T Nation

JB and Others: Egypt and the Army


#1

I thought that this perhaps needed a new thread.

Morsi is out.

It looks like the Egyptians (at least the Army) were not going to tolerate Egypt becoming a hot-bed for Islamic Extremism.

1) Is this all 1) "Good" 2) "Bad" or 3) "Neutral" as far as Israel is concerned?

2) Is this a "Good" or "Bad" thing for the U.S.?

3) Is the Army truly "for the People"?

4) Where do you think things go from here?

Fascinating.

Thanks for your input everyone.

Mufasa


#2

Some relevant reading for those who are interested.


#3

Still processing and not very up-to-date on these events but my gut feeling on #2 is that this is a very good thing for the US. Secular gov’t is immeasurably preferable to islamist theocracy in the region.

However that also depends on whether the US finds a way to fuck up the situation as we have so many others, so jury’s out for me right now. The development is good but I tend to believe our ability to draw defeat from the jaws of victory is quite a resilient trait in foreign policy.

The rest is beyond my abilities to scry at present, nor would I try just yet. Need more reading.


#4
  1. It’s never really good, it’s just a relationship based on convenience.
  2. Same as number one.
  3. No, not really. They were sexually assaulting women and abusing power during the last coup. They’re definitely showing their power though.
  4. A different leader is put in power, one that isn’t so controversial.

#5

[quote]Mufasa wrote:

  1. Is this all 1) “Good” 2) “Bad” or 3) “Neutral” as far as Israel is concerned?

[/quote]

Short term good, medium term neutral, long term bad. The Army kind of has an obsession with destroying Israel but it has learned it doesn’t have the potential yet.

See above.

[laughing…more laughing. But seriously, laughing…

Where did things go from the Munich crisis?

Indeed.


#6

Point taken, SM!

I guess I’m trying to understand the relationship that the Army has with any leader in Egypt and its citizens.

It SEEMS like “the people” either have to be under a heavy fist (e.g. Mubarak)…OR if not, there should at least be some semblance of order.

I understand…the Army is loyal FIRST…to the Army…

And that a Leader in Egypt best keep the Generals happy and appeased…

So again…what IS the Army’s feeling toward “the People”?

Mufasa


#7

Can democracy really work at this point in time? Seems a large portion of the population wants Sharia law, while another larg portion of the population wants a secular state. The interrim president was a sharia judge, so hes not entirely secular. I dont think the people have much say in this matter, there are too big forces at play from outside the country as well as inside.


#8

What needs to happen for any chance at stability in the ME is a complete eradication of the MB. But Barry and the rest of the progressive apologists will not even broach the subject.

Thinking that you can achieve stability by lending your support to an organization hell-bent on destroying the great satan is utterly stupid. But that seems to be out policy, given US support of Sharia law-imposing governments set up since the 'Arab Spring".

Having the Military take control of Egypt is the best news to come out of that region in well over a year.


#9

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#10

[quote]Mufasa wrote:

…what IS the Army’s feeling toward “the People”?

Mufasa

[/quote]

Throughout history, in any country, what has the army’s feeling typically been toward “the people”?

It’s a truism that the military has a thankless job. Civilian ingratitude and contempt for military sacrifice has been around for a long time, and military contempt for civilians is the natural outcome. Train a man to believe that he is morally and physically superior to his enemies, and that belief, just a little, will inevitably remain when the only enemies he sees are the fat, lazy, ungrateful civilians criticizing him for carrying out his orders.

All the ticker-tape parades and yellow ribbon stickers saying “support our troops” do little, ultimately, to ameliorate this feeling. Individual soldiers may love their families and friends and communities, they may even love “their country”, but finding a soldier without at least a little bit of contempt for PFCs (private fucking civilians) is almost as difficult as finding a Marine without just a little bit of contempt for anyone who isn’t a Marine.

Extrapolate that out to the entire fighting force, and it’s pretty clear what the feeling of “the army” is toward “the people”.

Consider that the commanding general of the victorious military forces in three of our nation’s greatest wars went on almost immediately to become President. Admittedly, Washington, Grant and Eisenhower were elected to this position, but they could easily have seized executive power had they wanted. Just like so many successful conquering generals had before them.

Of course, those were different times, before Vietnam. Our military hasn’t had an decisive victory over a serious adversary in quite a while. Which may explain why General Westmoreland, General Schwarzkopf and General Petraeus probably wouldn’t have been anyone’s first pick for the presidency.

Little thought experiment. God forbid it should happen, but let us say that a military coup were to happen in this country. Improbable, but not impossible. After months of fighting between the US military on one side, and the paramilitary Federal Agencies on the other, with military contractor fighting on both sides (preposterous, but fun to imagine), the Marines take over Washington, dissolve the Senate and House of Representatives, and kick the First Family out. Do you think that General Dempsey would relinquish power to the civil authority, or install himself in the White House?


#11

The Muslim brotherhood won the last election because they were the best organised of all the factions involved in the previous uprising. Morsi had 2 choices available to him in order to retain power in the long term. One, kill his opponents, and two, compromise. He did neither. He couldn’t do the first as the Army informed him that they would not kill Egyptians for him. He refused to do the second, hence the second uprising. While his 46% majority in the election may look like the people wanted an Islamist Government, it was the MB’s rhetoric of developing an inclusive government that got them to power. Morsi went on to take Egypt along more hardline and exclusive islamist lines. Hence the new uprising.

I wonder if we will see some of the Middle Eastern countries split along sectarian lines rather than keep to the post WW1 colonial borders. eg Iraq disolves into a Shia state, A Sunni state and a Khurdish state. Likewise in Syria.

All I know is that as a member of the military (Australian not US) I want the western powers to stay the fuck out. The only thing that Sunni and Shia muslims like more than killing each other is killing westerners. The more extremists that focus on killing each other the less that will focus on killing us. Simplistic? Yes. Realistic? No. As long as there are failed economies, high unemployment amongst 18 - 29 year olds, and extremist mullahs talking to them, we will have terrorism. I honestly don’t know how we can combat it.


#12

“…The only thing that Sunni and Shia Muslims like more than killing each other is killing Westerners…”

A very sad reality.

Mufasa


#13

[quote]Mufasa wrote:
Point taken, SM!

I guess I’m trying to understand the relationship that the Army has with any leader in Egypt and its citizens.

It SEEMS like “the people” either have to be under a heavy fist (e.g. Mubarak)…OR if not, there should at least be some semblance of order.

I understand…the Army is loyal FIRST…to the Army…

And that a Leader in Egypt best keep the Generals happy and appeased…

So again…what IS the Army’s feeling toward “the People”?

Mufasa

[/quote]

See my post in the other related thread. Hope it helps some. I’m no expert but I’ve been reading a lot about the history of the Brotherhood and Sudan/Egypt during the late 19th century. Very busy with work at the moment so forgive any unanswered questions. I’d like to get back to this when I have more time.


#14

[quote]Mufasa wrote:
It looks like the Egyptians (at least the Army) were not going to tolerate Egypt becoming a hot-bed for Islamic Extremism.

  1. Is this all 1) “Good” 2) “Bad” or 3) “Neutral” as far as Israel is concerned?

  2. Is this a “Good” or “Bad” thing for the U.S.?

[/quote]

I don’t know if these questions can be answered seperted from “is this good for Eqyptians?”

What is good for Israel and the USA is an Eqypt where the common guy can get a decent job, the people go to work every day, raise a family, and are generally just like everyone else in the world.

So, when drilled down, the question is “does the coup make it more or less likely that Eqypt will become a normal, stable, government again?”

Eqypt has some serious systemic problems.

Its average worker makes $2/day or so. There is illegal immigration to Judea and Samria by Eqyptians (that is, the arab-occupied portions of Israel) because there are a fair number of factories and relative stability imposed by Israel those territories. So much for those places being Apartied Death Camps, huh?

Eqypt has been on a downhills slide since the European powers screwed with it in the 1920s and deposed the royal family. Nasser came along after a bit; he was disaster. The last president was a thief and surrounded himself with crooks. Morsi? Corrupt as well, but with the added attraction of being an Islamist.

So, does getting rid of Morsi make things better?

On one hand, Morsi was fairly, and freely, elected. Not good to depose an elected government.

On the other, he was an open Islamist and proceeded to impose Sharia law in the military, the courts, etc.

He proceeded to ethnically cleanse the country of Christians (primarily Copts, but also Roman Catholics).

He was on his was to Iran, Part III.

So is it good for him to be gone? Probably in the long run. Eqypt has minimal oil and depends on tourism and tourists do not go to Islamist hell holes. Eqypt has great beaches and sites and weather.

You go there to get drunk on the beach, take a booze cruise up the Nile, and see some really, really cool tombs.

Not going to happen in an Islamist state.

In the short term? Islamists, once given power, do not go quietly. There will be car bombing and shootings, and general terrorist crap.

People were getting thrown off buildings today, for example. It’s bad news.

If you mean, “are they doing what most Eqyptians wanted”? Maybe, but probably not.

Morsi was freely elected. A Sharia-based Constitution was narrowly avoided being imposed (although it was supported by the clear majority) by some really clever procedural acts by the parties representing the minority secular and Christian groups.

Eqypt has been increasingly radicalized over the last 30 years. To give a tidbit: 91% of females get a cliterectomy and labia removed. (I know this because of my wife’s work.)

They are poor and buy the Islamist line hook-line-and-sinker.

If you mean, “are they doing what they feel is best for Eqyptians”? Then the answer is “yes” and perhaps a plurality support their actions.

From their perspective (and they were right) Morsi was going to turn Eqypt into to Hell on Earth, so they had to do something.

IMHO, democracies only work when you have a robust middle class, a relatively educated population, and an economy that is not in total chaos.

Eqypt has no middle class to speak of, is plagued by really poor education, and its economy is in chaos.

To a Westerner, this sounds repugnant, but the fact of the matter is that in such a situation, a meritacracy via the military is the best you can hope for.

In the long run? The Eqyptian military is very professional. It’s pretty much the only place you can get ahead on merit in Eqypt and is the ticket for smart kids from the slums to “make it” in Eqypt.

The military WILL eventually win. Will it be pretty? Nope. Expect murders in the middle of the night, dead kids, and brutal attacks on cars carrying politians, reporters, and just people on the wrong side.

They will establish a secular government. They will impose stability. They will get the religious police under control. They will make the tourist areas safe. They will get the schools open and stop the rapes in the street.

They will accomplish this by using means that will cause those with weak constitutions to weep.

I think they have a long term plan of getting Eqypt on its feet economically and education-wise, at which time it will be ready for a proper democracy.


#15

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
The Army kind of has an obsession with destroying Israel [/quote]

Nah. That’s the line for the masses.

Eqypt and Israeli military work together far more than you would think.

Sure they have some butt-hurt over Sinai and a couple other incidents, but so do we.

And that was 30 years ago. A generation of soldiers have grown up on both sides, comfortable with those on the other side, watching each other’s TV, and quickly realizing that it may be “us” against the crazies in the not-so-distant future.


#16

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

[quote]Mufasa wrote:

…what IS the Army’s feeling toward “the People”?

Mufasa

[/quote]

All the ticker-tape parades and yellow ribbon stickers saying “support our troops” do little, ultimately, to ameliorate this feeling. Individual soldiers may love their families and friends and communities, they may even love “their country”, but finding a soldier without at least a little bit of contempt for PFCs (private fucking civilians) is almost as difficult as finding a Marine without just a little bit of contempt for anyone who isn’t a Marine.

[/quote]

We don’t call them, “Nasty fucking civilians,” for nothing! The Marine Corps. line is 100% true too.


#17

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
We don’t call them, “Nasty fucking civilians,” for nothing! The Marine Corps. line is 100% true too. [/quote]

I think I am happy there is a draft in my country. Almost everyone is, was, or will be a soldier of some kind.

Probably 50% of the people 20-55 are in the reserves, if not more.

It avoids this division you speak of.


#18

[quote]Jewbacca wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
We don’t call them, “Nasty fucking civilians,” for nothing! The Marine Corps. line is 100% true too. [/quote]

I think I am happy there is a draft in my country. Almost everyone is, was, or will be a soldier of some kind.

Probably 50% of the people 20-55 are in the reserves, if not more.

It avoids this division you speak of.[/quote]

The Swiss seem to avoid this division as well. Our country was intended to operate under a similar system, but somehow that got lost in the shuffle.


#19

several people are holding forth essentially saying that attempts at democracy in an Arab Muslim country will inevitably lead to an Iran-type scenario. They will say that all Arabs/Muslims are this or that, making wild generalizations based on racist and bigoted ideas rooted in their own delisions about how superior their own race/religion is.

Well, now that Egyptians have put on the largest demonstration in human history, with estiamtes of 20-30 million people taking to the street in favor of secular democracy over religious facism (represented by the Muslim Brotherhood), I am again hearing shit about how useless, awful, backwards or inherently violent we are. And to those of you that harbor those thoughts, I simply say fuck you and the horse you rode in on, and I hope the horse fucks you too.

I say this because I have Egyptian blood in me,


#20

[quote]NorCal916 wrote:
several people are holding forth essentially saying that attempts at democracy in an Arab Muslim country will inevitably lead to an Iran-type scenario. They will say that all Arabs/Muslims are this or that, making wild generalizations based on racist and bigoted ideas rooted in their own delisions about how superior their own race/religion is.

Well, now that Egyptians have put on the largest demonstration in human history, with estiamtes of 20-30 million people taking to the street in favor of secular democracy over religious facism (represented by the Muslim Brotherhood), I am again hearing shit about how useless, awful, backwards or inherently violent we are. And to those of you that harbor those thoughts, I simply say fuck you and the horse you rode in on, and I hope the horse fucks you too.

I say this because I have Egyptian blood in me,[/quote]

Well, la-te-da. Happy you have a Berber in the woodpile.

You don’t make $2/day and have next-to-no education, like 90% of the Eqyptian population.

The inability of Eqypt to form a non-islamist democracy has nothing to do with race.

It has to do with economics, the lack of a robust republican history, and the fact the Islamists are organized and well-funded from foreign sources.