A Warning Against Exaggerated Hopes in Egypt
By: Ibrahim al-Amin
Published Thursday, July 4, 2013
The rule of the Muslim Brotherhood has ended in Egypt. The new revolutionary wave swept everything with it this time – the state authoritarianism of the Mubarak era, as well as Islamist attempts to monopolize power and impose their agenda on the country.
It was a revolt against a deafening failure to manage the affairs of the people, the continued suppression of individual and collective rights, not to mention an inability to introduce anything new that would prompt reconsideration of Egypt’s role in the Arab and Islamic worlds.
The Brotherhood failed at all this and more. They managed to do only one thing and that is to cleanse the bureaucracy of the old guard and replace them with their own partisans in an attempt to bring state institutions under their firm control. They did so without compromise – the majority of Egyptians got nothing in the process, not even a sense of hope that change is on the horizon.
As for their performance in the field of foreign relations, the Brotherhood’s outlook was but a copy of Mubarak’s. They first ran to the Americans, believing that Washington’s blessing would guarantee them survival and grant them immunity against being overthrown. And no doubt, many Egyptians were not pleased with their government playing second fiddle to the likes of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, in return for dubious economic and financial patronage.
But who will rule Egypt in the coming period?
It’s clear that making radical alterations to the system remains a tall order for much of the existing opposition – they will likely resort to the help of the armed forces, who were critical in ousting Mohamed Mursi.
The military, for its part, seems to have absorbed the lessons of the January 25 revolution better than most, and understands well that it cannot rule the country directly, while at the same time preventing any single group like the Brotherhood from monopolizing power.
It is also worth noting the broadside the West has received in its attempt to tighten its grip on the Arab region, either by hijacking the rebellions or working to contain them with backroom deals with the likes of the Brotherhood or the military.
Today, Egypt enters a new era, be it a transitional period in which the whole system of governance is revised, or a period of bloody infighting that leads to direct military rule. It is therefore important for those who care about Egypt’s future not to get ahead of themselves in a rush to see all their hopes for the country be fulfilled, something that may not correspond to the calculations of the rebellious Egyptian masses.
Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.