“But the conventional wisdom may not be completely accurate. Washington has evidence that as much as a billion dollars has been clandestinely introduced into Egypt since the June presidential election. The money has gone to some organizers of the riots taking place, including junior Army officers in mufti, to force the regime to react with excessive force and lose what little legitimacy it retains—which is precisely what has happened. A fatally weakened Morsi government might well have to accept a new regime of national unity that would include the military, which would become the dominant force in the arrangement without having to risk the opprobrium involved in actually forming a government. The primary objective of the new alignment would be to restore order, further enhancing the military’s status. On January 29, the Egyptian Army’s commanding general, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, not surprisingly suggested that the army might have to intervene if the civilian government proves incapable of suppressing the rioting. So who is behind the unrest? The money fueling the confrontation comes from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States………………”
The Muslim Brotherhood tries to consolidate its power in the face of fear and opposition by other sectors of society. Egyptian relations with the West and Israel seem to be in a state of flux, to say the least. Egyptian relations with most Gulf potentates deteriorate. Reports and allegations and legends play a part in this political battle for control of Cairo:
A few weeks ago, Gulf and some British media reported about Brig General Qassem Suleimani of the Iranian Al-Quds Brigade, bête noir of the West and its allies. The bizarre report alleged that he has visited Cairo and met with Egyptian security officials at a Cairo hotel (this hotel part is very cute). A secret meeting at a hotel? Where exactly, at the hotel bar? The report alleged that the Egyptian regime was seeking Iranian help in tightening domestic security control. The “meeting at the hotel” part gave it away: clearly anti Brotherhood propaganda.
- But the idea of that report was probably two-pronged: to discredit the Egyptian regime AND to discredit the local Muslim Brotherhood of the GCC Gulf states. They have done this before on the Gulf. The Bahrain and Saudi regimes always associate their protesters with outsiders: the Iranian regime and the Revolutionary Guard or with Hezbollah or both (occasionally Iraq and Syria are thrown in, with some salt grains). The UAE is getting into the act with enthusiasm.
- Fast forward: two or so weeks ago Saudi deputy minister of defense, Khaled Bin Sultan was reported to have visited Egypt. He was reported to have met with Egyptian military commanders.
- Fast forward to these days: there are a lot of tweets and other media reports now praising the Egyptian military. Some of them calling for a military intervention to “save the revolution”. This last one is not a joke, they are serious. Mubarak’s military to save the revolution that overthrew Mubarak! A mixture of Kafka and Orwell.
- Fast forward some more: some are increasingly trying to paint the military as an acceptable alternative to the elected regime of the Muslim Brotherhood. That means Mubarak-ism without Mubarak again. No doubt this is the ideal outcome for the potentates of the Gulf states. It is also favored in Western capitals as well, at least in Washington and London, but they can’t say it openly now, can they?
- Perhaps some Egyptians think the military is safer because it is not ‘dogmatic’, and it does not have a menacing political base and organization, unlike the Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore it is easy to confront and send back to the barracks. This goes against Egyptian history of the past 60 years.
- There is always the reasonable fear of the Hitler precedent of 1933. One election that ends all elections, to be won by the Islamists. This has happened in many countries in the past.