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Friday, 16 August 2013

Egyptian Army Kills Hundreds, Yet This is Not a Coup

The Egyptian Army and police have killed hundreds of civilians, almost 600 hundred according to latest reports, and yet the regime retains the ful support of the Obama administration which continues to supply over $1.3 billion dollars in annual military aid. Since 1980, this military aid has totalled around over $40 billion, mostly in advanced weapons and weapon systems. That aid, according to confidential US State Department cables made public by the Wikileaks media and whistleblowing organisation, helped sustain and consolidate in Egypt a military-indutrial complex which controls a significant proportion of the country's economy - including banks, factories, hotels, etc...

The United States now argues that the military overthrow of the elected Morsi administration was not a military coup as such a definition of the transfer of power would automatically halt the flow of US aid to Egypt. The US has invested too much to simply allow Egypt to 'go its own way' and has called the overthrow of the elected Morsi government the 'restoration of democracy'. This represnets the usual Orwellian logic the US applies to its allies and friends in contrast to its enemies.

A military coup occurs when a civilian government is deposed by military action regardless of what authority is installed thereafter. The killing of hundreds of Egyptians supporting the elected Morsi administration and resisting military rule reveals where real power lies in that country. This view is strengthened by the resignation of Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei from his position in the military regime’s puppet government. In a letter to President Adly Mansour, ElBaradei wrote: “It has become hard for me to keep bearing responsibility for decisions that I did not approve of and warned against their consequences. I cannot be responsible before God for a single drop of blood.”

Not only is the Obama administration continuing to support the Egyptian military regime, it has refused to condemn the violence against and murder of hundreds of civilians. In addition, the EU and the UN have called, at most, for "restraint" and an end to violence from both sides. This sort of 'concern' is normally reserved for the Israeli military's killing of Palestinian civilians. Thus, Egypt has entered the ranks of the west's closest friends and allies.

Below are two brief reports indicating the positions of the US and UN on the situation in Egypt. They indicate a degree of political cynicism that is shocking even if not especially surprising.

Obama on Egypt:"We don't take sides with any particular party or political figure"
President Barack Obama announced Thursday that the United States has canceled joint military training exercises with the Egyptian military and alluded to the fact that his administration could take further steps to deal with the violence in Egypt.

"Going forward, I've asked my national security team to assess the implications of the actions taken by the interim government and further steps we may take as necessary with respect to the U.S.-Egyptian relationship," Obama said.In a statement from his vacation home on Martha's Vineyard, the president, however, refrained from calling the government overthrow a coup, which would have implications for the military and humanitarian aid the United States sends to Egypt."The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt interim government and security forces," Obama said about this week's Egyptian military crackdown against protests in Cairo. "We deplore violence against civilians."Obama avoided taking sides with any factions in the country, which his administration has done consistently."We don't take sides with any particular party or political figure," Obama said. "We want Egypt to succeed. We want a peaceful, democratic, prosperous Egypt. That's our interest."The president continued: "America cannot determine the future of Egypt. That's a task for the Egyptian people."Obama put the United States on the side of the Egyptian people, stating that his administration believes regular Egyptians "deserve better than what we have seen in the last several days."
UN calls for 'maximum restraint' in Egypt

Security Council says it "regretted loss of lives" in Cairo, and spoke of the need to "advance national reconciliation".The UN Security Council has called on the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise "maximum restraint", after an emergency meeting.Thursday's announcement comes a day after at least 578 people were killed when security forces broke up protest camps allied to the Muslim Brotherhood.The protesters had been demanding the reinstatement of President Mohamed Morsi, overthrown by the army on July 3."The view of council members is that it is important to end violence in Egypt, and that the parties exercise maximum restraint," Argentine UN Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval told reporters after the 15-member council met on the situation.The council was briefed on the situation in Egypt behind closed doors by UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.The meeting was jointly requested by council members France, Britain and Australia.Cairo's military-backed rulers ordered the storming of pro-Morsi protest camps after dawn on Wednesday, six weeks after the army overthrew him."The members first of all expressed their sympathy to the victims and regretted the loss of lives," said Perceval, who is council president for August."There was a common desire on the need to stop violence and to advance national reconciliation."

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