A massacre in the morning!

The military decision on August 14 2013 to brutally clear the anti-military and pro-Morsi forces from their peaceful demonstrations in Cairo and elsewhere has finally ended the charade of progress to democracy in Egypt. The brutal actions of snipers and other state armed men killing un-armed men women and children has also exploded the myth of the military machine being a defender and a champion of the Egyptian ‘people’. The exact number of injuries and deaths will probably never be known, but what is known is that men in control of states who conduct terror against their own citizens find it absolutely necessary to hide the true facts and under estimate the exact numbers.

We also know that those effected by such brutal attacks may tend to over-estimate the numbers assassinated by the state armed bodies of men. So the government figure of over 600 will undoubtedly be far too low, whilst the pro-Morso figures of many thousands killed may be somewhat exaggerated. However, a true figure of probably well over a thousand, together with the horrific means chosen to execute these peaceful demonstrators, amount to an enormous catalogue of domestically committed war crimes. For this reason, there can be no peace and no justice in Egypt – even in a bourgeois sense – whilst the military elite are able perpetrate such large-scale nihilistic outrages against their own civilian population.

Of course we know how this outcome was justified to the troops and the general ‘public’ before ‘operation innocent slaughter’ or whatever innocuous term was chosen to designate this vicious and despicable action. Using the states PR agents, and pro-capitalist elements such as private media outlets, time and resources were used to mis-label and demonise the majority of protestors. A negative stereotype was steadily manufactured during the lead up to the military incursion, by which it became possible both before and after the slaughter to ‘blame the victims’. We know from experience how it was done.

Blaming the victims.

A link between sectarian Islamic terrorism and the ordinary Muslim Brotherhood members, was made and the presence of non-Islamic anti-coup protestors at the various camps was ignored. This way the protest against the previous military coup overthrowing an elected but unpopular government, was transformed into a threat to national security. Also in this way the peaceful protestors, men, women and children, were transformed into terrorists and disrupters of peace and constitutional governance by those who had overthrown a constitutionally elected government .

Then either before, during and after this process, they undoubtedly planted weapons, inserted agent provocateurs among the opposition, created false-flag operations (committing atrocities dressed as Morsi supporters)  they moved in to clear the sit-ins with as much lethal force as was necessary to terrorise them into fleeing – in the almost certain knowledge that these non-armed victims will in actual fact continue to be blamed as the perpetrators.

We know this is the most likely process because it is the way all modern states operate and we know that the Egyptian state forces have operated in that way before. Blaming the victim is the way all elites create a climate of support for, or indifference toward, those they choose as their targets for inhuman treatment. And this process was made easier because there are some Muslim extremists in Egypt as elsewhere, who are sectarian terrorists who commit atrocities and wish to introduce oppressive Islamic law.

However, the majority of pro-Morsi and anti-military forces camped out in the various sit-ins were not Islamic extremists, but peaceful defenders of bourgeois democracy. Yet it was these who were brutally targeted. The lessons this outrage will teach the Egyptian people cannot not fail to be drawn. They have now been drawn in blood – again! Bourgeois democracy is a sham! Unless it produces the results the elites in power wish for themselves, it will be destroyed mercilessly. Food, justice and dignity can never be achieved in Egypt or elsewhere by the means of bourgeois elections and parliaments. The military machine controlled by the Egyptian elite is their tool of terror, as it is elsewhere, to be used against the economic and social aspirations of the citizens of Egypt, but it is also a tool with strong links to the USA.

The military machine.

The military machine in Egypt has a long history of political and economic involvement within Egypt and the Middle East. All the previous unelected leaders of Egypt during the 20th century have been from the military and many senior governmental figures are from a military background. The military have been the backbone of the Egyptian state and remain so. It should be understood that for many years, the Egyptian military elite has been trained and its armaments supplied by the United States of America.

For decades, the Egyptian military have been in receipt of billions of dollars of advanced armaments yearly from the USA government. However, that is not the only aspect of close relationship between with the upper echelons of the military and the north American elite. For decades the upper echelons of the Egyptian military have been graduates of the American military colleges and training courses. During their military training they have made close reciprocal relationships with the military elite in the USA. They will have been taught ‘black-ops’ tactics as well as crowd control by the US military ‘experts’.

However, the Egyptian Governmental elite in general receive substantial ‘aid’ from Saudi Arabia and other gulf state sources. The military elite cannot fail to be beneficiaries of much of this inward ‘investment’. In this way the military in Egypt has military, social, economic and financial strings to a variety of other external actors. All of whom in one way or another will be securing their hold on these strings if not exactly tugging firmly upon them. When politicians in other countries, such as the USA and other countries feign neutrality and distance from the events in Egypt, that is of course just the usual political spin. All these external players have provided, training, equipment, intelligence, tactics, perspectives and opinions.

The weakness in the military machine is at the same time its strength. This strength and weakness lies in its rank and file base. Rank and file soldiers are essentially working class citizens recruited on the basis of offering secure employment for the defence of the ’nation’. However, they are low-paid workers who are treated badly and forced to do all the dirty work of the military elite. Many, if not most of the rank and file soldiers, despite the demonising of the ‘victims’ will not be proud of their days work on 14 August 2013 – a day of infamy! Nor will they be happy that the communities from which they are drawn and the general population over the next weeks, will view them as neo-fascists and consider them the enemy within Egypt, rather than the champions of their communities.

The immediate implications.

The situation now has reached an impasse. The States armed men must defeat the street or the street must defeat the states armed men. If the Egyptian people allow the military elite to split the population and win, the state of emergency will be upheld and extended and any protest by whoever, will be violently put down. In addition many thousands will be imprisoned, tortured and murdered. If possible the military elite after a period of time, will put forward a figurehead to take part in future biased elections.

The military elite know that if they lose this struggle now many of them will be put on trial for crimes against humanity and crimes against a constitutional government and elected officials. For this reason the military leaders will do all they can to divide and rule the Egyptian people and they will press on regardless urging the police and special troops on to further atrocities. The crimes of the militarised crack-down should be used to cause splits in the military ranks themselves. A truth and honesty inquiry covering the events, should be proposed along with support and an amnesty offered to those soldiers refusing to continue this internecine destruction.

Yet after the many deaths by sniper fire and massacres by other weapons, there can be no early forgiveness by those effected and there can be nothing but outraged condemnations by all humane thinking people. There is now no chance of reconciliation between a substantial section of the Egyptian people and the military elite and its supporters. This means that for the immediate future there is now no possibility of peaceful resolution or development within Egypt. It is now war – a civil war – between the people and the state.

The implications are clear. The situation will continue to deteriorate fuelled by anger and desperation against the economic conditions and now by the outrage at the recent atrocities. There are now only two possibilities. The first is a descent into a debilitating and unequal sectarian civil war in which, like Syria, the population will be split into those against the present state and those for it. The second is that the anti-military secularists and the Muslim Brotherhood will both meet this challenge by making serious and sustained overtures to each other. The Egyptian people – as a whole – need to subvert, resist and overcome the imposition of this naked military rule.

First in the form of a defensive pact and calling for mass civil disobedience and subversion – a regular Intifada a ‘shaking off’ of this internal occupation. Next, if the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters can abandon their goal of Shariah law and any other sectarian restrictive practices and with the secularists draw up an economic and social programme, then a degree of unity could eventually be achieved. It would need to be a programme which would address the needs of the overwhelming majority of the population; Muslim, Christian, secular and others such as the rank and file soldiers. This would transform the uprisings and protests from mass opposition against what is not wanted toward mass organisation for what people actually need and want.

The revolutionary implications.

Given the general economic crisis and the sovereign dept crisis of the Egyptian state, the pay and job security of the rank and file soldier, will sooner rather than later, be downgraded and for many their services terminated. The disintegrating economic condition of Egypt will now accelerate further after this and subsequent events. Even without such a deterioration, there is a task to be undertaken which is to immediately conduct a campaign aimed at the rank and file soldier. They should be made to face the shame and horror of what they have done or has been done in their name. A split between the rank and file soldiers and the military elite should be sought in as many ways as possible. The situation in Egypt is now about much more than the existence of the Muslim Brotherhood in power it is about the military verses civil society. It is now a descent into civil war or moving forward to revolution.

The size and determination of those on the Egyptian street can be such that nothing, not even the army can prevail against it – if it is successfully unified and mobilised now or later. A new consciousness and determination to struggle for basic human rights has been born throughout the region. The fear of the beatings, torture and killings has finally surmounted as the pressure of the need for jobs, food and justice built up to bursting point. Now outrage and anger at the recent fascist style shock-troop intervention will hopefully fuel some much needed non-sectarian solidarity. Undoubtedly the greater War crimes have been committed by Egypt’s military forces. Those who ordered this action and those who carried it out must be held accountable for these atrocities, by all who have the power to do so both in Egypt and internationally.

Roy Ratcliffe (August 2003.)

[See also ‘Egypt: Workers and Soldiers’.]

This entry was posted in Arab Spring, Critique, Politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Maju says:

    … “the majority of pro-Morsi and anti-military forces camped out in the various sit-ins were not Islamic extremists, but peaceful defenders of bourgeois democracy”…

    Are you joking? It’s like saying that the Tea Party are just a bunch of harmless civilians. They are dangerous fascist sectarians with totalitarian intentions. Even if for the rank and file it’s often just a matter of faith and fanaticism without further thoughts, they do kill people without any remorse. Examples are found in the violent massacres they have caused in churches and other places more or less hostile to their totalitarian ideology.

    They are defenders of the Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie (not “democracy”), just like the Republicans or the Nazis. But that does not make them harmless but very dangerous in fact. An example of what the Islamist can do we all witnessed recently in Turkey. The Morsi regime was not at all more tolerant, rather the opposite, but it was weaker for several reasons.

    Said that, one wonders what is really being cooked in the backstage. Which are the actual reasons why Morsi and the Brotherhood is so dramatically being attacked, when they have been such good servants of The Empire and Capitalism and when the very transit through the Suez Canal is at risk here if the country descends into civil war.

    The USA is clearly not punishing the Egyptian military but keeping the enormous “aid” (bribe) to them. The Western governments may have got harsh words but they never really questioned what the Egyptian military is doing. They probably hope that by pitting social sectors against each other, their dogs will be able to better control the neocolony.

    Otherwise no reason, other than the mass protests and democratic frustration of the Egyptian people with a failed way too one-sided regime transition, seem to justify these manipulations. Morsi was a faithful servant of Washington, Riyadh and Tel Aviv after all and Islamists have been used once and again as fascist shocktroopers of The Empire in the area (Lybia, Mali, Syria, etc.)

    Maybe they just believed they had the actual power and had to be demonstrated that they do not.

    • None of us know really what ‘they’ are! Even if we were there in Egypt we could not fully grasp the whole extent of the character of each and every demonstrator. However, I for one cannot imagine that all those protesting the coup were Islamists and or terrorists. If you think all Muslims and even that all Muslim Brotherhood Muslims and non-Muslim protestors are Islamist fanatics or dangerous you have a much more jaundiced view of humanity than I do.

      This aside, the real question for me is what position do you adopt when protesting working men women and children – who you don’t agree with – are shot indiscriminately by a military states armed men? I have no sympathy for any religion nor for any sectarian religious or political, but again I don’t have a view that all ‘believers’ or all who don’t agreee with me are dangerous enemies even though I may think they are naive. And I do think they have the right to protest without being targeted by snipers and other state armed men.
      Regards, Roy

      • Maju says:

        … “one cannot imagine that all those protesting the coup were Islamists and or terrorists”.

        They are all Islamists, be certain about that, what in that part of the World is like saying Political Christian in yours. That has (in most cases) nothing to do with being a “terrorist” (what a loaded word!), exactly the same that being a Republican or a Christian-Zionist does not automatically make you a “terrorist” either. But what happens in both cases is the same: the Religious Right is dangerous because of its intolerance and totalitarianism: for those fanatics everything is in the Bible, the Quran or the babbling of Pope Francis and they are threfore hostile with those who have different ideas, like followers of a different sect or Atheists. They have extremely reactionary ideas on women, education, science (which they distrust as if it’d be the Devil itself), procreation, sex and freedom in general. For them “freedom” can only exist to worship their own version of “God” in the exact way that their ideologues command. In the Western World (some of) those fanatics have massacred millions since the times of the late Roman Empire (when all religions other than Christianism and Judaism were brutally persecuted, also in Egypt), when they had more or less ended with “pagans” they turned to each other’s throats, they exterminated the Bogomils, the Hussites, the Huguenots, etc. And if they could not exterminate Muslims, it was because for a long time these were the top dog in the military and imperial might. But Muslims did exactly the same, even if they often tolerated Christians, other sects like Zoroastrians or Arab Pagans were exterminated or forced to convert.

        In other words: religious fanatics are, in bulk, dangerous bullies, and I prefer a zillion times the Cultural Revolution of the Albanian Communist Youth to any of them. After all “God” is just a stupid idea and we are better without it that under the boot of those who claim to “follow Him”.

        But whatever the case what worries me is that somehow the military regime (neo-Mubarakist) and the Islamist party (protected under Mubarak and under Saudi indirect control) have almost achieved their goal: to suppress the Egyptian Revolution and bring the conflict to a Army vs. Islamists false dichotomy. That way they guarantee (??) that no matter what happens the changes in Egypt can’t ever be that deep. Now, if the Military Regime is opposed by the People, then they will say: “OK, but the Islamists are worse than we are, is that what you want?” In the worse case, they can even let them back to power, as they did in Turkey. It is exactly as is happening in Syria, where the growing presence of Western-financed Islamist militias (extremely ferocious) made El Assad almost a “hero” and the lesser evil, dismantling the otherwise legitimate popular demands.

        In all this manichean manipulation, it is the Egyptian People who is losing. There are a few people and groups who have distanced themselves from both sides already, like the Revolutionary Socialists (declaration), who are becoming quickly more mature. Even El Baradei seems to be positioning himself as “the good guy” for whatever comes next. But in general the maneuver is succeeding in dividing the Egyptian People in an impossible and unreal dichotomy between bad and worse, just as it happened in Syria or, decades ago, in Algeria.

        It may well be a Thermidor, at least that’s what they want. Although IMO the Arab Revolution still has a long run to go, because it has only scratched the surface and the needs of the People are immense and extremely urgent.

      • Whilst I share many of the points you raise about religious fundamentalism as contained in many of my articles, we will have to agree to disagree on the protesters all being Islamist. I don’t know where you get your facts from, but I have no such convincing source. My own experience of Muslims from Egypt and Palestine along with my considering various media reports suggests that my assassment that they are not all Islamists is the one I will continue to uphold until convinced otherwise. Also I continue to argue and protest that it is inhumane to deal with people you disagree with in such deadly and brutal fashion. Roy

        PS. another view at

      • Maju says:

        Please notice that right after commenting here, I made equally negative comments in another blog where the Military was being justified and the Islamists demonized. In my own blog I have only reflected “third way” views, critical against both, because I feel that not only they are the most correct ones but also that the real danger in Egypt now and the point to where both the Army and the Brotherhood want to push the country to is to a manichean dichotomy in which the Revolution has no room to breathe anymore. In the end: it’d be like going back to the time of Mubarak, when the Military controlled the country and the Brotherhood were ambiguously repressed and tolerated as the convenient sockpuppet “foe” they (and nearly all Islamists in other contexts, think Bin Laden, etc.) are.

        Whatever the case what I’m watching in the news is not only the military massacring the Islamists but the Islamists launching armed attacks against police stations, schools and even from the besieged mosques and sit-ins in which they are themselves victimized. Of course these are surely just some of those taking part but the Army draws its slice of legitimacy from such attacks.

        When I say that all the people in the sit-ins and protests are Islamists, it is because Morsi does not have any other supporters anymore. In fact, as one of the Egyptian “third way” voices interviewed by The Real News (this one, I think) explained, one of the problems with Morsi is that he got 13 million votes (out of some 45 million adult Egyptians) in closely fought elections, within a coalition known as “Revolutionary Forces”, and that soon he had betrayed most of them, remaining with just the support of some five million hardcore “brothers”. Let’s be realistic: that’s why he lost power first of all in spite of closely collaborating with the USA, Israel and everything that is evil and powerful. The Brotherhood only attempted to grab power without dialogue nor consensus and was demonstrated unable to manage the deep economic crisis of the country.

        When maybe 20 million people were protesting in the streets he was out. Have you ever seen anything like that? I haven’t. The largest figures ever mentioned over here in demos are like 1 or 2 million people and those are the real huge ones, like Catalans for Independence last year. The only option was for yet another lenghty standoff, as it happened with Mubarak in 2011, or for a coup. However the Army soon betrayed the demands of the protesters and is using the Brotherhood’s stubbornness to legitimize a new dictatorship: a return to Mubarakism without Mubarak.

        “My own experience of Muslims from Egypt and Palestine along with my considering various media reports suggests that my assassment that they are not all Islamists”.

        Of course! 90% of Egyptians are probably Muslim, only a minority are Islamists. That’s precisely the essence of the problem: that the Brotherhood does not have popular support but among a minority (and not all Islamists are with them, many are with the Salafists instead, who were also opposed to Morsi). Morsi and the Brotherhood could only “win” the elections because of the lack of consolidation of any other political parties and because they presented themselves as “revolutionaries”, even though they were very reluctant to support Tahrir, after all Mubarak more or less tolerated them, something he did with no other party.

        “Also I continue to argue and protest that it is inhumane to deal with people you disagree with in such deadly and brutal fashion”.

        I must agree with you, with due caution. The same that I have seen peaceful Islamist protesters being shot down before the cameras, I have also seen armed Islamist protesters shooting from a minaret or behind a barricade.

        Whether the attacks against Christians and police stations are launched by another organization, as the RT report mentions without any certainty, is, I guess possible and, if confirmed, a key piece for the analysis.

        What I don’t agree is with presenting the issue one-sided, in either direction. It’s a very complex and nuanced matter and there is a major risk of oversimplifying the Egyptian reality in two camps, both quite similar in their reactionary ideology and totalitarian intent, and neither representing the vast majority of the citizenry. This is probably to where Sissi wants to arrive to: “I or the Islamist-Terrorist chaos”, much as Mubarak did for as long as he could. But it is clearly not where the Egyptian People in general wants to go.

      • Then perhaps we are not that far apart as your first comment appeared to make us. Since the first casualty of such ‘wars’ is the truth we will need to keep our eyes and ears open. A more acurate picture may never come out but it may get clearer. Meanwhile so far in my opinion the militarised state is far more powerful than any one political or religious sector. Regards, Roy

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