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Military Still Rules in Egypt

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Egypt: Egypt's Islamist-dominated parliament, or at least its lower house, has been suspended by order of the high court which ruled that one-third of its members were elected unconstitutionally.

The court also ruled that Mubarak ally former prime minister and retired air marshal Ahmed Shafiq is allowed to run for president in elections that begin on Saturday, invalidating the law that bars members of the ousted dictator's party from participating in political life.

Comment: This is a no-brainer. If the parliament itself is unconstitutional, so are all of its laws, such as the ban on Mubarak-appointed officials.

Some news services reported that Egypt's military rulers were going to take over legislative power in the country and planned to announce the dissolution of the lower house of parliament. In fact, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces denied that it was assuming legislative authority or that it had declared martial law.

Military action. One thing the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces did was to affirm that the second round of the presidential election will take place 16 and 17 June scheduled by law. One source reported the Council was deliberating the implications of the high court ruling and had reached no decisions yet.

The Egyptian street. Incensed activists called the two high court rulings the death of Egypt's revolution. They also declared the dissolution of parliament and Shafiq's candidacy as the final steps in a military coup. Protesters clashed with security forces outside the courthouse minutes after the decisions were announced.

Brotherhood reaction. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's (MB's) presidential candidate Mohammed Mursi on June 14 said he respected the Supreme Constitutional Court ruling that declared the rules under which Egypt's parliament was elected as unconstitutional. The Brotherhood still hopes that it might win a rigged presidential election. In any event it must lose to justify the next wave of anti-government violence which is now unavoidable.

Comment: The NightWatch position since the overthrow of Mubarak has been that no revolution occurred in Egypt. Mubarak was overthrown in a military coup, led by Mubarak's Defense Minister Field Marshal Tantawi, over Mubarak's insistence that his son succeed him as president. Mubarak forgot his roots and his son has none in the Egyptian armed forces. The armed forces leadership took action against its patron, Mubarak, to protect itself, the army and its extensive holdings.

The election of an Islamist-dominated parliament was a potentially important step towards a fundamental system change. An Islamist presidential victory would have consolidated Egypt as on the path towards a caliphate.

However, it is now apparent that the parliamentary elections were rigged. The armed forces council tried to craft the election law so that no one group or coalition of groups could obtain a working majority, as the Brotherhood with its Salafist allies did. The election law was drawn up deliberately to prevent an Islamist victory.

That was not supposed to be possible and only happened because the Brotherhood cheated by running candidates for parliamentary seats that the military had reserved for independents.

The military set the rules and has now had them interpreted in its favor by a pro-military high court. There is no soft or hard military coup because the military has always been in charge. The ruse of democracy was nothing more than a stratagem to help maintain civil order.

The Brotherhood almost succeeded in outmaneuvering the generals at their own game by manipulating a rigged political structure and turning it against the generals. In the end, the guys with the guns showed they are in control because they have the guns. The entire process has been manipulated. Legality has been nothing more than a fig leaf to cover the exercise of brute power.

The actual mechanics of counter-revolution are often difficult to discern, especially in open source reporting. But the lack of substantive political change has been obvious for more than a year.

The irony is that an Egyptian government under military stewardship is actually better for long term US strategic interests and for Israeli security than a government that is moving towards installation of a caliphate under Sharia.

Readers should expect prolonged and violent political disorders in Cairo and the major cities of Egypt.

End of NightWatch for 14 June.

NightWatch is brought to you by Kforce Government Solutions, Inc. (KGS), a leader in government problem-solving, Data Confidence® and intelligence. Views and opinions expressed in NightWatch are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of KGS, its management, or affiliates.


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