Protests Against Trump’s Favorite Dictator
At the late August G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump asked “(w)here’s my favorite dictator?” — referring to Egypt’s US War College-trained and groomed for power general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
A brutal despot by any standard, Washington’s man in Cairo, I earlier called him Egypt’s Pinochet, governing by brute force ruthlessness.
Throughout his reign of terror since usurping power in 2013, he’s ruled by ruthless state terror — supported and encouraged by Washington.
Earlier he vowed to eradicate everyone challenging his power from “the face of the earth.” Critics faces arrest, kangaroo court trials, imprisonment, torture, and/or death.
Opposition government officials, academics, union heads, independent journalists, student leaders, activists, Muslim Brotherhood members, and other suspected regime opponents have been targeted for elimination.
Fundamental human and civil rights aren’t tolerated. Sisi wants to be dictator for life, Egypt’s parliament and kangaroo courts stacked with rubber-stamp supporters.
Since usurping power, over 2,500 Egyptians were summarily sentenced to death on his watch for the “crime” of criticizing his regime — mostly by rubber-stamp military tribunals, children brutalized like adults.
Last May, the UK-based Reprieve human rights group said from July 2, 2013 when former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted to September 23, 2018, 2,443 people “received preliminary death sentences” — for political reasons, lots more since then.
Almost 80% of “these sentences were handed down in mass trials” — with no pretense of habeas rights, due process, and judicial fairness.
Reprieve: “Defendants in mass trials are routinely sentenced to death on trumped-up terrorism charges related to the exercise of fundamental rights such as freedom of assembly.”
“In some cases, defendants receive death sentences for alleged lethal offenses they did not commit.”
“In others, people are sentenced to death on nebulous, non-lethal charges related to ‘membership’ in alleged terrorist organizations.”
Reprieve’s Maya Foa said indisputable evidence shows…Sisi’s regime is “committing human rights violations on an unprecedented scale,” compared to earlier Egyptian despots in the modern era.
Last week, protests erupted in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, and other Egyptian cities, the largest outbreaks since he usurped power.
A video posted on Twitter showed demonstrators shouting: “The people want to topple the (Sisi) regime.
On Friday, a Middle East Eye correspondent in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, remaining anonymous for his or her safety, reported the following:
“No deaths, but I saw about 20-25 people arrested and held in police trucks. Some were released later. Currently downtown is full of riot police and plain-clothes policemen.”
MEE added: “Tear gas was used to disperse demonstrators near Tahrir, and dozens have been arrested.”
“Videos posted on social media showed security forces chasing down protesters in Cairo in riot vans, and there were reports of security forces using violent tactics against protesters elsewhere in the country.
Reporting from Spain, self-exiled Egyptian whistleblower Mohamed Ali posted videos online, accusing the Sisi regime and other ruling class figures of massive corruption.
While in Egypt, he witnessed it firsthand as owner of a property company who wasn’t paid for services provided.
Calling for Sisi’s removal, he demanded punishment for the tyrant. Demonstrations of any size in a nation where they’re banned perhaps show public outrage can no longer be contained.
Desperate times produce desperate actions, no matter the risk to personal safety.
Ali is a popular hero, his videos attracting national attention. Few are courageous enough to discuss them publicly.
Over the weekend, protests continued, hundreds of anti-regime critics turning out, perhaps thousands to follow if security forces don’t contain things.
Life in police state Egypt is intolerable, most households impoverished, about one-third of Egyptians struggling on less than $1.40 a day, according to official figures released in July — likely way understated.
Sisi is in New York to address the 74th UN General Assembly session, critics intending to protest his visit.
Addressing the session himself on Wednesday, Trump will have another chance to see his favorite “dictator.”
Egypt is a fascist dictatorship, Sisi ruling by intimidation, state terror, and other forms of brute force.
In March 2018 “elections,” he re-anointed himself by 97.08% of the “vote” v. 2.92% for his token opponent.
Army colonel Ahmed Konsowa’s announced candidacy posed a serious challenge – eliminated from competing by arrest and imprisonment on phony charges.
A kangaroo military court sentenced him to six years in prison for “stating political opinions contrary to the” official narrative – for daring to challenge Sisi’s iron grip on power.
Sisi supporter Moussa Mostafa Mousa was enlisted to masquerade as an opponent, a failed attempt to give the farcical process a veneer of legitimacy.
Turnout was low, most Egyptians boycotting the sham process. Sisi can hold power by whatever margin of victory he arranges.
Legitimacy isn’t on the ballot when Egyptian elections are held.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”