Share on Facebook

Friday, July 12, 2013

U.S. PURSUES AMBIVALENT COURSE WITH EGYPT

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:



History never dies. It is reborn every minute of every day.

The image “http://users.skynet.be/fa323971/Website%20arabisch/Alhambra.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.



DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

EGYPT:



IN BRIEF:  Egypt's long history of autocracy ended not with Nasser but with Murbarak. A new age of democracy has arrived with turbulence and violence.The United States needs Egypt as a strong regional ally. But can Washington encourage democracy in Egypt with all the instability that comes with free and fair elections and autocratic political parties? 


IN THE NEWS: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION REPRIMANDS THE EGYPTIAN MILITARY FOR ITS PURSUIT AND ARREST OF LEADERS OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD. AS EGYPT POLARIZES BETWEEN BROTHERHOOD SUPPORTERS AND ITS MOSTLY SECULAR OPPONENTS, WASHINGTON APPEARS BOTH TO TOLERATE AND DISTANCE ITSELF FROM THE NEW STATUS QUO.  UNWILLING TO SEE THE MILITARY OUSTER OF BROTHERHOOD PRESIDENT MORSI AS A COUP THAT WOULD LOSE U.S. SUPPORT, THE U.S. HAS UPHELD ITS YEARLY COMMITMENT OF 1.5 BILLION IN MILITARY AID BY DELIVERING FOUR OF 20 F-14 FIGHTER BOMBERS. THE STATE DEPARTMENT, MEANWHILE, ADVISES THE MILITARY TO FREE FORMER PRESIDENT MORSI.


 


THE FACTS: Egyptian administrations have tried to maintain peace with Israel and alliance with the US on one hand, and Islamist movements for a Palestinian homeland on the other. Meanwhile they repress the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood at home. For its part, the the US views Egypt as its most valuable political ally in the Middle East and so is forced to tolerate a Egypt's missteps in democracy and human rights as it tries to control Islamists within.


IN HISTORY:

NASSER AND WASHINGTON.

In the Cold War of 1950s, Egypt's foreign policy and that of the US are clear-cut. Nasser's Arab Socialism occasionally leans toward the Soviet Union but in general Nasser maintains an independent, pro-Arab foreign policy. At the 1955 Bandung Conference, he manages to the stop the Baghdad Pact from  pulling more Arab countries over to the West and draws inspiration from from the Non-aligned Movement of India's Nehru and Yugoslavia's Tito. America's subsequent refusal to sell arms to Egypt only pushes Nasser to buy weapons from Yugoslavia. In retaliation the US refuses aid for the Aswan Dam and persuades the World Bank to do the same. 






1955- The Suez Crisis. Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal and accepts aid from the Soviet Union. Britain, France and Israel try, by military force, to seize back western control of the Suez Canal. The United States refuses to support the attack knowing that American involvement would lead to a wider war. 


In 1973, Sadat conspires with Syria in an attack on Israel and though Egypt scores initial success in the sky, it loses the Ypm Kippur War. In consequence, Sadat deserts the Soviet Union for the United States and signs a compromise treaty with Israel. With the Law of Political Parties in 1977, he moves toward democracy, legalizing the Wafd and other political and a parliamentary system. But it only produces rigged elections In 1979, Sadat signs a peace treaty with Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. Egypt is expelled from the Arab League. Virulent protest against peace with Israel causes Sadat to crack down on the opposition. Long simmering hatred among Islamists Sadat's Israel policy leads to his assassination in 1981 by Islamist army officers. He is succeeded by Hosni Mubarak.

-Mubarak's rule is brutal and autocratic but as long as there is U.S. rivalry with the Soviet union there will be little ambivalence in US-Egyptian relations.

With the end of the Cold War and Soviet Rivalry, Washington feels itself free to turn its attention to moral issues. The U.S. pressures Mubarak to improve Egypt's record on human rights and democracy.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, however, Washington once again needs a powerful Middle Eastern ally, this time in the fight against Al Qaeda and other Islamist movements. The U.S. makes gestures urging reform and Mubarak makes gestures of cooperation. Meanwhile, little changes. A traditional Egyptian dictatorship continues to receive traditional American military and economic support.

US President Barak Obama inherits George W. Bush's 'War on Terror' though he modifies it and abandons the controversial name 'War on Terror.'

With the regional revolutions of the Arab Spring Mubarak falls from power with a nudge from Washington. Egypt takes its first step toward Democracy with full US Support. Egypt's first election, however brings to power the undemocratic Muslim Brotherhood and an autocratic president, Mohammed Morsi.

With the entire region from Syria onward, threatening to cascade into sectarian war, Washington needs a stable Egypt and a powerful Egyptian military but it can't seem to decide whether that means respect for the democratically elected but undemocratic Muslim Brotherhood; or supporting an unstable interim government with another try at democracy in a nation on the edge of sectarian conflict. 

RELEVANT DATES for US-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS


The Suez Crisis
1955-   -US refuses to sell arms to Egypt so Nasser turns to Czecholslovakia. US refuses aid for the Aswan dam project and gets World Bank to follow in snubbing Egypt.
1956 -Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal and accepts aid from Soviet Union.
1956- Oct-Nov- after Washington refuses its support, Britain, France and Israel try and fail to seize back the canal in the Suez War, attempting to assassinate Nasser.
1957- March- Britain, France and Israel withdraw in defeat. from Suez.
-Nasser becomes a hero to the Arab world all the while  moving farther to the left.

The Yom Kippur War and Camp David.
-1973- Sadat joins with Syria on a surprise attack on Israel, nearly knocking Israel out of the sky. However, he deserts the Soviet Union for the United States and works out a US-backed compromise peace with Israel.
1978- the Carter administration sponsors the Camp David  Peace Accords between Israel and Egypt. 
1979- Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Begin sign the Egyptian-Istaeli peace Treaty. But his new peace costs Egypt membership in the Arab League.


Sadat Assassinated by Islamist Officers.
1981- Sadat is assassinated by Islamist officers during a military review.

-Sadat is succeeded by Hosni Mubarak, whose conciliatory approach to the Arab world wins him backing at home and Egypt readmittance to the Arab League.
-while applying the free market to the economy, Mubarak rigged elections as Sadat had done before him.

Mubarak Becomes a Human Rights Problem for the United States
1993- Mubarak wins his second election to the presidency. However he faces increasing opposition from the Muslim Brotherhood and Gamat al Islamiya. Over the following years his escalating repression of Islamist organizations, with no regard for human rights, causes the increasing concern of the Clinton administration in Washington.

Mubarak Embraces Bush's War on Terror and a Palestinian State.
2001- Sept. 11- after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., Mubarak takes a two-pronged approach, cooperating fully in President Bush's War on Terror but recommending an international convention on terrorism as well as impartial attention to the plight of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. On these last two, Mubarak received no cooperation.
2002- March 2-6 Mubarak begins 4-day visit to US.  Pres. Mubarak asks President Bush for greater US participation in seeking Middle East peace.
June 8- US President Bush meets Mubarak who tells him no peace in the Middle East will be possible until Israel withdraws from Palestine.
2003- June 3-  In Cairo Bush meets Arab leaders who pledge to fight terror but insist that Israel must ease up on Palestine.

Mubarak Refuses to Move Quickly on Political Reform.
2006- May 12- Mubarak's son Gamal, generally assumed to be Mubarak's successor, meets White House Officials, including VP Dick Cheney.
May 20- Mubarak opens the World Economic Forum meeting in Egypt with strong words, apparently meant for the U.S.- that Egypt has no intention of any quick political reform.
2007- Nov 3- Mubarak's son Gamal promoted to a key committee in a move seen to set him on the path to succession.

Obama`s Cairo Speech.
2009 June - US President Barack Obama makes key speech in Cairo calling for a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim world.
-in Egypt, 75 people sentenced to death in June- a record for one month- compared to 86 for all of 2008.
 Feb 11- Mubarak Steps down under US pressure. Vice President Suleiman announces a transition of power to the military, headed by General Tantawi. The military promises that it will hold power temporarily until free and fair elections can be held. "Administration officials and envoys worked the phones to gently push Mubarak out. And Defense Secretary Robert Gates did tell Egypt's defense minister, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, that the United States would not lift a finger to keep Mubarak in power..." (AOL, Feb 11, 2011)


CONTENTS: SCROLL DOWN FOR:
EGYPT: 1882-1973
EGYPT: 1974-2011.
EGYPT: 2012--2012
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS.
 TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF EGYPT

EGYPT: 1882-1973

WAFD PARTY FIGHTS FOR INDEPENDENCE FROM BRITAIN.

Britain, having taken control of Egypt in 1882, declares the country to be under military occupation in 1914, at the outbreak of World War I. At the close of the war in 1918, a lawyer, Saad Zaghloul leads a 'delegation' ('Wafd' in Arabic) to London to present the case for Egyptian independence. The denial of the Wafd's request results in periodic riots for Egyptian independence over the following  years. Zaghloul reorganizes the Wafd into a political movement in 1919 to work for  Egyptian independence. Britain edges toward granting nominal independence in 1922, reserving the right to safguard foreign interests and protect minorities. Britain formalizes the terms for independence in the constitution of 1923, the year in which the Wafd wins the legislative elections and Zaghloul becomes prime minister.

ANGLO EGYPTIAN TREATY MAINTAIN MILITARY SUPREMACY OVER EGYPT.

While the Wafd, led by Prime Minister Nahas Pasha in 1927, becomes the prime mover for independence, a conservative, nationalist wing develops with King Fuad's dismissal of Pasha and suspension of the constitution. Italy's invasion of Eritrea in 1935 further strengthens Britain's hold over Egypt as the English determine the country's requirements in military equipment, training and communications and the right to build British air bases. The Anglo-Egyptian treaty OF 1936  further defines Egyptian independence by dropping the provisions for protecting minorities and foreign interests while insisting on British occupation of the Canal Zone and her right to assume full military defecne of Egypt in time of war.






In 1938, King Faruq, the young successor to King Fuad, follows his father's policies in attacking the Wafd head-on, dismissing Pasha once again and appointing his own man, Ali Mahir. Tensions reach a height when Italy enters the war in 1940, and King Faruq, bending to pro-Italian friends and advisers, holds on to his anti-British prime minister, Ali Mahir. The British surround the palace with tanks and demand that Faruq appoint Nahas Pasha on pain of dethronement. The king complies but his prestige among the Egyptian people plummets and he tried to restore his standing by dismissing Pasha and reappointing Mahir in 1944.


1948 WAR WITH ISRAEL DISCREDITS MONARCHY. NASSER OVERTHROWS GOV'T.

The breaking point for the Egyptian monarchy is the 1948 Palestine war for the state of Israel in which Egyptian troops perform so badly against the fledgling Jewish state that Egyptianh troops begin planning a coup. Faruq tries to placate the Wafd in 1950 by calling an election while the Wafd demands the evacuation of British troops. The British, however, refuse. In 1951, the Wafd abrogates the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, declares the king sovereign of Egypt and Sudan and mounts guerilla attacks on the British. Rioting follows, the king dismisses the Wafd government in 1951 and  the Free Officers group, led by Col Abdul Nasser and Muhammed Neguib mount a coup, overthrowing the monarchy and exiling the king to Italy.  Neguib, at the head of the Revolutionary Ruling Council, is appointed President and Prime Minister and chooses a parliamentary system of government. Nasser, now head of the still-powerful RCC, opposes and overrules him.



Quickly going his own way, Nasser bans the Wafd and all other parties in 1953. Instead he brings out a single party, the Liberation Rally. He launches programs of industrialization and land reform and promotes Arab Socialism which gets him the backing of the Soviet Union. Without consulting Naguib, Nasser bans the Mislim Brotherhood in 1954. Naguib resigns in protest and after being dismissed from the presidency, turns to his own military forces, and the country nearly collapses into civil war before Naguib is allowed to retain the presidency in a compromise and Nasser is appointed chairman of the RCC. Felling the directions things have taken, the British withdraw from Egypt.


Now an international figure, Nasser promotes Arab Nationalism. Facing opposition at home and abroad, he  moves further to the left. At the 1955 Bandung Conference, he manages to the stop the Baghdad Pact from  pulling more Arab countries over to the West and draws inspiration from from the Non-aligned Movement of India's Nehru and Yugoslavia's Tito. America's subsequent refusal to sell arms to Egypt only pushes Nassar to buy weapons from Yugoslavia. In retaliation the US refuses aid for the Aswan Dam and persuades the World Bank to do the same. In turn, Nasser  natonalizes the Suez Canal and accepts aid from the Soviet Union.


NASSER AND HIS ARAB NATIONALISM TRIUMPH AFTER KEEPING BRITS, FRENCH AND ISREAL OUT OF SUEZ.







Thus begins, in 1956, Nasser's period of Triumph with the Suez Crisis. A new constitution gives him a six year term and the the right to one consecutive term and pursues his non ideological Arab nationalism. Britain, France and Israel try, by military force, to seize the Suez Canal. Their failure to do so makes Nasser into a hero throughout the Arab World. Now begins his move further to the left.


Nasser's prestige is abruptly shaken in 1958 by his project to unite Syria and Egypt in a United Arab Republic intended gradually to absorb the whole Middle East under Nasser himself but it fails due to in-fighting and the secession of Syria in 1961. Meanwhile, Nasser visits Moscow as leader of the Non-Aligned Movement. Syria's attempt to outpace Egypt in the implementation of socialist policies causes Nasser to move even farther to the left in an attempt to remain effective leader of the Arab world. He extends his credentials by sending military support to a republican revolution in North Yemen and founding the Arab Socialist Union. He also makes a defence pact with Syria in order to share if not to claim Syria's support of the Palestinian movement against Israel. In 1967 Israel ridicules Nasser and dares him to support Palestinian designs. Nasser responds by closing the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and forming an alliance with Jordan.



NASSER LOSES SIX-DAY WAR WITH ISRAEL.



Thus begins the Six Day War in which Israel launches pre-emptive strikes against the air forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, decisve defeating them. Nasser's prestige irreversibly damaged, he resigns but is recalled by popular demand. In 1968, his political 'War of Attrition' prevents Israel from making any permanent gains of Egyptrian territory and he brokers peace between the PLO and Lebanon and the PLO and Jordan. Upon his death in 1970, Anwar Sadat succeeds him as president of Egypt.


 
EGYPT: 1973-2011.


SADAT LOSES THE YOM KIPPUR WAR AND SIGNS PEACE WITH ISRAEL.



In 1973, Sadat conspires with Syria in an attack on Israel and though Egypt scores initial success in the sky, it loses the Ypm Kippur War. In consequence, Sadat deserts the Soviet Union for the United States and signs a compromise treaty with Israel. He signs the Law of Political Parties in 1977, legalizign the Wafd and other poltiical parties to participate in a parliamentary system with rigged elections and little democracy. In 1979, Sadat signs a peace treaty with Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. As a result Egypt is expelled from the Arab League and virulent protest at the treaty causes him to crack down on ther opposition. Long simmering hatred among Islamists over the peace with Israel explodes when Sadat is assassinated in 1981 by Islamist army officers during a review. He is succeeded by Hosni Mubarak.


 

MUBARAK SUCCEEDS SADAT AFTER SADAT'S ASSASSINATION; RIGS ELECTIONS.

Mubarak immediately begins to mend relations with the Arab world, earning him considerable popularity at home and readmission to the Arab League in Egypt. However, he continues Sadat's tradition of rigging elections. After his re-election in 1993, Mubrarak faces increased oppostion from the Muslim Brotherhood and Gamat al Islamiya. His increased crackdowns, arrests, torture and general repression of Islamists begins to cause concern in the Clinton administration, not least because repressive Arab governments are only radicalizing the Islamists.

After Al  Qaeda's 9/11 attacks on New York, Mubarak cooperates with US president Bush's War on Terror. He recommends an international convention on terrorism but at the same time asks for a more even-handed approach to Palestine and Israel. In the end, he obtains neither. In February, 2003, in Milan, CIA agents kidnap Egyptian cleric and Islamist suspect Hassan Nasr and use the rendition program tlo fly him to Egypt where he is torutred and interrogated. But when Bush visits Cairo in June for a meeting of Arab leaders, they insist again that no peace intiative will be possible until Israel eases up on the West Bank.

MUBARAK STRENGTHENS DICTATORSHIP, FIGHTS ISLAMISTS, GIVES DIPLOMATIC SUPPORT FOR PALESTINIANS.



After Mubarak's entire cabinet resigns in July, 2004, he replaces his prime minister with Atef Obeid, an outsider, and replaces half of Egypts 26 governors, further centralizing his power- despite increasing demands for reform. The timing seems strange when, after an October Al Qaeda bombings kills 34 at the Jewish resort of Sikkot on Egypt's Sinai peninsula, Mubarak has 200 Islamists released from prison at the end of Ramadan and in the same month the funeral of the Palestinain leader is held in Cairo. But that is the political tightrope Mubarak must walk between the West and militant Islam.  In February, 2005, as Mubarak asserts regional power by joining Libya's Gaddhafi in attempting to broker a peace between Darfur and Sudan, five hundred protest his intention to run for another term in office and have his son Gamal named as his successor.

Mubarak's initiative to reform electoral laws to include multiple candidates in the early spring of 2005, excite little trust as oppostion groups and the Muslim Brotherhood mount anti-government demonstrations for genuine political reform well into the spring. My May, despite ratification by parliament and an allleged referndum., thousands of protestors have rejected Mubarak's electoral reform as a sham. On June 30, the Muslim Brotherhood mounts forms an opposition alliance for the legal and constitutional removal of Mubarak and the boycott of September elections. July 23, witnesses terror attacks at the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh

Mubarak's election to a fifth consecutive term in September 2005 is marred by blatant electoral fraud and minimal voter turnout. Meanwhile, thousands of Gazans pour into Egypt during a temproary opening of the border. December's parliamentary elections are marked by clashes between police and the Muslim Brotherhood. Mubarak's National Democratic Party wins its predictable majority while Brotherhood candidates, running as independents score a record 20% of seats.

JUDICIARY LANGUISHES, MUBARAK IGNORES CALLS FOR REFORM, REPRESSES MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD.



In March, 2006, Egyptian judges protest the judiciary's lack of independence while in May, judges demonstrating against electoral fraud are beaten by police. In April, meanwhile, Egypt has been rocked by rioting between Muslims and Christains in Alexandria.  In May, the US gets a clear message that reform will come no time soon as Mubarak's son Gamal, his designated successor, is introduced at the White House and US and Egyptian officials meet as Egyopt hosts the World Economic Forum.

In June 2006, the Muslim Brotherhood is subjected to a crackdown and arrests and in November Mubaralk once again promises political reform in an address to parliament. The crackdown on the Brotherhood continues in November. Instead of the promised reform, constituional amendments strengthen Mubarak's grip on power as 100 MPs walk out in protest in March, 2007. A referendum consenting to the amendments is widely known to be rigged. In June, police bar voters from polling stations as the government claims another victory in parliamentary elections. In October there follows a crackdown on the press.
Mubarak places his son Gamal in a high government post, a moce seen to assure his succession to the presidency.

MUBARAK TINKERS WITH MODEST FINANCIAL REFORM AS COUNTRY STAGGERS UNDER POVERTY AND UNEMPLOYMENT.

In the spring of 2008, Egyptians protest high food prices with protests, looting and the burning of shops, while sentencing and mass arrests of the Muslim Brotherbood coontinue. In a desperate move, perhaps, to quell popular unrest, Mubarak announces finanacial reforms, action against poverty and the distribution of shares in privatized state enterprises in November. In February 2009 an Islamist bomb attack kills 25 in a tourist area of Cairo. The spring sees Mubarak hosting Sudan's Al Bashir despite international censure of Bashir over atrocities in Darfur.




The Government attempts reforms in fall and winter of 2009, with action against poverty and free shares in government corporations for Egyptians while tje government holds majority shares in all basic industries from iron to tourism. Security forces deal with Beduin smuggling in the Gaza strip as well as a deadly  Islamist bombing, apparently the work of Al Qaeda.  In the spring,  in a presage of things to come, Islamists and pro democracy groups demonstrate against the the government.

Obama delivers his Cairo speech in June, 2009, admitting US errors in Middle Eastern policy and promising a new beginning in Middle-East-US relations. In the summer, the security forces and the courts take action again militants from A Qaeda and Hezbolla for planning terror attacks in Egypt. In December, a deadly riot explodes when Muslims attack a Copt Chrisitan funeral.

REFORMISTS GATHER AMID RIGGED PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

The first half of 2010 is marked by the return of elder statesman and opposition figure Mohammed ElBaradei. Demanding widespread reform, ElBaradei defies a ban on  public gatherings and leads demonstrations demanding widespread government reform. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood fails to win any seats in the upper house, the Shura, and claims the elections are rigged.



At the end of 2010, the Government cracks down and curtails the media  ahead of the parliamentary elections. When the vote comes, protestors and  the Muslim Brotherhood, having won no seats, accuse the government of rigging elections.


Egypt: 2011-2013

THE ARAB SPRING: EGYPT RISES UP FOLLOWING TUNISIA.

In early 2011, the scene couldn't better set for inspiration by the recent revolution in Tunisia. El Baradei is proposed for interim leader as millions converge on Tahrir Square to demand the resignation of President Mubarak and the institution democratic government. By mid-Febuary, Mubarak has resigned. Throughout the spring, constitutional reforms pave the way for a new administration. mass demonstrations continue, protesting the slow pace of change. In summer, Mubarak goes on trial for having ordered the killing of demonstrators. Protestors now accuse the military or hanging on to power.



In the winter of 2011-2102, an interim government takes office. Parliamentary elections begin in January. Islamist parties win most of the seats. Organized fotball fans aligned with the revolution are set up and massacred by police during a Port Said football riot. 74 of the fans die.

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD'S MORSI ELECTED PRESIDENT; MUBARAK GOES ON TRIAL.

In May, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood gains the lead in polls for president. In summer Morsi is elected president and Mubarak is sentenced to life in prison. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court declares the parliamentary vote invalid and Morsi is left with a new interim government made up of old regime technocrats and Islamists. Morsi then strips the army of all political authority and retires army chief Tantawi. In November, Morsi strips the judiciary of the right to rescind his decisions but he is forced to back down in the face of public protests.At the end of the year the Islamist parliament pushes through an Islamist constitution and curtails free speech. The constitution is barely passed by referendum and in the face up much opposition.



MORSI GRABS POWER FROM JUDICIARY IN DAWNING DICTATORSHIP.

2013 opens with mass demonstrations against President Morsi's power grab. Fifty are killed by police. The army warns of general collapse. Morsi calls general elections for April but the Constitutional court blocks him, citing a violation of the electoral law. The loose opposition alliance, the National Salvation Front says it will boycott the elections.

Post a Comment