It was General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that removed President Morsi — every major news organization is in agreement on the facts of what happened (since when does that occur?). Consider just a few:
CAIRO (AFP) FOX News – Egypt’s army ousted and detained Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday after a week of deadly clashes and mass protests calling for him to go after a year in office. His defence minister, armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, announced Morsi’s overthrow on state television, even as police began rounding up key Morsi aides and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Warrants have been issued for the arrest of a total of 300 Brotherhood officials, state media reported.
(CAIRO) (CBS News) The armed forces ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected president Wednesday after just a year in power, installing a temporary civilian government, suspending the constitution and calling for new elections. Islamist President Mohammed Morsi denounced it as a “full coup” by the military.
(Reuters) Mursi was sequestered in a Republican Guard barracks after denouncing a “military coup” that stripped him of power after just a year. As tanks and troops secured the area, tens of thousands of supporters of his Muslim Brotherhood rallied nearby to protest against his removal.
The facts we can agree on; but what do the facts mean? That is quite a different question. Was it a military coup? And why does it matter? At least $1.5 billion (annually) is riding on the meaning of what happened. U. S. law bars “any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’etat or decree.” Reuters describes the dilemma for Obama and his aides:
(Reuters) – The Egyptian military’s overthrow of elected President Mohamed Mursi left President Barack Obama grappling with a difficult question of diplomacy and language in dealing with the Arab world’s most populous nation: was it a coup? At stake as Obama and his aides wrestle with that question in the coming days is the $1.5 billion in aid the United States sends to Cairo each year – almost all of it for the military – as well as the president’s views on how best to promote Arab democracy.
It seems Obama is caught between a rock and a hard-place. Muhammad Morsi is an Islamist1 who, upon his election in a free democratic election by Egypt’s masses, led the Islamist controlled Egyptian legislature (also elected in free elections) to replace Egypt’s secular constitution with a constitution based upon the Qur’an. The sharia-based constitution was voted on by the Egyptian people, and 10 million votes were cast in favor of the new constitution, nearly 2/3 of the votes cast. President Morsi signed the law into affect just six months later, December 26, 2012. On July 3, 2013, the armed forces chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, announced that the constitution had been “suspended provisionally.” Here is a transcript, in part, of the General’s statement (courtesy of AlJazeera.com translation):
As a result, it was necessary for the EAF [Egyptian Armed Forces] to act on its patriotic and historic responsibility without sidelining, marginalising any party, where during the meeting a road map was agreed upon which includes the following (bullet points supplied):
- Suspending the constitution provisionally;
- The chief justice of the constitutional court will declare the early presidential elections;
- Interim period until president elected. Chief Justice will have presidential powers; …
- The Supreme Constitutional Law will address the draft law and prepare for parliamentary elections;
- Securing and guaranteeing freedom of expression, freedom of media. All necessary measures will be taken to empower youth so they can take part in decision making processes.
- The EAF appeal to the Egyptian people with all its spectrum to steer away from violence and remain peaceful. The Armed Forced warn it will stand up firmly and strictly to any act deviating from peacefulness based on its patriotic and historic responsibility.
Morsi had taken office just one year prior, June 30, 2012, by action of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, a 21 member council composed of senior military officials established to lead the country when Hosni Mubarak was forced from office as president of Egypt on February 21, 2011. Apparently, the same group of military officials that forced Mubarak from office in 2011 also forced Morsi out in 2013. Hmmm. Does that sound like a democracy to you?
President Obama is on the horns of a dilemma. If he supports the recent military action, he stands against the rules of democracy Arab Spring supposedly brought in. Morsi was elected by the people. The constitution was voted in by the people. The billion dollar question is U.S. aid. If it ends (because a coup has taken place), then so does the relationship between America and Egypt, our strong Middle East ally (money will buy you anything if you have enough of it). On the other hand, if Obama stands for the principles of democracy in Egypt and supports Muhammad Morsi, including his return to office, Obama supports an Islamist, and he stands with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis (a strict “puritan” sect of Sunni Islam, the roots of which created Al Qaeda and related Sunni splinter groups of Islam), and apparently, he stands against the majority of Egyptian people. Since Morsi took office a year ago, Christian Copts have been persecuted and killed by Islamist groups. Copt churches have been destroyed and renovations halted (Christians are “dhimmis” in Egypt). In some cases, improvements to churches have been denied outright or put on hold indefinitely. Recently, Shias were attacked in a small village outside Giza, Egypt, killing four Shias, including a prominent Shia leader, Hassan Shehata. Lastly, if Obama stands with Morsi and the Brotherhood, he stands against the powerful Egyptian Armed Forces, the true power in Egypt.
Obama’s response is also complicated by his administration’s public actions in support of the Islamist backed Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood that has recently led it:
- Raymond Ibraham reports of the United States Ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, recently urging Egyptians not to protest against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (in protests prior to Morsi’s removal from office). In her efforts, the Obama Administration is seen supporting the democratically elected administration in spite of its opposition to Western values;
- CNN reports of the views of Egyptians blaming Obama and Ambassador Patterson for propping up the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi, and their Islamist agenda, to the expense of the Egyptian people.
- New York Times reporting (September 28, 2012) of embattled Congressional leadership, Kay Granger of Texas, attempting to withhold aid to Islamist controlled Egypt while the Obama administration fights to continue it.
What will Obama do now? I suspect he will change the meaning of words. Obama will not want to stop aid to Egypt. He will use a different word (not “coup”) to describe what really happened. Reuters has already taken note of the words he used in his first public announcement of the events in Egypt: Reuter’s explained:
But he [Obama] did not use the word “coup” and stopped well short of advocating for Mursi’s reinstatement, suggesting Washington might be willing to accept the military’s move as a way to end a political crisis in a nation of 83 million people struggling with severe economic difficulties.
The Washington Post carried an article entitled, “Is what happened in Egypt a coup or a revolution? It’s both.” My point? The meaning of words are changing. If Egypt’s crisis is a revolution (not a coup), then Obama can have his cake and eat it too. That is, he can support the Egyptian people and their “revolution” against Islamists (led by Morsi and the Brotherhood) which, politically, can be explained as Obama supporting the democratic efforts of the Egyptian people. Obama can continue aid to Egypt, and thereby, maintain a relationship with the Egyptian Armed Forces (who rule the country), as well as maintain a U.S. ally in the Middle East. All he has to do is change the words that describe what really happened from coup (what it was) to revolution (what it was not). In the process, Obama does not have to decide whether it was a coup or not. What do you think he will do?
But what does this have to do with Bible prophecy the only subject that I am somewhat qualified to opine on? Two passages that we need to remember:
Isaiah 19:1-2 (NASB) The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt; The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, And the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. 2 “So I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians; And they will each fight against his brother and each against his neighbor, city against city and kingdom against kingdom.
Daniel 11:42-43 (NASB) “Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. 43 “But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his
If we interpret the Isaiah passage to apply to the end-times (it does not specify the time of its application), it could easily be interpreted to apply to the recent events in Egypt. The Daniel prophecy is specifically an end-time prophecy (Daniel 11:40 NASB). This prophecy warns that the Antichrist will stretch out his hand against the land of Egypt; and, “he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt…” In other words, the treasures of Egypt, its precious, ancient artifacts of inestimable value will no longer be subject to the control of the authorities in Egypt. Control will be lost to the invader. That could mean they are stolen — or destroyed.
The Egyptian army is responsible for protecting the artifacts of Egypt. In the end-time, the army will no longer be able to protect the “precious” things of Egypt. Who might be the invading force? If we combine the two prophecies, the Isaiah passage tells us that the invader will be from within. This interpreter believes the prophecy is referring to Islam — the Islamists will ultimately recover from their loss of control to the military; and, the “revolution” will eventually be turned against the military and be decided in favor of Islam.
Jesus come quickly.
- An “Islamist” is a Muslim who is committed to the Qur’an command that one day Islam will have dominion over the world, and Allah will be named by all persons as their God. [↩]