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Will The Real Counter-Revolution Please Stand Up?

Will the real counter-revolution please stand up?

I have recently avoided offering my opinion in writing on the matrix of political and conspiracy theories that have been flooding the airwaves, Internet and offline conversations since January 25 — partly due to frustration but also because I found it rather difficult to form of a clear picture what was going on. But right now, a certain sense of clarity has hit me and some pieces of the puzzle are coming together. So I’d like to share with you what I regard as a plausible scenario.

Bear with me, it may be a little complicated and confusing at first, though I’m hoping my point will become clearer as your read your way to the end of this post.

The Plan

The National Democratic Party (NDP) has always kept the sheep in line using fear.  There were only two options for us: either we have a “secular” government that will create stability and safety for us all, or we will have to accept the Muslim Brotherhood (or the “Brother Muslimhood” as our former number one intelligence man Suleiman liked to call them) and live under an Islamic government.

Now that the president is ousted, and people have woken up to more options, more freedom and a desire to create their fate, someone (and his entourage) are not happy. If I were the head of the NDP, and I wanted to prove all those “bastards from Jan25” that broke my back that they were wrong and I was right, what would I do? I’d stick to my word and fulfill the prophesy that I had once predicted.

Prophecy #1: Instability & Insecurity

On January 28, what was the first thing that this government did? Rewind back a few weeks. Remember when club-wielding vigilantes set up cordons on streets, and teary-eyed house wives called in to State TVs wailing about thugs and people breaking into their homes. Remember that horror movie? That was our government fulfilling their promise, and they did; they created widespread chaos, insecurity and instability.

And mind you, this was not a burst of instability, it’s part of a long-term plan that is meant to sustain a level insecurity that can remain for months if not years, and the following events point to that:

  • Before the Military Council came in power (i.e. events left to happen by the NDP)
    • Large number of prisoners released.
    • Looting, widespread crime and terrorizing neighbourhoods.
    • Stolen police and military uniforms and weapons.
    • Destroyed economy (financial/economic security).
    • Chaos within the ranks of the Interior Ministry.
  • After the Military Council came in power (i.e. events that happened as the Military Council watched, possibly with their blessings)
    • Shenanigan of State Security Investigations (Amn El Dawla) immediately after the resignation of Ex-Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik.
    • Sectarian violence (in the presence of the military).
    • The torching of Atfeeh Church by thugs causing the Christians to come out on the streets in protest.
    • Christians attacked by “thugs” immediately after chanting “Allah Akbar!” (warming us up for the Bogey Monster — the Islamists?)
    • Women’s march attacked by thugs.
    • Thugs and military holding a joint operation to attack and arrest protesters in Tahrir and evacuate the square.
    • Military attacking Coptic Christian protesters in Maspiro when their numbers dwindled.

To conclude that point, the NDP said that without them there would be instability and now there is instability (because of them). The military only continued to fulfil this prophesy by working with thugs to instigate the sectarian violence and eliminate legitimate demonstrations.

Prophesy #2: The Bogey Monster/ “El Bo3Bo3”

The second thing we were reminded of, in a manner of speaking, through recent event was the so-called political strength and “organizational might” of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), they were the Bogey Monster, or “El Bo3bo3” if you prefer it in Arabic.  The second part of the prophecy had to be fulfilled; the Islamists would take over just because they were so powerful as the NDP has always warned … or are they?

This is a much more complicated and much less obvious unfolding of events happening at the moment, so let’s collect those dots then connect the dots together.

The dots:

  • Top NDP officials are not targeted. Those who were handed down travel bans, asset freeze, or were put under investigation are almost only businessmen ministers, which by comparison to some big wigs, were probably the least corrupt (if at all) of all those who were involved in government. The most powerful and corrupt (Safwat El Sherif, Fathy Sorour, Mofid Shihab, Zakareya Azmy & the Mubaraks) were excluded.
  • The US officially says that it does not mind having the MB in the political scene (note that the US heavily funds our military).
  • The MB becomes a legal entity and is allowed to run for major elections.
  • One MB member was on the constitutional amendments committee from day 1.
  • The NDP states that it will not disband, and will run in the upcoming elections.
  • Aboud El Zomor is released from prison (one of the main figures in the assassination of our late president, Anwar El Sadat)
  • Note that the following entities/persons are pushing to vote “NO” to the constitutional amendments & want a new constitution:
    • Amr Mousa
    • Ayman Nour
    • Mohamed El Baradei
    • Judge Hisham El Bastawisy
    • Constitutional law professor Dr. Tharwat Badawy
    • The Judges Club
    • The Revolution Youth Coalition
    • El Wafd Party
    • El Ghad Party
    • Your mother
    • Your father
    • Jesus
    • … and Bhudda
  • The following entities are pushing to vote “YES” on the amendments:
    • The NDP
    • The MB
    • The Salafi Movement
  • The MB officially saying they will not run for presidency, but plan on taking 30-40% of the seats in Parliament.
  • If the constitutional changes are passed, then the elected parliament is entrusted in making the new constitution, and the president has no choice but to enforce it.

Add all the givens regarding instability section plus the actions of the military, that only aid the NDP in going forward with their plan.

Connecting the dots

There is a strong connection or shared interest between the military, the NDP and the MB, who seem to be on one side, while the whole moderate and non-religious political spectrum seems to be on the other.  The NDP and MB have the same common goal of voting “Yes” in the referendum (they’re both strong, have deep pockets and can mobilize supporters), and the military is either working with them or pushing them in that direction (in either case, there is “tawato2”).

On the other hand, we must face the fact that the military is helping in creating an environment where the MB have an upper hand through pushing for early parliamentary elections and refusing a presidential council.

From a political perspective, the MB is looking to control the political landscape through the parliament, not through the presidency.  This is almost a disguise so they can appear to be a lesser threat that is not after taking over the country.  But the fact is that it is in the best interest of the MB to have one of its own as the speaker of parliament, as that position will be equally if not more powerful than the upcoming president (in the more probable case of a parliamentary model of government). If the MB hold a relative majority in parliament (as they openly plan to do), that means that they will be entrusted with making a new constitution, giving them unprecedented control.

Also, there is seems to be a sort of acceptance towards the MB, from the US to the Military and NDP (in that order). Perhaps a deal was cut?

The NDP’s ability to control the parliament in the upcoming elections is questionable, although considering their confidence and refusal to disband, they most probably have a plan to stay in the game one way or another.  I don’t want to speculate too much on this point though as it is not yet clear to me how that may happen.

On the other side of the spectrum, the opposition parties and figures are too busy trying to be president because it’s fancy, while forgetting that the next government may very well be parliamentary in nature and thus the power will lie with the entity that can control the parliament, not the president’s office. This is a major political blunder that they seem to be oblivious to at this point.

The Military: What gives?

The question remains: what does the military have to gain from this? I can argue that it’s clear and obvious. Field Marshall Mohammed Tantawy has been Mubarak’s man for decades, and there’s no reason why he should not continue to be so.  If anything, he is the only reason why Mubarak can lead a quiet life in the red sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh now while we all swim in the turmoil that he has thrust us into.

The fact of the situation is that the Military is clearly not working in the favor of this revolution, and they are not listening to us so intently and responding to our demands as some have claimed. They have shown that they will torture innocent protesters (including artists) inside the Egyptian Museum, and that can’t be good, let alone those that they falsely label arrested protesters as “thugs,” and are currently facing the threat of execution alongside murderers and highway robbers.

So, if the Military isn’t working with us, does that mean they’re actively working against us? Are they perhaps working with either the MB or the NDP?  Which one it is? I personally don’t have the answer … I doubt anyone does. There remains as a big question mark.

Conclusion/Speculation

Following the previous train of thought, it is rather plausible that the MB are being pushed into controlling our next government, possibly in conjunction with the NDP — with the backing of the highest ranking political officer in the military, if our fears and doubts are true.

From there, the NDP (or whoever is representing their interests at that point) can come out and tell us “we told you so” about the MB taking over, and “we are your only saviour.”  We will then be expected to bow down to their command once again in order to rid ourselves from the Islamic government that we revolted and fell into. Iran, anyone?

When that happens (and the people will be fed up by then) the thugs will come back out to the ballots and the rigging will happen all over again in favor of the NDP. But this time, the people will accept it, in fact they will probably welcome it, because they have seen what the country might turn into after Mubarak and his entourage were removed, putting us straight back into the hands of the one political gang that we revolted to rid ourselves of.

Now, this is what a true counter-revolution looks like in a country like Egypt is corrupt down to the bone. We the people are on our own against all odds, against all forces working against us. Against a counter-revolution that is powerful and that is strong, manipulative and with many faces. Though the one thing that they do not understand yet, is that they cannot stand against the will of a nation.

The only way to foil this plot is to vote “NO” to the constitutional amendments.  Even if the argument is not clear to you or you cannot explain the intricate details of the amendments, you can put it in this simple argument:

Dear Sir,

Here are the people who are for the amendments: the NDP, the MBs, and Salafis … and here are those who are against it: Everybody who’s for freedom and who has the country’s interests in mind.  Which side do you want to be on here?

Thank you and have a good day.

Stay posted for more commentary and analysis through my Twitter account: @AmrBassiouny

Edited by Pakinam Amer

9 responses to “Will The Real Counter-Revolution Please Stand Up?

  1. Ahmed March 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Very interesting article, Amr and your analysis is intriguing.
    One piece that i feel doesn’t fit the puzzle though is, why would Amr Moussa, whom I personally felt is being supported by members of NDP that i know, say no to the amendments ?
    The answer could be that Moussa is not supported by NDP, but that would go strongly against a lot of indicators that he’s the NDP’s man.

    • Amr Bassiouny March 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      Ahmed,

      I do not want to start speculating on Amr Moussa’s allegiances at this point as it would be no more than repeating hearsay and baseless accusations, but the fact is that he is trying to create himself into an image that can only be sustained by sticking to the NO Vote camp.

      In the case that he is an NDP figure in disguise, he needs to keep that disguise by voting NO, and on the other hand if he is a truly independent and non-NDP figure, then it will also be NO.

      His stand on this vote does not clarify his position as much as it clarifies the position of the NDP, Islamists and military.

  2. Hussein Khalifa March 16, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I think this is an excellent analysis but omits to ask the crucial question of why the army would be in bed with the NDP. As an institution, it cannot be controlled singly byTantawi, nor even by a very small cabal of staff officers. Their politics cannot explain a desire for the outcomes you outline.

    The senior officer corps has always been offered the promise of lucrative employment in the military-owned and controlled business keiretsu which extends beyond the “military production” industries that fall directly under the ambit of the Defense Ministry. A transparent and truly liberalized economy would threaten these sinecures and also deprive the military of their “off-balance sheet” income. This issue was never raised directly by any of the opposition in the last month for fear of alienating the Supreme Council in whose hands the keys to democracy rested during the transition period. This is the proverbial elephant in the room – or camel in the square if you prefer – given that even Indonesia and Turkey, two countries in which the military plays a special role in protecting a secular constitution, have both – in varying degrees – seen the army come under civilian oversight and their business interests begin to be sold off.

    There is no question that Egypt will have to address this issue straight on in the near future and I fear that it will take a younger generation in the military to understand that, as well as that democracy needs substance that goes beyond form.

    • Amr Bassiouny March 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      Hussein,

      Unfortunately I did not want to delve into the business side of the military as I do not have enough backing evidence to cover the reality of the situation. Though it seems that you have things down pretty well🙂.

      I think your post is an excellent addition to what I said, feel free to add any more crucial information regarding the less known military agro-industrial enterprise.

  3. Ahmed B March 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I agree thanks for the post. This is a common approach for American foreign policy particularly when a US backed dictator faces widespread popular protest and is eventually toppled by an unstoppable popular uprising. Note the US’ stance from January 25 until 11 February. Inconsistent to say the least. What happens after the dictator goes is dubbed as “low intensity democracy” and has occurred before in Korea, Chile, Haiti, Philippines amongst other countries. When the former dictator becomes a liability he becomes expendable. Low intensity democracy ensues. Cosmetic democratization is tolerated and limited forms of democratic façades are introduced to constantly ensure that popular participation is restricted and governments in power never constitute a challenge to American dominance of economic and strategic interests that were secured by the former client dictatorship. Should these façade democracies fail to ensure the interests of the United States, intervention and overthrow of regimes returns such as the case with Aristide in Haiti in 1991 and the coup in Peru in 1992.

    Both NDP and the Muslim Brotherhood (or the brother muslimhood) are right wing and share the same neo-liberal economic policies that are vital to US interests. Different sides of the same economic coin. A power sharing deal could easily have been brokered, particularly when considering their position on the referendum and some eye-witness accounts of MB and NDP candidates rallying people to vote Yes hand in hand in Imbaba today. So you end up with a two party system that alienates participation and a pseudo Pharaoh dictator. I tweeted this in late February but it wasn’t very popular (well 140 characters of it). Enjoy the referendum.

  4. Tallulah March 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Thank you for this. For an outsider who barely understand the intricacies of her own country’s polotical system, trying to keep up and understand what is happening politically in Egypt can be challenging. I’ve been following the tweets but this article has helped sort some questions I had. Will keep following. Best wishes to Egypt as you move forward. Educate the people and they will see the light.

  5. Jos Strengholt March 16, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I agree with your assessment. I have been blogging about this for weeks now – sorry, in Dutch🙂

    Additional thought: I believe that in regard to world view and ethos, the old guys of the military, the NDP and the MB are all much closer together than any of them is with the youth of the liberal and democratic movements. I think this generation gap may play a major role in how MB, NDP and army have been able to find one another.

  6. karim ezzat March 17, 2011 at 3:12 am

    Nicely written Amr. Agree with most points, although find it hard to believe the US could risk another Iran with its most important ally in the region (well 2nd most imp) by letting MB have such power. This would be an inconceivable policy by US from an Israeli point of view (even though the NDP could overcome after).

    Military siding with NDP makes more sense, torturing and scaring people of an extended period of military rule, to make em vote yes and we r back to square 1 through the parliamentary elections. This might be the reason why Shereef, Azmy and Sorour are still untouched, personally think they hold too much shit on tantawi.
    Aboud Zomor ‘s release and media coverage is very suspicious timing as well, still dunno what to make of it, maybe another scare tactic or even a way to divide the MB.

    Really good and worrying point about the other parties getting too preocuppied by presidential elections, might work if the referendum ends with a NO but doesnt look too good. Too many mights and maybes and therefore, anyone in a normal frame of mind should vote NO .
    Thanks again for an enjoyable read

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