Egypt's Military Should Restore Morsi, Elected President

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Coup leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sissi,

[Black Star News Editorial]

Now Egypt is torn with bloody confrontations between supporters of the duly elected president who was ousted and those who back the military-installed regime. At least 30 people are reported dead in clashes.

Egypt's army which committed the unlawful takeover of power and the commanding officers involved must bear responsibility for the violence and for upsetting the country's infant democracy.

National armies or defense forces are supposed to protect citizens of a country from foreign aggression. Soldiers and their commanding officers are meant to valiantly fight to protect their fellow citizens, their family, friends, and loved ones. They are meant to protect a country's territorial integrity and the country's resources and infrastructure.

When they perform these tasks admirably they do a nation proud.

In Egypt the Army 's action is a complete disaster. The country has correctly been suspended by the African Union from membership. Other regional organizations and major countries must shun the unlawful regime.

Egypt had endured autocracy for decades. It was Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein who first suppressed The Muslim Brotherhood, which was reactionary and opposed his land reforms and modernization plans, in the 1950s. But Nasser was extremely popular: he had planned the ouster of King Farouk, survived an assassination attempt by a Brotherhood member, and later became a hero of the Suez confrontation with Britain, France and Israel.

After the death of Nasser, Anwar el Sadat became president. After Sadat was assassinated Hosni Mubarak succeeded him. Mubarak tried to contain the Brotherhood. Not a single one of the current generals, including defense minister and coup leader Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, has the popularity, charisma, intelligence, and track record of Nasser to overwhelm the Brotherhood by force.

Egyptians are highly educated and knew that they did not deserve to endure autocracy when people determined their leaders through elections in other parts of the world.

Egyptians were on the same page when the so-called Arab Spring started. They came out in numbers.

Initially the opportunist Army stood by Mubarak and the old regime. In essence Egypt had known only military government, occasionally semi-clothed in civilian garb.

When the military saw how determined the populace had become, the army pushed Mubarak, half-way overboard, and stepped into the shadows.

Competitive elections were held and The Muslim Brotherhood prevailed. The army initially tried but failed to clip the new president, Mohamed Morsi's wings from the get-go. Some of the losers of the election hinted at their support for that early hint at appetite for intervention.

But Egyptians wanted to show the world that they were ready for a new dawn.  They did not want their democracy to become still-born.

Egypt had no experience with democratic governance where a president was chosen by popular competitive election and that president then formed a national government. So Mohamed Morsi, the new president who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood, was bound to make mistakes; as any other Egyptian that might have become the country's first democratically elected ruler, would have.

Morsi also may be paying a price for reaching out to improve relations with Iran and pressuring Hamas and Fattah to unite. There is also belief that Britain and France believe Egypt under the army may be useful in "finishing the job" in Syria.

So, barely one year into civilian rule, Egypt's army has betrayed the new beginning. There is even a report in The Wall Street Journal that some Egyptians believe the army had a hand in fomenting the uprisings.

With its illegal action, Egypt's army has now unleashed a predictable consequence: violence between Egyptians. Now brother is fighting brother and sister is fighting sister and brother is fighting sister in Egypt. The army, which is meant to protect the populace, is behaving like a foreign aggressor against Egyptians.

The United States which provides about $1.3 billion to Egypt's military was not forceful enough in discouraging the coup by the army.  A popularly elected government can't be discarded in such a reckless manner.

There is something in the power of a vote. People who believe that their vote is being unfairly disqualified, even a year after the election, react with a special type of passion.

Here in the United States, when Republicans tried to disqualify Black voters so they could steal the presidential election for Mitt Romney, it backfired badly. Black voters almost repeated the turnout of 2008 and helped re-elect President Barack Obama.

We can imagine that Egyptian voters feel as passionately about their vote and the right to determine who governs them.

The military in Egypt must stand down and restore the elected government that it overthrew this week. The military must abandon the dangerous and potentially explosive Algerian solution for Egypt.



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