Beyond the Cusp

August 17, 2013

Muslim Brotherhoods Day of Rage in Egypt

Just as most of those who study Egypt had predicted, the Muslim Brotherhood fired their initial shot across the bow of the interim government which the Egyptian Military put in place and has pledged to protect. There will be scratch the surface coverage in most media outlets where they may show some pictures and videos of a few of the confrontations which took place either in Cairo or Alexandria. Those who might choose to go somewhat further might include a comment or two and even a picture of one of the confrontations between the Coptic Christians and Muslim Brotherhood supporters. What will receive scant coverage is that by the time Monday morning news hits the airwaves and your ears as you have that first cup of coffee to get going there may be only a few Coptic or other Christian structures remaining standing. The tragedy that the Copts are about to face is probably the most criminal of all the violence which will spill across Egypt as the revolution to place Muslim Brotherhood backed Peace and Justice Party President Morsi back into the seat of power and forcing the resumption of the Islamization of Egyptian society will be hurled hard and wide against the oldest of Egyptian societies, the Coptic Christians as well as any other non-Sunni Muslim populations.

 

The Coptic Christians are about to face the same form of persecution and violence as was faced by Egyptian Jews under Egyptian persecution starting in 1948 and continuing for the next several years. The Jewish population in Egypt in the decade after Israel was founded in 1948 dropped from over seventy-five-thousand to less than one-hundred mostly very elderly Jews today with no younger generation coming to replace them. It can reasonably be expected that Egypt will be completely free of any Jewish population within the next couple of decades. This allows the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood along with the cooperation of the Salafists to now cleans Egypt of their next target, the Christians otherwise called the Sunday People from an old Arab battle cry which goes, “First the Saturday People, then the Sunday People.” Going back to 2011 it has been reported that close to one-hundred-thousand Coptic Christians fled Egypt in that year and has been estimated to have exceeded a quarter of a million per year since and will likely explode well past that in the coming months. One has to remember that the Coptic Christians make up one of the oldest and most purely original Egyptian populations surviving that predated the Islamic conquest of Egypt. These Christians were converted by John Mark, (author of the Gospel of Mark), who became their first bishop sometime between the year 42 AD and 62 AD, making them one of the earliest Christian communities which continues to exist very much as they were in antiquity. Now these early and faithful Christians are facing obliterations and the destruction of their churches, cathedrals and other historic places without anybody lifting a finger to protect them or their historic places and legacy.

 

This is just another tragedy which is unfolding within Egypt as the nation devolves into civil war. Meanwhile, the Coptic Christian communities are burning starting with their churches and proceeding to their places of business and finally to their homes. Their communities face obliteration by conflagration, a cleansing of their neighborhoods by fire executed by the Muslim Brotherhood and their Sunni followers yet their cries and tears will pass uncommented and blanketed by a silence that drowns their screams. What will happen to young Coptic women is unspeakable in its horrors and the rest of the Coptic population will face persecutions only slightly less horrific and face it alone in the world, friendless. This coming atrocity is what President Obama should have spoken against and made clear that the Coptic Christians are to be protected if Egypt intends to retain any of their billions of dollars of annual aid monies from the United States. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the President to do the honorable thing, it’s the weekend and the golf course is calling. One might ask where are the cries over this injustice which is being perpetrated in plain sight of the world. Yet the world remains silent. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is in Israel and the Palestinian territories (Palestine as Ban Ki-Moon referred to them) pressuring Prime Minister Netanyahu to make the necessary sacrifices while assuring Chairman Abbas whom he praises with showers of promises and support. Where is the Pope who should be screaming out over the injustice to the Coptic Christians whose society that predated that of the Vatican City now are laid waste in a sea of flames and blood. Where is any leader in the Christian world even murmuring the slightest complaint, let alone coming to these persecuted people’s aid providing them protection or at the very least a place to which to flee? Why is the United States Sixth Fleet not mounting a rescue operation to take these victims of frenzied mobs to a place of safety? Where is the Christian world when their brothers and sisters are being slaughtered and martyred for their faith? Sleep well oh western world while atrocity once again swallows up an ancient and peaceable people, sleep well.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 15, 2013

Egypt in the Balance

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There are at least five disparate groups within Egypt but only two of them have any possibility of ending up in control and neither of them will have the people’s interests at their heart. The two heavyweights are obvious, the Military which has a long history and practice at running Egypt, and the Muslim Brotherhood which believes that they are the arm of Allah and as such are the sole rightful rulers of Egypt and the only moral and just choice for Egypt. There are the Shiite Muslims who are a minority amongst the Muslims and would be faring far worse except for another group. That other group are the Coptic Christians whose only hope is that they be left alone and are the Egyptians most invested that everything go smoothly and with no hardships as they inevitably are blamed for every single societal ill despite their inability to have any great influence. The final group consists of the young Twitter and Facebook generation who long for the good life they glimpse through their media connections and whose desires to change Egypt into a modern, industrial, democratic, functional nation were the originating driving force behind the transformation pushing Mubarak from power only to watch their movement sidetracked by the Muslim Brotherhood who were waiting in the wings to hijack the revolution at the critical junction taking over the elections.

 

The first duel started when the pro-democracy youth demonstrated and started the so-called Arab Spring transformation. They were sidelined and the first duel was won by the revitalized and newly returned Muslim Brotherhood. The second duel was again initiated by the pro-democracy youth but this time backed by the working Egyptians who have watched their nation’s economy collapse before their eyes and have been facing economic hardships and a government which could not have shown less respect for their troubles. Responding to the outcry from the people the Egyptian Military threw down the gauntlet when they arrested the Muslim Brotherhood backed President Morsi and finished the challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood with the violent removal of the pro-Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood supporting demonstrations and vigils. What is to be answered next is how vehemently the Muslim Brotherhood response to the Military action will be. We may have our answer to that question today or we may have to wait until after Friday prayers or even longer, but rest assured the day will dawn when the Muslim Brotherhood once again strives to take what they believe is their rightful place as leaders of Egypt initially and the entirety of the Muslim world should Allah will it.

 

The question in much of the western world is what can we do to repair the problems in Egypt and end the needless violence. The unfortunate answer to that question is that first off, you are asking the wrong question, and secondly, there is nothing that can be done as this is one of those conflicts that will only be resolved once one side actually surrenders and accepts they have been utterly defeated. The question that should be asked by anyone outside of Egypt is what can we do and should we do to assist the innocent who will become the victims of the coming conflagration. The only thing that can be done would be to offer the Christians a place to restart their lives should they choose to leave their longtime home country of Egypt. Many Coptic Christian families have lived in Egypt since the first century and leaving their home would be unthinkable and for those people we can offer aid but unfortunately we would reap more problems for them as well as for us if we were to intervene on their behalf. The rest of the world which lies outside the Middle East and Northern Africa who are witness to the carnage and tragic consequences of the power struggles plaguing countries such as Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and to a lesser extent Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan and others either already or soon to come have to realize that any intervention will not serve to resolve these conflicts and any governance put in place via such interventions will eventually fall and the conflict recommence and the only way for these violent upheavals to end is through producing victor and the rest of the fighting factions realizing they have been inexorably defeated, and if the world is lucky those who are defeated will never again rise up. These nations are going through the same revolution in governance which Europe experienced starting with the Magna Carta, continuing through the American Revolution followed by the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the rest of the conflicts which eventually brought down the Monarchs, Czars, Kaisers, Emperors and other dictatorial leaders and eventually led to the current representative governance be it parliamentary, democratic or constitutional republic. Just as it would have been unlikely for the transitions that swept through Europe and the Americas over a period of close to two and a half centuries to have been avoided had aliens from some planet revolving around Sirius or one of the stars of Orion’s Belt landed and imposed the exact same form of governance on each nation that eventually came to pass through revolution would have kept the peace once they lifted off to return home. The same reasons resonate now in the growing pains thrashing through much of the Arab and Muslim worlds.

 

Is it easy to watch such horrific scenes as we will witness on the news each night? Obviously it will not be. But for recent proof that intervention will not be the answer no matter how benign the intentions are readily seen in both Iraq and Afghanistan where the recent interventions have either ended or are winding to their completion and already both nations are the scene of renewed fighting and increasing violence. President Washington and President Eisenhower despite their different ages and their different personalities and treatment by history had a strong and steadying approach to foreign entanglements and warned of the same pressures and what they saw as the unsatisfactory potentials of such adventurism and both advised that the United States served best by trading and holding peaceful relations with all and avoid all temptations and even invitations to intervene or ally in with foreign wars. Both men having been Generals of Armies of the United States, George Washington during the Revolutionary War and Eisenhower in Europe during World War II, knew the horrors and destructiveness of war and knew that war was a horror well worth avoiding at all costs short of a threat to the United States, its peoples or their freedom. Both men received entreatment to involve the United States in conflicts on foreign shores and both showed the wisdom of politely deferring to accept these invitations. George Washington refused such a request from France despite the vital aid provided by the French during the Revolutionary War. President Washington had to fight against many in his administration who supported aiding France but he held firm.

 

On a side note, the United States may have recently given an offer in order to entice Israel into allowing for a Palestinian state to be formed in nearly all of the West Bank area also known historically as Judea and Samaria. The fear is that Secretary of State Kerry was authorized by President Obama to assure the Israelis that should they allow the formation of Palestine in close to ninety or ninety-five percent of the territory claimed by the Palestinians including a large part if not all of East Jerusalem the United States would lead a NATO peacekeeping force which would guarantee that the Palestinian State remain demilitarized, terrorism be prevented especially from launching rockets into the heart of Israel which includes well over half of the Israeli population and industry, and allow for Israeli access to the Jewish holy sites which lie within Judea and Samaria. This must not be allowed to become fact as NATO or United States troops stationed in the Palestinian State would be a suicide mission as they would serve as targets for any terrorists opposed to whichever faction held power. If Hamas was in power then Fatah would terrorize any peacekeepers, with Fatah in power then Hamas would terrorize the peacekeepers and PFLP and al-Qaeda would do so no matter who was the ruling group. The peacekeeping force unless numbering in the tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands would be unable of preventing terrorist attacks on Israel simply because they would be unable to be everywhere all the time. The peacekeepers would eventually only be preventing the IDF from eradicating terror infrastructure while protecting the terrorists despite their intentions. When American soldiers began returning home in coffins there would be a growing discontent over the stationing of these troops just to protect Israel and there would come a call to remove them post haste. Should such a call be denied and the troop presence as peacekeepers kept in place the eventual result would be growing anti-Semitism as the American Jews would be seen as supporting the stationing of the peacekeepers in harm’s way whether they actually support the efforts or not. It is likely obvious to many that we support Israel and we would like to plead that no foreign troops, be they from NATO, the United States, the United Nations, or Timbuktu never be stationed between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea with an emphasis if their duties include peacekeeping or terror suppression. We here at Beyond the Cusp see such a fool’s errand as a guaranteed catastrophe which is to be avoided even if it means the peace process currently being marshaled by Secretary of State Kerry will result in failure without such assurances. Be assured that the average Israeli does not wish to involve any foreign troops, especially from NATO, the United Nations or the United States, at any time in any way that may be construed as assisting Israel. Thank you for any generous offer and do not take this as anything but a friend’s concern for our good relations, but please do not entangle yourselves in our problems. Thank you for all you have done that we appreciate every ounce of assistance but we never want American men and women in uniform to die for any reason that might be construed as in an Israeli interest or in service of the State of Israel.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

July 2, 2013

Egyptian Military Clamps Forty-Eight Hour Lid on Protests

Egyptian Commanding General Abd al-Fatah a-Sisi has announced that President Morsi and his government have forty-eight hours to find a solution to the political unrest after which the military will step in and impose a solution. This comes on top of the resignation of four of President Morsi’s Departmental Ministers, the Tourism, Parliamentary Affairs, Communications and Environmental, which would lead one to think that Morsi will be required to call new elections. Adding to the ministers fleeing a stricken presidency, Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr resigned late last evening Egyptian time. This was in response to demonstrations which featured over a million protesters turning out across the nation calling for new elections and only slightly less turning out to support the continued rule under President Morsi. The main headquarters of the Peace and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm which Morsi leads, was ransacked and stripped of its furnishings and other supplies including televisions, computers, furniture, body armor and anything else worth stealing before the building was firebombed destroying anything left inside. The Muslim Brotherhood personnel had been escorted from the building earlier in the day Monday.

 

In a separate incident it was reported that hundreds of Alexandria police officers publicly declared their support for the anti-government groups. Further reports informed of Egyptian tanks gathered in Sinai along the border with Gaza presumably in order to secure against any possibility for Hamas forces to enter Egypt with the intent of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. It was likely feared that Hamas would serve in a similar role should violence break out as Hezballah is currently serving supporting President al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War. It appears the Egyptian military is taking every precaution in order to minimize having Egypt break down into violence and even a civil war similar as has happened in Syria which would have been predicated on Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood not rejecting their ultimatum. This will not be the case as the Muslim Brotherhood has rejected the military’s ultimatum.

 

The response from the Muslim Brotherhood came via the Al Jazeera network where Yasser Hamza, a member of the FJP’s legal committee, was quoted claiming, “Everyone rejects the statement of the armed forces. Solutions will be in the framework of the constitution. The age of military coups is over.” This is basically a declaration of intent to fight by and with any and all means possible by the Muslim Brotherhood aimed directly at the military. This reverses the whole state of affairs from immediately after the military issued their demands. Now the ball is back in the court of General al-Fatah a-Sisi’s court to take the next move. So, now all eyes and ears are tilted towards the military in anticipation for how they will react to this fusillade from the Muslim Brotherhood. If the military should back down it will allow the Muslim Brotherhood to take whatever measures they deem necessary to continue with President Morsi in office. Then the one action which might force a military intervention would be if the Muslim Brotherhood in the name of the governing powers decided to forcibly bring an end to the demonstrations. By taking such a move they will have proven that Morsi is not all that different than any other tyrannical leader making his government no better than the Mubarak government when they initially attempted to silence the demonstration against them. So, what does the future hold in Egypt that is the big question.

 

The most likely future no longer depends on what Morsi says or does, on what stance is taken by the Muslim Brotherhood, or even whether or not the military pushes back immediately by enforcing their forty-eight hour deadline; it depends entirely on the opposition demonstrators who are demanding Morsi step down and hold new elections. Should these people remain in the streets demanding new elections then there will be a confrontation between the Muslim Brotherhood and the demonstrators which inevitably leads to a confrontation between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military. We have been on the receiving end of endless propaganda advising us that the Muslim Brotherhood is, as Intelligence Chief James Clapper was quoted, “The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’…is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam. They have pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt, et cetera…..In other countries, there are also chapters or franchises of the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally.” It looks like we are about to witness exactly how much the Muslim Brotherhood  will have “eschewed violence” and “have pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt” by their response to the demonstrators seeking to hold new elections. If James Clapper was correct we would see a referendum over whether or not new elections were something the majority desired, a sort of vote of confidence in Morsi by the people and if their vote indicated the need for new elections then the Muslim Brotherhood would put forth their candidate under their Freedom and Justice Party brand and hold new elections. Personally, I do not think Mr. Clapper’s view is going to hold up and we are much more likely to see that the Muslim Brotherhood is very willing to employ violence.

 

Egypt is very likely to go over the edge and may become a second Syria, something the world definitely could do without. We are going to witness the Muslim Brotherhood taking off the nice presentable suits and ties and returning to their more Hamas-like origins. One needs to remember that Hamas is simply the Muslim Brotherhood branch if the Palestinian neighborhood. Should the protesters continue their public outcry for new elections then we will see the unfortunate result which is inevitable when those who hold absolute power, or at least believe they hold absolute power, are confronted with a challenge of what they see as their right to rule unopposed. We saw it in a small scale in Egypt in the lead up to Mubarak stepping down, and again in Libya when Gadhafi refused to step down, and are still witnessing in Syria as the two sides completely and utterly destroy the nation over which they fight. Judging from their initial successes the anti-Morsi demonstrators are not going to back down mainly because they rightfully see their nation’s whole existence in the balance of whether or not they prevail. They have witness a year of devastating damage to the Egyptian economy, infrastructure, energy supplies, trade, tourism industry, monetary reserves, and the erosion of their freedoms. They watched the Muslim Brotherhood strong-arm a Sharia based Islamist Constitution and follow that up with a steady output of laws which aimed to erode personal freedoms and put all of Egypt under a Sharia observant system. There have been a series of what can only be described as pogroms against the Coptic Christians, the Shiite communities and anybody else who may have been suspected of opposing the continued rule by the Muslim Brotherhood. These oppressive attacks had actually been on the rise more so of late especially against Christians. With their liberties and freedoms being encroached by the Morsi government, the pro-democracy supporters in Egypt likely saw the one year anniversary of President Morsi’s time in office as an appropriate opportunity to voice their discontent. Now that discontent will be put to the test and their sole hope is for the military to enforce their timely ultimatum.

 

We will likely witness the response play out throughout the day, today. It is possible that violence may have broken out in earnest by the time this article gets posted and you have the opportunity to read it. We can all hope that any violence can be avoided and the people’s will is permitted to be voiced, but we also know that is probably just a dream. The Muslim Brotherhood possesses sufficient supporters within the military such that should the military attempt to impose their ultimatum there will be some units who will side with the Muslim Brotherhood against their fellow soldiers as in Egypt alliances of brothers in arms are not as strong as the ties to Islamic fellowships. One of the interesting developments to watch out for is on which side will the Salafists fall? While they are even more radical Islamists than the Muslim Brotherhood and thus one would be lead to think they would join with the Muslim Brotherhood, the reality is there is no love lost between these Islamist rivals. The Salafists would just as soon see Morsi toppled in the hopes that they would be able to take the lead over Egypt. Where the Salafists voted with the Muslim Brotherhood on the Constitution and the laws implementing Sharia, they have no loyalty beyond assisting the application of Islamist Sharia Law over Egypt. We might also look for any interference from Iran through the Shiite population though that is not a high probability as Egypt’s Sunni population has an overwhelming advantage in sheer numbers.

 

The report that hundreds of Alexandria police officers publicly declared their support for the anti-government groups will bear some watching as they would serve as the first line in defense of the protesters should Morsi order the demonstrators to be dispersed. This is even more true as it would be special units within the national police who would most likely be the first line units deployed in such an effort. We will eventually see units being deployed who are enforcers for the Muslim Brotherhood and have been enforcing the modesty laws and other decrees of Sharia which were only semi-officially implemented. Should the demonstrators be fully backed by the military, or at least the majority of the military who are more loyal to Egypt than the Muslim Brotherhood, then we may be facing a repeat of Syria styled civil war in Egypt. This would present a real problem for President Obama and friends who have invested so much in their backing and complete faith in the Muslim Brotherhood. President Obama wrongfully supported the candidacy of Morsi and was overly pleased at his being elected. Now President Obama will need to choose between his Egyptian savior Morsi and the pro-democracy demonstrators. As we recall President Obama initially tried to take both sides semi-backing Mubarak but soon deserted Mubarak completely demanding him to step down for the good of Egypt and the World. We will get to see if the same maturation process will take President Obama from the Morsi support system onto demanding Morsi step down and allow for new elections. No, President Obama will remain faithful to his good friend Morsi and especially to the Muslim Brotherhood. There is not likely to be any surprises from Washington until it becomes, if it ever should, obvious that Morsi will be dethroned. In the meantime we here will watch and provide whatever spiritual support we can to the protesters in the extremely slim chance that they can actually drag Egypt politically into the spirit of the Eighteenth Century or even better, the democracy wave of the Twentieth Century.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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