Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Hosni Mubarak


Why the innocents are tortured?

Why would the regime arrest and torture someone if they didn’t do anything wrong or if they can prove their innocence?

Such a question seems to be a common logical retort by many Egyptians in response to accusations that the regime, personified in its security and judiciary bodies, carries out gross injustices such as random arrests, assault, torture, beatings, illegitimate detention, sexual assault and killing.

At first glance it seems to cast a shadow over irrefutable evidence that the regime is indeed torturing many of its citizens, including the innocent.

That is why we must remind ourselves of reality and attempt to answer that question:

Why would the regime torture the innocent?

Why torture the innocent?

Wael Eskandar in  /   February 23, 2014

Perhaps the answer to this question is best illustrated in the 1979 film, ‘We’re the bus guys’ where two people are arrested after a fight with the ticket collector on a bus.

The guys are taken to police headquarters and mistakenly transferred with political prisoners to a torture camp. They defend themselves by explaining that there must be some kind of mistake – that they’re the bus guys – but no one cares to listen.

The warden doesn’t care either, he doesn’t necessarily disbelieve them but he’s under orders to get confessions out of all prisoners. After all, it’s not like the other political prisoners are more criminal in any way.

Torture and humiliation ensue in the name of the country and the reason they ended up there along with the political prisoners gets lost along the way.

The story is set between 1966 and 1967 and is based on true events.

Back then, the mukhabarat, Egypt’s intelligence services, were dominant in dealing with political security matters. They told the guards – the torturers – it was necessary to lock these people up, they were enemies of the state and Egypt would triumph if they were held in prison.

In 1967, after Egypt was defeated in the Six-Day War, one question haunted the torturers: “Why were we defeated if we locked all the bad guys in?”

The story of the bus guys is the story of the Egyptian regime post 1952 when the free officers enslaved an entire nation. Power was in the hands of a few self-seeking individuals who profiteered from their positions and constantly fought to retain them.

It remains very similar to the story today.

The keys to the dynasty changed hands within security services, but the regime’s indifference – and perhaps even contempt for its citizens – carried over.

Upon taking over, President Mohamed Anwar Sadat arrested old power brokers within the government in 1971 to empower himself and keep their followers from regaining ground.

Sadat attempted to uphold Nasser’s previous promise to end the ‘intelligence State’ by reforming the security apparatus already notorious for its harsh oppressive practises.

Under Sadat, there were moments where such practises were reduced considerably but the targeting of political opponents remained focused and old security practises were revived at various times. Towards the end of Sadat’s reign, state security had been more empowered to deal with the country’s internal politics.

In 1981, officers within the military conspired with extremist Islamists and assassinated Sadat. When Hosni Mubarak became president, more power was granted to the police represented by state security, the sadistic arm of the Mubarak regime.

This was partly due to the assassination of Sadat, which meant that the military was not immune to infiltration and that mukhabarat failed to uncover the plot to assassinate the president.

Mubarak was also attempting to sideline Field Marshal Abdel-Halim Abu Ghazala, the defence minister at the time and a popular figure within the ranks of the military.

By the 1980s and 1990s, state security had become so strong that it replaced intelligence as the main driver of the political agenda.

Along with other factors, shifting control to the Ministry of Interior allowed one ministry to become both the judge and executioner, and thereby, torture became systematic by spreading inside police stations and over a much wider range of offences not limited to the political.

Under the firm grip of either intelligence services or state security, citizens’ rights and their dignity are disregarded.

The current security apparatus is not trained to serve the people, but the regime.

But regimes aren’t human and perhaps that is why most members of the security apparatus are dehumanised.

On a more practical level, those inflicting the torture are quite separated from those making the arrests; they are taught not to listen and to inflict pain no matter what words are uttered by their victims.

Another way to describe it is that the regime does not care how many innocent lives they destroy, but how many threats to the state are averted irrespective of the cost.

There are bound to be a handful of threats amidst the thousands they have arrested and killed. In the end, torturers are not held accountable because orders come from the main agenda drivers who protect the state and, in many ways, are the state.

In all likelihood they do not think that torturing innocent people is a mistake in the first place.

The state has been consistent in its approach but the more worrying aspect of today’s Egypt is the silence – and even blessing – in response to such practises.

(Turkey was and still is a security State, even worse than Egypt, even during this 2 decades of “Democratic system“)

Many have not only turned a blind eye, but even blessed the brutality of the state and created excuses.

Perhaps it is as American philosopher Eric Hoffer says, “The most effective way to silence our guilty conscience is to convince ourselves and others that those we have sinned against are indeed depraved creatures, deserving every punishment, even extermination. We cannot pity those we have wronged, nor can we be indifferent toward them. We must hate and persecute them or else leave the door open to self-contempt.”

Many Egyptians today believe that the police state can help solve the current crisis by offering some sort of stability.

Researchers Thomas Plate and Andrea Darvi described it best when they said,

“The tragedy of the secret police solution is that it is such a blunt and crude instrumentality that in the name of preserving paradise it winds up creating hell. And when even the moderate critics of the regime are eliminated, incarcerated, exiled, or intimidated, the secret police machine rolls on … Enemies of the regime will be created even if real enemies have long since ceased to exist.

In the end, the answer to the question as to why the regime would chose to torture the innocent is found in the question itself.

It’s because the regime chooses the immoral act of torture in the first place.

It is because the security apparatus that is violating the law also controls who is to be held accountable for violating the law.

It is because the regime doesn’t really care.

The fact of the matter is that we’re all the bus guys.

To be subjected to grave injustice is just a matter of chance. It does not help if you do everything right, abide by whatever laws you can, cheer for the police despite their injustices, or keep to yourself.

Sooner or later, you or someone close to you will fall victim to these injustices.

By that time, it will not matter to security forces if you had been protesting their rule or cheering them on.

Wael Eskandar is an independent journalist and blogger based in Cairo. He is a frequent commentator on Egyptian politics and has written for Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Counterpunch, and Jadaliyya, among others. He blogs at



Female socialist activist is gunned down by police during demonstrations on fourth anniversary of Arab Spring that ousted Hosni Mubarak

So far, 20 Egyptians died in this long day of demonstrations throughout Egypt.

Egyptian Arab Spring is still bringing its toll of brutal military dictatorship.

  • Shaima al-Sabbagh died of birdshot wounds in clashes with police
  • Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab vowed to ‘punish’ whoever is responsible 
  • Al-Sabbagh’s death follows that of an 18-year-old protester on Friday 

A female demonstrator was killed in clashes with Egyptian police during a protest in central Cairo today on the eve of the anniversary of the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak.

A health ministry spokesman said Shaima al-Sabbagh died of birdshot wounds, which fellow protesters said were fired by police to disperse the march.

Al-Sabbagh, who was said to be 34-years-old with a five-year-old son, was shot while she peacefully marched towards the Tahrir Square to lay a commemorative wreath of roses.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said al-Sabbagh’s death was being investigated and vowed that ‘whoever committed a mistake will be punished, whoever he may be.’

Socialist Popular Alliance Party activist Shaima al-Sabbagh (middle) was shot and died of birdshot wounds during clashes with Egyptian police during a protest in central Cairo today on the eve of the anniversary of the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak

Al-Sabbagh can be seen, right, hitting the ground as a fellow protester comes to her aide during the clashes

Al-Sabbagh can be seen, right, hitting the ground as a fellow protester comes to her aide during the clashes

Fellow protesters said Al-Sabbagh was shot by police trying to disperse those involved in the protest march

Fellow protesters said Al-Sabbagh was shot by police trying to disperse those involved in the protest march

Al-Sabbagh, a member of the party, was hit in the head with birdshot, and was taken to a hospital where she was declared dead.

The interior ministry said it was investigating the death, and suggested Islamist ‘infiltrators’ were to blame.

The clash took place hours before state television aired a pre-recorded speech by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to mark the fourth anniversary of the uprising.

He said: ‘I salute all our martyrs, from the beginning of January 25 (2011) until now.’

The speech appears to have been taped in the presidential palace before Sisi left for Saudi Arabia to offer his condolences over the death of King Abdullah. 

Islamists called for protests tomorrow to revive what they say was the ‘revolution’ that overthrew Mubarak. It also briefly brought to power Islamist president Mohamed Morsi who was toppled by the then army chief Sisi in July 2013.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said al-Sabbagh's death was being investigated and vowed that 'whoever committed a mistake will be punished, whoever he may be'

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said al-Sabbagh’s death was being investigated and vowed that ‘whoever committed a mistake will be punished, whoever he may be’

Morsi’s supporters often hold small rallies that police quickly disperse.

Yesterday an 18-year-old female protester was killed in clashes in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Police had warned they would confront protests ‘decisively.’

Authorities have cracked down on the Islamists since the military overthrew Morsi after a year in power, and hundreds have been killed in clashes.

Scores of policemen and soldiers have also been killed in militant attacks.

The crackdown has also extended to leftwing and secular dissidents who initially supported Morsi’s overthrow but have since turned against the new authorities, accusing them of being authoritarian.

Today’s central Cairo protest was organised by the Socialist Popular Alliance party.

Egyptian policemen detain a supporter of the People's Alliance Party during a demonstration in Cairo's Talaat Harb square, near Tahrir square

Egyptian policemen detain a supporter of the People’s Alliance Party during a demonstration in Cairo’s Talaat Harb square, near Tahrir square

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood movement leave as security forces arrive to disperse a demonstration on January 24, 2015 in the Cairo district of Heliopolis
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Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood movement leave as security forces arrive to disperse a demonstration on January 24, 2015 in the Cairo district of Heliopolis

Party member Adel el-Meligy said: ‘The party decided to hold a symbolic protest to commemorate the anniversary of the January 25 revolution.’


Bird shot is designed to be used in shotgun shells and consist of spheres of metal, or bb’s, that can be packed into a shell and which separate when fired.

It was originally made from lead, but is now made from steel, tungsten and other materials.

The ammunition was designed for shooting birds but it can injure larger animals.

In 2006 American Vice-President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter with it. His victim was not severely injured.

Birdshot is used by law enforcement as a non-lethal alternative to shot gun pellets and is often used in riot and protest situations.

Police also replace the slugs with rubber bullets. (That should be a better idea)

He said police fired tear gas, birdshot and arrested the party’s secretary general and five other young members.

The 18-day anti-Mubarak revolt had been fuelled by police abuses and the corruption of the strongman’s three decade rule, but the police have since regained popularity amid widespread yearning for stability.

Activists, including those who spearheaded the anti-Mubarak revolt, have accused Sisi of reviving aspects of the former autocrat’s rule.

Sisi and his supporters deny such allegations, and point to his widespread popularity and support for a firm hand in dealing with protests, which are seen as damaging to an economic recovery.

The anniversary will be marked just days after a court ordered the release of Mubarak’s two sons, Gamal and Alaa, pending a corruption retrial along with their father.

Another court had dismissed charges against Hosni Mubarak over the deaths of protesters.

Archive footage of anti-Mubarak uprising in Egypt

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“Down with this Classist Society”:

A Letter from Mahienour El-Masry

An Egyptian girl serving a 2-year prison sentence or allegedly organizing an unauthorized protest during the Khalid Said murder retrial.

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[Image originally posted to Flickr by Gigi Ibrahim.][Image originally posted to Flickr by Gigi Ibrahim.]

[The following is an English translation of a letter circulating in social media by Egyptian activist Mahienour El-Masry, who is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for allegedly organizing an unauthorized protest during the Khalid Said murder retrial. The letter was translated by Reem Abou-El-Fadl]

“I do not know much about what is going on outside, ever since the sentence against me was upheld. But I can imagine, based on what we used to do when one of our “circle” was imprisoned, that slogans of “freedom for X” and “freedom for the brave” and so on are now filling up cyberspace.

As for me, ever since I came to Damanhour Women’s Prison, and was placed with the prisoners of Ward 1 – relating to Public Funds Fraud – all I can repeat is “down with this classist order.”

Most of the prisoners in the ward with me are in jail because of IOUs they could not pay back, whether it was a woman buying furniture for her daughter’s marital home, a woman collecting funds for her husband’s medical treatment, or a woman who borrowed 2,000 pounds only to discover that she owes three million.

The ward itself is a small society: the rich get all they need, and the poor sell their labor while in prison.

The ward is a small society, in which the prisoners discuss current affairs in our country. Here I found women who support al-Sisi based on their belief that if he wins, he will grant amnesty to those imprisoned in IOU cases.

There are some who choose him because he will deal with terrorist demonstrations with an iron fist – that is, despite their sympathy for me and their feeling that I am probably innocent and wrongly imprisoned.

There are others who support Hamdeen (the challenging candidate in the Presidential election) because he is the son of the same earth, and because they believe that he promised to free the prisoners – only to be screamed at by the first camp, who insist that Hamdeen was referring only to political prisoners.

And there are still others who see the whole process as a farce, and say that if they had been abroad they would have boycotted the elections.

The ward is a small society. I feel that I am among my family – they all advise me to focus on my future prospects when I get out.

I tell them that the people deserve better, and that we have not yet attained justice, and that we will keep trying to build a better society.

Then I hear the news that Hosni Mubarak has been given three years in the presidential palaces case, and I laugh and tell them: obviously the regime believes that Um Ahmad, who has been in prison for 8 years and has six left, because of cheques whose value does not come to more than 50,000 pounds, is more dangerous than Mubarak. So what future prospects do you want me to look out for in an unjust society?

Mubarak, who supports al-Sisi, is seen by the prisoners as their saviour. But they still talk about social justice and the class society without trouble.

We must not forget our main goal in this battle of ours, in which we are losing our friends and comrades.

We must not turn into groups that call for the freedom of X, and forget the demands of the people, who need to eat.

Alongside chanting against the Protest Law, we must work to bring down the classist order, and organize ourselves, engage with the people, and talk about the rights of the poor and our solutions for them, and we must call for the freedom of the poor, so that people do not feel that we are distant from them.

Ultimately, if we have to raise the slogan “freedom for X,” then I say freedom for Sayyida, Hiba, and Fatma–three girls I met at the police station, accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, among other charges that can lead to death sentences. They were arrested randomly, and their detention has been renewed since January without them ever appearing in court.

Freedom for Um Ahmad who has not seen her children for eight years, and freedom for Um Dina, who is the breadwinner in her family, and freedom for Ne’ma, who accepted illegal means to feed her children.

Freedom for Farha, Wafaa’, Kawthar, Sanaa’, Dawlat, Samia, Iman, Amal and Mervat. Our pain is nothing in comparison to theirs.

We know that there is someone thinking of us, openly proud because they know us, whereas those who are proud to know them only speak about this in family gatherings.

So down with this classist society. We will not be able to achieve that unless we never forget the truly oppressed.

Mahienour El-Masry

Room 8 – Ward 1
Damanhour Prison
22 May 2014

Little has Egypt to celebrate this January 25, 2014

CAIRO — As Egypt’s interim president and ministers of defense and interior celebrated the third anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, countless authors and TV show hosts continued to smear the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship.

On this day in 2011, Egyptians took to the streets and called for an end to decades of torture, killings and injustice, but now these authors and TV hosts accuse the revolution’s youthful participants of disloyalty, espionage and call for crushing those who dare criticize the police.

Three years after the uprising that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt is more polarized than ever.
Author Mohannad Sabry Posted this January 23, 2014
A couple of hours after the celebration aired on national TV — as I was in a taxi heading to Cairo’s Zamalek neighborhood — a radio news program received a call from a top official of the Beni Suef governorate, commenting on a militant attack at a checkpoint on Jan. 23 that killed five police officers.

A woman mourns during the funeral of 5 Egyptian policemen who were killed when masked gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on a checkpoint, Beni Suef, Jan. 23, 2014. (photo by REUTERS/Al Youm Al Saabi Newspaper)

“This terrorist attack is an attempt against the harmony and unity shown through the constitutional referendum, but it will only make us more persistent in our fight against terrorism,” said the official.

His comment was followed by random calls from listeners pledging to join the Jan. 25 celebrations in Tahrir Square and in every major square across the country. They called for celebrations in all Egypt’s squares — the squares that are remembered for being the sites of bloody confrontations over three years of unrest.

Celebrating a constitution that never satisfied the wishes of the dead youth and was boycotted by those who are still alive,” said the cab driver. “What a pity!”

I looked at the driver, a grim man likely in his late 50s, and said, “If the radio audience heard us say that, we would be accused of disloyalty and supporting a terrorist organization.”

That’s why I keep my mouth shut. I wouldn’t have hissed if I hadn’t seen that smirk on your face,” said the driver without looking at me.

I don’t know if the driver took me for a Muslim Brotherhood member because of the smirk, but it didn’t really matter. Members of the April 6 Movement, secular activists, high school students and even foreign correspondents are in Egyptian jails along with hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood officers and members.

The conflict between the government official’s comment on “harmony and unity” and the taxi driver’s confession to keeping his “mouth shut,” summed up the collective analysis of 3 Egyptians that I interviewed over the past three years.

I saw Egypt’s developments through their experiences, along with dozens of other activists and apolitical people.

The first was Mai Raafat, a woman in her early 30s who organized a campaign for securing medical treatment for the victims of the January 25 Revolution. Rafaat connected me with several victims, one of whom I featured in an article I wrote on the first anniversary of the revolution.

Back then, Rafaat’s campaign assisted dozens who were injured during the violent confrontations of January 2011, and provided aid for the families of dead protesters. Some of the volunteers running the campaign alongside Rafaat were themselves injured victims of the revolution.

Speaking to Rafaat by phone on Jan. 22, she wasn’t the enthusiastic and optimistic person I met in 2012. Instead, she was pessimistic and resentful as the revolution’s anniversary approached.

“Some of the victims continue to receive aid from nongovernmental organizations. Some lost hope in finding a job due to their disabilities and others prefer to live on minimal aid than take the few jobs offered by the government or outsourced by the organizations,” said Rafaat.

“We tried to resurrect the campaign in recent months but were shocked to see people refusing to donate blood because the victim we were trying to help was injured in the dispersal of the pro-[Mohammed] Morsi sit-in last August,” she said.

Rafaat’s words reminded me of Gaber Sayyed, a January 2011 victim whose surgery was canceled because pro-Mubarak nurses refused to treat him.

“They were humiliating me for being an [anti-Mubarak] protester,” he told me in a January 2012 interview at his house, where he was bedridden in a thigh-high cast autographed by his friends. One note read: “The police are thugs.”

As for Rafaat, she was in a position similar to  the taxi driver’s: “Isolated, because if I defend an injured member of the Muslim Brotherhood, or am sympathetic to them, I would be accused of disloyalty and being a member of [a] terrorist organization.”

The second was Fouad Mokhtar, a private company employee who paid $600 to print a massive poster emblazoned with the names and photos of slain protesters. His poster was hung on the facade of a Tahrir Square building during the 18 days of the uprising, then pulled down and spread in the middle of the square before it disappeared.

Mokhtar, a 32-year-old who joined the protesters in Tahrir Square in January 2011, decided to boycott the constitutional referendum held less than two weeks ago. “I believe the referendum was a despicable show that I would have never taken part of,” said Mokhtar.

He recalled a story of a non-voter who was attacked by several supporters of the constitution in front of a polling station in Cairo’s southern district of Maadi.

“He was physically attacked by other citizens as the military and police personnel securing the polling station watched, just because he revealed his intention to vote against the constitution because it allowed military trials of civilians,” said Mokhtar. He said that Jan. 25, 2014 “will be a continuation, not a celebration.”

“This is a continuation of January 2011, not an anniversary,” he stressed.

The last of the three people I interviewed — who were all fierce critics of Mubarak, Morsi and the current interim, military-backed regime — is a Bedouin tribesman and Sinai activist who refused to have his name mentioned.

The revered tribesman, who took part in organizing the anti-Mubarak protests in North Sinai during the 18 days of protests, fled North Sinai after his house was shelled in the wide-scale military operation that kicked off in the aftermath of Morsi’s ouster on July 3, 2013.

This man who I met with countless times, spending several nights at his house in a remote North Sinai village — before it was destroyed along with dozens of Bedouin homes in September 2013 — spoke with me via the Internet and refused to reveal his location.

“There is no place for moderate speakers now. The stage is reserved for fanatics and propagandists of the military and the Muslim Brotherhood. The remnants of Mubarak’s regime are waging war on any form of change since 2011.”

He said, “Every drop of blood worsens the situation and further divides the country. Neither the constitution nor the anniversary and celebrations will absorb the anger of anyone who suffered injustice and remains without compensation, if not further violated.”

The last time we spoke was a few days after his house was destroyed last September. Back then, he told me that his house “is not the main issue. I could rebuild the house again, but what seems impossible is refilling the widening gaps between different sectors of the Egyptian people, and other gaps between the people and the state.”

Two days ago, he said he is “afraid Egypt is pacing toward another phase of civil strife, not nationwide celebrations.”

Read more:

Military Rule Again? in Egypt and the Arab World

Note: It is never too late to read how Egyptians analyzed the conditions before the bloody mass dispersal of peaceful sit-ins of the Moslem Brotherhoods.

Millions of Egyptians are continuing to take to the streets. They are calling on President Mohamed Morsi to resign and to hold early presidential elections.

At the same time, many express concern about the army’s 1 July statement and the potential for a return to military rule at the hands of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF).

The statement said that SCAF would impose its own “roadmap” to exit the current impasse if no solutions surface in the next 48 hours:

“The Armed Forces repeats its call to respond to the people’s demands and gives everyone a forty-eight hour deadline to carry the burden of these historic circumstances. [The Armed Forces] will not tolerate anyone doing less than what is needed to carry out their responsibility”.

Hesham Sallam published in Jadaliyya this July 2, 2013: “Down with Military Rule…Again?

The statement left open the possibly of a military intervention or a coup has led many people to question the wisdom behind the current mobilization. Others have equated these protests with an open invitation for military rule and the death of Egypt’s emergent democracy.

While the current standoff between the protesters and the president lends itself to a variety of unpleasant scenarios that would be detrimental for the country, the binary between democracy and military rule is misleading.

There is little doubt that if left to its own devices the military will try to maximize its own influence in any future transition should the president resign.

This is a lesson many Egyptians learned the hard way after Hosni Mubarak’s downfall. It is inconceivable that anyone could call for overturning the political system without expecting the military to play some role in the subsequent transition, however minor, as evidenced by the army’s recent statement. At the same time, there is an infinite range of possibilities between full-fledged military rule and a civilian-led transition.

The proposal that the Tamarod Campaign spokesperson unveiled last week calls on the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court to assume the Office of the Presidency for an interim period until presidential elections are convened.

In the proposal, a national salvation government, headed by a revolutionary figure, would manage the country’s affairs. Security affairs would be handed temporarily to a National Defense Council composed of 8 military leaders and 7 civilians.

Similar proposals have been circulating among various political groups. Another idea a few  political figures endorsed is the convening of a national referendum on whether or not Morsi should finish his term.

As of now, reports have indicated that should political forces fail to agree to a solution, the military intends to suspend the constitution, dissolve the legislature, and install a civilian controlled council, though the details of that plan remain unclear.

Regardless, the current moment is a reminder that during SCAF’s rule, revolutionary forces consistently called for a civilian presidential council to manage the post-Mubarak transition—a proposal that the Muslim Brotherhood also refused to entertain.

Indeed, there are some political figures and protesters, most notably those gathered near the Ministry of Defense, who openly call on the military to intervene. However, the fact of the matter remains that the 22 million Egyptians who signed the Tamarod petition endorsed early presidential elections, not military rule.

For those who have just tuned into the news this week, the warnings of a military return may be a jolt. But, for those who have been watching Egypt for the past two years, these concerns are far from the realities on the ground.

For one, the military never left the political realm, even after President Morsi’s inauguration on 30 June 2012. In fact, the political basis for Morsi’s rule today is a pact between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military.

The former controls the presidency and the sectors of the bureaucracy that do not pose a direct challenge to its interests. The military retains its abnormal political and economic privileges, including its vast economic empire, far from any meaningful civilian oversight.

It is for this reason that the Muslim Brotherhood-sponsored constitution delegates military affairs and budget to an officers-dominated council, distant from conventional parliamentary accountability or public transparency.

In addition, and thanks to the subservience of the presidency to the officers, no steps have been taken since Morsi took office to reform the security sector as a whole, not just the military establishment, which remains a virtual “state within a state.”

For those not following the news the last two years, they may also miss or forget, that SCAF leaders’ “safe exit” after the formal end of the transition was “sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood.” The military has remained above the law under the Morsi presidency

To this day, no senior military official has been brought to justice for crimes committed under SCAF rule.

This impunity flies in the face of popular calls for bringing those suspected of involvement in killing protesters to justice. Last April, when word came out that Morsi received a presidential fact-finding commission report that implicated military leaders in killing and torturing revolutionaries, he refused to act.

Instead, Morsi appeased senior military leaders with promotions, and rebuffed what he characterized as “insults” against the Armed Forces.

During his infamous 26 June 2013 speech, in which he criticized calls for his resignation, President Morsi, not only showered the leaders of the armed forces with praise, but he also threatened to resort to military prosecution in dealing with his challengers.

In short, there may be military lackeys protesting on the streets against Morsi, but, make no mistake, the presidential palace is packed tighter still of them. The struggle to bring the military under meaningful civilian control is ongoing and will remain pending, whether or not Morsi resigns.

The military, however, has quickly come to the realization that the protesters are imposing new realities on the ground. Those realities threaten the future of the current political order and, by implication, the privileges the military was able to secure under Muslim Brotherhood rule.

The Muslim Brotherhood regime, however favorable to the military, has become prone to uncertainties that the officers are reluctant to accept. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the army is opportunistically sending signals of support to the protesters in order to ensure that its special status is not compromised in a post-Morsi Egypt.

The army’s abandonment of its pact with the Brotherhood is a testament to the power that decentralized revolutionary popular mobilization has accumulated over the past year. A new consciousness is sweeping Egyptian society.

It is true military leaders are attempting to preserve their role as the Egyptian state’s guardian. However, these attempts are in large part the product of the overwhelming will and defiance of the millions of Egyptians who have had enough of the current regime.

There is no question that among opposition political forces, there are some who are willing to live in a political order that grants the military anti-democratic privileges (I have written about this in more detail here). However, such an outcome is not an inevitability of Morsi’s downfall.

This is especially the case given that many of those who are taking to the streets have suffered the wrath of military rule. They are unlikely to accept any special privileges to the armed forces without a fight.

In any conventional democracy, poor performance is not a good enough reason for terminating a presidential term short of formal impeachment or a vote of no confidence. But the situation in Egypt is more complicated than any conventional democracy.

As president, Morsi heads the executive branch. He is also the manager of the ongoing transition, which has failed to produce a functional political system in which all relevant players agree to the rules of the game.

Morsi signed into law a constitution that failed to garner credible support outside his coalition. The turnout for the referendum that ratified the constitution did not exceed 33%.

Politics in Egypt have been virtually missing in action since 22 November 2012, when the president granted himself enormous powers through a unilateral decree, which paved the way for passing the current constitution. The opposition is unwilling to recognize the current political order. They will not engage in dialogue with the president until he appoints a neutral committee to draft amendments to the current constitution, forms a national salvation government, and appoints a neutral prosecutor general. Morsi has done none of the above. And so the stalemate continues.

In the absence of real national politics, there have been no credible means for channeling widespread popular discontent with the current government. This explains the surge in protests and strikes throughout the country, as well as the overwhelming support for the Tamarod Campaign’s grassroots initiative.

It takes a lot of diligence to ignore the reality that the existing political system is defunct. In such a context, prevalent media sound bites that the current protests are aimed at “aborting Egyptian democracy” are simplistic and naïve. That so-called Egyptian democracy never saw the light of day.

Historians can spend years figuring out how to divide the blame between the Brotherhood and the opposition (and perhaps SCAF) for the current fiasco. But beyond the blame game, one thing remains incontestable: You cannot ram through a constitution that the majority of relevant political players objected to, and yet express surprise that people do not recognize the legitimacy of the current political order, and are demanding the president’s resignation.

Rectifying this problem demands, at the very least, a new, inclusive transition that could generate the type of politics capable of bridging part of the long-standing gap between people’s basic demands, and national political institutions.

Certainly no alternative transitional framework can succeed in Egypt if it is managed by the partisan sensibilities of the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi, though it must not exclude them either. After all, if the current mobilization leads to an NDP-style marginalization of the Brotherhood, then what was the point of the January 25 Revolution?

Whatever its mechanisms and details, any solution must begin by heeding to people’s demand for Morsi’s resignation.

There are many who claim that those who took to the streets on 30 June are full of supporters of the former ruling party and those who want to hijack revolutionary mobilization for their own regressive agendas.

For those who have lived through the struggle for transformation change in Egypt before 30 June—and even before 25 January 2011—the response is: What is new?

Has this not been the story of the January 25 Revolution all along, a struggle against reactionary forces inside the state and within the opposition?

Was the fight against the Mubarak regime not worth it because it featured the Muslim Brotherhood and their polarizing presence?

Were calls for an end to SCAF’s rule unwieldy because Salafists were doing the same?

If the answer is no, then why should we stop resisting the Muslim Brotherhood’s oppression because the former NDP is on board?

There is value to thinking critically and cautiously about who will benefit from the stances one adopts, and applying some strategic thinking in choosing an appropriate course of action: vote to approve objectionable constitutional amendments in the 19 March 2011 referendum in order to expedite the end of military rule; or vote for Morsi in the presidential elections in order to prevent the former regime from reestablishing itself.

But there are days when principles just have to win out and trump strategic planning. And 30 June happens to be one of these days.

This is not to downplay the difficulties that partisans of the January 25 Revolution face today. Even if Morsi does in fact leave, the struggle for building a social order that delivers “bread, freedom, and social justice” will be as fraught as it has ever been.

This is particularly the case given the proliferation of voices expressing tacit support for military rule, or applying exclusionary measures against the Brotherhood.

Perhaps the current standoff will lead revolutionaries back to a fight to bring down military rule, a continued confrontation with the current regime, an entirely new struggle, or combination of all the above.

Concluding that the revolution will ultimately prevail in current and prospective struggles may be too hopeful. But Egyptians, as the events of the past few days have shown, are refusing to give up hope, adhering to the famous revolutionary slogan “hopelessness is treason,” (al-ya’s khiyana)—words that found new meaning on 30 June.

[This article is published jointly with Mada Masr.]

No to Sunni version of Wilayat Fakeeh in Egypt

Mohammad Morsi has been deposed by a military and mass protest that lasted more than a week. He had fled from prison two years ago as Mubarak was sacked.

Cartoon showing Morsi sleeping by Mubarak, and Mubarak telling him “Close your eyes and do as I did

The extremist Supreme Guide murshid of the Moslem Brotherhood, Mohammad Badi3, is detained, along with 300 its cadres.

All the religious TV channels are temporary suspended.

Within a year, the elected president Morsi acted as if the executive branch for the Supreme Guide in all the critical political decisions.

Morsi quickly wrote a constitution to the Brotherhood dictates, alienated the Constitutional Supreme Court, dismissed the Prosecutor General, and broke diplomatic relation with Syria at the instigation of  Mohammad Badi3.

During an entire year, Morsi demonstrated to the Egyptian that Egypt has substituted its political system to an Iranian Wilayat Fakeeh, the Sunni version and ruled by the imams and clerics of the Moslem Brotherhood.

It is to be noted that Iran took advantage of 8 years of protracted war with Iraq of Saddam Hussein to manage a transition to a Wilayat Fakeeh orientation.

Morsi wanted this transition to be done within a year, and with no war to back this emergency situation.

As millions of protesters converged on the streets of Egypt on June  30 to peacefully and boisterously demand the downfall of Egypt’s first elected  president Mohammed Morsi, deadly clashes broke out in several spots  across the volatile nation. Around midnight, the Muslim Brotherhood’s international headquarters, located in  Cairo’s upscale Moqattam district, was in flames.

Mohannad Sabry posted for Al-Monitor this July 2, 2013: ” The Muslim Brotherhood Fights For Legacy, Not for Morsi”
The six-story building declared as the Muslim Brotherhood General Center in  2011 — after decades of underground operations and being hunted down by Hosni  Mubarak, Anwar Sadat, and Gamal Abdel Nasser’s security — was attacked by dozens  of rock- and Molotov cocktail-hurling protesters.
The attacks ensued despite the  obvious security precautions taken by the Brotherhood youth over the past week:  they covered the building’s windows with street-war like sandbags, chain-locked  the gates, wielded their weapons and bunkered inside.

As massive clouds of smoke blew out of the iconic Guidance Bureau of the  worldwide organization, the movement’s disciplined, listen-and-obey youth  continued to fire live ammunition at the assaulters. No more Brotherhood  reinforcements arrived at the burning headquarters, and armored vehicles of the  Interior Ministry stood watching from a distance, a clear message that the  police would no longer protect the ruling clique.

Eight anti-Morsi protesters were killed by live bullets, mostly to the head and neck, and more than 35 were wounded by live rounds and birdshot.

Calls for  blood donations to the battle-neighboring hospital continued to circulate social  media websites for hours. How the Muslim Brotherhood fighters evacuated their  positions remains unknown, but one of them was caught by protesters trying to  escape and was brutally stripped naked and stabbed before reaching the police  station in  critical condition.

Protesters seen through a damaged window  from inside the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters after it was attacked by  protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo’s Moqattam  district, July 1, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Certain that the office-turned-barracks had been abandoned after hours of  deadly fighting, opposition attackers and random angry passersby raided the  building, and looted everything they came across. Stacks of confidential Muslim  Brotherhood documents were photographed and set free to virally circulate the  Internet. One document listed millions of dollars of financial gifts and grants  made by Qatar’s Prime Minster, Emir Hamad Bin Jassim Al-Thani, to top Brotherhood and Morsi  administration officers.

The authenticity of the document was never confirmed but the incident was  definitely reminiscent of raiding the clandestine fortress of Hosni Mubarak’s  State Security in March 2011; the freshly obtained Muslim Brotherhood leaks will  virally spread for weeks.

Surprisingly, thousands of devoted Brotherhood members holding their sit-in  a few miles away didn’t mobilize to protect their sabotaged minaret. Top  officials like Khairat El-Shater, the organization’s most influential  financier and deputy chairman, did not order their subservient youth to march in  defense of either Islamic Sharia or political legitimacy, as they once did in  December 2012 when they attacked an opposition sit-in at the east Cairo  presidential palace, leaving a dozen protesters dead.

“They are in a state of shock, serious and unprecedented shock,” a sacked  Muslim Brotherhood official who worked with both Morsi and El-Shater told  Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity.

“They underestimated June 30, but it turned out to be a surprising blow that  paralyzed their plans,” said the source who insisted on hiding his identity  fearing Brotherhood retaliation amid the ongoing instability. “After months of  undermining the opposition and people, no one could imagine the numbers and  momentum of protests, and accordingly no one had a backup plan.”

The former Brotherhood official says the movement fears a disastrous  post-Morsi future. “They will be hunted down and sent back to prison, by law for  crimes committed during Morsi’s year in power, or in a state of lawlessness that  the country will turn a blind eye on because of widespread and apparent hatred.  They are coming to realize that they will reap what they sowed.”

“The developments were too fast, so that they didn’t have a chance to flee  the country, like Mubarak’s officials who jumped ship early in January 2011,”  the source said. “The military and police apparently locked Egypt up and  Islamists are now on a turf that definitely doesn’t belong to them anymore,  despite Morsi, who is now in a palace that doesn’t obey him, more of a temporary  lock-up.”

Such anti-Morsi developments are not only limited to the Muslim Brotherhood  in Egypt.

The powerfully strategized, multibillion-dollar organization with its  deep-rooted divisions in almost every country in the Arab and Islamic world and  its worldwide businesses, either official or clandestine, is not fighting for  Egypt’s presidential seat: It is fighting for an 8-decade global legacy that  will imminently suffer the aftershocks of the popular quake jolting its murshid’s [supreme guide’s] historical  fortress in Cairo.

“This is a major element in the Brotherhood’s calculation and this is their  greater battle,” retired Col. Khaled Okasha, a security analyst and former head  of North Sinai’s Civil Defense Department of the Interior Ministry, told  Al-Monitor.

“The Egypt command, which is the only global command, has always been the  source of power to all sub-divisions in other countries,” added Okasha. “If the  Supreme Guide and his Cairo bureau are hit hard by Morsi’s downfall and all of  the current situation’s political and social consequences, they will become  nothing but a counselor to the international divisions that will then start  working independently according to their pure domestic circumstances.”

“Egypt’s presidency, the biggest win in the Brotherhood’s history and the  recently yet internationally recognized political umbrella for the Brotherhood  worldwide, will be gone with Morsi leaving office.”

Okasha disputed that Morsi and his Islamist cronies will suffer exceptional  oppressive measures after their much anticipated ouster. “Such exceptional  oppression requires a decades-strong dictatorship like Mubarak’s, which you  cannot build in a few weeks. That dictatorship was brought down in January  2011.”

“This orchestrated fear is mostly Morsi’s last card to maintain his  supporters’ morale. The Brotherhood is leading a smear campaign against every  scenario involving Morsi’s downfall.”

Okasha believes that, legally, the Muslim Brotherhood officers including Morsi, in  case of his resignation, will stand dozens of trials that could extend for  years, a scene very similar to Hosni Mubarak, his sons and regime members.

Over the past week, unconfirmed reports of Egypt’s Islamist figures on  travel ban lists and Qatar demanding the departure of Youssef Al-Qaradawi, the influential Muslim Brotherhood  cleric, have shed some light on repercussions that might possibly hunt the Muslim Brotherhood wherever they are.

The Gaza Strip’s Hamas Movement, the  closest of the Middle East offshoots to the command in Egypt, stands first in  the line after Morsi and the Guidance Bureau, and is desperately trying to avoid  the looming domino effect.

Hamas’s popularity in Gaza and Egypt continues to sink because of their shameless interference in defense of the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi and  creating animosities with almost every non-Islamist power in Egypt. In addition  to politics, the relations between the peoples of Egypt and Gaza were negatively  impacted,” said Ahmed Ban, a researcher of Islamist movements who heads the  Political and Social Movements Unit at the independent Nile Center for Strategic  Studies.

“Hamas should hastily apologize to the Egyptian people and attempt fixing  what it broke by interference in Egypt, if that’s possible, and if the situation  worsens, it could be a start to the gradual end of Hamas’ rule over Gaza,” Ban  told Al-Monitor.

“Moreover, the 80-year cartel imposed by Egyptians on the global Supreme  Guidance in Cairo and the Guidance Council will be ended, possibly moved to  another country, and accordingly limiting the majority of direct supply,  political endorsement and the post-January 2011 refuge for Hamas.”

Signs of Hamas’ worsening situation have also surfaced in the past week.

On  June 30, Egypt’s military deployed tanks at the Gaza border; the first  appearance of Egyptian tank divisions in Sinai’s military-free Zone C since the Israeli withdrawal in 1982.

The exceptional deployment was ordered by the military shutting down the underground Rafah tunnels feeding Hamas’ armed militias with weapons and other  logistics, and it coincided with the arrest of three different groups of Hamas  armed members in different locations around Cairo on the same day, one the  detained groups occupied an apartment close to the destroyed Brotherhood Cairo  headquarters.

“They are in the heart of the Muslim Brotherhood’s battle to defend what  remains of their temple, a battle viewed by Hamas as their own,” said Okasha,  the retired colonel. “Morsi and the Brotherhood’s rule was a special,  unprecedented win for Hamas, I don’t think they will rethink their position and  withdraw from the scene at such a critical moment.”

As soon as the Egyptian military stepped in and declared a 48-hour ultimatum  for Morsi to satisfy national demands, the sacked Muslim Brotherhood member  reached out to Al-Monitor.

“The military just opened a less disastrous exit for Morsi, but he won’t take it,” the source said. “The Muslim Brotherhood is too blind to realize how weak  its cards have become.”

Hours later, a presidential statement rebuffed the military’s clear  warning.

Mohannad  Sabry is an Egyptian journalist based in Cairo. He has written  for McClatchy Newspapers and The Washington Times, served as  managing editor of Global Post’s reporting fellowship Covering the Revolution,  in Cairo, and contributed to its special reports “Tahrir Square” and “Egypt: The  Military, the People.” On Twitter: @mmsabry

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Stay tuned on the Egyptians: Perpetual successful revolutions

Since 2011, I declared that the revolution in Egypt will become the trademark of the successful upheavals in this century. And the Egyptians are back at it, one year after the election of Muhammad Morsi.

June 30 proved to be very different from January 2011: This current mass uprising is dwarfing the previous huge and steady uprising. making it look like a minor protest in comparison. Tens of thousands of  protesters spent the night in the epicenter of Egypt’s uprising, Tahrir Square. By noon, the square couldn’t take any more protesters, as dozens of marches kicked off  from almost every neighborhood in Cairo. Until nightfall, masses continued to  march to the presidential palace, everyone demanded President Mohammed Morsi’s  downfall.

Mohannad  Sabry posted for Al-Monitor this June 30, 2013: “Millions of Egyptians Demand Morsi’s Downfall

Protesters opposing Egyptian President  Mohammed Morsi wave Egyptian flags and shout slogans against him and members of  the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, June 30, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah  Dalsh)

Chants condemning, mocking and harshly insulting Morsi and his organization,  the Muslim Brotherhood, echoed across every major street in  Cairo as the city was paralyzed by the marching masses.

The thunderous mantra,  “The people demand the regime’s downfall,” was the only scene reminiscent of the  18-day January 2011 uprising that toppled Egypt’s three-decade dictatorship of  Hosni Mubarak.

In January 2011, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians held their ground in  Tahrir Square until Mubarak resigned, but on June 30, significantly bigger crowds continued to occupy the square and hundreds of thousands occupied the  streets surrounding the eastern Cairo presidential palace, a much anticipated  scenario that forced Morsi to attend to his duties from the al-Quba Presidential  Palace, a few miles away from where he usually appears.

Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt’s 2005 joint Nobel Peace Prize winner and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, along with Munir Abdel  Nour, the prominent Wafd Party figure and former minister of tourism, and Ahmed  Said, head of the popular Free Egyptians Party, led tens of thousands of  protesters who gathered and marched from Giza’s Mohandessin district to Tahrir  Square.

“Morsi is gone, long gone in the hearts, minds and lives of Egyptians; he is  nothing but a nightmare that we just awakened from,” said Mohamed Abdelhakim, a  36-year-old engineer who pledged to remain on the streets until Morsi’s  downfall.

“Soon, he will be kicked out of our presidential palace; he will live and die  in disgrace,” said Abdelhakim as thousands chanted, “Leave, leave.”

The massive crowd was joined by thousands who marched from Giza’s Boulaq district, a few minutes before meeting tens of thousands heading to Tahrir Square from Giza Square. None of the three marches arrived at their target destination, Cairo’s famous Qasr al-Nil Bridge that witnessed deadly confrontations between Mubarak’s riot police and protesters on Jan. 28, 2011, which today was blocked by crowds that extended for hundreds of yards into the square.

Passing by police stations and security checkpoints, protesters shook the  hands of officers and soldiers who waved victory signs at the marching  crowds.

“Everyone hates him, even his own police who are known for corruption and  brutality; everyone wants him to resign,” said Emad George, a 29-year-old  accountant. He continued, “The Muslim Brotherhood accused us of being remnants  of Mubarak’s dictatorship; we showed them that we are Egyptians, Muslims, Copts,  atheists, even Islamists who are ashamed of Morsi, and how he divided the  country and stood watching as people killed each other.”

In Cairo, it wasn’t only Tahrir Square — every major square hosted thousands  of protesters. Other cities including the Mediterranean coastal city of  Alexandria, the Nile Delta’s Mansoura, Mehalla and Tanta; Suez Canal’s Port  Said, Suez and Ismailia; and Upper Egypt’s Assuit, Sohag and Menya witnessed  unprecedented numbers marching in locations that have become known as  revolutionary grounds since January 2011.

Violence was reported in Upper Egypt’s mainly Coptic city Beni Suef, where  several Morsi supporters led by a Salafist cleric attacked an opposition march  using firearms. One death and several gunshot wounds were reported among  opposition protesters.

Dozens of angry protesters attacked the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in  Cairo’s Moqattam district; they hurled Molotov cocktails and rocks at the  well-barricaded building. Unconfirmed reports alleged that Brotherhood members  fired live ammunition at the attackers, no injuries or deaths were reported.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Maj. Mohamed al-Tonoubi told the local ONTV  cable channel, “Police forces continue to secure the streets surrounding the  Brotherhood office and curb any further violence.” He added, “Several men in  possession of live ammunition, guns and Molotov cocktails were arrested earlier  in a neighboring building.”

Meanwhile, a press conference held at al-Quba Palace, where Morsi was forced  to relocate on June 29, triggered more anger among protesters and the opposition  leaders.

“President Morsi recently called for national dialogue; we fully welcome all  initiatives applied through the constitution and law,” said Ehab Fahmi, Egypt’s  presidential spokesman.

“Dialogue is the only language to reach common understanding,” he added. He  further threatened, “The state will not tolerate any form of violence or  breaking the law.”

Fahmi denied rumors of sacking Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and his cabinet  or appointing Defense Minister Abdul Fattah al-Sisi as a successor.

He added, “The military is responsible for securing the borders, and the  presidency does not need their mediation with political parties.”

As Fahmi read the presidency’s lax message, military helicopters continued to fly at low levels all around the capital, especially above Tahrir Square and the  eastern Cairo palace, where hundreds of thousands had gathered.

Several opposition parties and movements including the Wafd Party, April 6  Revolutionary Youth and Tamarod [Rebelion] Initiative, replied to the presidential  statement by announcing their open-ended sit-ins until Morsi’s resignations.

“In the name of the Egyptian people, the National Salvation Front endorses  the will of the masses that demand the downfall of Mohammed Morsi’s regime and  his Muslim Brotherhood movement,” said a statement by the National Salvation  Front, the opposition umbrella, in reply to the presidential  remarks.
“The Egyptian people will continue to pursue its revolution and  impose its will that was clearly shown in liberation squares across Egypt.”

Hamdeen Sabahi, the Nasserite presidential candidate who competed with Morsi  in the first phase of the 2012 presidential elections, sent a short, loud and clear  message from Tahrir Square. “Morsi should willingly resign, or he will be forced  to.”

Mohannad Sabry is an Egyptian journalist based in  Cairo. He has written for McClatchy Newspapers and The  Washington Times, served as managing editor of Global Post‘s  reporting fellowship Covering the Revolution, in Cairo, and contributed to its  special reports “Tahrir Square” and “Egypt: The Military, the People.” On  Twitter: @mmsabry

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Back to Hosni Mubarak’s election/censure-kinds?  Are Egyptian military ever to leave the political scene?

The story is that Egypt’s newest English-language weekly newspaper  “Egypt Independent”, published in the final two paragraphs of an opinion piece about Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who became de facto president after the demise of Hosni Mubarak in February, suggested the leader of the governing Military Council could go to prison…

The offending article was headlined:  “Is Tantawi reading the public pulse correctly?” and written by the American historian Dr Robert Springborg.  The article suggested that many in the military believed their reputation was being abused. It read: “The military institution could remove (Tantawi) to save itself… a group of discontented officers might decide that a “coup within the coup” was the best way to deal with Tantawi”. The piece went as far as mentioned a possible contender for the Field Marshal’s post. Naming “The present rumblings of discontent among junior officers demonstrate that Chief of Staff General Sami Anan’s greater popularity than the Field Marshal in the military and among Egyptians as a whole, and intensified pressure from the US could all result in the Field Marshal sharing President Mubarak’s fate… ”

Question: If you were de-facto President, and an American publish an article sending the strong signal that the US prefers General Sami Anan’s as a successor powerful leader in the military…What could be your reactions?  Would you 1) censure just the offending paragraphs in the article, 2) ordered to shelve an entire print run of 20,000 copies, or 3) let the article takes its way to distribution? 

For example, if you know that 60% of the Egyptians are illiterate, that those who can read English most probably will not read the article and might focus on the sport or news sections…, that most of the Egyptians in the countryside barely read any Arabic print, that most non-educated Egyptians prefer the oral transfer of stories (probably biased by the disseminaters…), would you care one way or another if a lousy 20,000 copies were distributed and no more than 2,000 will be sold? 

Whether General Tantawi censures offending paragraph or order to kill the daily issue, do you think the article will not be posted on social platforms, and that the curious and engaged citizen will be ticked to know more about what the article said?

Maybe the problem is not in the dissemination of the US message for replacing Tantawi with Anan, since the message can be sent in many ways to reaching the targeted audience, but it is essentially a stand by the current General Tantawi in power that says: “No to US interference in Egypt political complex problems…Egypt wants to be left alone to deciding what is best after sustained mass demonstrations…The Egyptian are far more aware and more concerned about their political and social problems than what any stupid US Administration could ever know or comprehend…”  That sort of implicit counter-signals.

Actually, General Anan is the US Man in Egypt: He was following a special program in the US when the revolution broke out. Anan was dispatched to Egypt, hurriedly by the US, when things deteriorated against its interest in order to take control of the next phase.

The Editorial staff had cleared the article for printing last Wednesday. As the presses were rolling, the paper received a phone call from Magdi el-Galad, editor of “Al-Masry Al-Youm” (Egypt Today), the Arabic-language sister publication of the Egypt Independent.  Magdi has overall editorial control of both publications, and he ordered the staff to desist from distributing the paper.

“Nobody’s happy about this,” said one source with detailed knowledge of what transpired. “They feel that to be censored politically is not acceptable.”

Employees at the Egypt Independent were told the latest edition could not be distributed.  It is another blow for those who have raised concerns about the direction of Egypt’s revolution, with critics alleging that the country’s top brass appear intent on undermining the popular uprising to preserve their decades-old networks of power.

One source close to Mr el-Galad said he had developed close ties to the military and security services over the years. The “Egypt Independent” approached El-Galad for a response, but he declined to comment. “Nobody’s happy about this,” said one source with detailed knowledge of what transpired. “The (employees) feel that to be censored politically is not acceptable.”

The intervention by Mr el-Galad, which left the publication in crisis after only its second week of circulation, is especially significant as he was recently offered the post of Information Minister in Egypt’s new cabinet. Mr el-Galad refused, citing work commitments, but his attempt to muzzle mention of army discord raises questions. The censorship row came as official results from the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections showed that Islamist parties had captured nearly two-third of the votes with “The Muslim Brotherhood” taking the lead and the Wahhabi (Saudi Arabia brand) ultra-conservative salafist Muslim party capturing nearly 25%.

The Muslim Brotherhood took 36.6 per cent of the 9.7 million votes cast, but it was the success of the ultra-conservative Al-Nour Party that startled many Egyptians. Candidates for the party, which draws support from hardline Salafi Muslims and advocates strict curbs on art and personal freedoms, polled nearly 25 per cent.

The election process is very complicated.  Do you think a complicated election process favors the common Egyptians, with 60% of illiteracy rate?  Whom do you think a complicated election law ultimately is biased to?  Maybe those political parties receiving financial and organizational support from foreign powers, and the military that captures one-third of the Egyptian economy and cash in over $One billion  a year from the US?

Is ordering a paper to stop distributing its issue the main blow for those who have raised concerns about the direction of Egypt’s revolution, with critics alleging that the country’s top brass appear intent on undermining the popular uprising to preserve their decades-old networks of power?

Or is it the complicated election law that prohibited the common Egyptian from expressing his real wishes and hopes?

Do you think it was General Tantawi who ordered not to distribute the issue of the paper, or it was General Anan working behind the scene to dislodge his superior, by disseminating the image of an impotent Tantawi to taking control of “Law and Order”?




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