Mohamed…shows no Mursi

The Slog reported recently about the Islamist murders on the Egypt/Israel border where 16 Egyptian troops were killed by militants. At the time, I wrote, “I understand the general view in Tel Aviv is that the Army v Brotherhood thing in Egypt is still far from being a done deal, and that these clashes show the Islamists broadcasting that fact, and the army top brass demonstrating what they can do when necessary.” The latter point referred to air strikes conducted by Egypt’s military against ‘suspected Islamic militants’ in the Sinai peninsula.

In this game of delicately balanced power, Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Mursi made a major move yesterday, firing Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, ruler of Egypt during the interregnum between Hosni Mubarak’s removal and Mursi’s election. Also summarily removed was the military chief of staff Sami Enan.

Sources close to Mursi said that Egypt could not go on “having two heads”. Well, just about every country in the world has both a military and politicial head, although the politician usually has the final say – in theory. But in most cases across the planet, the two branches get on. These two were never going to, because Mursi’s Islamic Brotherhood is an intolerant fascist political Party consisting of very slightly less mad Muslims, emboldened by their new best friend, useful idiot Hillary Clinton.

The clash between the new president and the military council was expected, but the speed of his mini-purge caught most observers by surprise. In particular, it caught Britain’s FCO on the hop, in much the same way everything arabist is missed by Willy Hague’s army of Little Helpers. However, having been consulted in advance about this remake of Night of the Long Knives further move towards a democratic civilian State, the least surprised person on the block was Barack Obama.

Tantawi has been replaced by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi….a spook. And naturally, as always happens under emerging totalitarian regimes, crowds gathered. Crowds always gather, mysteriously. Often, bayonets are involved. This particular crowd chanted, “President of the republic, your decree gets 100 percent support”. Given it had only just appeared on State media, I never cease to be amazed by the speed at which these snappy chants catch on.

It must be part of the Arab Spring bonus.