Divide and Install

The Protest Movement in Egypt: “Dictators” do not Dictate, They Obey Orders

egypt_reuters_wide july 2013

Egypt is currently at a dangerous crossroads which could evolve towards a civil war.

It is important to understand Washington’s role, which is carried out by the Pentagon and US intelligence.

While the Armed Forces have cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhoodthe Coup d’Etat is ultimately intended to manipulate the protest movement and prevent the accession of a “real people’s government”. 

The overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian Armed forces was not carried out against US interests, it was instigated to ensure “continuity” on behalf of Washington.  Defense Minister General Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi who was behind the Coup d’Etat directed against President Morsi was in permanent liaison by telephone with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel  from the very outset of the protest movement. Press reports confirm that he consulted him several times in the days leading up to the Coup d’Etat.  It is highly unlikely that General Al Sisi would have acted without a ‘green light” from the Pentagon.

The Muslim Brotherhood government was supported by the US from the outset.  At the same time important sectors of the protest movement directed against the Brotherhood were also supported by the US,  through US  foundations,  including the National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House. The Kifaya movement, which organized one of the first protests directed against the Mubarak regime in late 2004, and which is currently involved in the movement against the Brotherhood is supported by the US based International Center for Non-Violent Conflict

These actions by US foundations linked to the US State Department ensure that the US funded civil society opposition will not  address the broader issue of foreign interference in the affairs of a sovereign state.

The US supports both sides with a view to creating divisions within Egyptian society as well political chaos.

The puppet masters so to speak support the protest movement against their own puppets. Its called “political leveraging”: support the Muslim Brotherhood as well as the opponents of the Morsi government, as a means to manipulating the mass movement, creating social and sectarian divisions and preventing the emergence of a sovereign national government.

Meanwhile the Western media has skillfully portrayed the Egyptian military as anti-American, following the recall of the US ambassador to Egypt Ann Patterson. This action is a useful lsmokescreen which obfuscates Washington’s role in the Coup d’Etat: the instigators of the Coup d’Etat are not “anti-American, they take their orders directly from the Pentagon. 

The following article first published in January 2011 provides a background on the 2011 protest movement  as well as Washington’s role in manipulating the “Arab Spring” movement.

Michel Chossudovsky, July 6, 2013


The Protest Movement in Egypt: “Dictators” do not Dictate, They Obey Orders
by Michel Chossudovsky,
Global Research, January 29,  2011

The Mubarak regime could collapse in the a face of a nationwide protest movement… What prospects for Egypt and the Arab World?

 ”Dictators” do not dictate, they obey orders. This is true in Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.   

Dictators are invariably political puppets. Dictators do not decide.

President Hosni Mubarak was a faithful servant of Western economic interests and so was Ben Ali.

The national government is the object of the protest movement.

The objective is to unseat the puppet rather than the puppet-master.

The slogans in Egypt are “Down with Mubarak, Down with the Regime”. No anti-American posters have been reported… The overriding and destructive influence of the USA in Egypt and throughout the Middle East remains unheralded.

The foreign powers which operate behind the scenes are shielded from the protest movement.

No significant political change will occur unless the issue of foreign interference is meaningfully addressed by the protest movement.

The US embassy in Cairo is an important political entity, invariably overshadowing the national government. The Embassy is not a target of the protest movement.

In Egypt, a devastating IMF program was imposed in 1991 at the height of the Gulf War. It was negotiated in exchange for the annulment of Egypt’s multibillion dollar military debt to the US as well as its participation in the war. The resulting deregulation of food prices, sweeping privatisation and massive austerity measures led to the impoverishment of the Egyptian population and the destabilization of its economy. The Mubarak government was praised as a model “IMF pupil”.

The role of Ben Ali’s government in Tunisia was to enforce the IMF’s deadly economic medicine, which over a period of more than twenty years served to destabilize the national economy and impoverish the Tunisian population. Over the last 23 years, economic and social policy in Tunisia has been dictated by the Washington Consensus.

Both Hosni Mubarak and Ben Ali stayed in power because their governments obeyed and effectively enforced the diktats of the IMF.

From Pinochet and Videla to Baby Doc, Ben Ali and Mubarak, dictators have been installed by Washington. Historically in Latin America, dictators were instated through a series of US sponsored military coups. In todays World, they are installed through “free and fair elections” under the surveillance of the “international community”.

Our message to the protest movement:

Actual decisions are taken in Washington DC,  at the US State Department, at the Pentagon,  at Langley, headquarters of the CIA. at H Street NW, the headquarters of the World Bank and the IMF.

The relationship of “the dictator” to foreign interests must be addressed. Unseat the political puppets but do not forget to target the “real dictators”. 

The protest movement should focus on the real seat of political authority; it should target (in a peaceful, orderly and nonviolent fashion) the US embassy, the delegation of the European Union, the national missions of the IMF and the World Bank.

Meaningful political change can only be ensured if the neoliberal economic policy agenda is thrown out.

Regime Replacement 

If the protest movement fails to address the role of foreign powers including pressures exerted by “investors”, external creditors and international financial institutions, the objective of national sovereignty will not be achieved. In which case, what will occur is a narrow process of “regime replacement”, which ensures political continuity.

“Dictators” are seated and unseated. When they are politically discredited and no longer serve the interests of their US sponsors, they are replaced by a new leader, often recruited from within the ranks of the political opposition.

In Tunisia, the Obama administration has already positioned itself. It intends to play a key role in the “democratization program” (i.e. the holding of so-called fair elections). It also intends to use the political crisis as a means to weaken the role of France and consolidate its position in North Africa:

“The United States, which was quick to size up the groundswell of protest on the streets of Tunisia, is trying to press its advantage to push for democratic reforms in the country and further afield.

The top-ranking US envoy for the Middle East, Jeffrey Feltman, was the first foreign official to arrive in the country after president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted on January 14 and swiftly called for reforms. He said on Tuesday only free and fair elections would strengthen and give credibility to the north African state’s embattled leadership.

“I certainly expect that we’ll be using the Tunisian example” in talks with other Arab governments, Assistant Secretary of State Feltman added.

He was dispatched to the north African country to offer US help in the turbulent transition of power, and met with Tunisian ministers and civil society figures.

Feltman travels to Paris on Wednesday to discuss the crisis with French leaders, boosting the impression that the US is leading international support for a new Tunisia, to the detriment of its former colonial power, France. …

Western nations had long supported Tunisia’s ousted leadership, seeing it as a bulwark against Islamic militants in the north Africa region.

In 2006, the then US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, speaking in Tunis, praised the country’s evolution.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton nimbly stepped in with a speech in Doha on January 13 warning Arab leaders to allow their citizens greater freedoms or risk extremists exploiting the situation.

There is no doubt that the United States is trying to position itself very quickly on the good side,…” ” AFP: US helping shape outcome of Tunisian uprisingemphasis added

Will Washington be successful in instating a new puppet regime?

This very much depends on the ability of the protest movement to address the insidious role of the US in the country’s internal affairs.

The overriding powers of empire are not mentioned. In a bitter irony, president Obama has expressed his support for the protest movement.

Many people within the protest movement are led to believe that president Obama is committed to democracy and human rights, and is supportive of the opposition’s resolve to unseat a dictator, which was installed by the US in the first place.

Co-optation of Opposition Leaders

The co-optation of the leaders of major opposition parties and civil society organizations in anticipation of the collapse of an authoritarian puppet government is part of Washington’s design, applied in different regions of the World.

The process of co-optation is implemented and financed by US based foundations including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and  Freedom House (FH). Both FH and the NED have links to the US Congress. the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and the US business establishment. Both the NED and FH are known to have ties to the CIA.

The NED is actively involved in Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria. Freedom House supports several civil society organizations in Egypt.

“The NED was established by the Reagan administration after the CIA’s role in covertly funding efforts to overthrow foreign governments was brought to light, leading to the discrediting of the parties, movements, journals, books, newspapers and individuals that received CIA funding. … As a bipartisan endowment, with participation from the two major parties, as well as the AFL-CIO and US Chamber of Commerce, the NED took over the financing of foreign overthrow movements, but overtly and under the rubric of “democracy promotion.” (Stephen Gowans, January « 2011 “What’s left

While the US has supported the Mubarak government for the last thirty years, US foundations with ties to the US State department and the Pentagon have actively supported the political opposition including the civil society movement.  According to Freedom House: “Egyptian civil society is both vibrant and constrained. There are hundreds of non-governmental organizations devoted to expanding civil and political rights in the country, operating in a highly regulated environment.” (Freedom House Press Releases).

In a bitter irony, Washington supports the Mubarak dictatorship, including its atrocities, while also backing and financing its detractors, through the activities of FH, the NED, among others.

Under the auspices of Freedom House, Egyptian dissidents and opponents of Hosni Mubarak were received in May 2008 by Condoleezza Rice at the State Department and the US Congress. They also met White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, who was “the principal White House foreign policy adviser” during George W. Bush’s second term.

Freedom House’s effort to empower a new generation of advocates has yielded tangible results and the New Generation program in Egypt has gained prominence both locally and internationally. Egyptian visiting fellows from all civil society groups received [May 2008] unprecedented attention and recognition, including meetings in Washington with US Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor, and prominent members of Congress. In the words of Condoleezza Rice, the fellows represent the “hope for the future of Egypt.”

Freedom House, http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=66&program=84(emphasis added).

Political Double Talk: Chatting with “Dictators”, Mingling with “Dissidents”

The Egyptian pro-democracy delegation to the State Department was described by Condoleezza Rice as “The Hope for the Future of Egypt”.

In May 2009, Hillary Clinton met a delegation of Egyptian dissidents, several of which had met Condoleezza Rice a year earlier. These high level meetings were held a week prior to Obama’s visit to Egypt:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the work of a group of Egyptian civil society activists she met with today and said it was in Egypt’s interest to move toward democracy and to exhibit more respect for human rights.

The 16 activists met with Clinton and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman in Washington at the end of a two-month fellowship organized by Freedom House’s New Generation program.

The fellows raised concern about what they perceived as the United States government distancing itself from Egyptian civil society and called on President Obama to meet with young independent civil society activists when he visits Cairo next week. They also urged the Obama administration to continue to provide political and financial support to Egyptian civil society and to help open the space for nongovernmental organizations which is tightly restricted under Egypt’s longstanding emergency law.

The fellows told Clinton that momentum was already building in Egypt for increased civil and human rights and that U.S. support at this time was urgently needed.They stressed that civil society represents a moderate and peaceful “third way” in Egypt, an alternative to authoritarian elements in the government and those that espouse theocratic rule. (Freedom House, May 2009)

During their fellowship, the activists spent a week in Washington receiving training in advocacy and getting an inside look at the way U.S. democracy works. After their training, the fellows were matched with civil society organizations throughout the country where they shared experiences with U.S. counterparts. The activists will wrap up their program … by visiting U.S. government officials, members of Congress, media outlets and think tanks.” (Freedom House, May 2009, emphasis added)

These opposition civil society groups –which are currently playing an important role in the protest movement– are supported and funded by the US. They indelibly serve US interests.

The invitation of Egyptian dissidents to the State Department and the US Congress also purports to instil a feeling of commitment and allegiance to American democratic values. America is presented as a model of Freedom and Justice. Obama is upheld as a “Role Model”.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks with Egyptian activists promoting freedom and democracy, visiting through the Freedom House organization, prior to meetings at the State Department in Washington, DC, May 28, 2009.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks with “Egyptian activists promoting freedom and
democracy”, prior to meetings at the State Department in Washington, DC, May 28, 2009.

 

Hillary Clinton and Hosni Mubarak in Sharm El Sheik, September 2010

Condoleezza Rice chats with Hosni Mubarak?  ” Hope for the Future of Egypt”.

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