Egypt turning away from US?

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

The Egyptian army is continuing its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood with waves of arrests across Egypt. General Sisi’s government has proclaimed a state of emergency and Cairo and many other cities are now under a dusk to dawn curfew. And much to the relief of the Syrians the “interim” government has closed the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood office in Cairo and ordered these supporters of the Nato-backed rebels to leave the country.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Laureate and darling of the imperialist media who resigned from the “interim” Cabinet in protest over last week’s bloodshed, has fled to the safer climes of Austria to avoid appearing in court on novel charges that his resignation was a “betrayal of trust”. Meanwhile the judicial authorities, clearly inspired by the Sisi government, have ordered the release of former strong-man Hosni Mubarak, who was jailed after his overthrow in 201l on corruption charges.

Mohammed Badie, the Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood, was seized on Monday three days after his son was shot dead in clashes with the security forces in Cairo. On Sunday at least 36 prisoners were killed in Cairo after guards said they tried to escape while being transferred. And 25 policemen were killed by Muslim fanatics in northern Sinai when their convoy was ambushed by gunmen believed to be followers of Al Qaeda.

Over 1,000 people have been killed in clashes with the police since the security forces raided two Brotherhood protest camps in the heart of the capital last week to clear the streets of the Muslim sectarians protesting against the military coup that toppled the Morsi government on 3rd July.

The Sisi government has now crossed a rubicon with the Muslim Brotherhood, who are clearly going to be formally outlawed in the next week or so, much to the embarrassment of the Anglo-American and Franco-German imperialists who spent a considerable amount of time and money trying to build an alliance with the Egyptian Brothers and their off-shoots in Syria and elsewhere in the Arab world as part of their neo-colonial plan to completely dominate the Middle East.

The Obama administration is under increasing pressure to halt the billion-dollar-plus yearly aid that it supplies to Egypt’s military — largely from those quarters opposed to giving aid to anyone apart from Israel. Sisi has an unexpected friend: Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis, who only fully back Islamic sects that are entirely bought and paid for by the House of Saud, have never trusted the Brothers and the feeling’s been mutual. Now the Saudis are telling the Americans that they must continue to maintain their massive military assistance to Egypt or face the prospect of it being replaced by Russia.

Implausible as it may seem there is a germ of truth in this rehash of the old “red scare”. Last week Egypt’s “interim” premier, Hazem el Beblawi, said it would be a mistake on the part of the US to halt its flow of arms to Cairo, and warned that Egypt could “live with the circumstances” if it happened. Or as he put it: “Let’s not forget that Egypt went with the Russian military for support and we survived. So, there is no end to life. You can live with different circumstances.”

At the moment General Sisi can rely on the support of the mass secular movements like Tamarod (Rebellion); the National Salvation Front, a broad based alliance that includes the Egyptian communist party and the Christian and Muslim minority sects that were victimised by the Muslim Brothers when they were in power.

On the street most Egyptians, apart from the core support that the Brothers still retain, have welcomed the “interim” government’s promises of reform and a new democratic constitution that will guarantee minority rights and outlaw sectarian movements.

But that, in itself, will not solve the problems of the Egyptian masses — the urban poor and the peasants who make up the vast majority of the 80 million strong population.

They mobilised in their millions to topple Mubarak. They got Morsi and a Brotherhood government that gave them nothing but pious phrases and sectarian strife.

They want social justice and the restoration of the welfare state and public sector that existed during the Nasser era. They mobilised again to rout the Brothers in July. What they’ll get remains to be seen...