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.
10:51 AM, Dec 19, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Concerned Veterans for America has launched a new video series on the failures of the Obama administration's foreign policy doctrine of "leading from behind." The launch begins with Libya as a case study in what's gone wrong with U.S. foreign relations. Watch the video below:
A society on the edge of chaos.Feb 18, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 22 • By LEE SMITH
This week marks the second anniversary of the fall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Two years after the refrain “the people want to topple the regime” filled Tahrir Square, it is now Egypt itself that is toppling. Street violence has pitted various groups against each other—anarchists against Islamists, policemen against protesters, men against women—and has left scores dead throughout the country.
Feb 4, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 20 • By LEE SMITH
One thing Hillary Clinton got right in her testimony before Congress last week: “When America is absent,” she said, “there are consequences.” But the administration she served has chosen to be absent, and we are seeing the consequences play out, from North Africa to the Levant, where the unchecked flow of weapons, experienced jihadist fighters, and Salafist ideology is reshaping the regional balance of power—and tilting it agai
Dec 17, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 14 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
The flurry of excitement over Syria’s “moving” of chemical weapons highlights yet again the paralysis gripping U.S. Middle East strategy. “We’re kind of boxed in,” an administration official confessed to the New York Times. “There’s an issue of presidential credibility here, but our options are quite limited.”
7:19 AM, Dec 4, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Iran is claiming to have successfully "hunted" an American drone, according to a piece in the regime organ Fars News Agency. The propaganda outlet claims that this is the first time Iran has shot down an American drone.
8:02 AM, Nov 30, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Steve Hayes, with A.B. Stoddard and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News:
Internet, landlines, and cell phones are affected.2:00 PM, Nov 29, 2012 • By LEE SMITH
Two technology firms that monitor global Internet traffic report that Syria has been cut off from the Internet. Regular landline phone and cell phones services have been affected as well, Syrian opposition activist Ammar Abdulhamid told me. “Therefore, the possibility of accidental damage can be discounted,” said Abdulhamid. “This is something done intentionally by the regime, and reflects growing desperation on account of the recent advances made by rebels, especially in Damascus.”
10:47 AM, Oct 22, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
It's worth recalling President Barack Obama's foreign policy instincts before tonight's presidential debate on that topic.
Leading from the front against Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran, Wissam al-Hassan was an American ally.4:32 PM, Oct 20, 2012 • By LEE SMITH
Yesterday a car bomb in Beirut killed a senior Lebanese security chief along with seven others, while wounding hundreds in Ashrafiyeh, a busy neighborhood in Christian-majority East Beirut. The target, Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, was close to former prime minister Saad Hariri and his late father, Rafik Hariri. Yesterday evening, Hariri supporters, mostly Sunnis, closed down roads and burned tires in protest against the assassins, almost certainly tied to the Syrian regime and their Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
8:46 AM, Oct 3, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
On and around September 11, 2012, al Qaeda attacked multiple American assets around the world. The attack that has received the most attention is the deadly attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. But the U.S. consulate in Libya was not the only diplomatic facility assaulted by al Qaeda-affiliated groups in September. Terrorists with ties to al Qaeda’s senior leaders, including al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, were involved in at least three other U.S. embassy sieges in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and possibly elsewhere.
11:18 AM, Oct 1, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
A pro-America rally is scheduled to be held tomorrow outside the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel. The expression of support for America is being organized by Im Tirzu Movement in order to "remind the United States that Israel is America's best friend in the Middle East"
10:08 AM, Sep 27, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a message to Israeli citizens yesterday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he'd use his remarks at the United Nations to respond to the "black day" at the international body. Netanyahu is scheduled to speak later today.
1:40 PM, Sep 25, 2012 • By JONATHAN SCHANZER
“Bir Halek, Ya Fayyad” is not a catchy tune. But the popularity of Palestinian singer Kassem Najar’s song, which translates to “Get A Grip, Fayyad,” is an indication that Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, may be on the way out. Najar, however, is the least of Fayyad’s problems.