Morsi Aide Says Coup is Underway in Egypt


Credit: Sherif9282/wikimedia

It appears that a military coup is taking place in the world's most populous Arab country. The military has reportedly imposed a travel ban on Morsi as members of the Muslim Brotherhood and are now in control of state television. The U.S. State Department has said that it is "concerned" about the developments.

The deadline imposed on Morsi by the military for a resolution to the crisis has passed, and it appears that Morsi's offer of a consensus government has not been accepted.

Some, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have criticized Obama for not supporting many of the protesters in Egypt:

One would expect to find the United States standing firmly with these people. Surely, after our long and lonely search for secular and democratic partners in the Arab world, we could find some common ground with them. Surely, we could see the value of an administration in Egypt that could act as both a southern bulwark for Israel and a much-needed partner in countering the terrorist outposts in the Sinai and Horn of Africa. And surely, we could help support a government that could stand as an example for struggling states like Libya and Iran—one that proves Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East are not predestined to live in oppressive theocracies.

Tragically, America has been relegated to the sidelines. The number of U.S. Embassy personnel has been reduced, and a travel warning has been issued for Americans in Egypt—and for good reason. The people protesting in the streets were not only carrying anti-Morsy signs. They were also carrying signs with slogans like "Obama Supports Terrorism" and "Obama Supports Morsy," as well as pictures of the American ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, with a large red "X" through her face. Some of these were set on fire. On Friday, Andrew Driscoll Pochter, an American college student who was in Egypt to teach English to schoolchildren, was stabbed to death as he took pictures of the protesters.

For photos of some of the anti-Obama signs Sen. Cruz mentions head over to ZeroHedge.

While it is the case the Morsi has granted himself a worrying amount of power it remains to been seen if the military, which has said it will suspend parliament and the constitution, would provide better leadership for Egyptians. State news reported that a military plan includes a short transition period followed by elections. However, how short a transition is not specified. Nor is it mentioned how long parliament or the constitution will be suspended.

Over at The American Conservative Daniel Larison argues that whoever is in power in Egypt will always be resented to some extent by Egyptians in part because of U.S. foreign aid that seems to be sent to whoever is in charge in Egypt regardless of their records on civil or political liberties:

As long as the U.S. provides aid to the Egyptian military, the U.S. is bound to be resented by whichever political groups do not control the government. That isn't going to change even when the government is a genuinely elected one. If the protesters are successful in driving the extremely unpopular Morsi out, there will always be an incentive for the forces defeated at the last election to stage mass protests demanding the early resignation of the incumbent. There will also be an incentive for those protesters to identify the U.S. as the incumbent's supporter in order to blame Washington and to vilify the current leader. Because the U.S. will presumably continue to provide aid to the Egyptian military for reasons that have little to do with internal Egyptian politics, there is no way that Washington can "fix" this by throwing its support to the "right" people. The U.S. accepted the first coup government under the SCAF and pretended that it hadn't staged a coup because this conveniently met the demands of anti-Mubarak protesters, but U.S. policy towards Egypt shouldn't be determined primarily by what the latest protesters happen to want. Short of endorsing a second coup or affirming that election outcomes should be respected only when the "right" people win them, the U.S. doesn't have a ready-made alternative.

Whatever the outcome in Egypt elsewhere in north Africa it looks like others have already been inspired by the recent anti-Morsi protests.