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The coup and the violence in Egypt

Rafiq HabibThe coup depends on spreading a state of violence alongside intimidation and fear throughout the whole society.

The coup's media has been trying to accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of violence since the first day of the coup in order to intimidate society. The coup's leaders would later use that as a cover up to launch their repressive blood campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood. Demonstrations which lasted for a few hours preceded the massacre in Rabaa al Adawiya, which was in fact a war crime and genocide.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a popular movement rooted in society. The movement depends mainly on its ability to mobilise the masses. The movement's real strength is their wide spread across society, their ability to win fans and supporters and their organisational skills. Their non- violent and peaceful approach represents the power of the Muslim Brotherhood in the face of the coup.

The coup leaders are aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is a peaceful organisation and will not slip into violence. They are also aware the Brotherhood's peaceful approach is their most important source of strength in opposition to the coup.

The movement's non- violent approach reinforces its popularity, protects its roots in society and expands its popular support. However, violence destroys everything the Brotherhood wants to accomplish.

The Muslim Brotherhood and pro-legitimacy supporters may win their battle against the military coup only by adopting a non-violent approach. The coup leaders would only be able to win using violence. The Muslim Brotherhood's most important strength lies in their adherence to a non- violent approach.

However, the coup leader wants to force the movement to violence in order to provide a pretext for which systematic violence can be used against demonstrations of legitimacy supporters, which left hundreds dead in appalling successive massacres. These attempts aim to push the Brotherhood into a corner; so that they either leave the streets and gives up and ends up slipping into violence.

The Muslim Brotherhood adamantly refuses to leave the street or slide into violence. The Brotherhood is aware that its non- violent approach is their main source of strength and they do not wish to leave the streets, because if they do the bloody phase of excluding the Brotherhood will begin.

The Brotherhood is only left with one choice; to remain in the squares until they overthrow the coup. Although they face murder and genocide, if they had left the street the bloody phase of brotherhood exclusion would have begun.

In all instances, the coup leaders want to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stabilise military rule.

Accusations of violence

The intensive media campaign, which has been accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of violence is preparing for a systematic campaign of violence against the Brotherhood as well as all other political forces that oppose the military coup. The campaign will then expand to include all Islamic forces that have popular support.

By accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of violence those political blocks that supported the coup will come to believe that Egypt is on the verge of a new wave of violence. This state of intimidation has become a practical way to control them.

Some of the pro-coup blocs have fallen under the full control of the coup's rhetoric. They have lost their independence and carry out the coup's orders. They are involved daily, in a state of bloody civil conflict.

If some of these blocs are no longer afraid and begin to reconsider their support for the military coup public support for the coup would in fact, fall away. The coup leaders would try to regain popular support through waves of orchestrated violence or campaigns in order to intimidate and terrorise society.

Violent groups

Waves of violence had remarkably receded before the revolution of January 2011. This happened after some Islamic groups revised their stance on violence and abandoned their violent approach.

The Islamic group's revised stance on violence in Egypt is the most prominent act in the Islamic arena which has had an impact outside Egypt. The violent groups have some presence only in the Sinai.

Before the revolution of January 2011, a few armed groups were founded in Sinai for several reasons. The most important was the security deal between Sinai residents and intelligence officers. The available information indicates that groups affiliated to Salafist Jihadism and armed groups were infiltrated by intelligence services.

These groups carried out violence before and after the revolution, as well as before and after the election of President Mohamed Morsi and the military coup.

After the military coup, it has become obvious that a few of these infiltrated groups moved to provide cover for the military coup.

The armed attacks in Sinai were unusually repeated, which gave the impression they were planned operations. They came out of a process that paves the way for future operations which will spread panic about new waves of violence and justify the use of violence as part of repressive bloody policies. Meanwhile; the Muslim Brotherhood have been framed and accused of violence in Sinai to justify the repressive and bloody assassination of the movement.

It is well known that the Muslim Brotherhood strongly opposed Salafist Jihadist armed groups. The Muslim Brotherhood had previously sustained extended attacks from Salafist Jihadist groups, particularly those affiliated with al-Qaeda.

It is also known that the armed groups have adopted a "change through force" approach and believe that change through democracy and the ballot box is impossible. Salafist- Jihadist groups believe that Islamists are not allowed to rule through the ballot box. The Muslim Brotherhood embraced a contradictory approach which was based on gradual peaceful change and felt that peaceful political action was the only way to change and reform.

The Arab Spring and democratisation process came to prove the validity of the Muslim Brotherhood's position and foster the notion that democratic mechanisms of action represent the best way for peaceful political action.

With the beginning of the democratic transition in the Arab Spring countries, the idea of change by force - as adopted by the Salafist Jihadist groups – faced the biggest challenge. The peaceful change approach achieved real results, while the change by force approach damaged societies as well as armed groups.

Then; the military coup came to support the idea of change by force over the idea of peaceful change. The military coup proved to the armed groups the validity and accuracy of their theory. It practically confirmed to them that Islamists are not allowed to access power through the democratic process.

What Islamists achieved through the ballot boxes, was thwarted by the military coup. I imagine that this was the aim and not merely a side effect. The intention is to force Islamic groups to violence because the fight against armed groups is justifiable.

Groups that espouse violence quickly lose custodial social protection. They lose popular acceptance and become imperfect groups. Although, it might be difficult to entirely get rid of them, they become incapable of influencing politics.

The armed Islamist groups have provided the U.S. administration with a pretext to launch what it calls the war on terrorism. They also provided governments allied with the West in the Arab and Islamic region with the pretext to wage war on what they call terrorism while reinforcing their alliance with America and using violence to impose military regimes.

This means that a new wave of violence, serves the interests of the military coup, Western and American interests in the region. It provides a convenient pretext to establish military regimes and abort the Arab Spring.

Western Pretexts

The Western countries expressed obvious fear of the democratic Islamic movements. They tried to thwart the political gains of those movements. The peaceful Islamic political movements posed a difficult threat to counter, while the violent Islamic groups posed a threat that could be confronted and reduced. However, violent Islamic groups represent an important pretext for Western countries interventions, to destroy the nations and provoke a state of chaos which prevents the emergence of any independent systems of governance not allied with the West.

On the other hand, the continued peaceful struggle in the squares of Egypt against the coup reaffirms the feasibility of the peaceful political process and provides an important opportunity for a peaceful approach to win over a violent approach.

The more the peaceful January revolution is regained, the more the violence which the military coup attempts to nourish declines.

The military coup aims to weaken the attractiveness of the Muslim Brotherhood as a peaceful political movement in order to increase the attractiveness of violent groups and attract young people, which will provide a pretext for the military coup.

Like all military coups, the coup leaders are in need of cover and they have chosen a purely American method, the "war on terror". To thwart peaceful political action is in the interest of the military coup and to nourish and strengthen the violent political work is also in the interest of the coup

The author is a Coptic political researcher and former Vice President of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). This article is a translation of the Arabic text published on Al Jazeera Net on 13 August, 2013.


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