The Ouster of Morsi

A peaceful uprising coupled with a military coup has ousted the Muhammad Morsi, the president of Egypt. I was driving up the Bay and listening to the news live on Al Jazeera English and I was shocked. I do not like Morsi nor do I believe he’s changed much since the victory of the revolution (the blockade of Gaza persists), but the overthrow of a democratically-elected president is a terrible precedent.

There are many things to consider regarding his ouster. First, the precedent means that the next democratically-elected president in Egypt could be ousted too. It strengthens the role of the Egyptian military in Egyptian politics. And since the Egyptian military is bankrolled by the US and is very close to the US, it further strengthens the role of the US in Egyptian politics. This is unwise not only because it constitutes imperialism but foreigners should never be trying to determine the outcome of another country’s political battles. The thinking is that if the US barely knows what’s best for itself, how can it know what’s best for a country on the other side of the globe?

Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood is a seasoned organization enduring decades of repression. They will not take this lying down. Revolutionary protests movements are typically for those who do not have the option of the ballot. And if revolutionary movements are not viable because of the regime’s authoritarian nature, then armed struggle becomes likely. The message sent to the Brotherhood is that the ballot is not a viable means of participating in power. If the street becomes closed off to them as a means of political expression, then armed struggle becomes a likely alternative.

This is precisely what happened in the early 90s in Algeria. The Islamists were on the verge of an electoral victory but the military stepped in to cancel the elections. The Islamists fractured into armed gangs waging a brutal armed campaign that along with the atrocities of the state killed over 150,000 people in a decade of fighting.

The Muslim Brother is a peaceful organization but it certainly has militant strands within it and I’m sure some factions are now calling for and organizing plans for attacks. This is all very dangerous and worrisome.

Allow me to reiterate, I do not like Morsi and generally enjoy arrogant and power hungry leaders falling from grace but objectively speaking, it does indeed set a terrible precedent, especially in the context of a region that is yearning for and learning democracy. Furthermore, being that Egypt is the largest and most influential Arab country, the impact of this overthrow can have a very negative effect on the whole region.

He should have been allowed to finish his presidency and if people were unhappy they should have voted him out. I also loathe the fact that the Saudi and UAE dictatorships congratulated the ouster.

The only good thing I see from all this at this point, and this may all be a bit premature, is that it puts all leaders, even democratically elected ones, on alert. If you do a poor job in office, you could possibly meet the same fate.

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4 Responses to The Ouster of Morsi

  1. PB says:

    Absolutely! Either we believe in the rule of law or we don’t.

    I think the message is that “we believe in the rule law when the outcome is to our liking.”

    Your comment on the effect of this event on the rest of the Arab world from its most popular nation is dead on. But looking at it from the vantage point of the Arab Spring, one can see that the diversion of the movement into armed conflict in libya and the destruction of Syria could only lead to the overthrow of the Democratically elected fruits of that movement. This is simply the next step in complete reversal of the Arab Spring.

    More interestingly, this places things in Iran’s favor even more. I believe this is yet another policy blunder by our government. The population in Egypt had turned anti-american for the perception that the US was tolerating Morsi. Removal of Morsi by force is perceived to have been against the US wishes by the secularists in the country. Meanwhile, the Islamists of Moslem Brotherhood must be beyond themselves to have been ousted by the military shortly after the US funding for the Egyptian military was released and the US reaction has been so muted to the coup. Finally, as the secularist will soon find out, an Ex-Regime strong man will likely be installed or elected by excluding the MB and their supporters. Iran has called the lack of reform in the military ranks a key mistake of Morsi. This is likely a message that will resonate with the MB supporters in the immediate future and with the secularists who are likely to be disappointed in the longer future. The removal of a Sunni Islamist government with a clear disappointment of Iran is likely to resonate in the Islamist Anti-Shiite movement promoted by the Gulf States.

    Remember that the constitution the Egyptian military just annulled was approved by 64% of the electorate. Indicating we are in for a big showdown and that those who gathered to oust Morsi are the minority.

  2. PB says:

    Let’s remember the major points of the 1953 Iran Coup:

    1-The British blockaded oil exports and brought the economy to a collapse.
    2-Mossadeq was on almost daily contact with the US embassador for assistance.
    3-Mossadeq appointed his most trusted general as defense minister.
    4-The opposition abandoned Mossadeq.
    5-The defense minister launched the coup that was planned at the US embassy.

    The Egypt coup appears to be a page out of history.

    There are very interesting article in the NYTimes, Counterpunch, and even the HuffingtonPost. The former regime loyalists in the bureaucracy and the banks brought the economy to a stand still. The Mubarak Judges denied Morsi his reforms and abolished the elected parliament.

    There are two possible outcomes: 1-Former Regime loyalist are back or even more likely 2-A mubarak/salafi alliance will be ruling Egypt which would be consistent with the region wide plan for Sunni vs Shiite war.

  3. Jamsheeeeed says:

    OH here we go again! Iranian Coup, Iranian Coup, Iranian Coup, Iranian Coup, Iranian Coup!

    Just keep screaming it out. Just keep screaming it out! Except one thing: there were millions on the streets of Cairo, there were daily clashes, and there was a popular uprising against Morsi. Egyptian people did not want to repeat history and they reached out to the only force that could have oust MB. But hey, let’s scream Iranian Coup, Iranian Coup, America’s fault, Iranian Coup, CIA fault, Iranian Coup. People are listening, so keep screaming it.

  4. PB says:


    I think you miss the point. First, thousands also poured onto the streets of Tehran before the coup occurred. They called Mossadeg a communist sympathizer and a threat to global security. Don’t forget the US government denied any involvement for 40 years until the Clinton administration admitted involvement and said “it was a mistake.”
    Just because someone has a vocal opposition it does not mean you can undo a democratically elected President. Is that what you would like to see here in the US?

    The point of my comment is that these events will eventually backfire on US long term interests. Just ask yourself, who is the greatest challenge to US interests in the Middle East? I think we can agree that is Iran.

    Take Morsi out today, and pray for tomorrow because none of us knows what tomorrow will bring. We must agree to a set of rules and follow them. Let’s agree on not deposing people who got elected democratically. Even if we are wrong, at least we know we stood for something everyone can agree on which would make US foreign policy that much more attractive internationally.

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