Dr. Ayman Nour, the leader of Ghad Party and the former Egyptian presidential candidate, said that the decision to hold a coup on 3 July 2013 and oust the country's first civilian president was not purely an Egyptian effort. International players were most likely behind the move, he added, stressing that indications of prior arrangements for the coup were clear during the period between December 2012 and January 2013.
Nour explained that the pre-coup phase was pivotal in the decision to overthrow the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and the democracy that brought them to power. Manifestations of efforts to do this were evident in the run up to the coup with the UAE intervening in the local media and bribing politicians who were flocking to the Emirates to set up home.
Saudi's role was not obvious to many people at the time, he explained, however the decision and planning for the military coup was a Saudi move and the implementation was Emirati.
However, the international position on the military coup was confusing, especially as it had contradicting positions.
Egyptian politician asserted that there was a clear intention for a coup against the January Revolution, as the overthrow of the government was being planned from 11 February 2011, the day President Hosni Mubarak stepped down.
The former Egyptian presidential candidate noted that the military coup would have overthrown anyone who was in power, even if Dr. Morsi was not in power. This coup would have happened anyway, but perhaps at a slightly different time or for different reasons.
Nour revealed that the invitation he received from Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi, the then defence minister on 11 December 2012, as the leader of one of the political parties, was a test prior to the early implementation of the military coup and the first coup attempt. Al-Sisi's personality is very weak, Nour added.
In the second six months of his rule, Morsi could feel the conflict, a change in discourse and the influential role the media was playing in changing people's feelings towards him.
Morsi wanted to establish national dialogue during his term but the civil forces were reluctant due to commitments they had already made. They had no will to communicate with the Presidency, Nour explained.
The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic forces bear the responsibility of not reaching a wide national partnership, Nour warned, because they had no serious desire to make such partnership at that time. He pointed out that during Morsi's rule there was no conflict that might reach the stage of civil war however, there were internal parties that ignited flames at all stages, such as the deep state and institutions related to the military intelligence, the public and Mubarak's regime, in addition to the regional players.
The leader of Ghad Party said that the UAE had been the main player at the "pre-coup" stage. It had been used as a glove that fulfilled the wishes of other countries in the region which were not happy with the idea of revolution and change in Egypt. Al-Sisi has been and is still a tool and partner in the implementation of this plan. As for the future of the conflict between the political forces in Egypt at this stage, if Al-Sisi did not intervene and announce his coup on 3 July, Nour considered that the situation would not have changed much. If Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi did not intervene at that time, another Al-Sisi would intervene, turn against the promising democracy and play the required role at the regional and internal levels, exactly as the current coup leader is doing.
The role of the military institution
As for the political differences that broke out before the demonstrations of 30 June, Nour said that there had been political differences in the stage that Egypt went through right after the January Revolution, and with the start of the March 2011 referendum. These did not start when Morsi won the presidency of Egypt. He pointed out that the military institution played a role in creating a state of discord and disagreement between the political forces, the youth of the revolution and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Nour explained that there was a childish situation in dealing with the political forces, and a large sector of these forces did not believe that the military institution would play this role. Everyone had just gotten out of a revolution and had a passion for the army that protected the revolution.
Will the army overthrow Al-Sisi?
The Christian Science Monitor revealed in a report the reasons for the deteriorating situation in Egypt. It expected that those reasons would push the Egyptian army to overthrow Al-Sisi as quickly as they got rid of former President Hosni Mubarak.
The newspaper said that Al-Sisi's grip on power had started to loosen as his second term began. It quoted political analysts warning that Al-Sisi is ruling a country where there was more uncertainty than in 2013, when he staged his coup and took over the reins of the country.
The American newspaper said that Egypt, the most populous Arab country, has been facing many economic, security and diplomatic challenges, which will put Al-Sisi's leadership, and even the extent of the support he receives from the army, to the test. It warned that the faltering economy and the threat posed by the country's instability is "the most alarming threat" to Al-Sisi's rule.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Sharq on 23 August 2018