CHEERED BY ISRAEL, THE WHITE HOUSE AND PENTAGON WERE BEHIND “COUP DE NILE”
by Syarif Hidayat
Cheered by Israeli leaders, The White House and Pentagon were behind the Egyptian military coup that ousted a democracticaly elected President Muhammad Morsi from power. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported: Marathon phone calls about the coup took place between Jerusalem and Washington. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon spoke with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror spoke with his White House counterpart, Susan Rice. The senior American official said the talks were aimed at coordinating U.S. and Israeli positions on the Egyptian crisis. (Here is a photo of US President Barack Obama discussing the events in Egypt with his national security team in the Situation Room).
Political analyst Michael Burns said that the United States is trying to protect the interests of Israel regarding the recent chaos in Egypt. “In respect to Egypt, we are trying to protect the interests of Israel,” he told Press TV.
He made the remarks after it was revealed that the man who was behind the recent military coup in Egypt was a student at the U.S. Army War College.Egyptian Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who engineered the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday, attended the war college in Carlisle, Pa., in 2006.
Egyptian military coup was ordered by Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice, according to New York Times report. This ends the debate as to what this color revolution really was. Susan E. Rice had told deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s team that the president would leave office an hour before his ouster by the military, a report says. An Arab foreign minister had called Morsi as an emissary of the United States to give him one final chance to make changes to his cabinet to end the standoff with the military, The New York Times reported.
Senior advisors with Morsi said the minister, not named in the report, made the call several hours before the announcement of the president’s ouster by the military on Wednesday to ask for the appointment of a new prime minister and cabinet. The new cabinet would have assumed all legislative powers and replaced Morsi’s appointed provincial governors.
Morsi’s top foreign policy adviser, Essam al-Haddad, who was with Morsi when the call came through, then left the room to call U.S. ambassador to Egypt Anne W. Patterson to notify Washington that Morsi had refused to comply, the U.S. daily said. Upon returning to the room, Haddad said he had called Susan Rice, Morsi’s aides said. “Mother just told us that we will stop playing in one hour,” read a text message sent by an aide to his associate, referring to “Mother America,” the Egyptians’ sarcastic name for the Western power that has for years supported the Egyptian military with billions of dollars in aid.
Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian defense minister and the country’s top military commander, announced on Wednesday that the army had removed Morsi from power. After the TV announcement, the military said Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, had “failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people.” Morsi was the Muslim Brotherhood’s envoy in talks with the military, represented by General Sisi, following the overthrow of Egypt’s long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak in early 2011. Later the relationship between them developed, according to a senior Brotherhood official close to Morsi, to the level that the president “trusted him.” In a surprise move last summer, Morsi appointed General Sisi defense minister.
Over his short-lived tenure as president, Morsi was frequently accused by the opposition groups of seeking to monopolize power. In a meeting with Haddad in Washington last December, U.S. President Barack Obama had urged the Muslim Brotherhood to include the opposition in the government, according to the Times. Secretary of State John Kerry had even suggested naming former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed El Baradei as prime minister to ease tensions with the opposition groups but Morsi had rejected the idea, the U.S. paper said.
Egyptian Military Coup Ordered by Obama’s National Security Advisor
Scott Creighton in his article titled: “Egyptian Military Coup Ordered by Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice – New York Times” writes This ends the debate as to what this color revolution really was. They offered President Morsi the opportunity to stay on as a kind of figurehead puppet, but he had to give up control to a prime minister and cabinet hand picked by Washington. Morsi refused and Susan E. Rice gave the order for the military coup to begin.
As President Mohamed Morsi huddled in his guard’s quarters during his last hours as Egypt’s first elected leader, he received a call from an Arab foreign minister with a final offer to end a standoff with the country’s top generals, senior advisers with the president said. The foreign minister said he was acting as an emissary of Washington, the advisers said, and he asked if Mr. Morsi would accept the appointment of a new prime minister and cabinet, one that would take over all legislative powers and replace his chosen provincial governors.
The aides said they already knew what Mr. Morsi’s answer would be. He had responded to a similar proposal already by pointing at his neck. “This before that,” he had told his aides, repeating a vow to die before accepting what he considered a de facto coup and thus a crippling blow to Egyptian democracy. This color revolution has resulted in the re-creation of the Mubarak era pro-American dictatorship that was successfully toppled two and a half years ago. All the key players are either Mubarak appointees or state department favorites.
The New York Times explains it all pretty well in this little passage… “In the end, senior Brotherhood officials said, Mr. Morsi’s adamant response to that last offer — a combination of idealism and stubbornness — epitomized his rule. It may also have doomed his presidency.” What doomed his presidency was that anti-neoliberal constitution he helped create. That was the final straw for President Morsi.
Washington had to do away with that on behalf of their global banking bosses and Morsi in the end wouldn’t play ball, so now he’s gone… more than likely dead with all those Egyptians in the streets fighting to bring him back to power. Like Gadhafi before him, the Obama state department knows the only way to make sure that doesn’t happen, is kill him. Morsi was too “idealistic” according to the New York Times. He wasn’t “pragmatic” like our president of “CHANGE” who does everything he can for the big bankers and big business.
“If I were not in my place, I would think he wants to be a dictator,” one Muslim Brotherhood leader said when he heard the news on television, a colleague recounted on condition of anonymity. Mr. Morsi, though, feared he would appear weak if he backed down, his advisers said. “The president is headstrong,” lamented another Brotherhood leader.
Regardless White House Still Isn’t Saying – “A Coup is A Coup”
Zeke J Miller in his article titled: “Was It A Coup? The White House Still Isn’t Saying” writes nearly a week after the Egyptian military deposed President Mohammad Morsi, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the Obama Administration still hasn’t determined if the apparent coup d’état was indeed a coup.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Carney engaged in a bit of lexicographic jujitsu when repeatedly asked if, when and why the U.S. hasn’t called Morsi’s ouster a coup. He said the U.S. is “going to take the time necessary to review what has taken place,” and is in no hurry to brand the transfer of power a coup, which would require the government to cut off $1.5 billion in aid to the country.
Merriam-Webster defines coup d’état as “a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics; especially: the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group.” The Obama Administration’s definition is more nuanced — and hard to pin down. From Carney’s comments, as well as State Department press secretary Jen Psaki’s remarks, it’s possible to see the general rubric: a coup isn’t defined only by the transition of power, but by how quickly the new regime moves to hold elections, how the citizens of the country view the takeover and — nebulously — whether it is in the interests of the U.S. to call it a coup.
“To be blunt, there are significant consequences that go along with this determination, and it is a highly charged issue for millions of Egyptians who have different views about what happened,” Carney told reporters, saying there was no timetable for the review. “I would say that we are going to take the time necessary to review what has taken place and to monitor efforts by Egyptian authorities to forge an inclusive and democratic way forward. And as we do, we will review our requirements under the law, and we will do so consistent with our policy objectives. And we will also, of course, consult with Congress on that.”
“There are millions of people on the ground who do not think it was a coup,” Psaki said in her daily briefing. “We factor lots of factors in.”In an attempt at justification, Carney said the Administration believes immediately cutting off aid to the Egyptian military would not be in the best interests of the U.S. And at the moment, lawmakers of both parties, in a tacit acknowledgement that cutting off foreign aid to the Egyptian military would further destabilize the country, are allowing the White House to skate around the letter of federal law.
Senators Robert Menendez and Bob Corker, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, respectively, issued noncommittal statements calling for the return of democratic government, and were equally acquiescing to the Administration’s position on the Sunday shows. “The situation in Egypt is a tenuous one,” Boehner said in a Monday afternoon press conference. “One of the most respected institutions in the country is their military. And I think their military, on behalf of the citizens, did what they had to do in terms of replacing the elected President. But anything further, I think we’ll wait for consultations with the Administration on how we would move ahead.”
But for most, including the media and veteran lawmakers like Senators John McCain and Patrick Leahy, it’s not that complex. “It was a coup,” McCain said on CBS Face the Nation on Sunday. On Wednesday, Leahy called on the Obama Administration to cut off aid to Egypt in compliance with federal law. Not that McCain wants to cut off aid entirely, calling on the Administration to follow the letter of the law, but also to “explore creative and lawful means to cooperate with the Egyptian military on a limited basis.” Another alternative includes Congress quickly passing a bill to carve out a national-security exemption for Egypt.
Under existing federal law, included in every appropriations bill for more than a decade, U.S. non-humanitarian aid must be cut off to “the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état or decree or, after the date of enactment of this act, a coup d’état or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.” The law does not offer a definition of coup d’état.
Man behind Egypt coup studied at US Army War College
A new report says the man who was behind the recent military coup in Egypt was a student at the U.S. Army War College that is considered the country’s top military training program. Egyptian Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who engineered the ouster of President Mohammad Morsi, attended the war college in Carlisle, Pa., in 2006, The Washington Times reported.
During the latest chaos in Egypt, Sisi deployed troops to cities when clashes broke out between supporters and opponents of the government. Washington has not condemned the military takeover nor called it a coup, prompting speculation that it supports the change in the North African country. The White House said that it is still reviewing whether or not to label the ouster of the Egyptian president by the military a coup.
Last week, Pentagon press secretary George Little said U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has been in contact with Sisi twice before the coup. Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that U.S. national security advisor Susan Rice had told Morsi’s team that the president would leave office an hour before his ouster by the military.
Some American officials say the Obama administration wants to find a way to avoid labeling the Egyptian military’s action a coup in order to keep the military aid flowing. Prominent Republican Senator John McCain said that U.S. aid to Egypt should be cut off in accordance with U.S. law.”It is difficult for me to conclude that what happened was anything other than a coup in which the military played a decisive role,” McCain said.
According to U.S. law, financial assistance to any country whose elected head of state is deposed in a military coup is prohibited. The United States supplies about $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt. Egypt, the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel, has received from the United States more than 70 billion dollars in military and economic aid since 1948.
Marathon phone calls between Jerusalem and Washington
The White House has avoided using the word “coup,” because, as Reuters explained, “calling the military intervention a ‘coup’…would trigger legal obstacles to continuing aid payments.” The New York Times‘ Caucus blog adds that Egypt has been the second-largest recipient of American aid, behind Israel, since 1979, as a reward and incentive for its peace with the Jewish nation, and the military continues to support that treaty.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney repeatedly dodged any confirmation that Morsi’s overthrow was a coup, saying instead the situation in Egypt was “complex and difficult” and that the Obama administration has no immediate plans to halt aid to Egypt. I think it would not be in the best interest of the United States to immediately change our assistance programs to Egypt. We think — not just I, but we think that it would not be in the best interest of the United States to do that. We are reviewing our obligations under the law and we will be consulting with Congress about the way forward with regards to, specifically, the assistance package that we provide.
The State Department made similar statement, saying in a press briefing, “Our focus is on returning stability to the region.” Israel’s interests in the U.S. maintaining its hefty aid to the Egyptian military prompted “marathon phone calls” to U.S. officials this weekend, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported: Marathon phone calls about the coup took place between Jerusalem and Washington over the weekend.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon spoke with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror spoke with his White House counterpart, Susan Rice. The senior American official said the talks were aimed at coordinating U.S. and Israeli positions on the Egyptian crisis. During those calls, and in follow-up conversations afterward, the Israelis warned that cutting military aid to Egypt would likely impact negatively on Israel’s security, especially given the possibility of further security deterioration in Sinai.
They also warned that halting the aid could undermine Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt. Foreign policy analyst Jim Lobe noted similar comments from other pro-Israel voices, including the neo-conservative Wall Street Journal. Lobe wrote: Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal’s hard-line neo-conservative editorial board stressed Washington had too much at stake to disassociate itself in any way from the military, insisting that “cutting (military aid) off now would be a mistake. Unpopular as America is in Egypt, 1.3 billion dollars in annual military aid buys access with the generals. U.S. support for Cairo is written into the Camp David peace accords with Israel,” according to its lead editorial.
El Baradei “a close friend of Israeli war criminal Sharon”
It added that Egyptians “would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet…” The Guardian reports on the continuing developments in Egypt: Egypt’s military-backed interim presidency moved to implement a speedy transition to civilian rule on Tuesday, appointing economist Hazem el-Beblawi as prime minister and the internationally-known opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei as vice-president.
In a tense atmosphere following the killing of 55 supporters of the deposed president Mohammad Morsi and threats of new mass protests by his supporters, the army also warned against political “manoeuvring” at a time of instability and anxiety – apparently to forestall more squabbling about other cabinet posts.
An Arabic website has revealed details of the links between the man nominated to be the Deputy Interim President of Egypt and an Israeli leader alleged to be a war criminal. Mohamed ElBaradei not only supported disgraced Hosni Mubarak but was also close to ex-Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. According to the Arabic Secrets site, ElBaradei was close enough to Sharon to have dinner at his home while visiting Israel.
Sharon was responsible for a number of massacres of Palestinian civilians, most notoriously the Sabra and Shatila massacres of 1982, as well as the killing of Egyptian school children targeted by Israeli airstrikes. There are concerns that the ex-head of the International Atomic Energy Agency may use his connections to Mubarak to ensure that the latter is released from prison. ElBaradei’s new position comes at the expense of the democratic choice of the Egyptian people following President Morsi’s ousting last week by a military coup.
The Pentagon was behind Egypt’s Military Coup
Press TV has conducted an interview with Michel Chossudovsky, Centre for Research on Globalization, Montreal about the coup d’état by the Egyptian military that has deposed the elected Morsi government after large anti-government protests arose.
“We must understand that from 1991 to the present – over a 20-year period, the Egyptian economy has been destabilized, the Nile Value bread basket has been destroyed. 3,000 years of self-sufficient agriculture; food prices have risen; unemployment has gone sky high; the industrial fabric of a relatively self-reliant economy has been destroyed; and this is the basis of the protest movement. People are protesting because their living standards have collapsed and they saw in this new government an avenue of change. But bear in mind: the United States is supporting both sides and their objective and their strategy is to destabilize this country as a nation-state.”
“I don’t doubt that in Washington there is already a scenario of regime change and that scenario of regime change is there with a view to ensure continuity. But at the same time there is also a scenario of political and economic destabilization on an unprecedented scale.”
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: I’d like to have your impression on the situation in Egypt two days after a coup d’état the situation is very tense in Egypt. Tell us more about your opinion.
Chossudovsky: Well, I think we have to reflect a little bit on the history of the Morsi government going back to the Arab Spring, in other words, two and a half years ago. And we also have to ask ourselves, who are the major actors behind this coup d’état? It is a coup d’état in the sense that the military have intervened and they have demoted a duly elected government. I should underscore the fact that the reports confirm that the protest movement against the Muslim Brotherhood government was also directed against the United States.
In other words, the protest movement perceives the Morsi government as a proxy of the United States and in particular the Muslim Brotherhood government has accepted all the conditions, which were imposed by the International Monetary Fund upon the accession to the formation of a government – namely the application of strong economic medicine, which essentially is continuity in relation to the previous period.
It’s a structural adjustment program; it’s devastating economic reforms; and I think what’s motivated the protest movement, certainly the derogation of civil liberties, the implementation of Islamic law is an issue; but more fundamentally it is the process of impoverishment, which has become heightened by the installation of this government and the social situation in the country is far more serious than it was during the Mubarak period. So that what we have is a continuity pertaining to these neoliberal economic reforms: massive austerity measures, rising food prices, rising unemployment and ultimately this discontent is motivated by the collapse in the standard of living and also by the hope that a new government would do something different to what the Mubarak government was doing. So I think that has to be taken into account. However, let us look at who is behind this coup.
The press reports suggest that the protest movement is directed against the United States and that the armed forces in a certain sense are supportive of the protest movement. I think this in many regards is a smokescreen because US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as well as the US Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey were in permanent liaison with the architects of the coup in the two weeks preceding the military takeover.
We should be under no illusions, the Egyptian military may have differences within its ranks, but ultimately it tows the line, it takes its orders from Washington DC. Egypt is the largest recipient of US military aid after Israel. It is a strong ally and if they have taken this position of intervening and demoting a duly elected government, they have done it with the green light from the Pentagon. I think it is highly unlikely that General Abdul Al Sisi who is the architect of the coup d’état would have acted without consulting his counterpart namely US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
If we look a little bit at recent events we see that General Al Sisi was in permanent liaison by telephone to US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel; we should also understand that the defense minister who instigated the coup d’état is also a graduate of the US war college – he’s very close to the US military; and I sincerely doubt that he would have acted without having the go-ahead from his US counterparts. This of course doesn’t mean necessarily that… I mean, there are certain contradictions – you have a protest movement, which is directed against the Morsi government and then you have a military, which is supported by the United States.
In fact the United States is supporting both sides and that is part of its underlying strategy. It supports the military and then it supported – it no longer supports – but it supported the Brotherhood. And what this is leading to is a situation of internal conflict, which could lead to a process of destabilization on a much broader scale. I should also mention that the border with the Gaza Strip has been closed. This crisis has a bearing not only on Egypt, but on the broader region because Egypt is very strategic for America; it’s a gateway for North Africa and is also a gateway for sub-Saharan Africa.
Press TV: Morsi, initially when he came in he had the support of the US, but now it seems he doesn’t have the support of the US. Just what is in it for America now?
Chossudovsky: Ultimately what the United States action involved was essentially to ensure that this protest movement doesn’t get out of control and the coup d’état is ultimately intend to manipulate the protest movement and prevent the accession of a real people’s government. Morsi was not a people’s government. Well, he got 50-plus percent of the vote, but immediately upon accession to his position as president he reached an agreement with the IMF, which was imposed by Washington and Wall Street and essentially he continued in the footsteps of Mubarak.
So, this was not an alternative to the Mubarak governments by any means. It was a replacement of the Mubarak government, which in effect was following in the same path, adopting the same economic measures as ultimately those economic measures is what mattered. So Morsi actually did exactly what Mubarak was doing, faithfully obeying the orders of the Washington consensus from the outset of his presidency. And that economic model dates back to 1991. I happened to be – and this is of course beyond the scope of this interview – I happened to be in the minister of finance’s office in 1991 in Cairo at the very moment when this program was being implemented and imposed by the IMF talking to senior advisers of the government, everybody was against it, but their hands were bound.
We must understand that from 1991 to the present – over a 20-year period, the Egyptian economy has been destabilized, the Nile Value bread basket has been destroyed. 3,000 years of self-sufficient agriculture; food prices have risen; unemployment has gone sky high; the industrial fabric of a relatively self-reliant economy has been destroyed; and this is the basis of the protest movement. People are protesting because their living standards have collapsed and they saw in this new government an avenue of change. But bear in mind the United States is supporting both sides and their objective and their strategy is to destabilize this country as a nation-state.
Press TV: Some say the army is in power until the turbulence and tension in the country calms down. How willing is the army to initiate another election for a civilian government to be put into power?
Chossudovsky: That’s a very difficult question at this stage. They may have a certain legitimacy. I don’t doubt that in Washington there is already a scenario of regime change and that scenario of regime change is there with a view to ensure continuity. But at the same time there is also a scenario of political and economic destabilization on an unprecedented scale.
But what is occurring now in the streets of Cairo is a clash between two competing political movements, both of which have been misled by the people who are pulling the strings behind the scenes. It’s worth noting that http://www.military.com, which is essentially the mouthpiece of the US military establishment stated and I quote, “US Defense Secretary Hagel and US Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey were walking a fine line expressing concern while attempting to avoid the impression that the US was manipulating events behind the scene”. And that comes from a mainstream military online source.
I would suggest and my understanding is that in effect this whole process has been manipulated; the protest movement is infiltrated; many sectors of the opposition to Morsi are in fact supported by US foundations and in turn the Brotherhood is supported covertly by the United States and US intelligence. And it has you know, starting in the 1940s it as supported by the British secret service and throughout the 1950s and up to the present, the Brotherhood has always been supported or infiltrated by Western intelligence.
Press TV: What do outside countries think about this situation in Egypt, countries other than the US, Egypt’s friends?
Chossudovsky: Well, I think at this stage that is something, which is too early to say, I think there is a lot of confusion in what has actually happened. The armed forces in some sectors of Western public opinion are considered as patriots, as nationalists, who are coming to the rescue of the protest movement and then this protest movement is then portrayed as anti-American. The new military leaders and the interim president have requested the recall of the US Ambassador to Egypt, which then provides, in fact creates the illusion that ultimately the military are anti-American, which they’re not. They are very close with their US counterparts, both US military and intelligence.
Press TV: Do you see any role or involvement by remnants of the previous regime of Mubarak in this situation?
Chossudovsky: That’s always a possibility. I think that the names will change. I think we’re possibly going towards another regime change, but I should specify that this is a regime replacement; it is not an alternative neither to the Morsi government nor to the previous government of Hosni Mubarak. From my standpoint, with some nuances, they are very similar because they are obeying the orders of a proxy regime and they are faithfully fulfilling the corporate opening-up of the Egyptian economy to foreign investors and so on. And that’s what matters to the United States and its allies.
It’s a neo-Colonial policy, which in effect is restructuring Egypt as a territory within the region and that is what is ultimately very disturbing and there is a lot of confusion. This could also, potentially, evolve towards a civil war. I’m suggesting it will, but I’m saying there are elements of crisis at the moment and it just so happens that both factions within the protest movement – the supporters of Morsi on the one hand and the protesters, those who wanted the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood government – both these sections are supported by the same handlers, Western handlers namely the United States of America.
Some are supported by Western foundations, others are supported by the US military – the close relationship of the Egyptian military to the Pentagon; several civil society organizations Kifaya, April 6th movement, which we know was supported historically even by the US State Department. So we’re dealing with a protest movement, which was manipulated in early 2011 and it is manipulated currently in the present context in the opposition movement to the Morsi government. (HSH)