Supporting Egypt’s generals

The worst violence since Mubarak was toppled in 2011 was met with what amounted to a shrug from the U.S.

America is aiding and abetting the massacre of Muslims in Egypt, said Ali H. Aslan in Today’s Zaman (Turkey). Last weekend, the Egyptian security forces gunned down scores of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Mursi at a peaceful sit-in outside a Cairo mosque. It was the worst violence since Mubarak was toppled in 2011, yet it was met with what amounted to a shrug from the U.S. John Kerry, the secretary of state, expressed “concern” and said all sides should pull back—as if the unarmed Muslim Brotherhood victims were just as much to blame as the police who shot them. But then, anyone who “cannot call a coup a coup can certainly not call a massacre a massacre.” And the U.S. still won’t condemn the Egyptian military because that would mean Congress would have to cut off aid—and that would hurt Israel. Washington provides the Egyptian military with $1.3 billion a year “in exchange for an implicit guarantee not to threaten Israel.”

The U.S. was behind the coup in the first place, saidthe Frontier Post (Pakistan) in an editorial. It couldn’t tolerate an Islamist-leaning government neighboring its precious Israel. So it had Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi engineer the coup “in cahoots with the famed American stooge, Mohamed ElBaradei,” who for more than a decade led the International Atomic Energy Agency. That’s the body that “snoops for signs of atomic activities in underdeveloped countries, especially Muslim countries,” at America’s behest. ElBaradei calls himself a liberal and a democrat, and yet he supports a military coup to oust the democratically elected government merely because it is Islamist. “This is how the U.S. policy works for the Muslim world: Submit or be gored.”

Such conspiracy theories attribute far too much power to external forces, said Rami Khouri in The Daily Star (Lebanon). In reality, “Egyptians themselves are engaging each other in an epic contest of nation-building and self-determination.” The main actors are each learning in turn that they can’t grab power by force or they will be “fiercely pushed back by mass street protests.” When the armed forces tried to take over after Mubarak fell, the Islamists and students together rose up. Then when the Muslim Brotherhood overreached, the armed forces and youths joined together to oust it. The end result of the struggle will have to be a balance among all the forces, as they slowly learn what it means to compromise in a democratic, structured political system.

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But will they be able to? asked The Daily Telegraph (U.K.). “The parallels with Algeria” are “growing all too ominous.” In 1991, that country, too, had an Islamist government toppled by the military, and the result was 10 years of civil war in which 100,000 people died. Kerry was right to say Egypt is on the brink. “If the Americans have any strings to pull with the military in Cairo, they must tug on them now—before it is too late.”

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