Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Summer of Muslim Discontent 2: Egypt

Continuing an Arab Spring update from James Petras' latest (21/9/12) essay...

Egypt: The Making of a Client State

"From day one, in February 2011, Washington has sought in every way to prop up the Mubarak dictatorship as thousands of protesters fighting for freedom in the major plazas and streets of Egypt were killed, wounded or jailed. When Mubarak was forced out of power, Washington sought to retain its influence by turning to his generals and backed the military junta which seized power. As the military dictatorship became the target of huge pro-democracy demonstrations, Washington backed a political power-sharing agreement between the dominant pro-Western neo-liberal sector of the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, excluding all but the most superficial democratic and socio-economic reforms demanded by the poor and the working and middle classes.

"With the election of President Mohammed Morsi, Washington secured the most fervent advocate of savage 'free market' capitalism and the second best (after Mubarak) advocate of retaining Egypt's status as a US client state in the Middle East. Morsi, following in the footsteps of Mubarak, and in accordance with Washington and Tel Aviv, closed the trade routes between Gaza and Sinai and travelled to the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran to deliver the Saudi-Gulf message calling for support for the Western-backed armed mercenaries ravaging Syria. Later he announced plans to privatize the public sector corporations, reduce the deficit by eliminating basic subsidies to the poor, de-regulate the economy to increase the flow of foreign capital and end labor strikes. [3] As a reward for his servility, and to ease the process of remaking Egypt as a pliable Western client state, Washington, Saudi Arabia, the IMF, Qatar and the EU have offered Morsi over $20 billion in loans, debt relief and grants. [4] Morsi's rule depends on playing the 'spiritual card' to retain the support of the impoverished Muslim masses while pursuing a staunch neo-liberal economic strategy and neo-colonial foreign policy.

"Given the recent revolutionary pro-democracy and nationalist fervor, Morsi looks for ways to deflect rising socio-economic discontent with his neo-liberal economic policies by adopting an apparently pious Muslim posture, condemning 'the film' ridiculing the Prophet and tolerating assaults on the US embassy in Cairo, which angered Clinton and Obama who expect total subservience toward the symbols and substance of everything US. [5]

"From Morsi's perspective, a one-day blow-off of steam aimed at the US embassy was a small price to pay for implementing his larger agenda of putting an end to the revolutionary democratic and nationalist aspirations of the masses who overthrew Mubarak, especially when he has every intention of 'continuing [Mubarak's] economic agenda with a stated policy to battle corruption.' [6] The Egyptian people, Muslim and secular, are profoundly disenchanted with the Brotherhood's betrayal of their promises of welfare, jobs, prosperity and a nationalist foreign policy. The 'film' was in reality about the larger socio-economic and political cleavages emerging, and the tremendous boost in US influence, in Morsi's Egypt."

[3: Borzou Daragahi, Investment drive aims to boost US influence in Morsi's EgyptFinancial Times, 10/9/12; 4: ibid; 5: FT 13/9/12 6: FT 10/9/12]

Next post in the series: Libya...

1 comment:

PMSS said...

Thanks for posting this. I am very sad what is going on Egypt now. I hope there will be peace coming in Egypt without any blood sheds. Today I watched Al Jazeera documentary film about conditions of Egypt before Hosni Mubarak titled A Nation in Waiting. I recommend you to watch this if you did n't watch yet.