Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:34AM
A former US Senate advisor says the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) tries to reinstate Egypt’s ousted regime figures in post-Mubarak politics. Press TV has conducted an interview with former advisor to US Senate, James Jatras to further discuss the issue. The video also offers the opinions of two additional guests: journalist, writer and broadcaster Chris Bambery and also international lawyer Marwan al-Ashaal. What follows is a rough transcript of the interview. Press TV: One analyst was saying that the race should never have been that close in the first place between Shafiq and Morsi. Meaning a lot of people might be wondering how this popular revolution that involved millions of Egyptians and was against the corrupt regime could have resulted in the same regime on the brink of reclaiming power after little more than a year. So why do you think basically this happened? Was this the fact that someone like Shafiq was pitted against Mohamed Morsi becoming so polarized? Was this part of a plan as some have been suggesting? Jatras: I do not know if it is part of a plan, I am sure Egypt is still a deeply divided society, it probably is not as close as the vote would have indicated. I am sure there are many people who did not like the Mubarak government and are not necessarily wild about the idea of a Muslim Brotherhood candidate becoming president either. I think the important point here is that the military clearly wants to try to hold on to power to maintain the structure of the Mubarak government without Mubarak, I think the peculiar thing from my observation here in Washington is the American position on this; you saw the strong statements against the dissolving of the Egyptian parliament from the State Department. It seems that a decision has been made here in Washington that despite our close support and reliance on the Mubarak government for many years that we believe the march of progress and the march of democracy and so forth means, in effect, the Muslim Brotherhood taking power in Egypt. In one way or the other, I think that is the outcome the United States would favor, I am sure the Generals are quite puzzled at the stand. Press TV: Mr. Jatras, speaking about the role that countries like the United States are having in the situation in Egypt, you said earlier that right now maybe the Military Council is being puzzled because of the fact that the US has been speaking against the dissolution of parliament there. Basically do you think that the United States had a role at all in the process that has been taking place? There are a lot of accusations especially when it comes to Israel’s interests, speaking about a new president. Jatras: I think American policy could best be categorized as confused and this would not be the first time. Everybody knows that we relied very strongly on Mubarak and on military backing him to maintain a peace agreement between the Israel and Egypt. People were puzzled why did we pull the rug out from under our guy so to speak. Now one would think that the United States would stand foursquare behind our guys of the military to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from coming to power. It seems that there is a kind of a peculiar ideological calculation that has been made here in Washington that people in a sense are breathing their own fumes that they have accepted the rhetoric of democracy and the Arab Spring and so forth. They would like to see democracy take root in Egypt and if that means the Muslim Brotherhood, that means the Muslim Brotherhood; the military will be pressured one way or the other to step aside, hand over power, at least as far as the Americans can influence them and we hope on a wing and a prayer that the resulting government will still be friendly to our strategic interests and friendly to Israel. What the likelihood of that outcome is, is another guess but that seems to be what people here are thinking. Press TV: Looking at the situation now, a lot of people have been saying that the solution now for Egypt, as Mr. Ashaal [the other guest of the show] himself was telling us earlier, the only way out is for a Morsi win and that requires if Morsi becomes president considering his restricted powers that there is going to be a showdown and it going to evolve in the next weeks and months. Do you think that the other Islamic parties, the pro-revolutionary youth movements or even influential figures inside of Egypt will unite with the Muslim Brotherhood at this circumstance to help this revolutionary movement to move forward? Do you that is, actually, the only option now? Jatras: I do not know if it is the only option, I think letting Mr. Morsi win, which is probably the legitimate outcome; would be a better move strategically for the military than facing a showdown by trying to put their man in a way that would not appear plausible to most people. I think in that case then you do have a tug-of-war that will go on for sometime between the efforts of the military to try to hem Mr. Morsi in with limits on his power and his attempting to push against those limits and to expand his power. How that works out? I do not know if we can predict at this time, as I say the Americans think that “we can support democracy” in Egypt and we will prefer Mr. Morsi to win and still control the outcome. There was reference made to the economic circumstances in Egypt, remember the Americans have boundless faith in the ability to control a country’s policies by the control of assistance to that country. So I think they think that Mr. Morsi would be reliant on us anyway and we can keep him within certain limits. I would also like to add a word about Saudi Arabia. It is true that Saudis are against the Arab Spring certainly when hits close to home like in Bahrain, where you have a Shiite majority in that country that needs to be kept under wraps so as not to endanger the Persian Gulf states close to home and Saudi Arabia; but Saudi Arabia has been a primary push with the Americans and Turkey in trying to dislodge Mr. al-Assad in Syria also in the name of the Arab Spring. I think their position on the Arab Spring is flexible depending on circumstances. MY/GHN