The military says it will turn over authority to Morsi as promised by the end of the month, but it will be authority in name only without any real power.
The Muslim Brotherhood says it will return to the streets to try to stage a counter-coup. Good luck with that. Tahrir Square overthrew Mubarak, but not the military, who have been in charge for 60 years. They’re not quietly walking away now.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may have been overthrown, but he’s still exerting power. He appointed all the current members of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, and that court has effected a bloodless military coup.
The court dissolved the Parliament that assumed power in January, a Parliament where Islamists had 70% of the seats. The court also struck down a law prohibiting former Mubarak officials from running for president, so Mubarak’s last Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafik, will run this weekend against the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi.
When Mubarak was overthrown, the U. S. concern was that the young people demonstrating in Tahrir Square for a democratic, secular government weren’t organized enough to actually win elections. It was believed that the only opposition group that was ready to fill a power vacuum was the Muslim Brotherhood, and that has proven to be the case. They won about 50% of the seats in Parliament and allied with the even more extreme Islamists, the Salafis, who won 20%.
So Egypt is back to military rule. While the Obama Administration isn’t publicly celebrating, they have to be relieved. We’d love to see some Jeffersonian types come to power, but that isn’t about to happen. It’s like Iran in 1979. Overthrowing the Shah didn’t lead to democracy, it led to the insane Ayatollahs. The Shah was a torturing, murdering bastard, but he was “our bastard,” as the CIA liked to say. We’ve got two sets of bastards in Egypt right now, and the military are much more “our bastards” than the Islamists.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has a point when he says that the U. S. is hypocritical when it criticizes Russia for helping Assad in Syria. We have supported and continue to support our share of bad guys. Sometimes, as with the Shah of Iran, we even put them in power. Lavrov referred to our support for the autocratic regime in Bahrain against its protesters seeking more freedom.
For Egyptians who are voting for president this weekend, the only vote against oppression is “none of the above.”
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 84, has been sentenced to life in prison for his part in the killing of protesters during the Arab Spring uprising.
He can appeal the sentence.