The Egyptian Un-Revolution

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi is facing a storm of opposition. (EPA)

Just few months ago, Egyptians of all walks of life showed the whole world an ultimate example of national unity. During the peaceful revolution in Egypt, Muslims, Christians, conservative and liberal, Islamists and Seculars, were all united against one goal – riding the country of the corrupted regime that was ruling it for more than 30 years. Now as we look at the division that happened in that society, it seems as if we are looking at a completely different country. So what could’ve brought this much change in such short period of time?

To begin with, the main reason why Egypt is still going through this struggle is because its revolution happened relatively easy. Unlike the Occupy movement in the US, Egyptians who took to the Tahrir square had a very easy symbol to protest against – they wanted a regime change, and for them the face of that regime was ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak, at least for the last three decades. That is why it seemed as if the revolution prevailed when Mubarak resigned.

But this is not entirely accurate.

Although Mubarak was one of the main causes for corruption in Egypt, he wasn’t everything that is bad in the system. In a country where for more than 30 years “success” was defined by loyalty to the rulers more than by a person’s abilities or qualifications, corruption was deeply rooted in all branches of Egyptian government. Anyone who comes next will have to continue the path of revolution to “down the regime”, and will inevitably have to clash with those who have been benefiting from the system for a generation.

This is part of the problem that is happening right now in Egypt. People who abused the system are afraid the revolution will take over and start auditing and prosecuting them for their crimes. Profiteers, who are still present in Egypt, don’t want the revolution to reach them, and want it to be limited to the president.

Of all the authorities in Egypt, the current president is the only elected person. Everyone else, including some influential figures in the judicial system, are remains of the corrupted era of Mubarak’s regime. That is why the job of Morsi seems impossibly difficult. He, by himself, as a representative of the Egyptian revolution, will have to take over thousands of very influential people in government institutions, judiciary system, and media. That is why it seems as if Morsi is going against all the other authorities in Egypt, and is being a “totalitarian” ruler, as opposition like to call him.

Because the regime of Mubarak is pretty much still intact in Egypt, few things have changed in the economically troubled country since before the revolution. Many Egyptians naively thought that ousting Mubarak will suddenly bring prosperity to the whole country, and are becoming increasingly frustrated with Morsi’s inability to deliver that in the time he spent so far in office. Opposition figures are taking advantage of this frustration. Some of these figures were members of the Mubarak administration for years, like Amro Mousa, who was the foreign minister for Mubarak for 13 years. Others, like Muhammad El-Baradaey, “popped-up” in Egypt after the revolution, and want to make a quick gain by posing as national opposition, even though they had no real opposition to Mubarak’s regime, and no real influence in the Egyptian revolution.

Mobilizing thousands of protestors in the streets of Egypt against the bad economical situation in the country is exactly like what happened in the US, when Republicans won the majority in the congress after blaming the Democrats for the results of the recession that the Republican policies created. For a frustrated mob it doesn’t really matter what makes sense, all what matters is to find someone to point a finger at and blame for the misery.

All the justifications for these actions that the opposition brought is clearly invalid. The Egyptian president have already expressed his willingness to negotiate everything the opposition asked for. He called for a dialogue which the opposition refused to take part in, and demanded that the president do everything they want BEFORE they can agree to talk to him.

The opposition’s mob is nothing like the youth of the Egyptian revolution. They weren’t calling for unity, they are calling for division. Just because Morsi, the democratically elected president, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, they started chanting slogans against the whole movement, accusing it of taking over the country. The opposition protesters are not peaceful, and are using life ammunition to target pro Morsi supporters, and have already attacked and burned several Muslim Brotherhood party offices across the country, and killed six people, five of which are Muslim Brotherhood members, and then they (the opposition) took to the streets to protest blaming Morsi for their death. Furthermore, they alienated all the Islamic parties in Egypt along with the Muslim brotherhood, and are demanding fundamental changes in the draft resolution that is written by a committee elected from a democratically elected parliament.

The main demand of the opposition is by itself an indication that they know their real size in Egypt. They want the referendum on the constitution to be cancelled, and they are taking to the streets, in a race against time, because they know the majority of Egyptians is in favor of this constitution. If the majority of Egyptians is against Morsi and the draft constitution, they will vote against it, and there will not be a need to violently protest against a referendum. People protest when they have no other means of achieving their goals, but when the authorities offer a referendum, this means that everyone should abide by the will of the nation, and not try to enforce his own will on the majority of the country.

Despite all of these internal factors that explain this deliberately manufactured tension in Egypt, one cannot exclude outside influence as well.

Egypt is a very important country in this very important region, and many regional and international powers have vested interest in shaping the post-revolution Egypt. Israel that was surprised by the change in Egyptian stance on Gaza, and annoyed by the proximity between the new Egypt and the Turkish government, would like to see the revolution tamed, and would love to see a less Islamic, less independent ruler in Egypt, preferably if he is from the old “moderate” regime of Mubarak. Iran as well wants to see a less influential Egypt, especially after Egypt’s support to the Syrian revolution, and the new found voice for the government of Egypt that threatens to take the title of the “only challenger of the western interest in the Middle East” from the Iranian propaganda machine, that have always bragged to be the sole supporter of the Palestinian resistance. Furthermore, Iran sees Egypt as a potential room for expanding its Shia influence in the Arab world, and a weaker government in Egypt, or even a constant state of clash or chaos will always be welcomed by Iran.

Several GCC states are also worried from the expansion of the Arab spring into their territories, and the UAE in particular has publicly expressed its concern with what it called the tide of Muslim brotherhood in the Arab world. The UAE also expressed it’s desire to see a “regime change” in Egypt. The rich Gulf state made several arrests of people who belonged to parties sympathizing with the Muslim Brotherhood, and encouraged other GCC states to take similar steps.

Finally, the United States, the European Union, and even Russia are all deeply concerned with the rise of Islamic movements in Arab spring countries, and they would all hate to see a constitution establishing a base for an Egypt that is inline with its Islamic and Arab heritage.

All of these foreign forces have the potential to play a huge role in a shaky post-revolution Egypt, and there is no doubt in my mind that many of these forces are playing different roles in the current crises.

The very way with which this unrest is being run indicates a similarity with other places where the United States was involved in regime change in democratic countries. You see, the super powers always have a way of bringing about a government that supports their interest in any country, no matter what kind of regime it has. In Africa, it is usually a coup done by a militia supported by the US or France or even China, that will open its markets, its mines and its oilfields to the coup-sponsoring country. In south America it is often the economic takeover through loans given either directly or “international” institutions, like the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. In rare cases like Iraq and Afghanistan it is done through a direct military occupation. And in “democracies” it is done by bringing a government through what seems like a public uprising, like what almost happened in Venezuela, and what happened in Ukraine and Georgia by the United States, and then again in Ukraine by Russia, after the latter learned the trick.

Now with Egypt being a “democracy” the scenario is happening again with the exact same steps, the only difference is that this time they are pressed for time, and they want to make the takeover before the Egyptians people approve a constitution. That, in turn, is the reason why the absurdity of their demand is vivid to any objective observer.

This is all not to say that Morsi is an angel. But no matter how limited his abilities are, he is the elected president of Egypt, and the only fruit of the revolution, and everything that is happening now is meant to un-revolution Egypt, and strip its well away from it.

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