We are in act one scene one of Egypt's tragedy

So, over ninety-eight per cent of the Egyptians said 'yes' to the new constitution pushed down on them by the military. They in overwhelming majority chose to side with the army hoping that the men in uniform end the current instability and bloodletting their country is in the grip of since Mohamed Mursi was ousted in a military coup. They, in fact, voted to resurrect one of the worst dictators, nay fascists, of modern time — Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator who, during his seventeen-year rule, ruined the nation.

In ways more than one, Egypt today looks exactly like Chile of 1970s. And Stephen Lendman is spot on in his conclusion. Egypt's latest pharaoh General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the new Pinochet. Exactly like the Chilean dictator General Sisi has established in Egypt a reign of terror reinforced through indiscriminate arrests, torture, murder and disappearances. A "Caravan of Death," which was originally Pinochet's, now dances through the country.

"Opposition government officials, academics, union heads, independent journalists, student leaders, activists, and other suspected regime opponents (are) targeted" in Egypt today. In there, it is not just that a dictatorial regime has been brought back. In fact, General Sisi has established a fascist rule which with the approval of the new constitution will get further reinforced.

And worst is the fact that General Sisi has all the support and backing of the United States. He is Washington's man in Cairo. And in backing General Sisi Washington has already committed itself in repeating the blunders made by President Richard Nixon who "vowed to make Chile's economy scream."

Together with his national security advisor Henry Kissinger, Nixon connived and orchestrated Salvador Allende's ouster because the United States then did not want "to stand idly by and let a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people."

We know this ugly chapter of American history too well. But, it is not the focus of our discourse today.

Of much greater relevance is the fact that President Barack Obama is repeating what still shames Americans. He is out to create yet another Chile in Egypt. And in doing so Obama, in repudiation of all that he professed in his historic Cairo speech in 2009, has made the United States a party to the felony like his predecessor Nixon.

Because of Nixon, Chile still remains one among the poorest countries in the world, a fiefdom of mafias where economy is still controlled by cronyism and inequality is appalling.

In Egypt, because of President Obama, the army generals are out today in all their fury to solidify the junta rule. Fascism is fast striking roots where even a murmur of dissent is negotiated either with indefinite incarceration or death.

Even the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Mursi, "is charged with murder, treason, espionage, and sponsoring terrorism. He's accused of collaborating with Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and anti-regime groups. Bogus charges claim he did so to destabilise Egypt."

Egypt is in a state of shock and fear. A little over fifty two per cent Egyptians had voted in favour of Mursi just about a year and half ago, rejoiced establishment of a civilian rule over the army. They are the same people today who have switched sides and are with the army not because they see the men in uniform as their redeemer but because they are scared, they are tired of the instability and they are in no mood to rush back to Tahrir Square.

Egyptians have resigned and accepted another run of junta controlled fascist regime. So, the results of the referendum are of least relevance to them. Perhaps they already knew the results and were not waiting for them. Millions have votes 'yes' because they now want to stay on side of the bread which is buttered.

Khaled Fahmy, Chairman of the history department at the American University in Cairo, says: "I am willing to take to the streets once more against this new military dictatorship that is poised to impose itself with a civilian veneer."

But he is a minority. In Egypt, the revolution which brought Hosni Mubarak down is not expected to repeat anytime soon. There are few today who are willing to accompany Khaled Fahmy even as the military is imposing itself with a civilian veneer.

The army and General Sisi will find enough legitimacy in the referendum results for their fascist rule. General Sisi will leverage this overwhelming support also to legitimise the US-backed coup in which he murdered the nation's quest for democracy.

But Sisi will be wrong to interpret this support for the new constitution as lack of support or death knell of Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptians are well aware of the looming perils; they know that their support for the new constitution and the army will only invite more draconian regulations, establishment of police state and legitimise fascism.

They know that murderers of over 1,500 Brotherhood supporters will get away scot-free; many of those now behind the bars will simply disappear from the face of earth; media will be gagged and democratic institution will suffer asphyxiation.

And these precisely shall keep the anger simmering in the backyard; keep Muslim Brotherhood alive. And one day, the trade-off will wear out; Tahrir Square will again wake up and roar in fury. History will then repeat and the Pinochet of Egypt will then be where Mursi is seen today. The play has just begun and we are in its act one scene one.

The author is the Opinion Editor of Times of Oman


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"Chile still remains one among the poorest countries in the world, a fiefdom of mafias where economy is still controlled by cronyism and inequality is appalling."

Factually incorrect. As of 2014, Chile has the highest GDP per capita, when adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity, in Latin America.