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September 8, 2013

Egypt's military backing a popular uprising

The Canadian Charger

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Although he said he's always hesitant about the role of the military in politics, Canadian community activist Ali Mallah fully supports the ouster of Egyptian president Morsi.

“What happened in Egypt was a decision of the majority of the people.  Many groups across the whole society asked the Muslim Brotherhood for either an early election or a referendum. When the Muslim Brotherhood failed to respond, the people asked the army to back law and order.”

At the same time, Mr. Mallah said it wouldn't surprise  him if the Egyptian military tries to stay in power longer than they say they're going to because many in the upper echelons  of the military benefited under Mubarak and continued to reap huge benefits under President  Morsi. But Mr. Mallah feels the Egyptian people will not accept military rule indefinitely.

“If they do (military stays longer) they will be making a big mistake because the masses of Egyptians have broken the walls of fear. The days when the majority was silent are gone.”

Mr. Mallah said President Morsi's government allowed the country to descend into hell, with ongoing killings and destruction of infrastructure and the economy.

“There are some extreme elements in the Muslim Brotherhood. They are very dangerous people with extreme views. ... Extremists assassinated a military official and they attacked a security centre. There was a conference in Egypt a few weeks ago when they (Muslim Brotherhood) called for jihad against Syria, and against other Muslims and Christians. This led to the burning of museums, monasteries and libraries.”

Violent actions and calls to action, such as these have caused many Muslim Brotherhood supporters to abandon the party.

Mr. Mallah estimates that more than 10,000 young members of the MB have left the party and started their own party, calling it “Muslim Brotherhood without violence”.

He added that Muslim Brotherhood leaders have also resigned, prominent among them Dr. Abdel Moneium Abou el Fotouh, who was also an Egyptian presidential candidate in the last election, which resulted in Mr. Morsi winning the presidency. Known for liberal Islamist views, as a leader within the Muslim Brotherhood, he stressed social justice. Dr. Abou al-Fotouh attempted to ensure that the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood conformed with democratic principles. He declared on the BBC that the source of true power and legislation was not in a law or constitution but in the people

At a recent press conference, Dr. El Fotouh – currently secretary general of the Arab Medical Union and author of the book “A Witness to the History of Egypt's Islamic Movement” - blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for Egypt having arrived at this impasse because they didn't deliver with their promised reforms. He said Mr. Morsi didn't act as president for all Egyptians and if a president can make decisions on his own, he shouldn't be a president.

Mr. Mallah said it's important to note that what happens in Egypt is not isolated from the rest of the region.

Indeed, Mr. Morsi's insistence on sending Egyptians to support the Syrian resistance in the Syria war was not only opposed by the majority of Egyptians, but by the Egyptian military itself.

“It was Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood who sided with Turkey, regional powers and the west to destroy Syria, and inflame the resistance. He closed the Syrian embassy while the Israeli flag still flies high in Cairo.”

Mr. Mallah said that when we feed the fires of ethnicity and sectarianism, this is what we get and, this may indeed be the real modus operandi of western powers in the Middle East, as it has been for centuries – divide and conquer.

'They want to reshape the region like they did with the Sykes – Picot Agreement (officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement.)  Condoleezza Rice referred to it as the New Middle East in 2006, while in Tel Aviv, while Lebanon was burning under Israeli fire.”

The Sykes – Picot Agreement effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian Peninsula into areas of future British and French control or influence. By creating states which h divided ethnic and religious communities, the western powers hoped to play the various groups against each other in an effort to control them.  And for many years they enjoyed some success with this strategy, as they often propped up autocrats from one ethnic and/or religious group against the majority of the indigenous peoples.

Mr. Mallah said retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters – in lectures to Pentagon officials - advocated this policy in accordance with the Bush Project for a New American Century, as part of a plan to reshape the Middle East to America's liking.

Regarding Iraq, Mr. Peters wrote: "Might it not have been wiser – as several of us suggested in 2003 – to shake off Europe's vicious legacies and give Kurds their state, Iraqi Shias their state, and the country's Sunni Arabs a rump Iraq to do with as they wished?"

Regarding all these countries, he wrote: "We needn't launch an endless war to fix the mess Europeans in pinstriped trousers left us – but we'd damned well better accept that, when we expend blood and treasure to prop up phony states, we're standing on the tracks in front of the speeding train of history.”

Mr. Mallah said if American officials succeed in implementing this plan to further fragment the region into ethnic and religious states, can anyone question the existence of Israel.

Mr. Mallah, along with numerous others both in Egypt and around the world, said he hoped for a de-escalation of violence and a return to civic engagement.

“The Muslim Brotherhood was invited to participate in dialogue. Instead they called for violence. Hopefully there is a space for dialogue. Hopefully we will get new elections.”

And with regard to Syria, he said: “Dialogue is the only option. Violence begets violence.”

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