Paul McGeough writes: The jig was up in Cairo when Barack Obama coughed up to the generals a cool $1.5 billion that he might have dangled before them to keep them on democracy’s straight and narrow.
Instead, he threw the money a couple of months back and they’ve been running amok ever since. The military cordon they placed around the Egyptian Parliament on Friday was the latest in a series of staggering events that can be spelt out in a four-letter word – coup.
With hardly a murmur of international criticism, the generals have amassed more power for themselves than the ousted dictatorship had, even to the point of reinstating the worst aspects of the hated emergency laws on Wednesday.
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The generals have been artful in convincing the world that they are well intentioned – since the January day last year, when they sacrificed the dictator Hosni Mubarak as the price for their own power and vested interests, right up to Thursday’s twin rulings by their crony mates on the Supreme Constitutional Court, which sacked the country’s new Parliament and gave a leg-up to another crony mate in the presidential race.
They have scuppered the Parliament and derailed the drafting of a new constitution, and if/when their preferred candidate wins the presidency, they’ll all kick back with a shisha pipe and lock in their vision for the new Egypt – which is very much like the old Egypt.
They are having an each-way bet. In the event their man goes down to the Islamist candidate running against him, the junta will have all the power it needs to nobble the new president through its clench on the new parliamentary elections and the drafting of the new constitution.
They have created, deliberately I suspect, an electoral mess that is unlikely to produce a legitimate, unifying president – and thereby, they create the justification for their argument that they must retain the power to watch over him. At the same time they have cleverly debased the judiciary, so if anyone has a complaint or grievance, where do they take it? [Continue reading…]