By Roger Annis, **updated as of August 7, 2013**
The following is a dossier of news articles to serve as a guide to understand the military coup d’etat in Egypt on July 3, 2013.
As several of the enclosed articles reveal, the coup was planned for some time by the Egyptian military and sections of the bourgeoisie, including elements of the former Mubarak regime who are still very much present and influential in political life.
The coup was directed first and foremost against the rightist government and political movement of the Muslim Brotherhood and its political party, the Freedom and Justice Party. As several of the enclosed articles detail, the coup highlights the divergent interests within the ruling elite of Egypt, including on broader issues in the Middle East. But the coup is above all a mortal danger to the mass democracy movement in Egypt and to the mass democracy movements throughout the Middle East. Palestinians in Gaza and the people of Sinai Desert region are among the first to bear the brunt of its consequences.
An international campaign of solidarity is needed with the present and future victims of the coup. It should demand an end to political violence and the freeing of political prisoners jailed since the coup, including the members and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Some form of formal inquiry by human rights advocates is needed into the circumstances of the killing of dozens of Muslim Brotherhood protesters in front of the Republican Guard camp in Cairo in the early morning of July 8.
I hope there will be serious reflection by the international left on the political positions taken by some within Egypt and abroad that have downplayed or even dismissed the danger that the coup threatens against progressive change in Egypt and the region.
An information dossier, in five parts:
* In Egypt the military is supreme: Not a ‘second revolution’ but counterrevolution, by Esam Al-Amin, Counterpunch, July 4, 2013. A cogent analysis that appeared on the day after the coup.
* The grand scam: Spinning Egypt’s military coup, by Esam Al-Amin, Counterpunch, weekend edition of July 19-21, 2013
* And where do the workers stand? Syndicates and unions divided Over Morsi’s ouster, by Jano Charbel, in Jadaliyya, July 16, 2013
* Egyptian liberals embrace the military, brooking no dissent, By David Kirkpatrick, New York Times, July 15, 2013
* Egypt: How the coup happened — a counterview; by Tim Dobson, Green Left Weekly, #973, July 15, 2013
* Morsi’s family brands Egypt army chief a ‘criminal’, by Patrick Kingsley, The Guardian, July 22, 2013
* Neither heros nor villains: A conversation with Talal Asad on Egypt after Morsi, in Jadaliyya, published on July 23, 2013
* Lessons for the secular left, by Mahmood Mamdani, Al Jazeera, July 30, 2013. Mamdani is Ugandan and is one of the world’s leading scholars on Africa.
* An impending bloodbath in Egypt: Will it break the coup?, by Esam Al-Amin, Counterpunch, weekend edition Aug 2-4, 2013
* And see, Who’s who: Egypt’s full interim cabinet, El Ahram, July 17, 2013
2. The massacre of dozens of peaceful protesters on July 8:
* Killing in Cairo: the full story of the Republican Guards’ club shootings on July 8, by Patrick Kingsley, with video editing by Leah Green, The Guardian, July 18, 2013
3. The regional context:
* Gaza runs low on supplies as Egypt closes tunnels, by Harriet Sherwood, Jerusalem, Hazem Balousha, Gaza City; The Guardian, July 20, 2013
* Hated in Egypt: How the Palestinian Bogeyman Resurfaced Like Never Before, by Ramzy Baroud, editor of the Palestine Chronicle, Aug 6, 2013
* In Sinai: The uprising of the Bedouin, by Nicolas Pelham, New York Review of Books, December 6, 2012. This article is available online to NYRB subscribers only. You can read it online here.
* Behind Egypt’s coup, months of acrimony between Morsi and top general over Sinai, policies, by Associated Press, published July 17, 2013
4. The Muslim Brotherhood:
* Brothers and Officers: A History of Pacts, by Wael Eskandar, published on Jadaliyya, Jan 25 2013. This article examines the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the movement that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and then casts back to look at the long history of Brotherhood efforts to cooperate with Egypt’s military since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952.
* The politics of the Brotherhood democracy: How the Muslim Brotherhood burned their bridges, by Frida Alim, Jadaliyya, July 19 2013. How the efforts of the Brotherhood’s leaders to cooperate with the post-Mubarak military exposed its reactionary and comprador character and came back to haunt it.
5. Some articles and statements by the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt:
* July 9 statement by the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt. The statement says the July 8 massacre should be condemned, but the bulk of the statement consists of condemnations of the Muslim Brotherhood. The statement makes no demand for the release from detention of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, including President Morsi.
* July 15 statement by the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt The statement makes no reference to the July 8 massacre nor the detentions and ongoing repression directed against the Muslim Brotherhood. Its beginning paragraph reads:
One week after the [“interim”] president was installed [by the Egyptian military]–brought there by millions of revolutionaries who remained in the squares from June 30 until they had overthrown the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was traitorous to the revolution–comes the first public actions from the presidential palace, disappointing many hopes.”
The first of the president’s decisions–the appointment of a group of advisers mostly affiliated with the Mubarak regime–was a bad sign. His media adviser, Ahmed Mohammed el-Maselmani, reportedly wrote Hosni Mubarak’s famously moving speech on the night of the Battle of the Camel in February 2011.
Then came the constitutional declaration, shocking in every sense of the word. Besides the fact that it came without any consultation with the revolutionary political groups that the Minister of Defense and interim president had confirmed as partners in endorsing the roadmap, the constitutional declaration also…
* Egypt’s long revolution: knowing your enemy, an interview with Sameh Naguib of the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt, on Open Democracy, July 29, 2013. The interview contains some very informative insights on the events since the July 3 coup. It signals some important shifts in thinking on key issues arising from the coup.
* Santiago Alba Rico, writing from Tunisia, has written (in Spanish) a respectful and lucid critique of the approach of the Revolutionary Socialists, ¿Golpe de Estado o ‘revolución permanente’?. A French translation appears here. Some of the concerns of Alba Rico are answered in the aformentioned interview with Sameh Naguib, but much of what he writes remains relevant. His critique is also relevant for those outside Egypt who have exaggerated the repercussions as well as the numbers of the large, anti-Morsi demonstrations in late June. The Egyptian military ws able to manipulate the mass sentiment underlying the demonstrations in carrying out its coup against the Morsi government.