A Warning Against Exaggerated Hopes in Egypt

An Egyptian man, bearing a toy tank on his head, holds a cross and a copy of the Koran, Islam's holy book, as people gather in Cairo's landmark Tahrir square after a night of celebrations following the toppling of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi on 4 July 2013. (Photo: Gianluigi Guercia)

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.

Comments

With each turn in the event in the political situation in Egypt, the people there are looking forward to with much hope that they can have a peaceful life. But there seems to be hidden political agendas with each event.

While Morsi was incompetent and helped hobble the economy the real factors hurting Egypt are hurting all countries, that is a slowing world economy, debt burdens and peak oil.

Food and fuel costs are outpacing wage increases and the governments ability to subsidize them. The debt burden will be managed through IMF austerity measures that will make matters worse.

Egypt imports over 50% of its' food and fuel. These imports need to be paid with foreign currency. Tourism is devastated, cash crops use expensive imported chemicals and all exports are slowing world wide.

Both the German and US Armies reported 3 years ago that there would be severe oil shortages by 2015. We already see very tight supplies worldwide ...

US report : http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply

German report: http://fcnp.com/2011/09/21/the-peak-oil-crisis-the-german-army-report/

As the Chinese would say: 2015 will be a "very interesting" year.

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