11:23 AM, Jun 26, 2015 • By JOHN ROSENTHAL
Back in the heady days when the Western world was still enthralled by what was then known as the Arab Spring, the 2012 Egyptian presidential elections represented a watershed – if albeit a mixed one, given the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Morsi. The coming-to-power of Morsi provided one of the clearest signals that the “Arab Spring” was turning out to be an Islamist spring. But as it occurred by democratic means, hardly anyone could object. The will of the people had been expressed and Egyptians had definitively turned their backs on three decades of Hosni Mubarak’s military rule. If they preferred an Islamist party, then so be it. This was democracy in action.
Never mind that a representative of the supposedly universally hated ancien régime, Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, won nearly half of the vote; nor that Shafiq’s campaign headquarters had been ransacked and set aflame after the first round of voting; nor that the Muslim Brotherhood leadership had made clear that it would not accept a Shafiq victory, in any case, and that tens of thousands of Brotherhood supporters had gathered in Tahrir Square, ready to make good on the thinly-veiled threats (see, for instance, here and here).
Now, however, the news website Al-Monitor reports that there is evidence that Morsi did not win the 2012 elections after all, but was merely declared the winner by the electoral commission, in order to avert the violence that was sure to follow an announcement to the contrary. The evidence consists of a letter allegedly sent by the commission’s general-secretary Hatem Bagato to General Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which ruled the country after Mubarak’s resignation in February 2011.
Per Al-Monitor’s translation, the document states that the commission had opted to “take the decision that is correct and most beneficial for the country and its citizens, despite it being in violation of the law, and announce Dr. Mohammed Morsi president of Egypt. This is to spare the country of the bloody conflict that will inevitably occur in the event that Ahmed Shafiq is announced president….”
The letter also, however, spells out another option: namely, and again per the translation of Al-Monitor, “to reject all pressure – whether internal or external – and announce the facts to the Egyptian and global public opinion, and reveal the defects and gross cases of manipulation and forgery that marred the electoral process as a whole. This is in addition to revealing the criminal pressures, practices and threats that the chairman and members of the committee, as well as their families, have faced.”
The allusion to “external” sources of pressure is particularly intriguing. According to Al-Monitor, local Egyptian press has reported that then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contacted Tantawi prior to the announcement of the election results with the aim of “putting pressure on Egyptian authorities to hand power over to Morsi.” Such reports obviously do not in themselves constitute proof. But given the pressure that the Obama administration publicly exerted on Mubarak to resign and its strong embrace of the revolutionaries of Tahrir Square, there is little doubt that the election of Shafiq, a man who proudly described Mubarak as his “role model,” would have been as anathema to the White House as to the Egyptian revolutionaries themselves.
John Rosenthal is the author of The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion. You can follow his work at www.trans-int.com or on Facebook here.
Tacit allies against Hamas find common cause over unruly peninsula.4:51 PM, Nov 7, 2014 • By OREN KESSLER
Last week, Sinai-based extremists targeted the North Sinai security headquarters with a massive blast, causing damage, but no injuries. Thankfully it wasn’t a replay of the attack last month
4:46 PM, Aug 27, 2014 • By WHITNEY BLAKE
With lawmakers ratcheting up pressure on Obama to take action in Syria, few in the administration have been paying close attention to Libya, apparently.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:10 PM, Jul 30, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on Hamas's attack tunnels, Operation Protective Edge, the Iranian factor, and what the media gets wrong about Israel's involvement in Gaza.
9:08 AM, Jul 15, 2014 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
The reluctance of Hamas’s “military wing”—a misnomer for the more extreme elements of its extremist leadership—to accept the cease-fire designed by Egypt is, well, logical. Let’s admit it. They do not wish to accept defeat, and the Egyptian terms are a defeat for Hamas.
10:11 AM, Jun 28, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In spite of a string of worrisome human rights and freedom of expression violations, the Obama administration is holding out hope that Egypt's government lead by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is still headed for democracy.
12:01 PM, Jun 23, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Maggie Flick of Reuters is reporting that:
Three Al Jazeera journalists were jailed for seven years in Egypt on Monday after a court convicted them of helping a "terrorist organisation" by spreading lies, in a case that has raised questions about the country's respect for media freedom.
Yes, that would raise questions. But:
Egyptian officials have said the case is not linked to freedom of expression and that the journalists raised suspicions by operating without proper accreditation.
3:05 PM, Jun 11, 2014 • By ERIC TRAGER
Two years ago, Islamist political posters plastered Giza's impoverished Omraniya neighborhood. But two weeks ago, as Egyptians went to the polls for the seventh time since the 2011 uprising, a military man's banners monopolized the wall space. "Abdel Fatah al-Sisi knows how to fix the country," shopkeeper Shaaban Hamdy, a Sisi supporter, told me in Cairo last week. Hamdy voted for Mohamed Morsi during the 2012 presidential elections, seeing the Muslim Brotherhood leader as "something new, not the same old [regime]." Yet despite regretting that decision, Hamdy acknowledged that Sisi might not be Egypt's final answer either. "If he fails," Hamdy said, "the people will come again and change him."
But blocked an Iranian information campaign.2:10 PM, Mar 11, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
If Israel believed that exposing an Iranian arms transfer to terrorists in Gaza was a public relations coup that might make the White House think twice about making a deal with the regime in Tehran over its nuclear weapons program, then Jerusalem has fundamentally misread the Obama administration. Perhaps just as ominously, it shows that the government of Israel doesn’t understand the new media environment.
Hosted by Michael Graham4:00 PM, Feb 24, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast, with editor William Kristol on President Obama's influence with foreign leaders and Ted Cruz's role in the GOP.
Forget chess, Turkey is failing at geopolitical checkers. Nov 4, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 08 • By LEE SMITH
A recent spate of newspaper articles suggests a concerted media campaign targeting Turkey’s foreign intelligence service, the MIT, its director, Hakan Fidan, and almost surely his boss as well, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a piece published by the Wall Street Journal and another by the Washington Times, Fidan is said to be supporting al Qaeda affiliates in Syria fighting against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
3:29 PM, Aug 22, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The anti-Christian violence in Egypt is "a modern pogrom," David Brog, the executive director of Christians United for Israel, says in a statement.
"Events in Egypt this week highlight yet again the tragedy facing the Christians of the Middle East. Once again, Christians are being targeted for murder. Once again Christian schools, businesses and churches are being attacked. And once again, the world is largely silent," Brog says.
According to the press, Jerusalem goes against the White House and stands with the Egyptian army.7:02 AM, Aug 21, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
According to the Wall Street Journal, Israel, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is gung-ho for the Egyptian army’s bloody campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood. This, the Journal reports, “has pulled Israel into ever-closer alignment with those Gulf states.” Yes, concurs, the New York Times, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE support “the Egyptian military and sought to push back against Western entreaties that it temper its actions against the Brotherhood and the ousted government of President Mohamed Morsi and his supporters.”