Muslim Brotherhood Vows To "Bring Down" Military Coup in Wake of Crackdown

Credit: Globovisión / Foter / CC BY-NCCredit: Globovisión / Foter / CC BY-NCThe Egyptian interim government has been widely condemned after Egyptian security forces stormed protest camps set up by supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi. The death toll from yesterday’s crackdown has risen to at least 525.

In a statement today Obama condemned the recent violence, urged for the state of emergency to be lifted, and canceled a scheduled joint military exercise with Egypt.

The events in the last few days are only the latest reminder that the Arab Spring has yet to yield the results many were hoping for. Since Mubarak was toppled the Egyptians have had to live under the rule of an Islamist president and an interim government put in place in the wake of a military coup.

Despite the hundreds of people having been killed and the ongoing violence Ashraf Khalil over at Time magazine seems to think that the recent crackdown could provide an opportunity for some sort of “transitional roadmap” to be implemented:

The storming of the sit-in camps could mark the beginning of a new phase of the Egyptian political crisis. By purging the Brotherhood, the interim government might be able to begin organizing a new transitional roadmap—including scheduling fresh parliamentary and presidential elections.

It is hard to see quite how the Muslim Brotherhood has been “purged,” its spokesman has said "We will push until we bring down this military coup," its supporters have set fire to a government building in Cairo, and more demonstrations are planned. The recent storming of pro-Morsi protest camps might have removed a symbol of opposition that some in the interim government found irritating, but it is unlikely to prompt a transitional roadmap that leads to elections.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    So, what's the brilliant foreign policy move this time? I can hardly wait to see how we fuck it up again.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    The best move is not to play. I'm actually thinking Obama is right in this. Cancel the joint exercises, make some noises about the rule of law and call it a day. Leave the Egyptians to do whatever they want right now.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't actually believe that's what he's doing. So far, our foreign policy has seemed quite the random walk.

    Otherwise, I agree. "Y'all figure it all out. We'll be sitting here with these planes--just let us know!"

  • cw||

    According to The Economist the Egyptian Army doesn't actually have much skill in fighting wars and they depend on our expertise to assist them in that regard.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Well, their history against the Israelis wasn't too impressive. I half wonder if Sadat signed the peace treaty in part due to being embarrassed about their military failures.

  • NeonCat||

    They did very well in '73 but part of that was Israeli "victory disease". IIRC, when they changed their objectives (trying to go too far for their logistical tail to keep up) it lead to their defeat.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    My honest impression is that it appears to be a random walk because Obama lacks a certain amount of spine.

    He really is a non-interventionist except for the glaring exception of the war on terror.

    He was talked into the Lybian intervention and may be talked into Syria.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think what makes it seem random is that they have no overarching policy guiding them. It's all reactive.

  • Enough About Palin||

    When Hillary begins her run for 2016, some journalist needs to ask her whether she supports the Obama Doctrine.

  • Robert||

    Obama himself is clueless about these affairs, and I actually think he doesn't even care. This is all from the careerists in the Dept. of State, who have the uncanny knack of being on the wrong side everywhere I look. They're as amoral as the British Foreign Office, but without their skill.

  • John Thacker||

    Well, the big point of dispute is whether we continue to give a bunch of money (that they then turn around and give to our defense contractors to buy planes and tanks.) Invading them isn't on the table.

    Right now our policy seems to have returned us to the Mubarak status quo, with a brief interlude and a bunch of dead bodies.

  • cw||

    Cutting off aid isn't an option, of course. We could write them an angry letter, telling them how angry we are.

  • anon||

    Ashraf Khalil over at Time magazine seems to think that the recent crackdown could provide an opportunity for some sort of “transitional roadmap” to be implemented:

    something something same actions something something different results

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Since Mubarak was toppled the Egyptians have had to live under the rule of an Islamist president...

    I'm told they chose this one.

  • Mike M.||

    the Arab Spring has yet to yield the results many were hoping for.

    Wow, really? Who could have possibly imagined that would turn out to be the case.

  • ||

    But hope is so cute!

  • ||

    Since Obama has declined to stop military aid to Egypt's military, doesn't that mean we are essentially propping up a regime that's killing its own citizens while condemning a Syrian regime that's doing the same thing?

  • anon||

    Yeah, but it's totally cool this time. Totality of circs, etc.

  • cw||

    Some people are saying it's because of U.S. business interests in the Suez Canal that the U.S. keeps propping up any regime in Egypt.

    Not sure I buy that, but it's not totally crazy.

  • John Thacker||

    Eh, the Egyptians would continue to let ships through the canal.

    The US defense contractors making money and jobz off the military aid is why that's still flowing.

  • Mike M.||

    Please. Obama is desperately trying to figure out how he can get his friends in the Muslim Brotherhood back into power without making it totally obvious even to the typical average American idiot that he's doing so.

  • John Thacker||

    Really? If so, wouldn't he be cutting off the aid to the Egyptian military?

    I think your comment is batshit crazy.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know, the Prophet was pretty clear on that whole "Brothers of the Book" business.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yeah, but when the dhimmi are responsible for fitna, qital fi sabilillah is alllll riiiiiight....

  • cw||

    It is strange how selective the outrage is both from the administration and the media. I don't even know what that accomplishes.

  • ||

    Actually to be fair I listened to Obama's statement on C-Span, and he did condemn the destruction of churches.

  • MJGreen||

    By purging the Brotherhood, the interim government might be able to begin organizing a new transitional roadmap—including scheduling fresh parliamentary and presidential elections.

    This has been said every other time a military or interim dictator "purges" a resistance force, right?

  • TANSTaaFL||

    I just love how the writer at TIME very casually and non-nonchalantly refers to the systematic murder and arrest of political opposition in order to achieve total political dominance as "organizing a new transitional roadmap" and as overall a positive development.

    Gotta love the statist hypocrisy in favor of horrendous violence/oppression as a method to achieve peace and serenity for the collective!

  • Bardas Phocas||

    My prediction, two years ago, that this was looking like a Arab version of the 30 year War is playing out.

    The Gaza Strip is starting to look like an island of peace.

  • John||

    The military is saying the Brotherhood has arms. What are the odds those arms came from the CIA?

  • Pro Libertate||

    You mean from their retail operation in Benghazi? That's looking more and more like what's being hidden to me.

  • John||

    Me too. I have no doubt that Obama is totally okay with arming radical Muslims. The left really doesn't have a problem with radical Muslims. They just have a problem with radical Muslims killing Americans on their watch. But radical Muslims running Egypt and killing and terrorizing other Muslims? They are totally down with that. Radical Islam is one of those exotic third world ideologies that fights imperialism that Western leftists have convinced themselves is just a way people fight oppression. If you don't believe me, look at the ties that Weiner's wife has to the Brotherhood. It is insane. But that is how they are.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I had the oddest experience last night. I watched The Living Daylights. I like both of the Dalton Bond movies, but I had forgotten that this one involved the Mujaheddin as allies to Bond. Oops.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Watch Rambo III sometime.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Beat me to it!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Did you ever see Rambo III?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambo_III

    Anyway, if you ask me, I'd still trade the Cold War in for the War on Terror--any day of the week.

    We're in nowhere near as much danger from the War on Terror as we were from the Cold War--it's just that the government has succeeded in scaring people so bad, they're willing to sell their rights short now like they weren't during the Cold War.

    But that isn't because the nature of our adversaries is different. That's becasue of us.

  • Ken Shultz||

    There are lots of sources of weapons in the world. Pakistan has plenty of weapons. Russia might not think twice about providing them with whatever they need.

    If you look closely, our alliance in Egypt is and always has been with the Egyptian military. It doesn't matter who's in charge over there--so long as the military is always on our side.

    I don't understand why anyone would accuse Obama of using the CIA to arm the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. There's certainly plenty of other things to lash out at Obama for, too, starting with his domestic polices, which stink.

  • John||

    I don't understand why anyone would accuse Obama of using the CIA to arm the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

    Because he supports them and wants them in charge but knows saying so would not be politically popular. Look at his reaction to the coup. Why wouldn't he send them arms? He has made it clear he considers the military's actions illegitimate and the brotherhood to be the legitimate rulers.

  • Ken Shultz||

    He supported the military--even when the Muslim Brotherhood was SUPPOSEDLY running things.

    If the last two years in Egypt has made anything clear, it should be that Mubarak--even if he had a little discretion on security policy--wasn't really in charge.

    The Muslim Brotherhood may have won the election, and Morsi may have dissolved the legislature, given himself unlimited powers, and ignored judicial review--but he STILL wasn't the one really in power. It's always been the Army.

    The United States is just supporting the Egyptian military. That's all! It doesn't matter who's in charge of the government--the United States is still supporting the Egyptian military and whomever the Army's willing to tolerate that's wearing the titles for the moment.

  • John||

    He supported the military--even when the Muslim Brotherhood was SUPPOSEDLY running things.

    The Egyptian people disagree.

    http://triblive.com/usworld/wo.....z2c4NcNjXk

    He has made it clear that the US considers the Brotherhood to be the legitimate elected government. I would be surprised if he is not providing arms to help them get back into power.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, he recognized that the Muslim Brotherhood's guy won the election, but in case you haven't notice?

    Morsi overplayed his hand, and he never really had any power at all unless the Egyptian army said so.

    Morsi did win the election legitimately. Why wouldn't we recognize that? Here's hopin' he's a good president and respects the rights of non-Islamist Egyptians!

    Then he dissolved the legislature, wrote himself a constitution sans outside input, gave himself unlimited powers, and completely ignored judicial review. The people demonstrated against his power grab, and the army finally had enough.

    But Obama's commitment to the Egyptian army never wavered--because it has nothing to do with Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood.

  • John||

    But Obama's commitment to the Egyptian army never wavered--because it has nothing to do with Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood.

    You think that. But the Egyptian people disagree. They didn't get that impression from nowhere. And the DOS has long running ties to the MB. The MB has been a darling of the American Left for decades. They just keep it quiet. Again, if Obama isn't sending them arms, I would be surprised.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "They didn't get that impression from nowhere."

    Yeah, that's because they see it the same way we do...

    We kept sending checks to "Egypt" even after Morsi took "power" (for want of a better word), and so they thought we were sending the checks to Morsi.

    But we don't really send checks to "Egypt". If the Muslim Brotherhood was getting a cut, it wasn't anything like what the military gets.

    Obama is an authoritarian, evil scumbag, and he's done his best to destroy everything good about our country. In a perfect world, Obama would be hiding in a Moscow airport--trying to find someone who would grant him asylum...

    He's an evil bastard that should be impeached and then charged with all sorts of crimes--but he didn't send the Muslim Brotherhood money in the hopes that they would start waging anti-American jihad!

    Aren't the real things he's done awful enough?

  • Robert||

    Now you're talking, John: DOS. This is not about Obama. They're telling him what to say, not vice versa.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's important to remember that just because our president is in charge of the military here, that doesn't mean that's the way things work over there. There was a lot of talk among the student groups and the secularists that the military and the MB and the U.S. were all in cahoots.

    Well it turns out the Brotherhood and the army were most definitely NOT in cahoots! The U.S. was still writing all the checks though! And where does our military aid go? It doesn't go to the MB--it goes to the Egyptian military like it always did. ...not to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The secularists and students--just like us...they think their votes matter! Poor slobs.

    They think they brought down Mubarak and voted in Morsi. It's just a show. The Army will tolerate anybody--so long as they stay in their place. Morsi didn't stay in his place--so he's out. And it doesn't matter who voted for him. The next guy won't really be in charge either. And when the U.S. keeps sending money after he's in charge? Don't read as an endorsement of the guy--we're just sending checks to the Egyptian military like we always did.

  • John||

    d when the U.S. keeps sending money after he's in charge? Don't read as an endorsement of the guy--we're just sending checks to the Egyptian military like we always did.

    We send them money as a payoff to defense contractors. No one ever said our policy was consistent or even rational.

  • Lyle||

    If Obama supported the military, why is the military saying they hate Egypt and moving towards Russia an ally?

    Furthermore, why do many Egyptians see the U.S. ambassador to Egypt a friend of the Muslim Brotherhood?

    If the military is really in charge of Egypt why are they killing more people than Mubarak did when he was overthrown?

  • Lyle||

    ... hate America

  • Ken Shultz||

    "If Obama supported the military, why is the military saying they hate [America] and moving towards Russia an ally?"

    You're gonna have to help me with a link to that.

    "Furthermore, why do many Egyptians see the U.S. ambassador to Egypt a friend of the Muslim Brotherhood?"

    It's because the secularists and students saw the Army and the Muslim Brotherhood work out a power deal together, and the United States refused to stop sending "aid" to Egypt--even as Morsi did his power grab.

    Part of U.S. ambassador's job is to defend American policy in Egypt, and if that's what he did while Morsi was in "power", then I imagine they resented the hell out of that.

    It shouldn't escape any of us, now, however, that Morsi didn't have a single iota of power unless the army said so. It was the same way with Mubarak! Once Mubarak became too much of a liability, they told him he couldn't leave his house--and they decided to hold an election for the next figurehead.

    Watch, the army will retry Mubarak for shooting on protestors--as if security policy had been up to him, somehow. And the army will hold that trial--even after they've massacred unarmed protestors themselves without him as a figurehead!

  • Ken Shultz||

    "If the military is really in charge of Egypt why are they killing more people than Mubarak did when he was overthrown?"

    The army is killing, more or less, the same kinds of Islamists they were fighting before--back in the '90s.

    What the Egyptian army did to the protestors during the revolution against Mubarak was nothing compared to the effective war the Egyptian army fought against the Islamists back in the 1990s.

    "From 1992-1998 Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya fought an insurgency against the Egyptian government during which at least 796 Egyptian policemen and soldiers, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya fighters, and civilians including dozens of tourists were killed.[2]"

    http://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Al-Gama'a_al-Islamiyya

    The Egyptian army has been repressing Islamists in Egypt since at least Sadat. This isn't new. It was the toleration of Islamists out in the open that was new.

  • Ken Shultz||

    A few months ago, did anybody think it was possible that people might start feeling sympathy for the Islamic extremists? This massacre is the worst blunder since the Bush Administration created sympathy for terrorists, world wide, by torturing them!

    If the Muslim Brotherhood hadn't performed such a big power grab, the Egyptian people would have respected the election results--instead of calling for Morsi's resignation and backing the coup. If the military hadn't behaved so brutally towards the Muslim Brotherhood, the coup might have succeeded in bringing about a better Constitution and a democracy that both the majority and the minority considered legitimate.

    We should be looking at the Turkish (and Argentine/Chilean) model. The Army used to step in with a coup, periodically, whenever someone who didn't respect the secular state came to power. (In South America, it wasn't the Muslims; it was the communists, but it demonstrates the same principle.)

    The Islamists need to come to terms with the fact that neither the Egyptian people nor the military is about to suffer an Islamic state in Egypt. (Sort of like how the communists in South America had to come to terms with the fact that the military and the middle class wouldn't tolerate a communist government.)

    And the military needs to come to terms with the fact that Egyptian society will never accept what the military does--so long as they do it without any civilian oversight. It's just never gonna happen.

  • Homple||

    "We should be looking at the Turkish (and Argentine/Chilean) model."

    That doesn't work in Turkey anymore, since Erdoğan the islamist has pretty much neutered the army.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That's one way to look at it.

    Another way to look at it is that the Islamists in Turkey had to really convince people that they were serious about respecting the rights of non-Islamists--before they could ever achieve power.

    Isn't that what we want? The Islamists always come to imagine (just like the communists did) that the people really want Islamism with full blown Sharia as strict as possible--it's just that the army and the United States won't let them achieve power. That moderation of Islamists has to come from within the Islamist movement itself...

    And isn't that what happened in Turkey?

    Now, I'm not saying that there aren't any Turks who are worried about the present government, but I am saying that there are forces within that Islamist party that are relatively pragmatic about what it takes to get into power--and what it takes to hold onto power.

    Something about holding power generally mellows people--especially if they have to face an electorate every so often.

    Although I expect there will be all sorts of bumps in the road for Egypt (just like there was for Turkey), if I were an optimist, I'd say that's probably the best that can be reasonably hoped for, presently. ...like what happened in Turkey.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Slaughtering peaceful protestors and chasing the Muslim Brotherhood underground certainly isn't about to mellow them. When Morsi did that power grab, I think the Egyptian military may have done the right thing. If a U.S. president did the power grab Morsi did, I'd hope the U.S. military would step in and do the same thing...

    ...and then the next step is to have fair elections--and let the Muslim Brotherhood suffer a huge loss at the polls because of Morsi's awful behavior. Now that's not going to happen. It was a crucial step--and the military blew it. I guess the military's goal isn't to have an inclusive and free society--it's for them to hang onto the control they have.

    But, eventually, that's the road to legitimacy and stability--you have to give the MB a chance to take their lumps at the polls, though, or there's no point.

  • Lyle||

    Lots of Egyptians support the slaughtering of Islamists.

    This is like China and Tiananmen Square. This is the powers at be just cracking down really hard. We're going to find out if the Egyptian military is as tough as the Chinese Communist Party.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They've already show that.

    An unlike Tienanmen Square, what the Egyptian army is doing is all being photographed.

    They're slaughtering unarmed protestors. The gloves are off, and they don't care who sees it.

  • JeremyR||

    No you don't. The biggest mistake in German was the government not squishing the National Socialist Worker's Party when they could have.

    People said, "Oh, they'll never come to power", but sure enough, they did.

    Democracy isn't some magic bullet against tyrannical governments.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's the existential question of Democracy: Should a democracy be allowed to vote itself out of existence?

    I would argue that our rights aren't really tied to popularity or democracy anyway, but looking back on the German example, of course I'd rather fight than submit myself to the Nazis--just because they won an election...

    But the Islamists aren't going away just because the army stomps on them. You cannot stamp them out of existence. People have tried--in Egypt! You're gonna have to go harsher than they did before... Harsher than they went in Algeria!

    In those situations, though, the harsher they went after the Islamists, the more Islamists they created. If the solution is to go harder than anyone's gone before, you're gonna have to go harder than Israel has gone. Nothing Israel has done has gotten rid of the Islamists. ...to the contrary!

    I've probably got 20 or more pithy definitions of a libertarian, and here's another one: A libertarian is somebody who doesn't think oppression is the ultimate solution to anything.

    If the Muslim Brotherhood had been crushed in the polls because of Morsi's power grab, pragmatic voices within the MB would have had more traction. But now the only thing anybody in the MB is calling for right now is jihad, I'm sure. ...whatever jihad means to them.

  • The Last American Hero||

    This is a perfect opportunity for us to follow the prime directive.

  • Robert||

    You mean grab all their hottest women before accidentally extinguishing their sun?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    How long before someone starts talking about "peace keepers"? No. No. Just NO.

  • Lyle||

    What if the pyramids and other antiquities become endangered?

  • ||

    I would just like to note that I called "civil war in Egypt" the day that Morsi seized emergency powers in order to force the Islamist constitution past Egypt's Supreme Court.

  • JeremyR||

    Unfortunately, the choice in the Middle East is between an Islamist theocracy (a la Iran and now Turkey) or a military dictatorship that is somewhat secular.

    Islam and democracy doesn't work too well. As Ataturk understood when he founded the modern state of Turkey, letting the military step in whenever they had to, but thanks to our modern sensibilities, that sort of thinking is now seen as wrong headed, and so Islamists take power.

    And of course, thanks to open borders, it's only a matter of time before it comes here...

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't think Turkey is an "Islamist theocracy", and it certainly isn't reducible to the same status as Iran.

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