During the past few months, dozens of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood(MB) members have been murdered and their offices sacked and burned. The police openly refuse to protect them. As General Sisi announced the army’s coup Wednesday, Morsi released a video on the president’s website denouncing the ouster. “I am the elected president of Egypt. The revolution is being stolen from us. ” Minutes later, the website was shut down, the video disappeared, and the president and 300 MB leaders are now under house arrest. Writes Mohamad Elmasry of the American University at Cairo, “Hosni Mubarak - era media owners, Mubarak regime loyalists, and key members of Egypt’s liberal and secular opposition have teamed up to create arguably one of the most effective propaganda campaigns in recent political history, to demonize Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. ” All this to the delight of Egypt’s liberals and secularists, as MB supporters quietly go on being peasants, workers and devout intellectuals, trying to do what is clearly the impossible - undo a century of imperialist and neocolonial brainwashing and planning intended to turn Egypt into a third - rate subsidiary of the empire. The house cleaning is now in full swing. The Brotherhood’s satellite television network was removed from the air along with two other popular Islamist channels, their hosts and many coworkers there and at Al - Jazeera considered too pro - Morsi put in jail. State television resumed denouncing the Brotherhood as it once did under Mubarak. The new ‘president’, Supreme Constitutional Court Chairman Adli Mansour, installed by the military, swore to protect the republic and constitution, though what republic and what constitution are not clear. Egypt was without a constitution from 2011 until the new constitution was passed in a referendum in December last year, but the military suspended this constitution. It is a cruel joke to call Egypt a republic when the legitimate president is pushed aside by the military. The Islamic awakening However, this hysteria is floating on deep waters, which are impossible to quell or drain. Even western analysts such as Geneive Abdo admitted in the waning years of Mubarak’s western - backed, secular dictatorship that “historical, social and economic conditions had laid the groundwork for society’s return to religion. ” This culminated in the 2011 uprisings, soft - pedaled by western media as the ‘Arab Spring’, but which is in fact overwhelmingly inspired by Islam, and harks directly to Iran’s 1979 revolution, Algeria’s 1990 revolution, and the Palestinian Intifadas(1987,2000), where liberals and secularists played no part. In 1979, on the cusp of the Iranian revolution, a young Egyptian MBer, Essam El - Erian(now Freedom and Justice Party vice - chairman and MP) said, “Young people believe Islam is the solution to the ills in society after the failure of western democracy, socialism and communism to address the political and socio - economic difficulties. ” Three decades later, the Muslim Brotherhood is riding a wave of youthful idealism and reaping the rewards of its 84 years of experience both in organization and as the persecuted shadow of Egypt’s march towards modernity, though it is faced by powerful enemies who reject the new ‘map’ being proposed for society. Hopes that Egypt would consolidate a new form of Islamic democracy have for the moment been crushed. So far, the only Islamic revolution to succeed is the Iranian one, still going strong, though suffering from western intrigue, including the war with Iraq, economic crisis, subversion and sanctions. Other Islamic revolutions - in Algeria and Afghanistan - were aborted under western pressure. Turkey’s transformation beginning in 2001 with the sweep by Islamists at the polls, but like Egypt ' s Islamist triumph, has been deeply compromised by the close integration of both countries with empire. The overthrow of Ben Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt in 2011 recap both Turkey and Iran’s history in the twentieth century - from secular pro - western dictatorship to an independent democracy inspired by Islam, though this means something very different in each case. But Egypt is also charting a new course - at least it was, until the July 2013 military coup - re - Islamization of society from below. Sparked by westernized urbanized youth, the 2011 uprising against Mubarak quickly mobilized the overwhelming majority of Egyptians, but the opposition soon broke into secularist and Islamist camps, where the army and police sided with the secularists. Iran’s military wasn’t so entrenched and Iranians had a brilliant thinker and doer - Ayatollah Khomeini - at the helm who had no intention of being a puppet of the western imperial order. Hence the very different trajectories of the revolutions. Replay of Algeria The military coup in Egypt is a replay - a very, very frightening one - of the 1991 coup in Algeria that brought to an end the first democratic elections in its history, and ushered in a vicious civil war, which left the country devastated and continues to haunt Algerians over two decades later. A million Algerians had died in the liberation struggle against the French after WWII - Algeria’s first civil war / revolution, the opposition dominated by the French - educated secularist socialists and nationalists. To prevent an Islamist revolution then, the beleaguered French authorities had closed down all reformist religious organizations, effectively handing the underground, secular(French educated) independence movement the reins of power. After the revolution, “the Algerian state appeared astonishingly similar to the Pahlavi state, strongly secular… omnipresent in social, cultural, economic spheres, conducting agrarian reform that antagonized Islamic groups, ” according to M Moaddel. Just as Iran’s shah tried to chart a secularist capitalist course, Egypt’s Nasser tried to chart a secularist socialist course, imitated by Algeria’s Ben Bella, though the results were in all three cases disappointing and required suppressing the opposition. The manipulation of Islamists by the empire went into high gear with the ‘jihad’ against the Soviet Union in 1979 in Afghanistan, where Algerians, Egyptians and Islamists from across the world were organized and financed by the now supposedly pro - Islamist US, unleashing a new terrorist dynamic with US - Saudi supported al - Qaeda at the helm. In the meantime, a window of democracy for genuine Islamists had opened in Algeria in the 1980s, when the fall in oil prices caused severe economic hardship. After riots in 1988 and with a new constitution allowing political parties other than the ruling FLN, the hastily - formed Islamic Salvation Front(FIS) won more than 50% in municipal elections in June 1990 and was poised to take power. The national elections were cancelled and Algeria’s second civil war began. The army moved in and began a campaign of terror, slaughtering Islamists and even organizing faux Islamist death squads. Some of the most notorious Islamic Armed Groups(IAGs) were in fact creations of the Algerian secret services, as even the French backers of the military were forced to admit. “On the domestic front, their purpose was to commit atrocities in the name of Islam that would discredit the FIS. On the international front, the aim was to convince the West that Islamism needed to be ‘eradicated’”, according to Fouzi Slisli. Algeria’s dynamic is a gruesome example of realpolitik’s ‘divide and conquer’ tactic, used with such effect in Afghanistan against socialist Afghans backed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s - 1980s, and in Egypt and Syria in the 1980s - 1990s, where Muslims also killed Muslims in the name of Islam, with the ‘security forces’ part of the intrigue. The Algerian civil war was merely an extreme version of Egypt’s Sadat / Mubarak nightmare at the time, with France and the US supporting both these secular military governments(in Afghanistan and Syria they opposed the secular governments because their ‘enemy’, the Soviet Union, was supporting them). Between 1992-2002, an estimated 200,000 Algerians died. Today’s secular Egyptians supporting the overthrow of the legitimate elections won overwhelmingly by Islamists should remember Algeria - and shudder. Algeria updated The Islamists in Algeria are still being held in check, but Algeria’s trauma is far from over. With the impending death of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the pressure - as in Egypt today - will be to hold credible elections, where, in both cases, the Islamists will again be the most powerful force. But it may not be so easy to engineer a replay of the horrors of the Algerian civil war in either Algeria or Egypt today. In any case, predictions of the collapse of the MB come up against the reality of Egypt, where there is little hope of rekindling a Mubarak - style accommodation with the empire. If anything, the coup has rather confirmed to Islamists the insidiousness of trying to make deals with the empire. The only way forward for Egypt today is to cut off the Gorgon’s head, as Iran did when the Islamic awakening was getting under way three decades ago. Genuine terrorist threats remain in Egypt. By 2012, al - Qaeda’s post - Bin Laden leader, the Egyptian Ayman Zawahiri, was focusing his efforts on the disintegration of the Assad regime in Syria and the MB government in Egypt. European jihadists come to Cairo to study Islam or Arabic in Nasr City, but then head for al - Qaeda training camps in Egypt, the Sinai or Libya. Unlike Bin Laden, who targeted western powers, Zawahiri has always been focused on combating local regimes and Arab rulers. If the MB is forced underground again, it is inevitable that this terrorism will increase, as frustrated Islamists are forced to defend themselves and to resist the re - imposition of the western model. Because of the currently overwhelming power of the imperialists through the IMF, NATO and the Gulf, not to mention Israel and the EU, to expect the MB to have sent them all packing and to succeed in making the dysfunctional neoliberal economy work(all the while leaving the cheap, secular westernized culture to run rampant) is a pipedream. Iran has made a valiant attempt at this, and the empire has never forgotten nor forgiven. In fact, the MB has mobilized tens of thousands to help distribute subsidized bread to the very poor, addressing the most pressing problem for most Egyptians. They have mobilized brigades to clean up mountains of rubbish. At the same time, their offices have been trashed and burned, and their activists killed. Harnessing Egypt’s spiritual legacy and its manpower requires a clear plan to assert a degree of independence from the US - dominated world order, to transform Egypt into a new, less gaudy, less western society. Perhaps this will fail in the short run, faced with the accumulated imperial garbage of the past, both physical and spiritual. That is certainly the intention of the imperialists and their followers in Egypt and throughout the Arab world. It is a shame - no, a crime - when nice anti - imperialists like Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahi or Mohamed ElBaradei dismiss the votes of the masses as ill - informed, call for a coup, and apparently wish the imperialists well in their schemes, blackening the only genuine anti - imperialist opposition. Their Islamophobia is visceral. They are now eagerly awaiting appointments in the junta’s government(as if the junta will condone anything that wreaks of socialism or anti - imperialism), and the Islamists are back in jail.

[box type = " info " color = " 000000 " bg = " FFFFFF " font = " arial " fontsize = " 11 " radius = " 10 " border = " FF7F27 "] Eric Walberg is a Canadian journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East - West relations since the 1980s. He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. His articles appear in Russian, German, Spanish and Arabic and are accessible at his website ericwalberg. com. Walberg is author of Postmodern Imperialism Geopolitics and the Great Games(2011).[/ box]