Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Egypt: Videos & Photos Show Military & Police Massacring 50+ Pro-Morsi Supporters

July 9, 2013 9 comments

Update: As the fallout of the massacre conducted by the police and the Egyptian military continues, more videos and evidence support the thesis that this massacre was planned and coldly executed. The video below (video 1) and the pictures show an Egyptian soldier standing behind barricades, shielded by his colleague, not under attack or any immediate threat, taking aim, picking his targets, and shooting in complete cold-blood at pro-Morsi supporters. He does that several times during the video. What is even more troubling, he seems to be enjoying himself and even laughing. Is this the behavior of a soldier under assault? Or is it the behavior of cold-blooded sniper/killer who’s been ordered to inflict the maximum damage possible? How many did he kill?

Video 1

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.26.17 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.29.52 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.30.03 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.30.22 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.08 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.09 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.19 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.21 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.22 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.23 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.24 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.30 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.34 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.35 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.37 PMScreen shot 2013-07-09 at 2.31.40 PM

Video 2

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE: A Sniper on a roof top picking out targets and taking them out (at second 48)

This is a 28 minute video that shows the events that led to the killing of 50+ pro-Morsi supporters on July 8th. What we clearly see in this video is that the early assault was given before the morning prayer–Salat Al-fijr. Moreover, the assault was given by the police and the military–i.e., the Republican Guard–was just acting as a support unit that backed the assault. The Republican Guard’s role was a supporting role–a passive role, and not an active one. In addition, this assault seemed to be planned ahead. It doesn’t look like the police were reacting or responding to a threat. They deployed their forces slowly, methodically, and advanced toward the square held by the pro-Morsi supporters. They didn’t rush. They didn’t show any sign that they were responding to a lethal threat.

This video clearly raises more questions about the official version presented to the press and the media yesterday by the Egyptian military establishment.

Questions such as: If the police gave and spearheaded the assault, why does the official version presented by the Egyptian military state that it was the Republican Guard that gave the assault? If the pro-Morsi supporters attacked the Republican Guard as the Egyptian military claims, why did the police then respond to the attack and not the Republican Guard? How come the police seemed to be prepared and acted deliberately? All of these questions raise another important one: was this attack and assault planned ahead? If so, by whom?

Video 3

Click here to watch the 3rd video

Video 4

Click here to watch the 4th video

Video 5

Click to see to watch the 5th video

Video 6

Click here to watch the 6th video

Video 7

Click here to watch the 7th video

Video 8

Click here to watch the 8th video

Video 9

Click here to watch the 9th video



Egypt: Autopsy of a coup d’etat

July 7, 2013 7 comments

These 3 articles (from the Guardian, New York Times, and the WashingtonPost) do a good job at explaining the background of the coup d’etat conducted by the Egyptian military junta. What is clear from these 3 articles is that the military and the clan of former president Mubarak left Morsi no room for maneuvering, acting independently and freely, or to save face.

One the one hand, i understand why Morsi turned down the offer of nominating a new prime minister and a new cabinet with a transfer of all legislative prerogatives to the new PM. If Morsi had accepted that offer under duress, his presidency would have been technically over. The military and the Mubarak clan would have steamrolled him, would have turned him into a rubber stamp. And this would have alienated his base. On the other hand, I think Morsi missed an opportunity early on in his presidency–after he swept out the highest ranks of Egypt’s powerful military and installed new top brass–for taking the initiative and nominating a new PM on his own time table and taking them all by surprise. He didn’t do that. He wasn’t able to properly read the tea leaves, so to speak.

What these 3 articles (see below) show is that Morsi is not a political animal. He’s a creature of the opposition, he made his bones in a clandestine opposition movement, and he is not so much used to political wheelings and dealings, bargaining and logrolling, and compromising and turning political setbacks into victories. This is a classic feature of all leaders who come from the same background as Morsi. The only way for them to survive is to clean house completely and build their own (like Chavez did). If they don’t do that, they have to be super shrewd and conniving (like Erdogan), and that’s the art of politics. Morsi was neither, and he paid the price for that (just like Boudiaf). I also blame his advisers for not warning him of the dangers ahead or directing him to take the initiative. As the fictional character of the television show, The West Wing, Josiah Bartlet said in a dialog with the secretary of Agriculture Roger Tribbey, the cabinet member who stayed behind during a State of the Union address:

You got a best friend?”Is he smarter than you?” Then, That’s your chief of staff.” (click link for video)

It’s not enough to be smart as president. You need to surround yourself with advisers who are 10 times smarter than you. Ask Machiavelli and read “The Prince” and you would know the importance of a good, loyal, and smart adviser.

Mohamed Morsi’s final days – the inside story

Egypt’s first freely elected president found himself isolated and abandoned by allies as even his guards simply stepped away

  • Hamza Hendawi and Maggie Michael, Associated Press
  •, Friday 5 July 2013 06.23 EDT
Mohamed Morsi

Mohamed Morsi had been at odds with virtually every institution in the country in recent months. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The army chief came to President Mohammed Morsi with a simple demand: Step down on your own.

“Over my dead body!” Morsi replied to General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Monday, two days before the army eventually ousted him after a year in office.

In the end, Egypt‘s first freely elected president found himself isolated, abandoned by allies and no one in the army or police willing to support him.

Even his Republican Guards simply stepped away as army commandos came to take him to an undisclosed defence ministry facility, according to army, security and Muslim Brotherhood officials, who gave the Associated Press an account of Morsi’s final hours in office.

The Muslim Brotherhood officials said they saw the end coming for Morsi as early as 23 June – a week before the opposition planned its first big protest. The military gave the president seven days to work out his differences with the opposition.

In recent months, Morsi had been at odds with virtually every institution in the country, including leading Muslim and Christian clerics, the judiciary, the armed forces, the police and intelligence agencies. His political opponents fuelled popular anger that Morsi was giving too much power to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, and had failed to tackle Egypt’s mounting economic problems.

There was such distrust between Morsi and the security agencies that they began withholding information from him – deploying troops and armour in cities without his knowledge.

Police also refused to protect Muslim Brotherhood offices that came under attack in the latest wave of protests.

Therefore, when Morsi was fighting for his survival, there was no one to turn to, except calling for outside help through western ambassadors and a small coterie of aides from the Brotherhood who could do little more than help him record two last-minute speeches.

In those remarks, he emotionally emphasised his electoral legitimacy – a topic that Morsi repeatedly raised in the talks with Sisi.

Early this week, during two meetings in as many days, Morsi, Sisi and Hesham Kandil, the prime minister, sat down to discuss ways out of the crisis.

But Morsi kept returning to the mandate he won in the June 2012 balloting, according to one of the officials. He said Morsi wouldn’t address the mass protests or any of the country’s most pressing problems – tenuous security, rising prices, unemployment, power cuts and traffic congestion.

A Brotherhood spokesman, Murad Ali, said the military had already decided that Morsi had to go, and Sisi would not entertain any of the concessions that the president was prepared to make.

“We were naive … We didn’t imagine betrayal would go this far,” Ali said.

“It was like, ‘either we put you in jail, or you come out and announce you are resigning,'” Ali added.

Brotherhood officials said they saw the end coming.

“We knew it was over on 23 June. Western ambassadors told us that,” said another Brotherhood spokesman. US ambassador Anne Patterson was one of the envoys, he added.

Morsi searched for allies in the army, ordering two top aides – Asaad el-Sheikh and Rifaah el-Tahtawy – to establish contact with potentially sympathetic officers in the 2nd Field Army based in Port Said and Ismailia on the Suez Canal.

The objective was to find a bargaining chip to use with Sisi, security officials with firsthand knowledge of the contacts said.

There were no signs that Morsi’s overtures had any effect, but Sisi, on learning of the contacts, took no chances. He issued directives to all unit commanders not to engage in any contacts with the presidential palace and, as a precaution, dispatched elite troops to units whose commanders had been contacted by Morsi’s aides.

The end nears

On the surface, Morsi wanted to give the impression that the government was conducting business as usual.

His offices released statements about meetings with cabinet ministers to discuss issues such as the availability of basic food items during Ramadan when Muslims feast on food after a day of dawn-to-dusk fasting. He had four cabinet ministers talk to TV reporters in the presidential palace about fuel shortages and power cuts.

The opposition had set its first mass protest for 30 June, the anniversary of his inauguration, but the demonstrations began early, and Morsi had to stop working at Ittihadiya palace on 26 June.

The next day, he and his family moved into the Cairo headquarters of the Republican Guards, an army branch that protects the president.

Morsi worked at the Qasr El Qouba palace and continued to do so until 30 June, when the Republican Guards advised him to stay put at their headquarters.

His foreign policy aide, Essam el-Haddad, telephoned western governments to put an optimistic spin on events, according to a military official. Haddad was also issuing statements in English to the foreign media, saying that the millions out on the streets did not represent all Egyptians, and that the military intervention amounted to a textbook coup.

According to the usually authoritative newspaper Al-Ahram, Morsi was offered safe passage to Turkey, Libya or elsewhere, but he declined. He also was offered immunity from prosecution if he voluntarily stepped down.

Morsi gave a speech late on Tuesday in which he vowed to stay in power and urged supporters to fight to protect his legitimacy.

Soon after, Sisi placed him under “confinement” in the Republican Guard headquarters. The next day the military’s deadline to Morsi expired. At 5am troops began deploying across major cities and the military posted videos of the movements to its Facebook page in a bid to reassure the public. Republican Guards assigned to the president and his aides walked away at midday and army commandos arrived.

There was no commotion and Morsi went quietly. That evening, Sisi announced Morsi’s removal.

In Egypt, long road to military coup

By , Published: July 5

CAIRO — Less than a year ago, then-President Mohamed Morsi swept out the highest ranks of Egypt’s powerful military and installed new top brass that many expected would be loyal to him.

The Islamist leader enjoyed a three-month honeymoon with his armed forces as a new generation of officers undertook long-delayed modernizations and appeared — for the first time — to be solidly under civilian control. But the relationship soured as Morsi’s rule increasingly challenged the core interests of the military, which functions as a major business power in Egypt in addition to its more traditional role ensuring the security and stability of the nation.

The disagreements started after Morsi’s decree, late one November night, that he had near-unlimited powers over the country and escalated as Egypt’s economy stumbled. The struggles peaked in June, when Morsi stood by twice as officials around him called for Egyptian aggression against Ethiopia and Syria, threatening to suck Egypt into conflicts that it could ill afford, former military officials said.

Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a U.S.-trained Islamist sympathizer who was Morsi’s handpicked man for the office, informed the president on June 22 that he needed to do more to unite the country. The military’s decision to step in was sealed after millions of anti-Morsi protesters took to the streets eight days later, Sisi said in a nationally televised speech announcing the takeover on Wednesday.

Now, with fighter jets performing maneuvers in the clear Cairo sky and armored personnel carriers patrolling the streets, the military is again explicitly in control of an Egypt that it led — either directly or from behind the scenes — for almost six decades before Morsi’s 368 days in power. But for all the military’s might, it appeared unable to restore peace to the streets of Egypt as clashes erupted Friday and continued into Saturday around the nation between Morsi’s supporters and his opponents, leaving at least 30 people dead, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Health.

“The dangers of Morsi’s rule have been apparent for some time now, from the decisions that he has taken and the way he managed the country,” said Talaat Mosallam, a retired major general in Egypt’s army. By June 30, he said, “it was perfectly clear that Morsi’s continuation would cause a very violent conflict between the opposition and his supporters. At that point the armed forces knew they had to move.”

Egypt’s military establishment has long held paramount power over the country, with generals turning themselves into business tycoons over the three decades that President Hosni Mubarak was in office. The army’s business holdings are shadowy and vast, estimated at anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of the economy, and top leaders socialize with each other in manicured country clubs a world away from the vast, smog-filled streets where most people scrape by on just dollars a day. Military officers had run the country since the 1952 revolution, and their leadership has long been willing to go to great lengths to ensure the stability of both their own insular society and Egypt as a whole.

“Their rhetoric has always been the same: that they are there and that they won’t allow Egypt to slip into the dark tunnel,” said Michael Hanna, an expert on the Egyptian military at the Century Foundation in New York.

‘Many governing errors’

The two events in June, in which officials close to Morsi called for aggression in Ethiopia and Syria, put new strains on an already tense relationship between the leader and a military that believed the country could ill afford to involve itself in conflict.

On June 2, politicians meeting with Morsi — unaware that they were on live television — suggested sabotaging an Ethiopian project to build a dam on the Nile by arming Ethiopian rebels, launching a campaign to boast of Egypt’s military might and finishing the job with Egyptian fighter jets. Morsi refrained from giving them explicit support, but he also said later that “all options are open” to defend Egypt’s water supply.

Then, on June 15, Morsi participated in a pro-Syrian-rebel rally at which Sunni clerics repeatedly called for “holy war” in Syria — an implicit push for sectarian violence against Shiites and Alawites. Morsi himself did not call for violence, but he spoke immediately after an ultraconservative Salafist preacher who called Shiites “infidels,” and he said nothing to distance himself from the remarks. Instead, he asserted that the Egyptian “nation, leadership and army will not abandon the Syrian people,” according to Egypt’s flagship state-run al-
Ahram newspaper.

The remarks spooked the military, several analysts said, with many top officers conditioned to be concerned about Islamist sectarianism after decades in which they had worked to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood.

“It was quite clear throughout the past year that Morsi was incompetent and there were many governing errors carried out,” said Mohamed Kadry Said, a former major general who is an analyst at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo and whose remarks echo those made privately by several military officers.

Forming a new leadership

But the final straw, many analysts said, was the Sunday protests that turned millions of Morsi opponents into the streets.

“Had protests really fizzled, I’m not sure the military would have been prepared to intervene,” said Robert Springborg, an expert on the Egyptian military at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. “It brought together the civilian opposition. For the first time they were really singing off the same hymn sheet. Suddenly everyone was together” against the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now the military’s decisions will have a crucial role in shaping the weeks and months ahead, analysts say, as a fragile interim civilian government scrambles to follow a publicly announced road map and reassemble the basic components of a constitutional democracy. In the back of future leaders’ minds will be the fate of politicians who came before.

The potential for conflict is great — and it has already started, with security forces rounding up Muslim Brotherhood leaders at the same time Egypt’s new interim president was calling to include Islamist representatives in a unity government. And a conflict exists within the military’s own rhetoric, as it has struggled to balance law-and-order principles with the right to protest.

“Freedom of expression and speech is guaranteed for everyone,” a military spokesman said on the military’s Facebook page Thursday. But “the excessive use of this right . . . could represent a threat to social peace and the country’s best interest,” it said

Sharaf al-Hourani and William Booth contributed to this report.

Egypt: Update on the situation: The First “Friday Bloody Friday”

July 5, 2013 45 comments

As expected, we didn’t have to wait for long for MB’s reaction to the military coup d’etat. On Friday, Morsi’s supporters and members of the MB organization and movement started their protest cycle, which so far has been a mix of civil disobedience and active marches and protests. The reaction of the military, as expected, was repression, and casualties have been reported.

Moreover, yesterday the military junta shutdown 3  pro-MB TV channels and Al-Jazeera’s direct fed from Cairo, thus banning the popular news channel from providing any live footage of the demonstrations.

However, in the age of the Internet, there are many ways and means to circumvent these bans that belong to another age. Quickly last night, the MB organization started broadcasting live on the Internet, thus creating an alternative news source that is not subjected to military censorship. The YarmoukTV has been broadcasting and covering live all the pro-Morsi protests and initiatives.

Meanwhile, the old Mubarek clan and its coercive branch, the military, are back in power just hours after the coup was conducted and Morsi was deposed. The New York Times reports that the remnants of Egypt’s old government reasserted themselves on Thursday within hours of the military coup that deposed the country’s first freely elected president, and began a widespread crackdown on Morsi’s supporters and the top echelon of the MB organization. The legal justification for these arrests is at best fictional, and at worse purely dictatorial, and reminds us of the old days of Mubarek’s regime. As David Kirkpatrick reports for the NYT, ” The actions [taken by the military] provided the first indications of what Egypt’s new political order could look like after Mohamed Morsi.” –i.e., a repressive political order.

The BBC (Arabic) reports that among the MB leaders that the military arrested yesterday–under the charges of “instigation to violence”, a charge so vague that is nothing but a cover for pure military oppression–are: Muhammad Badie, General Adviser of the MB movement; his top aid and second in command; his predecessor at the same post; Saad al-Katatni, the former Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament; and about 300 members of the MB

To add oil to the already burning fire, the NYT reports today that Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2005 and the replacement of the ousted Morsi at the head of the new executive, along with many prominent liberals have lobbied western powers for the necessity of ousting Morsi and conducting a coup. We do not know yet if ElBaradei received the green light for the military coup from these Western powers, but what we do know is that this information reinforces the rumors that have been floating for the last 2 months that western powers (read, the US and Israel) have been conspiring to depose Morsi, the first democratically elected president from an Islamist party. Whether ElBaradei receiced the blessing of these western powers or not is not important. What is important is that this information adds legitimacy and credence to the narrative of the radical wing of the MB and the Islamist movement in general that western powers would never allow for an Islamist to be the president of a major Muslim country as strategically important as Egypt. Moreover, this only undermines the legitimacy of the military coup and any future government post-Morsi, and erodes the credibility and patriotism of the liberals and their political parties in Egypt. I would even go further and argue that all of the aforementioned consequences of this so-called conspiracy against Morsi are not important; what’s, however, is that this information will only energize the radical and undermine the moderate of the MB movement.

Finally, the first pictures of the crackdown on the MB and the violence in Egypt started to surface. I will post as many pictures as possible, not to add oil on a burning fire, but to inform.

1098037_161836074009253_1861248892_n 1150947_161505880708939_1117472907_n 1146505_160834577442736_1649890262_n 1148976_161750527351141_1096194098_n

Top Picture: Michigan University Football Stadium, Capacity 114,000 people

Bottom Picture: Tahrir Square, Capacity 20 million people, if you believe it

1012455_605255432848048_838521844_n 1012035_665893000089362_845904840_n

Large Pro-Morsi rallies across several cities


This evening in Alexandria and Cairo (green capture)Screen shot 2013-07-05 at 1.31.01 PM

First civilian casualty of today’s clashes


Pictures taken by Jeremy Bowen today, BBnews Reporter

Screen shot 2013-07-05 at 10.40.41 AM Screen shot 2013-07-05 at 10.40.28 AM Screen shot 2013-07-05 at 10.40.13 AM Screen shot 2013-07-05 at 10.30.52 AM

Source to keep yourself informed on the situation in Egypt:

Jeremy Bowen, BBCnews reporter, twitter fed:

Al-YarmukTV, MB news channel on the web:

BBC, Arabic:

New York Times, Middle East page:

Articles worth reading:

Robert Fisk, The Independent: When is a military coup not a military coup? When it happens in Egypt, apparently

David D. Kirkpatrick, NYT: Crackdown on Morsi Backers Deepens Divide in Egypt

David D. Kirkpatrick, NYT: Prominent Egyptian Liberal Says He Sought West’s Support for Uprising

Egypt: MILITARY COUP D’ETAT IN EGYPT–7 Immediate Consequences

July 3, 2013 1 comment

The Egyptian military has just conducted a coup d’état, thus forcing out Mohammed Al-Morsi from power. It’s useful to remind the readers that Morsi was legitimately elected in a free and fair election a year ago.

There are no justifications for this military coup, or for any military coup, or for any intervention of the military in civilian democratic governance. None whatsoever. Those who claim that Morsi mismanaged the economy (which could be a valid claim, though he found when he took over the Egyptian economy was already in the tank) or overstepped his power, or was tone deaf to the demands of the opposition do not advance solid justifications for the intervention of the military and the coup. Moreover, all these grievances are normal political grievances found in any democracy and could have been resolved and dealt with through normal democratic and legal means and mechanisms that all democracies–including the Egyptian one–provide.

Moreover, those who argue that this is not a coup d’état, but an civilian inspired intervention of the military in politics to stop Egypt from descending into anarchy and chaos cannot change the fact that Egypt’s military transferred power illegally from a legitimately elected official and placed it in the hands of an unelected and illegitimate official. This is the definition of a coup d’état. And there is no further debate about that aspect of the event.

Having said that, what are the immediate consequences of this military coup d’état in Egypt & in the Arab/Muslim world?

1-High likelihood of a civil strife and civil war

Civil unrest, and a probable civil war, is very likely and sadly almost unavoidable. The supporters of Morsi will probably protest this coup. They will organize sit-ins in parks, streets, avenues and even  mosques. The military will somehow look away for a couple of months, but sooner or later will intervene forcibly to disperse  the protesters, and that would be the spark which would ignite the first round of violence, which, sadly, wouldn’t the last one. Even if the leaders of the MB have announced that they are against and do not support violence and have denounced it repeatedly, violence is more than likely to occur. In this case, who do we blame? The military or the radical wings of the Islamist movement? It’s clear to me that the blame should go first and foremost to those who organized this coup and stole the legitimate and democratic victory of the MB. After that, the blame game starts again, and we will soon not know who did what, why, and when. Sadly, this has always been the hallmark of the cycle of violence in almost all civil wars and civil strife. But as of now, the aggrieved are the member of the MB, and the aggressors are the military. This much is clear.

2-Victory of the radical wing of the Muslim Brotherhood and defeat of the moderate one

For decades, the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood has been engaged in a serious and tough internal debate to convince its rank and file that democracy is a valid and a legitimate means to arrive to power and do politics. During those years, there were divisions within the movement, the radicals were forced out, outnumbered and muted, and serious fights, fatwas and religious edits were issued to justify democracy, and undermine all alternative means that were so popular in the movement back in the 1960s and 70s. Those who won that debate are the biggest losers today since this coup will provide cover, support, and justification for the rhetoric of the radicals. So, we will probably see the revival of the radical wing of the Muslim Brotherhood which has never believed that Arab/Muslim autocrats would allow an Islamist Party to win elections and exercise power.

3-U.S. will be fairly or unfairly blamed for the coup d’état

The U.S and Israel will be directly or indirectly, fairly or unfairly, blamed for this coup. Even if the U.S did not have any involvement in the coup, the fact that it did not put sufficient pressures on the Egyptian military (with whom it has great relations) will be held against it. Already all over social media networks and Internet forums pictures of a collage of Mossadegh, Salvador Allende and Morsi are floating intimating that this was a coup designed in the West (you add to that Israel) and carried out by “their stooges”, the Egyptian military.

4-Good days ahead for Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda has just gotten a fresh batch of new recruits, slogans, narrative, and material. All that material will point an accusatory finger toward the U.S and accuse the U.S (and by extension Israel) for its hypocrisy–i.e., the U.S loves democracy only when it doesn’t involve Islamist Parties–and for being anti-Islam. The “I told you so” will be the new recruiting slogan for Al-Qaeda. Members of Al-Qaeda as well as its ideology never believed and/or supported democracy and have always undermined moderate and not so moderate Islamist political parties. Probably, the biggest blow to the Al-Qaeda as an ideology was the Arab Spring and the electoral victories of moderate Islamist parties in Tunisia and Egypt. However, Al-Qaeda’s biggest victory so far was handed to it by the Egyptian military today. I have no doubt that Al-Zawahiri is celebrating and dancing in his cave right now.

5-Delegitimization of future Islamist Parties in Egypt post Morsi’s MB

All Islamist Parties that choose to take part in future elections in Egypt will have no credibility, just like all Islamist Parties in Algeria now have lost all popular credibility and legitimacy. The loss of credibility will result from 2 sources: 1) the alleged mismanagement of the economy during Morsi’s first year in office (though it is extremely unfair to blame him for the economic situation since he inherited a collapsing economy); and 2) if the MB engages in violence, and clearly calls for a violent uprising against the military or loses control over its base. This will be held against the MB and will harm its political and social brand, and might even lead to its ban.

6-Delegitimization of democracy as a valid means of governance in Egypt

This is a deadly blow to democracy in Egypt. I am afraid that it might even be a complete delegitimization of the democratic process. Regardless of all the spin that we are listening to right now and is coming from Egypt notwithstanding, democracy has died tonight in Egypt. The consequences of that is the rise of an electoral authoritarian system with a democratic veneer, but with deep layers of authoritarian rules.  The freedom of the press, an independent judiciary, freedom of association and speech are, as of now, something of the past.

7-Chilling effect on new democracies in the Arab World and Sub-Saharan Africa

This coup will have a chilling effect on all new and fledgling democratization processes in Tunisia and Libya (there is also another effect that i will develop in future posts). The military in those countries (and in Sub-Saharan democracies as well) will feel emboldened by the Egyptian example. They will feel that they can intervene at any time in the political process to shape politics in the manner they see fit. Effectively, the military has become in the Arab World a very powerful veto player in civilian democratic governance. This is the death of democracy as we know it, and the rise of electoral authoritarianism, which will last a generation or two.

Video of president Morsi’s last speech moment before he was placed under house arrest

Algerie: Un jour, “J’irai cracher sur vos tombes”

July 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Courtesy of Mohamed Benchicou

L’indépendance entre les Aurès et le Val-de-Grâce

Mohamed Benchicou

dimanche, 30 juin 2013


Oubliant que le 51e anniversaire de l’indépendance va le surprendre sur un lit d’hôpital de l’armée de l’ancienne puissance colonisatrice, le président de la République a cru nécessaire d’appeler sa propre armée à « défendre la souveraineté nationale ».

On serait tenté de dire que venant d’un homme dont la posture n’est pas, à proprement parler, conforme à la noblesse des propos, le bon sens aurait consisté à s’abstenir d’évoquer la souveraineté dans ces circonstances pas très élogieuses pour l’amour-propre national. Mais voilà bien longtemps que la souveraineté, comme la mémoire ou l’histoire, n’a que valeur de futiles mondanités dans la bouche de celui qui a le devoir de l’incarner. Du reste, ce message a toutes les allures d’une futile mondanité, même pas valeur d’estampille, puisque, en ces temps où la falsification le dispute à la tromperie la plus éhontée et au mensonge le plus abject, on ne sait qui de Saïd, Abdelaziz ou Tartempion l’a vraiment écrit à partir de Paris. Comme dirait La Palisse, c’est à ces brigandages qu’on reconnaît l’absence de l’Etat.

C’est là, le problème. Il n’y a pas de souveraineté sans un véritable Etat fort et démocratique ; il n’y a pas de véritable Etat fort et démocratique sans légitimité. Auquel cas, ledit Etat aurait édifié de véritables hôpitaux pour s’y soigner dans la dignité. Aussi, ce Bouteflika, créature du pouvoir illégitime né il y a 50 ans par un viol de la souveraineté populaire, en l’occurrence un putsch contre le Gouvernement provisoire de la République algérienne (GPRA), auquel s’est ajouté le viol de la Constitution en 2009 qui a rétabli le pouvoir à vie, devrait réaliser aujourd’hui qu’il est entre les mains des médecins militaires de l’ex-puissance colonisatrice, qu’en démolissant la souveraineté populaire, il n’a fait qu’aliéner la sienne. Comme bon nombre de fiers-à-bras, il croyait devenir plus indépendant en devenant plus méprisant, alors que la négation de la volonté populaire le jetait déjà dans une sorte de servitude.

Il ne s’agit pas de faire un plaidoyer pour une détestation française qui relèverait d’un ridicule esprit cocardier. Le propos ici est de relever qu’il est plus facile de philosopher sur la souveraineté que de s’y conformer. Qassamen est une promesse faite aux hommes. Dans l’Algérie d’aujourd’hui, elle devient une promesse non tenue. Nos gamins le savent. Le sentent. Tout dans Qassamen est, en effet, un hymne à l’espoir : « Par les foudres qui anéantissent, par les flots de sang pur et sans tache, par les drapeaux flottants qui flottent sur les hauts djebels orgueilleux et fiers, nous jurons nous être révoltés pour vivre ou pour mourir, et nous avons juré de mourir pour que vive la nation ! Témoignez ! Témoignez ! Témoignez ! »

Comment espérer faire trembler par décret nos enfants sur ce chant d’orgueil quand un demi-siècle de gabegie et de corruption les a poussés aux portes du consulat de France avant que leur propre Président ne soit forcé à confier sa survie aux médecins de l’armée française ?

On ne peut prétendre s’ériger en professeur de souveraineté quand on est fasciné par l’ancienne puissance colonisatrice. Cela retombe inévitablement sur la vitalité diplomatique du pays et sur son image. Le chef de l’Etat algérien n’a pas effectué une seule visite officielle bilatérale en Afrique depuis 1999 (d’où l’isolement au Sahel), mais il s’est rendu 12 fois en France, s’imposant même à l’Elysée sans qu’on l’y invite, dont l’une, le 19 décembre 2003, a franchement embarrassé ses hôtes français, obligés de le recevoir à déjeuner ! Jamais un chef d’Etat algérien ne s’était à ce point rabaissé devant l’ancienne puissance colonisatrice. « Pathétique Bouteflika », avait titré le quotidien Nice Matin, sous la plume de son directeur de rédaction, au lendemain de la visite parisienne de quelques heures sollicitée par le président algérien le 3 octobre 2003. Le journal se gausse : « Clic-clac, merci Kodak ! La visite du président algérien n’aura duré que quelques heures. Prétexte officiel, l’inauguration de deux expositions dans le cadre de la fameuse Année de l’Algérie. Raison réelle : être pris en photo, et sous toutes les coutures, avec Jacques Chirac, l’ami français, à la veille d’échéances algériennes majeures. Pathétique visite, et si embarrassante pour la France. »

Du reste, c’est pour le seul usage de politique intérieure que Bouteflika a fait usage de la souveraineté comme de la repentance de l’indépendance ou de la mémoire, devenus de simples mots, rien que des mots qui ne relèvent plus du différend historique, mais du cabotinage conjugal, cette pratique un peu malsaine qui consiste à rappeler au conjoint un antécédent fâcheux chaque fois qu’on éprouve le besoin de lui extorquer une nouvelle déclaration d’amour. Selon les réponses qu’il reçoit de la France, le président algérien peut ainsi passer de la plus grande « indignation » envers le préjudice colonial à la plus béate des indulgences. La France a bien compris le simulacre, elle qui a toujours su accéder à tous les caprices de cet homme à l’égo démesuré, et qui aime s’entendre parler, qui n’avait rien des colonels qui l’avaient précédé au gouvernail algérien, Boumediene, Chadli ou Zeroual. Le Maroc a eu sa saison en France ? Alors l’Algérie aura la sienne. Une kermesse culturelle s’ouvre à Paris le 31 décembre 2002 pour ne se clôturer qu’en décembre de l’année suivante, une procession de galas, d’expositions de toutes sortes, de films et de pièces de théâtre proposés au public français, au moment où Alger ne dispose même pas d’une salle de cinéma digne de ce nom ! Le président algérien n’obtiendra pas d’investissements de la part de la France, mais se contentera d’un match de football France-Algérie, en octobre 2001, que ne justifiait ni le niveau respectif des deux équipes ni le moment.

Pourquoi dire tout cela maintenant et aujourd’hui ? Parce que nous sommes déjà demain, et que demain ne se construit pas sur les mensonges d’hier. « Les échecs ont commencé dès le lendemain de l’indépendance, quand se sont imposés des régimes policiers et militaires, souvent coupés des peuples, privés de toute assise nationale… », a écrit Mohamed Arkoun. La souveraineté comme l’indépendance exigent transparence, démocratie, respect du choix populaire. C’est à cette seule condition qu’elles deviendront la cause de tous et de chacun.


Algérie: Bouteflika mort-vivant et Poker menteur autour du cadavre Algérie

May 18, 2013 1 comment

Another beautifully written editorial by Mohamed Benchicou.

Poker menteur autour du cadavre Algérie

Par: Mohamed Benchicou

Samedi, 18 mai 2013


Tous les décideurs le savent ; quelques-uns seulement ont le courage de le dire : avec ou sans Bouteflika, le prochain pouvoir aura pour mission presque impossible d’éviter la mort au pays. Avec peu de moyens. Nous n’aurons plus jamais les faramineuses recettes pétrolières dont a bénéficié le régime de Bouteflika.

L’arrivée de ce dernier au pouvoir avait coïncidé avec l’augmentation de la demande chinoise qui avait fait s’envoler les prix du pétrole en quelques années. Aujourd’hui, nous vivons le scénario inverse. L’exploitation du pétrole non conventionnel en Amérique du Nord va créer dans les cinq prochaines années une augmentation de l’offre qui va faire effondrer le prix du baril. Autrement dit, avec ou sans Bouteflika, le prochain régime se débrouillerait avec un pétrole à moitié prix, moins abondant, et des besoins en hausse ! La tragédie nous arrive en effet, droit sur la gueule ! Le pétrole, les réserves financières en milliards de dollars, c’est fini ! Oui, fini. Les projections les plus optimistes donnent l’Algérie pour importatrice nette de pétrole dès 2020.

Au cours des trois mandats du « pouvoir civil » de Bouteflika, il a été gaspillé l’argent du présent et celui du futur. Les hydrocarbures ont été si outrageusement pompés qu’il ne devrait plus rien rester dans le sous-sol d’ici quelques années, date à laquelle nous serions 40 millions d’Algériens, tous, théoriquement, voués à la précarité puisque Bouteflika aura épuisé les réserves pétrolières sans doter la maison Algérie d’une économie diversifiée  pouvant prendre la relève du pétrole et du gaz naturel. En l’espace de cinq ans seulement, la production algérienne de pétrole est passée de 1,6 à 2 millions de barils par jour, soit un bond de 25% ou le double de la moyenne d’augmentation de la production Opep durant la même période.

Les recettes ? Sans s’étaler sur la partie supposée avoir été dérobée par la kleptocratie au pouvoir, elle a surtout engraissé la mafia de l’import via les importations qui ont explosé  entre le premier et le troisième mandat de Bouteflika, passant de 9 milliards de dollars en 1999 à 49 milliards en 2012. Aucun investissement sérieux n’a été engagé dans la production pour doter le pays d’une économie viable qui prenne le relais des hydrocarbures.

Oui, l’Algérie de Bouteflika rappelle la Russie de Boris Eltsine, toutes proportions gardées, une nation chancelante, otage de prédateurs de toutes sortes qui se sont engouffrés au sein de cette faille providentielle pour vider l’Algérie de son sang. Ce fut à leur seul profit  qu’on a  surproduit le pétrole. Aujourd’hui, il est bien tard… L’Algérie redevient pauvre ! Pauvre et sans solution de rechange : quatorze ans après Bouteflika, le pays n’est plus en mesure de répondre à la demande d’emplois, ni peut-être même à la demande alimentaire.

Les observateurs les plus conscients pensent même que le pire est à envisager. Après 14 années de règne, Bouteflika a mis l’État à la merci de sa population. La fronde des chômeurs peut aller dans n’importe quelle direction, y compris la plus pessimiste,  Bouteflika  ayant abandonné l’investissement productif, comment lutter contre le chômage ?

Mais cela, cette vérité primordiale, celle-là qu’il faut dire non pour abattre, non pour accabler ni pour décourager, mais pour mobiliser, pour réfléchir, cette vérité qui réveille, personne ne veut la communiquer, je veux dire personne parmi ceux qui ont la responsabilité de la dire. Ou alors, quand une bouche plus courageuse que d’autres la formule, elle est immédiatement contredite par les virtuoses du poker menteur. Quand le PDG de Sonatrach, Abdelhamid Zerguine, qui sait de quoi il parle, reconnaît que les gisements de pétrole sont en “déclin” et les réserves sont “modestes”, il est immédiatement contredit pas son ministre de tutelle, Youcef Yousfi, pour qui l’Algérie continuera à produire du pétrole et des hydrocarbures en général pendant « de longues années encore ». Et lorsque le ministre des Finances, Karim Djoudi, laisse entendre qu’il n’y a plus d’argent en caisse, que les salaires comme les pensions ne seront plus augmentés, il est aussitôt recadré par le chef du gouvernement, Abdelmalek Sellal, qui jure ses grands dieux que tout va à merveille dans ce territoire coupé du monde qui s’appelle l’Algérie.

Nos dirigeants fabulateurs, pour qui l’art de gouverner se réduit à clamer les fausses bonnes nouvelles et à taire les vraies mauvaises nouvelles, entendent démentir la formule d’Abraham Lincoln : «  Aucun homme n’a assez de mémoire pour réussir dans le mensonge ».  En foi de quoi, ils entreprennent hardiment de duper l’opinion sur l’état de santé d’un président dont ils nous apprennent aujourd’hui qu’il est en convalescence prolongée après nous avoir annoncé, il y a trois semaines, qu’il était entré à l’hôpital militaire du Val-de-Grâce pour de simples examens complémentaires.  Le léger accident vasculaire se termine ainsi par une lourde vacance du pouvoir mais c’est tout cela, n’est-ce-pas, le charme du poker menteur auquel se livrent, avec tant de zèle et si peu de classe, nos dirigeants depuis cinquante ans.

Le jeu consiste à faire passer les vessies du bunker pour d’heureuses lanternes, c’est-à-dire produire un bobard, sinon crédible, du moins vraisemblable, quelque chose qui ait  l’allure du « mensonge le plus détestable » qu’André Gide définit comme étant « celui qui se rapproche le plus de la vérité », quitte à susciter chez l’opinion une réplique par un autre mensonge, le « mensonge fructueux»  dont Sacha Guitry dit qu’il « consiste à faire croire à quelqu’un qui vous ment qu’on le croit ».

L’équation est alors très simple : reconduire Bouteflika, comme le souhaite la mafia, en supposant qu’il garde ses facultés naturelles, revient à reconduire le pouvoir le plus irresponsable qu’ait connu l’Algérie en 50 ans afin qu’il parachève sa besogne de destruction. Ce serait alors un choix suicidaire, consciemment fait pour en finir avec notre pays.

Le général Lebed disait de Boris Eltsine qu’il était, par nature, un destructeur. « Il ne comprend la politique qu’en brisant et en déstabilisant l’environnement. Cela est une qualité en période de transition, mais il est temps aujourd’hui de construire. Boris Eltsine, lui, n’est pas un bâtisseur. »

Alors oui, reconduire Bouteflika, comme le souhaite la mafia, c’est en terminer avec l’Algérie. Quelle alternative reste-t-il ? Une seule, confirmée par l’histoire récente, dans tous les pays qui ont vécu une situation similaire : un gouvernement de salut national. Pour cela, il faut le vouloir.

Algérie: L’élection Présidentielle et Les Amuseurs de la République

This is a very beautifully written editorial by Mohamed Benchicou. It’s a must read.

Les Amuseurs de la République

Par: Mohamed Benchicou

vendredi, 03 mai 2013

Les Amuseurs de la République

Comme tous les quatre ans, à pareille époque préélectorale, ils déferlent, en rangs serrés, avec un nouveau spectacle dans les valises, comme s’ils répondaient à l’appel d’un devoir national du simulacre, bousculant à la fois les règles de l’actualité et celles du théâtre burlesque. Le gang des Amuseurs de la République est à l’œuvre !

Leur nouvelle création de 2013, provisoirement intitulée « Le président peut-il encore gouverner ? », originale et désopilante, basée sur l’allusif, un nouveau style baladin qui consiste à contourner la triste réalité nationale pour s’attarder sur l’ailleurs, raconte les tribulations du chef de l’État d’une île mystérieuse, une contrée fantasmagorique dont je suis incapable de vous dire le nom. À croire certains spécialistes versés dans le monde du burlesque, il s’agirait de Fantasyland, un pays magique de Disneyland, où les contes de fées et les histoires qui ont inspiré les films d’animation de Disney prennent vie, comme par magie. Cela expliquerait, sans doute, le fait que le nouveau spectacle, « Le président peut-il encore gouverner ? », vient d’être enrichi de plusieurs déclinaisons tout aussi drôles les unes que les autres, comme « Le quatrième mandat, c’est fini ! », un gag qui a rencontré un succès foudroyant, « La succession est ouverte », avec Benflis en guest-star, ou « Saïd Bouteflika limogé », une fiction loufoque montée avec adresse et dans laquelle des observateurs avertis ont cru reconnaître à la fois la main d’un célèbre manipulateur et un plagiat de Discoveryland, monde de Disney où les prédictions des grands visionnaires prennent vie.

Le débat autour de la fameuse contrée dont parlent nos opposants et nos journalistes est toujours en cours, mais une chose semble cependant certaine : il ne s’agit pas de l’Algérie. La lecture de l’éditorial d’un des membres les plus influents des Amuseurs, ne laisse, à ce propos, aucun doute. Le respectable analyste décrit, en effet, une province étrange mais démocratique, où la succession du président se réaliserait dans « le respect de la souveraineté du peuple, sans contrainte, et dans la transparence », détails qui excluent, de facto, l’hypothèse Algérie. La chose relève d’ailleurs du bon sens : la maladie d’un chef d’État n’étant handicapante qu’en démocratie, système où l’opinion garde le droit de regard sur la gouvernance, la question « Le président peut-il encore gouverner ? » devient, du coup, parfaitement inadaptée à l’Algérie. Chez nous, Dieu merci, pareille complication nous est épargnée, les citoyens que nous sommes n’étant consultés ni sur l’état de santé du chef de l’État, ni sur sa désignation ni encore moins sur sa reconduction. En retour, ce dernier régnerait sans rien nous devoir. C’est tout le privilège de ce que les Russes appellent les vybori bez vybora (élections sans choix), privilège qui s’ajoute, pour des autocraties comme l’Algérie, à celui d’être parfaitement gouvernables à partir d’un lit d’hôpital. La prouesse paraît d’autant plus à la portée de notre chef de l’État que notre cher pays, où le Conseil des ministres ne se réunit jamais, est unanimement reconnu comme l’unique de la planète à fonctionner sous le mode du pilotage automatique, personne n’y gouvernant et, conformément aux vybori bez vybora, personne n’y étant gouverné.

Tout ça pour dire que l’interrogation « Le président peut-il encore gouverner ? », en plus d’être parfaitement incongrue pour un pays où la sagesse autocratique l’emporte sur la véhémence démocratique, pose incontestablement un problème inédit : dans quelle catégorie classer les chimères généreusement imaginées par une si brillante équipe d’analystes et de brillants politologues, dont le seul mérite aura été de nous apprendre que  la grande famille du pouvoir illégitime pouvait, finalement, être aussi drôle que les Simpson ? Dans le théâtre, on avait inventé la comédie, le vaudeville, la bouffonnerie, la parodie, le burlesque, le sketch, le pastiche, la satire, la clownerie, l’arlequinade, la facétie… Aucun de ces styles ne paraît, cependant, correspondre au grotesque de la situation. Ah ! Peut-être dans la pantalonnade, qui n’est pas ce que vous pensez, mais dans le théâtre italien, une posture comique assez drôle dans laquelle excellait le pantalon, qui n’est pas non plus ce que vous pensez, mais un personnage du théâtre vénitien qui porte traditionnellement cette sorte de culotte et qui a laissé son nom pour désigner un homme sans dignité et sans consistance !

Depuis on a cependant su que « pantalonnade » veut dire, en même temps que ce que vous pensez, subterfuge grotesque pour sortir d’embarras. Rappelons-nous : la théorie du « président malade et démissionnaire » avait déjà permis, en 2005, d’avorter les grosses contestations autour des effets catastrophiques de la fameuse Charte pour la paix. Val-de-Grâce avait étouffé le scandale politique. Le régime s’est servi de nouveau, en 2006, de la théorie du « président malade et démissionnaire », pour briser le débat houleux qui commençait à s’installer autour du projet d’amendement de la Constitution. À quoi bon débattre, se disait-on, d’un projet mort-né, compromis par la santé défaillante du président ? Dans les deux cas, le régime a obtenu, par l’esbroufe, un répit salutaire qu’il a su habilement exploiter. Aujourd’hui, en 2013, Bouteflika substitue le débat autour de la corruption de Chakib Khelil, c’est-à-dire la corruption imputable à sa famille politique, par un débat sur l’AVC et ses conséquences sur la gouvernance. Val de Grâce II continue le boulot diversion de Val de Grâce I ! Comme en 2004, le régime utilise la presse minaudière et l’opposition maniérée pour reconduire, « légalement » et dans le cadre du « pluralisme », le président Bouteflika à la tête du pays ! Encore une fois, un des subterfuges par lesquels s’éternisent les autocraties dans nos pays, aura magnifiquement fonctionné. Ainsi, pendant que d’éminents esprits nous rebattent la thèse du « président malade et démissionnaire », que dit et que fait le principal intéressé ? Il affirme à qui veut l’entendre : « Grâce à Dieu, je me porte très bien » ; il prépare la population à l’émotion du « retour au pays » ; il multiplie les flagorneries en direction de l’opinion publique ; il n’oublie pas de « remercier » la presse qu’il gratifie d’une journée spéciale le 22 octobre… Tout cela débouche sur une information capitale : la décision de postuler pour un quatrième mandat est déjà prise !

Alors, je crois bien que, faute d’antécédents dans le genre théâtral, l’on soit obligé de rapprocher la manœuvre complice à laquelle se prêtent une partie de notre presse et de notre opposition, d’une pantalonnade tout à fait remarquable d’adresse et d’inventivité et dont on rirait volontiers si elle n’était un discours de diversion qui finit par laisser au régime l’initiative politique. Nous avons juste oublié que le diable, devant les nigauds, entreprend toujours  de jouer au nigaud. Tout autocrate compte sur la bêtise humaine pour enfourcher le monde et l’étrangler de ses sangles. Il suffit de laisser croire. Gouverner c’est faire croire a dit Machiavel. C’est cela, le but de la politique, pour Machiavel, ce n’est pas la morale mais la réussite : obtenir et conserver le pouvoir !

Finissons par un clin d’œil à la journée du 3 mai pour évoquer le « papier » si précieux pour un journaliste et dire que toute cette histoire ressemble, en effet, à celle du papier plié en quatre qu’on découvre au détour d’une ruelle, que l’on ramasse avec une curiosité difficilement contenue, que l’on  fourre dans la poche avec cupidité,  que l’on ouvre, enfin, avec angoisse pour découvrir que la trouvaille, au final, n’était qu’un prospectus de vente au rabais… Il sera alors l’heure pour l’île mystérieuse de fermer ses portes. Rendez-vous dans quatre ans pour une autre séance de fantasmagorie. Entre-temps, nous aurons au moins appris que la politique n’est pas un jeu, mais un art de la dissimulation au nom de l’efficacité. Et l’efficacité, ici, consistait, tout simplement, tout bêtement, serai-je tenté de dire, à s’assurer de sa propre succession en 2014 !