Following on from previous posts I have written in the past few days such as this and this, it seems clear that the relationship between the Egyptian military and the usa are fast deteriorating. The current spat between the Egyptian military and the usa is considerable; the Egyptian military has cut short a delegation to the usa over the dispute over their arresting and charging 43 usa-backed and financed NGO staff in Egypt, which includes six us nationals, with senators from the usa reacting and saying that "If such a resolution is not reached soon, however, we are concerned that consequential damage could be done to the U.S.-Egypt partnership. Congressional support for Egypt – including continued financial assistance – is in jeopardy. A rupture in relations would be disastrous, and the risks of such an outcome have rarely been greater" (source), rather terse and serious words indicating the depth of the current rift.
This issue raises questions that need addressing: what has happened this past year or so in Egypt? Did the west and the usa think that they could get rid of Mubarak and cut a deal with the Egyptian military to have done so? Was a deal done between the usa and Egypt that Mubarak would leave the scene, the military would take over with the price being Egyptian silence and complicity in the nato war on Libya? Why is there this contradiction between the usa and the Egyptian military and how does it pertain to the Egyptian peoples struggle against zionism and imperialism and for people-centred development?
One is reminded of the Iranian military ships that went through the Suez Canal for the first time in three decades shortly after the departure of Mubarak. Perhaps this was a signal from the Egyptian military that although the west may have got some of what they want out of Egypt with Mubarak's ouster, that the military nonetheless would not be a push over and they have their own independent policies that must be respected.
One thing seems sure, the Egyptian military don't seem to be in a mood to be pushed about too much by the west and the usa. This contradiction could lead to some interesting openings for those in Egypt pushing for anti-imperialist change, as a potential alliance, temporary or for a longer amount of time, between revolutionaries and the military could push the struggle forward in Egypt. On the other hand, perhaps there is not much in trying to forge an alliance with the military against imperialism as the military might be too concerned for its own narrow interests and this and the usa's arrogance might be the only reason for this current spat?
Whatever the case, things are getting increasingly interesting in Egypt, and very few commentators are picking up on these developments and discussing them.
- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm
PS: A friend just reminded me that the Egyptian military ('SCAF') had also allowed protestors to trash the embassy of the zionist state not too long ago. It may seem that SCAF wants to build a patriotic alliance with the masses in the confrontation with imperialism?
US senators warn Egypt of 'disastrous' rupture in ties
Three leading US senators have warned Egypt that the risk of a "disastrous" break in ties has rarely been greater.
John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Joe Lieberman said the government in Cairo was exacerbating tensions in order to "advance a narrow political agenda".
On Sunday, Egypt said it would put on trial 43 pro-democracy activists, 19 of them Americans, over the funding of non-governmental organisations.
The ruling military council has accused them of stirring up unrest in Egypt.
The US state department said it was deeply concerned by the development and was seeking clarification from the Egyptian authorities.
Washington currently provides $1.3bn in military aid and about $250m in economic aid every year to Egypt, its most important Arab ally.
'Done nothing wrong'
In a statement, the senators warned that US Congressional "support for Egypt - including continued financial assistance - is in jeopardy".
“A resolution must be reached that ends the harassment and prosecution of the employees of US non-governmental organisations operating in Egypt”
Statement by Senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Joe Lieberman
"A rupture in relations would be disastrous, and the risks of such an outcome have rarely been greater," they added.
"The current crisis with the Egyptian government has escalated to such a level that it now threatens our long-standing partnership."
"There are committed opponents of the United States and the US-Egypt relationship within the government in Cairo who are exacerbating tensions and inflaming public opinion in order to advance a narrow political agenda."
They called for an end to the "harassment and prosecution of the employees of US non-governmental organisations operating in Egypt".
The senators' comments came after an Egyptian delegation abruptly cancelled meetings with them and other politicians in Washington.
The White House has also warned that putting the American activists on trial will have consequences for bilateral relations.
It said the individuals involved had "done nothing wrong", adding: "Their only assignment is to support Egypt in its transition to democracy."
The 19 Americans - including the son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood - and 24 other pro-democracy activists were referred to trial before a criminal court in Cairo on Sunday on accusations that they set up branches of international organisations without a licence from the Egyptian authorities and received illegal foreign funding.
The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) - loosely associated with the US Republican and Democratic parties - were among 17 US-based and local foreign-funded groups whose offices were raided by Egyptian prosecutors in December.
Correspondents say the raids were seen as an attack on free speech and an attempt by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) to silence critics of its attempt to put down ongoing protests.