Egypt's Street Demonstrations and Coup Threats: Made in America?

By:  Thomas R. Eddlem
07/03/2013
       
Egypt's Street Demonstrations and Coup Threats: Made in America?

Egypt's street demonstrations and a threat of a coup against the government of Mohammad Morsi may have both had their origins in actions of the U.S. government.

 

Egypt's street protests (shown in photo) — loosely based upon an online petition called the Tamarrud (loosely translated as “Rebellion”) — and the looming military threat of a coup against the freely elected government of Mohammad Morsi may have both had their origins in actions of the U.S. government.

The U.S. government has financed both NGO online activism and the Egyptian military in recent years, leading to the possibility that the U.S. government could have manufactured a pincer movement against Egypt's elected government, creating “pressure from above” and “pressure from below.”

Pressure From Above

The Egyptian military issued an ultimatum to the Morsi government July 1 to restore order within 48 hours, threatening a coup d'etat. This is the same Egyptian military largely trained in America, as ably summarized in a recent Foreign Policy magazine post:

In fact, the Egyptian Army — as the entire military is colloquially known there — may be one of the U.S. government's best friends in the entire Arab world. American presidents have been encouraging stability in the region for more than 30 years by making the Egyptian military the muscle behind a regional superpower — one built and trained by Washington.... Egypt's current defense chief, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is an alum of the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania while the head of Egypt's air force, Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed, did a tour in the United States as a liaison officer, and the recently retired head of the Egyptian navy, Mohab Mamish, did a bunch of tours in the United States. Their cases are hardly unique; more than 500 Egyptian military officers train at American military graduate schools every year. There's even a special guesthouse on T Street in northwest Washington, D.C., where visiting Egyptian military officials stay when in the American capital.... All this gives the United States quite a bit of leverage when it comes to the Egyptian military, one of the most powerful forces in Egyptian society. (Some estimate that up to 40 percent of the Egyptian economy is controlled by the military.)

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