By: Dr. Basheer Mousa Nafi *
In a rare moment of truth, Egypt’s General Sisi was recalling the wisdom of generations of putschist generals before him, saying: “The honor of the fighter lies in that he does not conspire against the president, nor does he make arrangements to remove him from power”. Yes, the honor of the fighter is not to defend the soil of his homeland, regardless of the size of sacrifices, protect the sovereignty of his country and the safety of its people, or to respect the constitution and laws!! The honor of the fighter is something that is totally different; it is not to conspire against his president, nor to work for overthrowing him!! (Sisi, who conspired against his president and ousted him, is the same person who is saying these words) What is this wilderness, where the General is wandering lost?! What is the power that revealed to him this unique wisdom!? What is this state of disorientation that pushed him to stand naked and trembling in front of his people and the world!?
Gen. Sisi is not known for having any scientific excellence, statesmanship, intelligence, or courage. Also, there is no indication that he had understood the history of his country, its importance, its role, and its location as this should be. Gen. Sisi joined the Egyptian Army at a time when the army no longer had a major national task, after the wartime ended, and the state hugged its enemies. He (Sisi) did not fight in a war, nor did he lead his soldiers in a battle, or made any distinguished military achievement that may give prestige to his small stature among the generals of his like. And because Sisi was brought up at a time when there was a decline in reason, thought, and language, the general did not learn how to meditate, think, or even talk the way a general should do.
Egypt’s Army has become a semi-industrial, commercial institution that is invading markets, competing in the food industry and refrigeration equipment, and monopolizing the foreign industry agencies. Gen. Sisi has learned how to conduct compromises, act as a broker, and conclude deals. He usually takes his right share of the pie, and sometimes more, if he could. If necessary, he resorts to illegal action to reach his target. The Egyptian Army has become a private security company that works to keep the ruler’s security, the safety of his family, and the continuation of his control, even if this required the suppression of the people and assaulting their dignity. Egypt’s Army is exerting every possible effort to cooperate with the “former” enemies of the country to maintain peace on the border, secure the continuation of foreign aid and the prosperity of relations with major world powers. Gen. Sisi has also learned how to become the first security man of the Egyptian Army, to make himself a necessity for his peace partners in the neighborhood, as well as the region’s world security partners. When the Egyptian people took to the streets in a rare and unprecedented opportunity to say its word, Gen. Sisi did not hesitate to commit the acts of killing, assassination, and torture.
However, Egypt’s General reached a position that is higher and greater than he dreamed of in his entire life. In a moment of luck, that was rarely available to a military general like him before, many people overlooked his ignorance, his weak scientific background, his lack of military professional achievement, his superficial thinking, his limited mind capabilities, and his slang language. In that moment of luck, Gen. Sisi only needed confidence in the skills and traditions of the market, trade, security, and conspiracy, which have become the culture of the Egyptian army, where he was raised. Also, because the country was filled with turmoil, loss of the compass, loss of certainty, luck soon granted Gen. Sisi his second chance, a chance to show the world his capabilities in deal-making, conspiracy, treason, treachery, repression, bloodshed and restoring people to obedience under the military control. Sisi did not only turn against his president; in fact, he undertook two coups at the same time. He turned against the president and ousted him, and also turned against his partners from the elites and arseholes.
In fact, Gen. Sisi did not need all his innate attributes of treachery, conspiracy, and brokerage, which he developed during his career. President Morsi was a good-hearted man, anyway, and although he noted Gen. Sisi’s tendency to conspiracy, he thought that the people, which had sparked one of the biggest revolutions in the whole history, was so powerful that it would not allow a military general to push the Egyptians back into the abyss of tyranny and underdevelopment. However, Gen. Sisi found in the country’s political, economic and media elites the best support and the best tool. Not only was the army degenerated, but all the capabilities of the country and its institutions were also plagued in a country that inherited a civilization dating back thousands of years. There was not a lot of politicians who understood the rules of politics, intellectuals who enjoyed a considerable standard of culture, media men who understood their responsibility, or businessmen who had enough sense of duty. All those people quickly supported the General, paved the way for him, idolized him, and introduced him to the public as the savior, the guard, and the guide. Those “Les Miserables” thought, at a moment of lack of consciousness, that Gen. Sisi would restore them the reins of power and authority after ousting their Islamist opponents. But the General, of course, had a different opinion.
In his second coup, Gen. Sisi relied on that sector of the population, which was deceived by the allegation that he was the savior, the guard, and the guide, and on his allies in the region, who wanted him to root out the “villain” Islamists -who called for the rule of the people, preservation of the wealth, and independence of the resolution- and to punish the rebellious people at the same time. In his second coup, Gen. Sisi overthrew his partners in the first coup, the same way that someone takes off his old and torn shoes. He took over power alone, without a single partner.
However, things did not go as it should. In just three years of control and governance, the failure of Egypt’s General was clearly uncovered to his partners in the country and the region, his people, and the whole world. Despite his endless massacres and campaigns of repression, arrests and displacement, the country has not regained its security and stability. Despite the tens of billions of dollars, which were provided by his regional partners, the country’s economic and financial conditions continue to deteriorate and collapse.
Although Gen. Sisi was keen from the start on implicating the state’s military, judicial and security institutions in the crimes that have been committed, to reassure their support to him, the area of freedom in the country has been shrinking, and people’s dignity has been threatened in an unprecedented way. Also, Sisi soon reneged on his promises that he would be the shield and sword -when needed- for his regional allies -who provided him generously with money and opened the doors of their friends in Europe and America for him. Only one entity can say that the rule of the General was the gift of all times to it: i.e. Israel, the “former” enemy. In just three years of governance and control, Egypt’s General is now standing naked, with nothing to cover his “genitals”.
The beginning of reaction came from “The Economist”, which held the General responsible for ruining his country, and called him not to try to run for the presidency elections for a second term. Then, this was followed by calls from his relevant regional allies, accusing the General of mismanagement and of squandering his country’s wealth, and conveying to him the desire of his friend princes and sheikhs to leave at the earliest opportunity. Even within the country itself, despite the fact that some betrayed the longings of their people, yet they have become aware of the size of the disaster in which they are living, but only their fear prevents them from talking. However, a handful of those associated with the conflicting security and intelligence services have recently expressed their hope that Gen. Sisi would do the country a favor if he abandoned. It is true that Sisi is not smart and that he does not have an incisive mind, but he is not so stupid as to not see the signs of danger, and how endless this wilderness is, where he wanders lost, not able to find a way out. Thus, in a rare moment of truth, the General found himself, with no will of him, recalling the wisdom of the putschist generals before him.
Where can this endless wilderness take Egypt’s General? Is not there an end for his wandering lost (in his failure)? Is not there a hope in a metaphysical intervention to make his betrayal the last one?!!
*Dr. Basheer Nafi is a writer, a historian, and a researcher in modern history, especially the Middle East and the Islamic History.
(Published in Al-Quds Al-Arabi, on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, and translated for MEO)