Center for World Conflict and Peace

Center for World Conflict and Peace

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Egyptian Paradox

A lot of things have happened in Egypt in the past few weeks. First, the Egyptian military deposed President Morsy, causing debates about whether a coup is a coup is a coup when it is backed by popular demand. Then the Egyptian military cracked down harshly on the Ikhwanul Muslimin protesters, arresting many of its leaders and most visible supporters, throwing entire movement into a disarray.

So what happened in Egypt? The Big Pharaoh blog summed this up in an excellent post:
The revolution entered a coma the second day Mubarak was toppled and protesters left Tahrir square. Nothing of what happened during the past two and a half years served the revolution or achieved its demands. Even Mohamed Morsi, who was elected by just 51% of the vote, was not pro-revolution as he claimed to be before he was elected. Morsi won in an election yet his rule was not democratic and his focus was on serving the interests of his dogmatic organization and not the revolution. Those, mostly Western analysts and journalists, who lament the “end of the revolution” after the popularly backed coup fail to understand that the revolution did not rule this country ever since Mubarak was toppled.The MB had a chance to be revolutionary, they chose to focus on their own petty political interests instead. 
Egypt is still mired in the 60 years old fight between Islamists and the ruling establishment that comes from the army. Since the revolution provided no alternatives, Egypt will remaining seesawing between these two. A viable alternative to the Islamists and to the army needs to rise in order for this seesaw to be broken. Judging from the current weakness and disorganization of the revolution camp, I don’t see this happening anytime soon. In the meantime, this camp will stand powerlessly watching this fight unfold in front of them
There is one problem with the Big Pharaoh's argument, notably on the timing of the "coma." I would argue that the coma happened when Morsy declared himself above the law and rammed the Egyptian Constitution through the state. This gave the military an opportunity to stage a comeback by reigniting the fight between Islamists and the army-led ruling establishment, as Morsy's opponents, unable to make a coherent and credible opposition and at the same time, fearing Ikhwanul Muslimin's power grab, decided to back the military to get their way politically.

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