It seems that coups have some sort of memory. They learn from each other. In the first moment of the 1973 Chilean coup, President Salvador Allende was killed, resulting in General Augusto Pinochet's terrorist rule for 17 years. In Egypt, the situation was somewhat different, despite the general similarities between the coups in Egypt and Chile.
In Egypt's case, the revolution was and still is hot, and trying to harm its life was enough to ignite the situation. Egypt is very different to Chile for many reasons (including Egypt's geographic location, geopolitical weight and population size). It must remain stable and contain the changes in the country, adopting calmer methods. Perhaps the decision to stage the coup (I am referring to those who planned the coup, not the Egyptian military that executed the coup), to keep President Morsi alive is partly due to their inability to predict the reactions of the Islamist movements in the event that an attempt was made on the life of the president emerging from the Islamist movements.
Perhaps these considerations, along with others, are the reason why the coup was carried out under the cover of the impression of popular protest, then going down the path of reasonable and unreasonable prosecution, all the while continuing the media demonisation campaign that targeted the man even after he became a prisoner. They accused the many of every accusation possible. The President's first appearance after being detained after the coup revealed that they were right. The man barely appeared and spoke before impressing his opposition. I remember some of President Morsi's harshest critics at the time writing pieces praising him for his perseverance in the face of the military. Others were unable to control themselves and cried when they saw the president.
Morsi's problem with the military is that he turned into an icon. His picture was hung in Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and he became an icon of the Islamic Movements in Egypt and elsewhere. The words he said on various occasions remained in the hearts of those who elected him.
Even if we measure the man's performance during the year before the coup based on the standards of success in failure in the world's countries, we would find that the man was undoubtedly successful, regardless of the fact that his enemies measure his successes to the standards of the West, failing to compare him to their previous rulers. The greatest flaw, in the eyes of the military, as I see it, is his success compared to the current military coup leader.
It was therefore necessary to stash the man away in a dark area, reduce his appearances, and silence him. They certainly wish they could get rid of him, but they are afraid of the consequences. Therefore, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of him being dealt with by means of slow-acting poisons so that it would look like a natural deterioration of his health.
Two years and a half ago, I wrote an article on a potential scenario where the people are psychologically subjugated and would accept any face after violent waves of brutal oppression. Now Shafiq is emerging and announcing his candidacy for the 2018 military elections, days after President Morsi complained of his deteriorating health.
At the time, I said that I have no evidence of this scenario, but now, it seems that the potential scenario I had imagined is one of two possibilities. With all of these accelerating events, it is logical that the military coup would seek to end the President Morsi issue. I think that everyone should perform their responsibilities so that we do not see another Salvador Allende in Egypt.
This article first appeared in Arabic on 2 December 2017 on Arabi21
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.