by Curtis Jones
Obama shouldn’t have to worry. The diagnosis of “coup” is a misreading of recent events. The Egyptian version of the “Arab Spring” was a temporary gush of liberal enthusiasm enabled by army tanks, when they suddenly routed Mubarak’s irregulars, who were on the point of decimating the liberals in Tahrir Square.
The Supreme Command of the Armed Forces (SCAF) chose this tactic of expediency as a means of facilitating the ouster of President Mubarak, who had lost his cronies’ support by scheming to set up their nemesis, Mubarak’s son Gamal, as heir apparent. In keeping with this charade, the rearranged SCAF was willing to allow the “election” of President Mursi. After years of close combat with the Brotherhood, the generals may well have been astute enough to realize that, if its politically inexperienced leaders were given enough rope, they would hang themselves. Anyway, that’s what happened—allowing SCAF to take Egypt back to square one.
This denouement is being erroneously interpreted as a coup (takeover by a cabal). In fact, the last takeover by a military cabal occurred in 1952. Egypt was a military dictatorship before 2011. It still is. The only change is the names and numbers of the members of the cabal. Sisi is the new Mubarak. The proof is the ease with which they carried out the abduction of Mursi, the massacre in the Muslim Brotherhood’s encampments, and the semi-release of Mubarak.
The intervening “reign” of the Muslim Brotherhood was a mirage. SCAF has retained ultimate power all along.
The views expressed by the author are his own.
Curt Jones, a member of this journal’s Board of Directors, has contributed frequent commentaries to American Diplomacy. He retired from the Foreign Service in 1975 after more than thirty years of service, including assignments to seven posts abroad.