Sunday, August 25, 2013

Obama Screws Over the Egyptian People

I have had an affinity towards the Egyptian people and their fight for a government that is of, by and for the Egyptian people.  When Obama was on the campaign trail he gave a speech and stated:

“And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”

In January 2011 the Egyptian people protested en masse calling for the removal of Hosni Mubarak as president and demanded free democratic elections for the president and the governing body of Egypt

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State asked the Egyptian people to allow for the orderly transition from Mubarak’s regime to Democratic elections which were scheduled for September.

"We want to see this peaceful uprising on the part of the Egyptian people to demand their rights to be responded to in a very clear, unambiguous way by the government, and then a process of national dialogue that will lead to the changes that the Egyptian people seek and that they deserve,"

“Otherwise, she warned, protesters seeking better opportunity and a stronger political voice might end up facing further repression from new leaders instead of the democratic reforms they seek.”

Soon after Secretary Clinton’s remarks President Obama, with all the diplomacy of a drunk in a bar lunging at everyone with a broken beer bottle, said “Mubarak must go”.  It was evident early on that Obama’s people and the Clinton people had very different foreign policy.

On February 11th, 2011 the military removed Mubarak from power.

Later in mid-February, 2011 protests broke out in MadisonWisconsin against the Republican Senate and Governor Scott Walker’s 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 or budget repair bill crafted by ALEC and the Koch Brothers to destroy collective bargaining in the State.

Where were Obama and his comfortable shoes?  No where to be found.   But in spite of all the upheaval in Egypt, it was the Egyptian people who ordered pizza to feed the protesters in Madison.  Obama’s response was “screw you”, Egyptian people’s response “we are with you.”

Following the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, and the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, executive power was assumed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which dissolved the parliament and suspended the constitution.

During 2011 tens of thousands of Egyptians protested in the streets against the continued military rule and Egypt’s military rulers agreed to form a new government and transfer power to a civilian body by July 2012; also the government would hold parliamentary elections on November 28 and a presidential election by the end of June 2012.

The rules for the election were released on January 30, 2012. Candidates had to be born in Egypt to Egyptian parents, may not have held dual nationality and may not have been married to a foreigner. To be nominated, they required the support of 30 Members of Parliament or 30,000 votes. The formal registration process for candidates started on March 10th and ended on April 8, 2012.
On April 14, 2012, the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) announced the disqualification of ten candidates, mostly moderate to liberal.  Reasons for the disqualifications were not given, but the affected candidates were given 48 hours to appeal the decision. Two of the disqualified candidates, Suleiman and El-Shater's campaigns stated they would file appeals.  All appeals were rejected.
Mohammed ElBaradei had withdrawn his bid in January of that year citing concerns about the undemocratic way the military was governing Egypt.  Mr. ElBaradei had wanted a new constitution to be drawn up from scratch before any elections took place.
In April 2012, he took to Twitter calling the transition to democracy "bungled" and criticizing the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' approach to writing a new constitution.
On April 25th the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission accepted the appeal filed by Ahmed Shafik against its previous decision to exclude him from running for President. The appeal also requested the new Parliamentary law be brought before the Supreme Constitutional Court to determine its constitutionality, that didn’t happen.
The Egyptian people didn’t have a real choice in selecting the candidates for president, just like the American people did not have a choice in the selection of their candidates for president in 2008, which was decided by the two parties, Republican and Democrat. 
On June 24thEgypt’s election commission announced that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi had won Egypt's presidential runoff. Morsi won by a narrow margin over Ahmed Shafik, who was the final prime minister under deposed President Hosni Mubarak.  The commission said Morsi took 51.7% of the vote versus 48.3% for Shafik.
Little more than three months into the four-year term of Morsi's government, the economy was in shambles, the body politic was barely functioning and the Egyptian people were deeply polarized.  The 17 months after Mubarak’s exit had been unsettling for the Mubarak faithful. But the year since Morsi's inauguration had been even worse.
By March 2013, serious diplomatic efforts to convince Morsi to form a government of national unity had failed. Morsi went about making it even worse by maintaining a Muslim Brotherhood government run by newly promoted lower-grade officials. The last straw appeared to be the appointment of the culture minister.
Morsi fired five key cultural figures, and replaced them with Muslim Brotherhood members including the head of the opera house and the National Library and Archives.  It was evident he was trying to impose an Islamist agenda on cultural institutions which had always been secular.
"The economy was being wrecked by the movement. They were spending at least $1.5 bn per month more than they should have. They were using months and months of reserves at a critical level. You couldn't deny the underlying trend that the government was heading for bankruptcy”.
"Whatever mess they had created was going to lead to civil revolt. Soon they wouldn't have been able to pay for civil servants' salaries."
Within a week, citizens experienced shortages of essentials, especially food and fuel. In Egypt, the military owns a significant stake in the gas and oil sector and was always a guarantor of supply, now there were long lines for fuel. 
On the evening of April 15, 2013 a man by the name of Mohammed Abdul Aziz and five other friends sat in a coffee shop in central Cairo to plot ways to invigorate Egypt’s tired civil opposition. 

"In the beginning all we wanted to do was gather petitions to renounce Morsi," he said. But the group soon got a name, Tamarod (Rebel). Within weeks it had also gained a momentum that propelled it to centre stage of a defining period in Egypt's modern history – the ousting of the country's first democratically elected leader.”
By mid-June, other state institutions were now sharing the military's alarm; the tide was clearly turning against Morsi. Tamarod claimed to have received more than 20 million petition signatures.

In late June millions of Egyptians took to the streets demanding that President Mohamed Morsi step down immediately in what one military source called "the biggest protest Egypthas seen in its history."

"It was becoming clear that everything that the state had built, everything that it had stood on, was coming crumbling down," said Ahmed Badawi, a mid-ranking police officer who was unhappy to see Mubarak go. "It was a case of 'my enemy's enemy is my friend, so we joined them in Tahrir Square this time'," he said of this week's revolts.
From every angle, Morsi was increasingly being seen as, a captive of his constituency, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Squares across the country were overwhelmed by the scale of popular participation and energy, which some say represented possibly the largest political assembly in world history. CNN reported over 33 million people were out in Egypt on Sunday, or nearly 40 percent of the country, according to satellite data.

June 30, the date of the first anniversary of Morsi’s swearing in, was chosen by Tamarod for a march to the place where it all began, Tahrir Square.  By now the shortages were especially severe.
By July 3rd the army had given Morsi the first ultimatum: find ways to end the crisis within a week. Morsi was unable to meet that ultimatum and helplessly watched as the large crowds hoped for by the born-again opposition materialized.
After Morsi was removed from office by the military, things were relatively stable.  The Obama Administration stood by Morsi calling him democratically elected.  But the selection of the candidates to run for office was rigged.
In 2011, President Obama was quick to demand President Mubarak to step down and leave office.  Obama had supported Morsi’s close election even though it was rigged.

On July 6th, it was announced that Mohammed ElBaradei would be named interim prime minister.  The Obama Administration began pressuring the Egyptian Army to return Morsi to power as he was “democratically elected” and began threatening to call the overthrow a military coup, meaning aid to Egypt would be cut off unless Morsi was returned.
ElBaradei is a Nobel peace Laureate and a former director of the U.N. nuclear watchdog.  Mr. ElBaradei leads an alliance of liberal and left-wing parties, the National Salvation Front.
In 2012 he was running as a liberal, secular candidate in the presidential elections, but withdrew his bid in January of that year citing concerns about the undemocratic way the military was governing Egypt.
ElBaradei's nomination had been confirmed by several sources and state media but just before midnight a presidential spokesman told reporters that no prime minister had yet been chosen.
The intense pressure to reject ElBaradei as prime minister appeared to come from the Obama Administration.  President Obama had declined to press Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to leave office, saying that his administration would continue to work with the “democratically elected government” amid violent protests in Cairo.

ElBaradei was later named interim Vice-President but resigned after an army crackdown on Pro Morsi violent protests resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Egyptians.  He is now to be tried for the “betrayal of trust” by the Egyptian army.

“Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who quit the Egyptian cabinet in protest over last week’s bloodshed, faces being hauled before the courts after being accused of a “betrayal of trust”.

Mr. ElBaradei was a co-leader of the National Salvation Front (NSF), a prominent coalition of liberal and secular forces which joined the nationwide demonstrations against the deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

“The case against him will be heard in a Cairo court next month and is being brought by Sayyed Ateeq, an Egyptian law professor, according to judicial sources who spoke to Reuters. 

“He was appointed in his capacity as a representative of the NSF and the majority of the people who signed the Tamarod declaration,” Mr. Ateeq told Reuters, referring to the grassroots petition movement that had called for Mr. Morsi to resign”.

“Mr. Ateeq said Mr. ElBaradei – who left Egypt earlier this week and traveled to Europe – could face three years in prison if found guilty. But judicial sources said the maximum sentence is a fine and suspended jail term”.

In a major slap in the face to the Egyptian people, Hosni Mubarak was released from prison and placed under house arrest on August 22, 2013.

The Egyptian people deserve to have free and fair elections, and Mohammed ElBaradei would have ensured that would happen.  Obama is hated in Egypt and for good reason and he is quickly beginning to be hated in the U.S.

By Patricia Baeten

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