Monday, June 24, 2013
Egypt - Is The Military Planning A Coup?
As Egypt continues to unravel,an ominous sign came today from Egypt's army chief and defense minister General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
His comments were delivered to a group of military officers and referenced the scheduled June 30th protests scheduled against Islamist Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohamed Morsi, which the regime's supporters have vowed to 'smash'.
El-Sissi said that while the military has so far not become involved in the political turmoil, it has a responsibility to intervene and stop Egypt from "slipping into a dark tunnel of conflict, internal fighting."
He urged all parties to reach an agreement and defuse the crisis. "We have a week during which a great deal can be achieved. This is a call that is only motivated by love of the nation, its presence and future."
"Those who think that we (the military) are oblivious to the dangers that threaten the Egyptian state are mistaken. We will not remain silent while the country slips into a conflict that will be hard to control," he said.
"It is not honorable that we remain silent in the face of the terrorizing and scaring of our Egyptian compatriots. There is more honor in death than watching a single Egyptian harmed while his army is standing idly by."
Al-Sissi, who was appointed by Morsi is sending some interesting signals here.
Egypt is currently in a fiscal and societal collapse. Crime is rampant, prices are soaring on basic staples, foreign investment is non-existent, power cuts and shortages are common and unemployment has skyrocketed.
In addition, as Morsi and the Brotherhood regime become increasingly dictatorial, they are starting to lose support.
Al-Sissi is essentially saying that if things continue in the present state, the army will step in and take over again.
There are several things to consider here.
Remember that the Egyptian Army is not like our army...it's more like a state within a state. It owns private businesses, factories, property, even farmland, often staffed by army recruits who work at non-military jobs for army wages. A good part of the $1.5 billion in aid Egypt gets from us in military aid goes to fund these enterprises.
As the economy spirals out of control, the financial assets of the army are taking a huge hit.That's an important motivation behind what al-Sissi had to say. He is warning Morsi and the Brotherhood to focus less on implementing sharia and more on managing Egypt's economy.
Another interesting consideration is where President Obama stands on this.Our Islamist friendly president has always funded, enabled and supported Islamists and has never never backed any action against an Islamist regime. Has he decided it might be better to cut Morsi and the Brotherhood loose and have the army take over rather than allow the Brotherhood to fail so dismally?