US to control Egypt through SCAF
Press TV has interviewed Hisham Tillawi, journalist and political commentator from Lafayette, Louisiana about the movements of US and Western influence through SCAF that has transformed a popular Egyptian uprising to a contentious civil election while the US keeps control of Egypt’s foreign policy. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Why don’t you tell us what you think about this. This situation where the votes were supposed to be announced on Monday (6 days past), what is going on with all the different announcements by SCAF in terms of consolidating their grip on power with that Declaration stripping powers from the presidency along with the dissolution of parliament – dissolving the parliament, obviously it shows on the surface that they don’t want to give up that power do they?
Tillawi: You reap what you sow and so whomever planted this revolution will reap the fruit. Now, if this revolution was planted by the people and designed by the people then the people will reap the fruit, but if it was designed by the West then the West is going to reap the fruit.
From the beginning in the first interview that I had with you on this Arab Spring thing, I made a statement that what is required now is total chaos in the Middle East in the Arab countries. It does not want to give stability and democracy etc, etc and this is not a friend that we are witnessing, it is a foe.
Now, having said that this is not how democracy works. Let’s assume that actually Ahmed Shafiq had won – let’s just assume that… and if Ahmed Shafiq won I guarantee you that the country will go down into a dark alley of chaos, total chaos, violent chaos.
And if Ahmed Shafiq won and the Military Council is afraid that they are going to have chaos in the country now that Ahmed Shafiq won and actually decides to keep stability and gives it to Mohamed Morsi, then that’s not democracy.
And it’s not democracy to send your people into the Square to demand that Morsi becomes the next president. That’s not how democracy works.
I remember the first time George Bush stole the election in the US, even though he did not win the election and it was clear that he did not win the election, but he was appointed by the Supreme Court in a vote of 5 to 4 and everybody in the country accepted that Supreme Court vote of 5 to 4. We did not see people in the street demanding this and going into breakdown… that is what we’re going to see in Egypt if Morsi is not the next president of Egypt.
And if Ahmed Shafiq is the president then we know that the West won because we know that the West won when they installed the Military Supreme Council. This is a group of people the US have put in power and they give them so much authority that they can even dissolve a parliament.
So now it is in the hands of the Western powers. Everything that is going on in Egypt is in the hands of the Western powers and whoever gives the Western powers a deal will be the next government and the next power in Egypt.
Press TV: When we look at what has happened in the past year or so, since the revolution took place there was plenty of time for SCAF especially after the parliamentary elections to try to get a deal together with the Muslim Brotherhood given that they had the majority.
Of course we heard then when there were some new appointments to the Upper and Lower House of parliament that there was an even divide in terms of representation. Was that all? Did that not yield any results for them to come out with these statements and motions recently such as dissolving the parliament and the Declaration stripping the president of its powers?
Tillawi: We have to look at Egypt not just as in Egypt only, but the forces that are assisting what is going on in Egypt from the outside. Now, there was a deal made between the Supreme Council and the US and this deal was… the US pressured the Supreme Council that actually the form of government that they would like to see in Egypt is not the democracy that is in the US, but they wanted something similar to the Pakistani model.
They wanted a strong Military Council that can sit in anytime and decide actually when to go to war, when to do this and when to do that; and they wanted a president who’s going to handle basically domestic issues and run the government.
That’s the deal that was made with the US so the Military Council… now let’s not forget that the US still pays 3 billion dollars to Egypt; still pays a billion and a half to the military – so it’s a money issue here.
They are putting pressure on the Military Council and the Military Council cannot really change the formula that they have agreed on with the Americans. The formula is for a strong military council to rule, that could be in the background, while you have a president and a government.
That’s the model that the US wants to see in Egypt. Now, is this going to work in Egypt? Well, you have powers from the outside wanting this; you have powers on the inside wanting true democracy.
Now we are going to wait and see who is going to win. Is it going to be the Western powers with the Military Council’s model; or is it going to be the people where the president would have the total power where all power has been transferred and transformed from the Military Council to civilian power.
That, the US would actually have to decide that and I know why the US is going to go with it, they want to keep the Military Council power.
Press TV: Well, who are they going to go with – what do you mean – do you have an answer to that?
Tillawi: If you’re talking about Shafiq or Morsi… well, it doesn’t really matter. As long as the Military Council is in power they have total power. They can change… they can come up with laws; they can change the formula anytime they want, so it doesn’t really matter. But it matters to the Egyptian street about who the president is.
To America, the US, it doesn’t matter because you have the Military Council in power, but to the Egyptian street, if Shafiq is the president then you’re going to see total chaos and violence and maybe civil war in Egypt; if it’s Morsi then that’s OK as long as – and that’s OK with the US, they don’t care – as long as the Military Council is in power because the Military Council is the one that is going to decide the foreign policy for Israel for the West…
So for the US it doesn’t really matter if it is Morsi or Shafiq, but to the Egyptian street it does matter and to the future of Egypt it does matter… if it’s Shafiq, we’re going to have total chaos in Egypt.
Press TV: But there are a couple of problems there don’t you think, if we want to look at the loopholes here: a) you have all these Egyptians who are against the Military Council having a grip on power and of course that’s something you’re saying it doesn’t matter who the faces are, it’s based on America’s influence – but that’s not something the Egyptians are going to go for.
And second of all – who’s to say the Muslim Brotherhood is going to settle for a position that does not give them any type of authority really. In essence they have to bow to the SCAF for in general exercising any type of power in whatever jurisdiction or whatever area that has to do with Egypt and I would think that is to include foreign policy.
Tillawi: Well, let’s not forget that the Muslim Brotherhood did make some deals with the US, too. I mean, we know about those deals even when Mubarak was still in power – there were deals made with the Muslim Brotherhood before the revolution.
So the Muslim Brotherhood and the US, they’re not enemies, they can make deals and in the end, like we have seen in Yemen, like we have seen in many other places, the US will be the major player and they will play all these forces according to their best interests.
Now, … the people have power, but the people also are receiving 3 billion dollars that they cannot do without from the US. So let’s not just concentrate on what the people power and what the people want because if the people got what they want then we would not see all these regimes in the Arab world that we’ve seen for the last forty years.
What the people want and what they can do, it all depends on the Western powers if they are going to be on the street to stir the street up, then you’re going to see the people actually moving up.
Let’s just not say, well, the Egyptian don’t want this. Well, it’s not up to the Egyptians. Like I said, my first statement was – he who starts will reap what he sews so whoever planted this will reap the fruits of this – let’s not forget that. If it was the US or the West actually that stirred this all up in the Middle East then they’re going to reap that.
People don’t like to hear that, people like to hear revolutions and Arab Springs; well unfortunately it’s not what it looks like.
Press TV: You spoke at length the direction that the foreign policy is going to be heading, which behind the scenes obviously the US is the contributor to that 1.3 billion dollars in aid – Tell us then what the US has in mind? From what I understood from you, they don’t particularly care about what is going on inside Egypt as long as they’re in control of the institution that is running Egypt and that would be SCAF.
So are we looking at for example, the peace treaty still being in place; are we still looking at the situation with Gaza for example and Palestinians to still be the same as it was when Mubarak was in power?
Tillawi: To firstly answer the question you asked your correspondent – yes it is true that it’s split in the middle – half the voters voted for Shafiq and half voted for Morsi. That is true so the Egyptian street is split right in the middle on those two presidential candidates.
Press TV: Do you really believe that after seeing what goes on every week in Tahrir Square or is Tahrir Square not the representation?
Tillawi: Well, Tahrir Square is the representation for one party for one side… you have many millions of Egyptians out there and yes from the numbers that we have seen i.e. the numbers that came out of all these polling stations it is almost split in half between both of them.
Press TV: Yes but you have 50 percent of the population that lives below two dollars a day; you have people who have not seen Ahmed Shafiq campaigning in their neighborhoods aside from the Muslim Brotherhood to have gone there. There are those that the Muslim Brotherhood took care of for all these years, not Ahmed Shafiq who is a former remnant. I mean, is that not the way it is?
Tillawi: Sure definitely. You have to keep in mind that not everyone that can vote went and voted. And many of these people you’re talking about living on less than 2 dollars a day, many of them probably did not go to vote unless they are connected with the Muslim Brotherhood or any other organization.
But you have to understand that what is going on in Egypt… you asked me about the US and the peace treaty, the Muslim Brotherhood already said they will keep the peace treaty. They cannot afford not to keep the peace treaty with Israel…
Press TV: Why can’t they afford that? Why is that?
Tillawi: Because they’re getting 4 billion dollars into their economy from the West. Had the Egyptians replaced their foreign aid with money from their country then they can tell the US to go to hell. But as long as there are controls over money, there are controls of many things from the West, you know, he who feeds you gets to control you.
What are the Egyptians going to do? If they tell the US look we’re not going to do anything with you… what’s going to happen?
Press TV: That’s not what I’m saying… Egypt itself has resources, they have gas, they have a textile industry, they have tourism, and they have enough resources to run their country. Why do they have to get that aid in terms of their army? That should be coming out from within their country if they hadn’t controlled the wealth through Mubarak and the upper class. That’s the part that I don’t understand?
Tillawi: I don’t think you can look at it that way because the control from Mubarak through Sadat… these are successional ideas. You’ve got to look at the real thing that is going on.
You have unemployment in Egypt is extremely high, the economy in Egypt is in a disastrous situation. Now, if you can come up with a revolution that was not started by the West; if this revolution was started by the people on the street, by the people who make less than 2 dollars a day, then I can tell you yes they can tell the US to go to hell…
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