The military leaders in Egypt, as in Syria and other parts of the Middle East, are becoming the major obstacle to democracy, harmony and prosperity. The military and the remnants of the Mubarak regime, including the judiciary as well as those who failed to get the popular mandates through the ballot boxes, have been determined to abort the democratic experiment in Egypt.

After failing to do so through sabotage and other undemocratic means, the armed forces staged a coup in Egypt and began a campaign to crack down on any one who would oppose them.

The prime minister of Egypt was sentenced and imprisoned on preposterous charges, and only one day after the coup. The legitimate president of Egypt was detained, and now is charged with insulting the judicial authorities.

In reality, all those who were observing the developments in Egypt since the president began his term a year ago were aware of his assurances regarding the separation of powers and respect to the judiciary despite the attempts of the judiciary to undermine his efforts.

The fact is that many in the judiciary sided with counterrevolutionary forces and put many obstacles to prevent the democratically elected president from performing his functions.

Despite the pronouncements of the military authorities after the coup that the right of the people of Egypt to demonstrate peacefully would be guaranteed, many news agencies reported that the Egyptian army opened fire on peaceful demonstrations, which resulted in the death of three demonstrators and the injury of a great number of people. The most dangerous, however, was the recent massacre of 51 supporters of the president after the dawn prayers.


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The Obama administration has so far refused to call the military takeover in Egypt a coup and indicated that the matter was under review. That is wrong because the military would continue to intervene in politics by using force in Egypt whenever the military leadership would not be satisfied with the democratically elected government.

Such a situation represents a threat to the efforts of the United Nations and the international community, particularly the United States, to enhance international peace and security through the promotion of democracy all over the world.

Although there are many pressing issues in that region, particularly the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the serious developments in Egypt represent challenges to the United nations and the Obama administration.

Unless the deteriorating situation is checked and democracy is restored with no intervention from the military, these developments would further reduce the influence of the United States and the United Nations, particularly after the African Union has taken a bold step by suspending Egypt's membership because of the coup.

The coup in Egypt was a blow to democracy, and would return that country to six decades of military rule and failing policies. The Egyptian military authorities, which have a close working relationship with the United States and depend on its aid, could not have staged the coup without a nod from Washington despite the statements of concern by the administration.

The coup and removal of the democratically elected president of Egypt indicated that the Egyptian military was aware the Obama administration was unwilling or incapable of doing anything about it. It is hoped that the Obama administration will request the U.N. Security Council and the Council on Human Rights to intervene to protect those who would oppose the new military regime peacefully, to stop the hasty justice (such as the decision to imprison the prime minister), to ensure political freedoms to the Islamist and secular forces as well every Egyptian, and to ensure that the next elections for the Egyptian parliament will be held under the supervision of the United Nations.

Amer Araim is an adjunct professor of political science at Diablo Valley College. He is a former Iraqi diplomat and is a resident of Walnut Creek.