- Is Obama An Enabler of Tyranny in Egypt?
- Hypocrisy over Egyptian bloodshed
- Still a democratic coup in Egypt?
- The PERVERTED LOGIC of Dr M
Posted: 16 Aug 2013 09:44 AM PDT
When President Obama visited Cairo on June 4, 2009, he made a special point of declaring that he had come to establish a new beginning between the United States and the Arab world. This beginning, he said, would be based “upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive…they overlap, and share common principles—principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.” Now, in Egypt, an authoritarian government, headed by the military, is slaughtering followers of Islam, and what does Obama have to say?
Not much, it appears. What is emerging from the president and his advisers is a few worried murmurs of protest, coupled with studied indecision. Where are the human-rights activists such as UN ambassador Samantha Power? Where is national-security adviser Susan Rice who vowed to stick up for the oppressed after she remained silent during the genocide in Rwanda? Do they agree with Secretary of State John Kerry’s earlier assessment that the military is “restoring democracy” in Egypt?
Instead of protesting the Egyptian military’s actions, or even threatening to cut off military aid, the administration is refusing to deem the events in Egypt a coup. The Washington Posteditorial page says that the administration is “complicit” with the military’s actions. It adds,
If a serious case could be made that Egpyt is headed towards stable, authoritarian rule, it would be one thing. In that instance, it might be plausible to invoke Henry Kissinger’s famous comment about Chile and add that a country shouldn’t be allowed to go hardline Islamist. But the problem is this: Is Obama being a realist when it comes to Egypt? Or is he being utterly unrealistic about what the future holds for Washington’s ties with Cairo? America’s track record, when it comes to supporting corrupt and authoritarian regimes, particularly in the Middle East, is a mixed one. Obama, you could even say, is inadvertently doing what he said he wanted to end in his Cairo speech: “empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and…promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity.”
For Egypt appears to be headed toward, at best, an armed truce, and, at worst, a civil war. The Islamists are being further radicalized. America will be blamed. How does this end the “cycle of suspicion and discord” that Obama identified and lamented in June 2009?
Indeed, it may well be that the conflagration that the neoconservatives hoped would erupt in the Middle East is indeed erupting. Syria is already in flames. Now Egypt may be engulfed. How long can it be before Jordan is afflicted by the tumult?
Obama, aloof as ever, wants nothing to do with foreign policy. But a renewed debate is going to erupt in America over continuing aid to what amounts to an armed junta in Egypt. Senator Rand Paul was widely ridiculed when he proposed an amendment ending aid to Egypt, but perhaps he no longer looks so ridiculous at a moment when the Washington Post is calling for suspending it until the generals move to restore democracy. At a minimum, Obama should threaten suspension. Surely he does not want to go down in history as the enabler of tyranny?
There may not be much that America can do to calm Egypt, but Obama doesn’t even seem to be trying. Leon Trotsky once remarked, “You may not be interested in the dialectic, but the dialectic is interested in you.” Obama could be about to learn that he may not be interested in foreign affairs, but foreign affairs is interested in him.
Posted: 16 Aug 2013 12:17 AM PDT
The attack of the Egyptian police and military on the supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi gathered in Adawiya and Nahda squares of Cairo started in the early hours of Aug. 14, as it was started to be reported in social media a while before the international agencies.
The interim government had warned a few days ago that they would "gradually" put pressure on the demonstrators to empty the streets, but perhaps no one expected such a merciless attack by the security forces that resulted in killing of so many people. That may include governments who gave a silent approval to the military coup, which toppled the elected president of the country, like the U.S. and EU governments and those who applauded the coup, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar; they have a responsibility for yesterday's massacre in Cairo.
Qatar condemned the yesterday's move by the Egyptian security forces and joined Turkey to denounce it as "unacceptable"; perhaps thanks to a telephone call by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu. The first statements from the European Union were calling all political sides to "renounce violence," as if it was same thing to have street demonstrations against a military coup and opening fire on them. Later on the statement from the EU was a more careful one asking the Egyptian security forces to stop attacking peaceful demonstrators.
But right after the attack, some of the protesters were no longer as peaceful as before, showing a reaction. The incidents quickly spread to other cities of Egypt in such a way that the interim government declared state of emergency, perhaps dragging the country a step closer to martial law. The United States' condemnation of the killings was particularly against the declaration of the state of emergency, too.
Actually the country is being dragged into a civil war like Syria. Pointing at that threat, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said Egypt was getting down into chaos and it might take long years from now for the country to adopt democracy.
No one has ever seen such a situation before. A part of the Egyptian people are resisting against a coup, claiming their votes and do not want to lose the power they have achieved after decades, and part of the people are against the protesters, even supporting the military with the fear that the democratic majority could turn the country into a theocratic state; a terrible picture indeed.
Egypt, despite its thousands of years of history and tradition of statehood, has never experienced a democratic life. The Arab Spring, which resulted in the toppling of its former ruler Hosni Mubarak, was regarded as an opportunity for a journey toward a democratic life. It started to turn sour when Morsi felt that he could transform the long established Egyptian state apparatus into a Muslim Brotherhood machine overnight, and it took a big blow when the military, betraying its new boss, overthrew Morsi on July 3. Now it seems democracy in Egypt is a dream that cannot become true so quickly.
But it should be noted that this situation is no way sustainable for either the Egyptian military or the international community in support of them. The U.S. administration must see that the support that they give the military-backed interim government in Egypt will not be able to eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood, which has deep roots in the society, but it will possibly radicalize many proud and angry men and women in Egypt and in other Arab countries into the trenches of al-Qaeda and the like. That would be the bitter cost of the hypocrisy over the bloodshed in Egypt.
Posted: 15 Aug 2013 11:35 PM PDT
The death toll continues to rise following the brutal crackdown by the Egyptian military, while the Obama administration is walking a tightrope, condemning the bloodshed on the streets of Cairo but falling short – still – of calling the overthrow of the democratically-elected Morsi government a coup.
This is most hypocritical, for the Americans have long been backing Saudi Arabia which is now popularly regarded as the source of extremism, representing a much bigger menace than the Muslim Brotherhood.
Since coming to power on 51 percent of the popular votes in July last year, the Muslim Brotherhood has been accused of marginalising the Christian minority, curtailing women's rights, cold-shouldering other political forces and putting the conservatives in power. In short, Mohamed Morsi's refusal to compromise was ostensibly his greatest sin, leading to the dramatic collapse of his presidency.
And there are those in Malaysia who were cheering on as the military coup happened, for they feared a religion-based government that was seemingly harming the rights of many would send a wrong signal to the rest of the Muslim world. How naïve that these people, be they Christians, liberals, democrats or others, would have thought that democracy could be restored through military intervention.
As always, seeking help from the military will not unblock the political impasse but result in deeper political and social divisions that are harder to reconcile. Military coup invariably brings about a media shutdown, rolls back democratic institutions, erodes the judiciary and, most atrociously, costing countless deaths of innocent lives. One does not have to be in Cairo to know it.
That those who uphold political liberalism could have been so easily deluded into believing that the ambitious men in uniform would share their progressive agenda is puzzling indeed.
It is reported that Mohamed ElBaradei (left), a Nobel laureate who was appointed as vice-president after the coup, has now resigned in protest. Given his esteemed position internationally, ElBaradei should not have served under the military in the first place knowing that they are only keener on protecting their vested interests than on rescuing democracy.
More paradoxical is the phenomenon that those who have been supporting wholeheartedly military intervention to get rid of the 'bad guy' happen to be the highly educated elites and middle classes, and this has been proven in the case of Thailand, Turkey and now Egypt.
The road to hell…
As the saying goes: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. No military putsch would be complete without the generals masquerading as national saviours.
After Thaksin Shinawatra was deposed as prime minister in September 2006, Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army, went on TV to declare that "many have asked the military to intervene and safeguard national interests as well as the dignity of the King".
What ensued in the next few years was more bloodshed and conflicts in Thai society, while the Thai military seized the opportunity to regain the excessive powers that they once enjoyed before 1992.
When the anti-Thaksin yellow-shirters occupied the Bangkok international airport for several days in 2008, the security forces did not lift a finger to restore order, and the mayhem only reinforced the misperception that only a strong military would ensure the survival of Thailand as a viable state.
Today, Prem Tinsulanonda, a former prime minister and a retired army general, is endowed with more powers as head of the Privy Council, with the Yingluck Shinawatra government beholden to his invisible influence.
As I see it, there is no such thing as a democratic coup, for the same army that deposes a legitimate head of state today in the name of 'public interests' can do the same to the very applauders of military intervention when the circumstances call for it.
Worse still, nearly all the militaries that have engineered a coup successfully one way or another have accumulated immense political powers and business interests, breeding rampant corruption and undermining constitutional rules along the way.
Meanwhile, endorsing the illegitimate role of the military in the Muslim countries only emboldens the radical elements and extremists such as al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, who now cash in on the opportunity and argue that democracy does not work in an Islamic context, and that raw political power can only be asserted through the barrel of a gun rather than a ballot box.
At the same time, autocracies such as Qatar, Syria and Saudi Arabia are quietly celebrating the havoc in Egypt. It is no doubt tragic to see a greater setback whenever tiny progress is made in the Middle Eastern pursuit of democracy.
The lesson from the Egyptian labyrinth is that an inherently weak society will only make it ready for other parties to manipulate politics. Instead of looking to the military in checking against a powerful leader, one should endeavour to strengthen civil society as an alternative, as has been the case in South Korea and Indonesia. Sending in the army to handle Morsi's failures is clearly not the answer; neither is the White Knight syndrome.
And both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional must condemn the human rights violations being committed in Egypt. In this, Umno's silence is especially telling – would it take a leaf out of the Egyptian army's book should it lose power one day?
Posted: 15 Aug 2013 11:28 PM PDT
Going by the former PM's latest public remarks, freedom is a curse that all Malaysians must avoid at all cost.
As reported, the Tun Doctor has slammed us Malaysians again. It is because we want freedom that now we have to put up with gun shots and parang wielding gangsters.
Wow! So the President of USA better take note since Barrack Obama is coming to Malaysia soon. Disband your democracy and freedom of speech and freedom to assemble peacefully. Only then will the whole of America be crime free.
For us Malaysians, let us have back all the draconian laws. We need more ISA, more OSA and more of EO. Only then can the UMNO-BN government guarantee us a crime free, safe and secure life.
If you want freedom, be prepared to also die by the gun.
Okay lah. For arguments sake let us pose this one question to our legendary Tun:
Should we believe you ever again?
So if we are to believe you all over again and dump our quest for freedom, justice and transparent accountability, does that also mean that we can dismantle all the barricades of iron and steel that imprison our homes and sell to 'besi burok' and make some handsome cash?
Does that mean that we can also do away with security alarms for our vehicles and make substantial savings on the family budget?
Does that mean that our young sons and daughters can go shopping without fear of being raped or mugged in the car parks of malls?
Does that mean that our citizens do not have to hide their gold under the bed each time they go out?
In all likelihood, when the freedom is taken away by the depriving, oppressive laws, you only get to read what the powers-that-be want to tell.
And so every day, the mouth-piece newspapers will report 'zero crime today'; and should anyone tweet of a crime scene, there will be the ISA waiting for such 'undesirable' citizens out to create instability lah.
Sheesh!! Going by the Tun's splatter, the whole world must be stupidly wrong for wanting to chase after liberty, freedom of expression, free and fair elections and all that democracy promotes. Seemingly, freedom comes with that price to die by the gun!
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