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In Washington on Tuesday (Oct. 22, 2013), the House Foreign Affairs Committee asked Derek Chollet, the Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs, to talk about the recent aid cuts. Appeals were made by the US administration to Congress to find ways to keep aid flowing to Egypt, citing the usefulness of the relationship, for instance, in preferring the passage of US warships through the shipping queues at the Suez Canal. It appears that although the US hasn’t officially termed the ouster of the duly-elected president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, from power, a "coup", nevertheless, the letter of US law seems to take a dim view of governments that arrive suddenly by force, irrespective of what they are actually called.
In the course of these same proceedings we heard the interventions of certain Republican congressmen defending the coup in Egypt, with one particular heated intervention from Dana Rohrabacher who angrily attacked the US government’s recent approach to events in Egypt as “hanging General Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi out to dry”, despite its Houdini-like contortions trying to keep in with the Egyptian Junta leader its defiance of its own laws. Dana Rohrabacher, if you remember, was the congressman who said that Iraq should pay back the costs of the US invasion. But, it is not without help that the Egyptian Junta is keeping in with US lawmakers, for it becomes clear that they have hired the lobbying firm Glover Park Group to burnish their image. Given that they are charging $250000 per month for their services, Glover Park must think that there is a lot of burnishing to do. Note that this is happening as Egypt’s economy is driven to the brink of ruin by the Junta, with food prices soaring and the unusual sight in Egypt of the poor going hungry.
The odd thing is that no-one is denying that the Egyptian Junta came to power by force, not least Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi himself. In comments of his in a leaked recording broadcast on al-Jazeera Mubashir concerning the attack on the protest camp at Raba’a al-‘Adawiyya, not only does he admit that there were 3000 deaths, but also adds that he had expected there to be even more. He rationalises the attack in a manner that would resonate with the prejudices of the likes of Dana Rohrabacher, namely that these were "Muslim Brotherhood", and these people are people "who don’t listen" and need to be dealt with roughly. Of course, Mohammed el-Baradei, previously a partner with Sissi in the coup, resigned from the ruling Junta because he maintained that absolutely no attempt was made to hold talks despite his entreaties, and that immediate sudden and extreme violence was planned as the new régime’s first port of call in dealing with such protests.
So the day after the proceedings of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (on Wednesday Oct. 23) we have Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announcing in a news conference in Brussels that he thinks the Egyptian “interim government”, is moving in the right direction, with a road map toward “inclusive, free democracy, rights for all people, assuring that all individuals, all citizens of Egypt have the same rights”. So it seems that we now have a principle that it doesn’t matter what you do at first, or how you get power, it doesn’t de-legitimise you, as long as you plan for democracy in the long term, everything is all right. This approach is reminiscent to the approach of the US and the UK to the Khalifa régime in Bahrain. There we have Egyptian Professor Cherif Bassiouni who led the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which reported on 23 November 2011, damning the Bahraini government’s use of systematic torture and cataloguing a broad range of human rights violations. The commissioning of the report by the Bahraini government on the instigation of the UK would unbelievably seem in of itself to have absolved it of its guilt, for it continues the same repression, backed by the same foreign powers, who simply reiterate Bahrain’s "commitment to establishing democracy". We are clearly dealing here with a purely noetic and entirely non-practical commitment, however.