x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Egypt's generals serve US interests

By seizing real power for itself, Egypt's military council helps the US maintain its influence, an Arabic-language writer argues. Other topics: Egypt again, and that German submarine deal.

By giving itself the real power, Egypt's military council protects US interests in the region

The resolutions and actions of Egypt's military council demonstrate, day after day, that when it forced Hosni Mubarak to step down, it was doing so not in support of the revolution but in order to take over the country. It was a neatly-planned coup, argued Abdel Bari Atwan in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi.

"The succession plans that Egyptians of all stripes opposed have come true," he noted. "Although power has not passed to Mubarak's disliked son, it has landed in the military."

The constitutional declaration hurriedly issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) following the run-off presidential election, one day after the parliament was dissolved and the Political Exclusion Law [banning old-regime figures from politics] was abolished, clearly "undermines the electoral process, kills off the democratic process and aborts the Egyptian revolution".

"In coordination with Washington, the military has hijacked the Egyptian revolution to preserve US interests in the Arab region, at this critical time of the build-up to the war against Iran, and the increasing existential threat to Israel due to the Arab revolutions," the writer noted.

True, Dr Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, is theoretically the president of Egypt, after having won the presidential election. But he will be a toothless president with no real prerogatives.

Although he has the executive power, the military will wield the real legislative power.

It does not stand to reason that former presidents Mubarak, Anwar Sadat and Abdel Nasser had all the prerogatives a president should have, despite not being elected by the people, while a president who was elected in a fair election after a great popular revolution, has none of these powers.

The problem is that Mr Morsi is not an option for the US, and he did not earn the blessing of Israel. "There is a crystal-clear US decision that seeks to prohibit not only Islamists from power but also all genuine patriots, and to back those entwined with hegemony and war plans in the region in a bid to seize oil and gas and to entrench Israeli occupation," he observed.

The writer noted that he is not for giving absolute power to presidents, but at the same time he believes Egypt must not "be a military state playing by the US book, like a banana republic".

"I believe that the cunning displayed, day after day, to abort the revolution, is not the brainchild of Scaf, but of forces, domestic and foreign, scheming for them," he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a non-violent organisation, but these "repeated blows to the head" are going to push it into violence, the writer warned.

But amid these schemes to abort the revolution, the writer concluded, Egyptians still have a silver bullet: public squares.

Revolution dreams fade quickly in Egypt

The scene in Egypt has changed overnight, columnist Amin Kamouriah observed in the Lebanese daily Annahar.

The Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohammed Morsi won the presidential race, but just as he began to indulge in dreams of glory he found himself handcuffed and robbed of many of the presidential prerogatives that his predecessors enjoyed.

Following the ruling military council's constitutional declaration last week, which effectively dissolved parliament, the Scaf granted itself sovereign powers and shielded itself.

"Egypt is now under double leadership: a president in the forefront who doesn't actually rule and a military council that effectively rules from behind the scenes," said the writer.

On the eve of his victory, Mr Morsi lost most of the powers usually given to presidents, at the same time as he lost the parliament majority that would have given his presidency momentum.

So what should be the Brotherhood's priority? Who will be the real rulers of the country?

"Egypt enters the second transitional phase amid constitutional void and overriding chaos," the writer concluded.

"It is a country pulled between two old rivals that are still living in the past. They both took part in murdering Egypt's dream of going forward."

Israeli-German sub deal raises questions

The German government is silent about an arms deal in which Israel is receiving six cutting-edge, German-made Dolphin submarines that can be fitted with nuclear missiles, columnist Mohammed Al Azzar wrote in the Dubai-based Al Bayan.

"True, it's not really a secret that the deal was signed in 2005 when Gerhard Schröder was the chancellor. But what has been kept in the drawer since Mr Schröder's tenure, including under current bent Chancellor Angela Merkel, is the fine print of the deal, which has been recently made public by Der Spiegel magazine."

One clause in the agreement requires Israel to stop building settlements in Palestinian territories, enter serious talks with the Palestinian side and refrain from hampering a German project to build a sewerage collection and disposal station in Gaza.

"As the hot news spread, discussions started across the German political spectrum about how serious the government of Ms Merkel really is about enforcing those terms," the writer said.

The German opposition, the Greens and the Social-Democrats, agreed that, whatever Germany's initial intentions were, Israel has shown that it is not taking those terms seriously. One wonders why are the Arabs not making a big deal out of this, he wrote.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk