Posted on | July 3, 2013 | 72 Comments
Anyone who knows the Central Intelligence Agency’s history in orchestrating the overthrow of governments must be wondering whether the agency played a role in the collapse of the Morsi regime.
My hunch? Certainly they did, and we should be glad for it. Morsi’s government was a dangerous proto-fascist Islamic thugocracy.
Think about this: President Obama, John Kerry and other top administration officials have spent the past two years watching the “Arab Spring” turn into a bloody and disastrous failure. The Morsi government was unpopular and unstable, and it might have given way to a totalitarian Islamic dictatorship or the kind of chaotic “failed state” anarchy that could turn Egypt into a base for al-Qaeda.
Would that be good for Democrats in the 2014 elections? In 2016?
No, the endless mess in Syria is bad enough, and to have Egypt descend into a nightmare would have been added to Libya in the Republican indictment of Democrat foreign-policy failure.
So it is not difficult to imagine a series of meetings and phone calls in which top U.S. intelligence officials were told, in effect, see what we can do to influence events in Egypt in a “good” direction. Who can doubt that other intelligence agencies, probably the British and French, and of course the Israelis, were also working in the same direction?
Would CIA influence on events in Egypt involve anything illegal or particularly “spooky”? Probably not. It would most likely involve some basic communication and liaison work, to make sure that the generals taking over would be people we could work with, and to help them organize the takeover in an efficient manner.
The CIA used to do this kind of stuff all the time back during the Cold War, under both Democrat and Republican presidents, and the coup in Egypt appears to have been accomplished so quickly and with so little violence as to please any old-time Agency man.
If the secrets of CIA operations in Egypt the past few weeks were leaked to Glenn Greenwald, would he approve? No, of course not.
But f–k Glenn Greenwald. Way to go, CIA.
UPDATE: My conservative friends are skeptical of my theory that the New and Improved Nixon-Like Obama would be so cynical as to deploy the CIA to fix the Egyptian problem the way the Agency fixed the “Iran problem” in 1953 or the “Guatemala problem” in 1954. Ladd Ehlinger Jr. points out this very interesting article:
Army concern about the way President Mohamed Morsi was governing Egypt reached tipping point when the head of state attended a rally packed with hardline fellow Islamists calling for holy war in Syria, military sources have said.
At the June 15th rally, Sunni Muslim clerics used the word “infidels” to denounce both the Shias fighting to protect Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the non-Islamists that oppose Mr Morsi at home.
Mr Morsi himself called for foreign intervention in Syria against Mr Assad, leading to a veiled rebuke from the army, which issued an apparently bland but sharp-edged statement the next day stressing that its only role was guarding Egypt’s borders.
“The armed forces were very alarmed by the Syrian conference at a time the state was going through a major political crisis,” said one officer, whose comments reflected remarks made privately by other army staff.
This is interesting, as I say, but does not preclude the possibility of CIA influence in Egyptian affairs. Besides which, I’ve staked out the Google bomb on this, so that when any conspiracy theorist or paranoid Islamic radical searches for “Egypt + coup + CIA,” that traffic’s coming straight to me, baby. Pragmatic? You betcha.