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05 July 2013


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Clifford Kiracofe

Very helpful analysis.
Please take care out there. Look foward to further analysis.

Amb. Patterson trashed Pakistan and now Egypt some critics might conclude. But it remains to be seen exactly where this pro-MB policy came from in Washington.

The State Department was purged of Middle East experts beginning back in Kissinger's time: the case of Amb. Akin, for example. and so on...


I wonder who did not accept compromise and at what point.

It seems that on July 2 Morsi was offering some compromise but by then the army had already decided to kick him out.

see at 11:57

Morsi offered a series of concessions in a four-hour meeting with General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi on Tuesday, a Muslim Brotherhood source told the Guardian's David Hearst.

All the concessions were rejected, the source said. David writes:

With the caveat that this is information which can not be cross-checked with the other parties to the discussion, my understanding is that President Morsi offered the following political concessions:

The formation of a national government representing all parties
The formation of a neutral committee to change the constitution
A call on the constitutional council to speed up the law on parliamentary elections.
A new attorney general (he has already gone)
Obliques hints that if a plan was put to him to hold a referendum on his presidency, he would agree to it.

This package was rejected.

He also offered some compromise in his speech that night (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2013-07/03/c_132508551.htm). But these were not enough to make the army change its mind.



I am told that by the time Mursi made these offers SCAF no longer trusted him enough to take the chance that if they backed away they would not end up in the kind of condition that the Turkish military has found itself in. How many officers have been indicted for treason by Erdogan's government? Some people here, including you, seem to think that the game of nations is actually an intellectual seminar process in which real prices do not have to paid by real people. I also find it amusing that a German should think the military should not act against a bad but elected leader. pl


Morsi did not accept a relatively balanced initiative offered by the Nour Party six months earlier and instead the MBs moved fast to split Nour (they did). He also refused the invitation of the military for a national dialogue aimed at reconciliation last November. Finally, he refused Paterson's last minute offer o appoint a cabinet with full executive powers to save the country and end the protests. He refused. I can count at least 13 papers offered to him proposing and outlining the agenda of a national reconciliation conference. He refused all. The only time he sat with the leaders of the opposition was last November.But only 48 hours after the meeting he issued the constitutional decree that empowers him with every thing and practically suspends all laws. The opposition accused him of trying to use his meetings with its leaders to give the impression that he consulted them about the Decree beforehand. Therefore the assumption of "b" that Morsi accepted concessions and the opposition did not is wrong. It is a reflection of reports influenced by an administration trying to salvage a policy hit hard by the Egyptians on June 30th.


Thank you for your excellent analysis Yusuf.


Perhaps all these analyses are based on outworn categories.They imagine a firm background of democratic institutions, that is European political thought, that does not evolve. But the reality seems to be that our activity that is the background is evolving while the categories remain stuck in past times. Perhaps what is happening in Egypt is a new social development. There is an excellent article in French on the subject of abusive "democratic" practices in the Paul Jorion blog.

FB Ali

Yusuf, thank you for this excellent presentation and analysis of recent events in Egypt. It would not be possible to get such a clear and realistic picture from the usual sources available.

There is an interesting article today contrasting the situation in Tunisia with that in Egypt:



@pl - " I also find it amusing that a German should think the military should not act against a bad but elected leader. "

Where did I say that? I just wanted to correct the impression that Morsi has denied all compromise. He offered some. Too late.

(BTW Hitler wasn't elected but pushed into office by rightwing conservative industrialists who manipulated a near senile Hindenburg)

Besides that I think that this coup against Morsi was in the making for quite some time. The petrol and electricity shortage that went against him has now suddenly vanished. How come?

It seems that the Egyptian army had prepared for this for quite some time, but was holding back. Morsi's call for Jihad against Syria was probably the point of no return after which the army, which fights Jihadis in Sinai, decided that enough is enough.

A media campaign, sudden shortages, civil services in a quasi strike, a campaign to collect signatures against Morsi which claims to have reached millions of signatures which were never seen. A big demonstration sold as "many millions" when it probably topped just one million. Pressure from all sides to "compromise". Then when the compromise comes, the coup.

That all smells like a well planned affair.

Acknowledging that does not mean that I am against it. I just do not want to be hypocritical and call it anything other than a full fledged military coup.



"On election day, 6 March 1933, the NSDAP's share of the vote increased to 43.9%, and the party acquired the largest number of seats in parliament. Hitler's party failed to secure an absolute majority, necessitating another coalition with the DNVP." wiki on Adolf Hitler



"A big demonstration sold as "many millions" when it probably topped just one million."

Only 1,000,000; Perhaps those million people don't count?

"BTW Hitler wasn't elected ..." That's a new one.


Please "b" get your facts right re the recent development. What you imply contradicts what rally happened in many aspects. I will explain later what happened in a meeting between An Paterson and the MBs leaders in the night of 28th of June then again on the 29th. The details are based on the narrative of the MBs and on the record. Morsi refused until the very last minute any attempt to reconcile. And one million? Get back to google earth images. There were no preparation "for sometime" to carry out a coup. There was an intensive effort by the military, the US administration, Qatar, some Salafis and Egyptian politicians to avoid a crash. What needs to be discussed is why did Morsi refuse not whether he did, because everyone other than some openly partisan "experts" will try to show what happened differently. He says that what was required from him is to be a decorative president, and he did not and will not accept. But is interesting to put the choice the way he did. It is whether he Ikhwanize the country "democratically" or else he refuses to be "decorative". This is a mentality of a militant, not a statesman.


Yusuf. Fascinating insight, thank you. It mirrors to some extent the events here in Yemen. While the National Dialogue is distracting the public with talk of constitutions and righting historic wrongs, the MB grouping here, the Islah Party, has been busy taking over many positions of power by stealth.
It all started in January 2012. Islah decided it was powerful enough to take over the police. It did this by inciting a small revolution at the Police Officers Club. A place of little importance and irrelevant to state security. It whipped up a number of policemen by saying "You are the vanguard of the revolution yet the club is headed by a figure from the old regime. Rise up. etc" Soon the head was replaced by an Islah loyalist. From this initial success they started with other, more important departments: the Capital City Security, Sanaa Governorate Security etc. They were successful by and large. This happened also in the army and air force. The period is known as "Thawrat al-Munsha'aat" or Institutions Revolution.
The security services are in flux still due to these acts and creates the general level of insecurity across the country. These acts run counter to the National Dialogue and are completely opaque. It demonstrates to me that the MB here are no different to that in Egypt and are interested only in democracy as vehicle to establish themselves in power from where they do not intent to leave. Similarly they are also funded by Qatar.


@b "that all smells like a well planned affair". Sir, I should hope so. As Col. Lang has pointed out, actions such as that taken by the Egyptian Army has real consequences for the people on the ground, up to and including death.

The Rubicon has been crossed. It appears that Col. Lang was prescient whith his statement about the MB strategy: " one man, one vote, one time." I suggest you might consider that the framing of the issue as a military coup against a democratically elected government is specious. Rather it is a case of a military coup against a democratically elected government that doesn't believe in democratically elected government" - witnessed by The suppression of opposition described by Yusuf al-Misry.

Lord Curzon


Many thanks for this insight into what is happening in Egypt.

As a follow-up to your declaration that the MB will have to take power for people to really see what it is, I believe that a better form of Islam which is growing in madrassahs and hawzahs in the West, nurtured by democratic societies with freedom of speech and universality of law, will transplant itself over a number of decades back to the Middle East. The collaboration of Tariq Ramadan and Sayed Ammar Nakshawani is an indicator to this effect. The paradigm shift, when it occurs, will be interesting to observe.


..and now Obama throws another cup of gasoline on the fire. What are these idiots thinking? This has to be a fight to the death and Kerry is intellectualising about being nice to the MB?

"While President Barack Obama’s administration has stopped short of condemning the July 3 military takeover, it has called on Egyptian leaders to pursue “a transparent political process that is inclusive of all parties and groups,” including “avoiding any arbitrary arrests of Mursi and his supporters,” Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said yesterday in a statement."



Well, I'd note the word 'avoid' and define arbitrary? It's a wonderfully vague statement. It sounds like it says something, but does it?

The administration may be doing a miserable job in the Middle East but I hope even they understand the risks involved. Cutting off 1.3 billion dollars in military aid? Overnight? That wouldn't be wise.

They are right about including the Brothers, they need to co-opt as many as they can. They need an outlet for their passions, if it isn't politics - it will be street violence, and terrorism.


The election in March 1933 was AFTER Hitler became chancellor. It wasn't a "free and fair" election anymore. In the election before that in November 1932 Hitler's party got 33% (less than before) while the two parties on the left had together 37% (more than before). The major industrialists then pressed president Hindenburg to make Hitler chancellor instead of giving the lead to coalition of the left.

The election you cited in March 1933 took place after this terror campaign:
The election took place after the Nazi Machtergreifung of 30 January when President Paul von Hindenburg had appointed Hitler Chancellor, who immediately urged the dissolution of the Reichstag and the arrangement of new elections. In early February, the Nazis "unleashed a campaign of violence and terror that dwarfed anything seen so far." Storm troopers began attacking trade union and Communist Party (KPD) offices and the homes of left-wingers.[1] In the second half of February, the violence was extended to the Social Democrats, with gangs of brownshirts breaking up Social Democrat meetings and beating up their speakers and audiences. Issues of Social Democratic newspapers were banned.[2] Twenty newspapers of the Centre Party, a party of Catholic Germans, were banned in mid-February for criticizing the new government. Government officials known to be Centre Party supporters were dismissed from their offices, and stormtroopers violently attacked party meetings in Westphalia.[3]

Six days before the scheduled election date, the German parliament building was set alight in the Reichstag fire, allegedly by the Dutch Communist Marinus van der Lubbe. This event reduced the popularity of the KPD, and enabled Hitler to persuade President Hindenburg to pass the Reichstag Fire Decree as an emergency decree according to Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. This emergency law removed many civil liberties and allowed the arrest of Ernst Thälmann and 4,000 leaders and members of the KPD[4] shortly before the election, suppressing the Communist vote and consolidating the position of the Nazis. ...

Hitler never was elected in any "free and fair" sense. He was put on the job by far right industrialists who hoped for war and selling a lot of tanks. They got what they asked for.


"He was put on the job by far right industrialists ..."
I believe that is what the allied powers found out at Nuremberg; it was all a put up job by industrialists, no one was ever a Nazi, nobody actually voted for Hitler - ever.

Doug Tunnell

While one headline in today's NYTimes describes official Washington as "ambivalent and aloof" another details communication between Mursi's office, the U.S. embassy in Cairo and Susan Rice in the final hours of Mursi's Presidency :


...which makes it sound as if the Obama administration was up to its ears with the Egyptian army in its planning.

Could Mr. al Misry and/or others on this board opine on the nature of our involvement ?

The beaver

Mohamed El-Baradei as interim PM


These are some comments re. Noah Feldman's column comparing the Islamists in Tunisia favorably with the MB in Egypt.

First, neither Ennadha nor Ghannouchi is a paragon of Islamist democratic virtue. They are no different than their MB counterparts elsewhere in aspiration or conviction or priorities. They simply are operating in different circumstances. Ghannouchi himself, the party honcho who unlike Mursi has no Slater or Badie pulling the strings, has proven himself to be devoted to imposing Islamization on Tunisia as witness the bid to rescind women's right in the Constitutional assembly, the stocking of the administration and courts with Islamists, the punitive prosecution of those who challenge Islamist cultural values, and the tolerance for salafist coercive attacks and resort to violence. He has been quoted as saying that the process of purging the secularists has to be quickened. He did suffer a serious setback, though, in the wake of the murder of the one serious opposition politician Chokra Belaid. It straigthened the backbone of some opponents and highlighted what the spiritual heart of Islamism is. The killer managed to escape the 'dragnet.'

Ghannouchi spent his many years of exile in London. His younger daughter knows only kitchen Arabic as English is the one language in which she can express herself. His older daughter is married to a guy who was given a high sounding job before being caught in the Hilton with another woman (excuse: she was a cousin!). No action has been taken against him, but the investigative reporter who uncovered the story (also the fact that he receiving slush funds from the Gulf) was prosecuted and the press silenced. She is now free but the matter is not being pursued. Significance? Not that Ghannouchi has been personally compromised by his contact with corrupt Western culture. Rather, he is incompetent as a politician and can't run anything.

The Islamist government in Tunisia repeatedly has exposed its intentions and alienated a large swath of the population by it autocratic ways. Lucky for them, the opposition is even more inept. They are so pathetic as to suggest comparisons with progressive Democrats. This is not due to a lack of generally capable people. Tunisia has a far larger percentage of well-educated, sophisticated professionals than Egypt. Civil society is rich and deep. High stakes politics is another game, though, and they have neither aptitude nor toughness for that vocation. That's why elements of the old regime now are providing the backbone behind the scenes for the secular forces.

Then there is the President - Moncef Marzouki. His career is marked by dedication to civil liberties and unrelenting opposition to the old regime. He spent his exile in Paris. He was given the job in a deal with the Islamists whereby his small party allied with Ennahda to give them the necessary votes to form a government. Marzouki is now despised by the secular opposition because he has come to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of the President's office so much as to blind himself to the government's abuse of power. He does not speak out about the Salafists' acts, he does not chastize the government, he conducts himself as a puffed up Head of State who enjoys travel, receiving distinguished foreign guests, and having himself addressed by various titles. He is functionally senile. All of this is justified in what is left of his mind by his belief that he will go down in history as shepherding Tunisia into some kind of Shangri-la wherein Islamists and secularist lie down together. In short, a pompous fool.

These days, Ennahda is running scared - for obvious reasons. However, the opposition is as lackadiasical as ever instead of exploiting the disgrace of the Islamists in Egypt to press the government. Nonetheless, Ennadha will lose votes in the upcoming elections. Tunisians are 90% literate, take immense pride in their accomplishments and their civility, and are upset by the stagnant economy. This is little of the fanatic in the make-up of the vast majority. many people voted for Ennadhi because they respected its consistent oppsition to Ben-Ali or because some thought that a party of Allah must have the people's well-being foremost in mind.

The army will stay out of it - unless the government resorts to force. It is not clear whether the police who have been obedient until now are dependable since their obedience may just be a carry-over from the old regime's practices. Ennadhi, of course, is trying to Islamicize the leadership.

I get all of this from Tunisians here who are in daily touch with politically engaged family and friends. Many were here in Austin last month for an annual Tunisian community event - along with the Ambassador, an intelligent career man. They include a few former diplomats. It also should be evident to any clear-eyed visitor who throws away his i-pad and postpones for a few days the gratification of extending the geographical range of his supposed expertise in the eyes of his Dupont Circle pals.

P.S. I see that the geniuses in the White House have managed to resolve the Snowden problem - in their own inimitable way


The part that I dispute in the Times story is that which refers to a meeting between Al Sissi and Morsi July 2ed at 6pm. I know they met twice at 2 pm when the president allegedly accepted the compromise offer, and I know they met again at 6pm. The Times claims that Morsi accepted and cites some of his aids confirming that. Then, the same aids say Sissi came back to tell the president that the opposition refused. This narrative does not fit withen the context of events, nor with what the opposition say (they did not receive any signal of acceptance), nor with the military say. But above all, the MBs themselves deny very strongly that Morsi accepted any offer (pls return to their statements since the beginning of the crisis and until this moment). I will simply say that what the Times said that Morsi did is unverifiable in any way. But if we step back from the sensational reporting of Morsi's last hours and all the stuff that is liked by reporters and most readers for some reason, the main question remains..why Morsi refused all attempts to reach a compromise? You can not indulge in psychological analysis here as the guy was resorting in every step, however minor, to the "Maktab Al Ershad" or the MB's politburo.My question here does not stop at that limit. It is obviously aimed at a discussing the Administration's policy towards the MBs and the situation in Egypt. However you look at this, you will find that the end result, which is the current situation, should raise serious concerns about the assumptions and concepts the Administration based this policy. I was simply trying to raise this issue. Therefore, the story in NT and even the change of heart in the Administration at the very last moment is not that important unless we are interested in sensational reporting and exciting stories. In my view there is deeper problem here.



"... neither Ennadha nor Ghannouchi is a paragon of Islamist democratic virtue." Yes I know your wife is Tunisian (Jewish?) but Ghanoushi is the same Islamist as all the others. PL


Joe from Cairo should know that the Egyptian military is paid for by the USA, it's officers mostly trained in the USA, all to keep the peace with Israel. Of course the generals should have the right to remove an elected president, suspend the constitution, arrest the opposition, close down their media. (Even AlJazeera Arabic was closed down). The elected president was, gasp, Islamic, you know. That's like being communist,like in Chile, for example.



I will answer for him, although he may amplify or contradict. Yes, being an Islamist politician is perhaps worse than being a communist cadre in Beijing, Havana, or Moscow. pl

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