The Egyptian revolution is undoubtedly the most dramatic episode of the so-called Arab Spring.
The Egyptian revolution is undoubtedly the most dramatic episode of the so-called Arab Spring. It is almost like the famed Egyptians telenovelas that are screened by most Arab televisions on their release, which are fictions containing love, hate tears and revenge.
The Egyptian revolution or revolutions have been best described in an Op-Ed by the famous American journalist Thomas L. Friedman:
“If you’re looking for any silver lining in what is happening in Egypt today, suggest you go up 30,000 feet and look down. From that distance, the events in Egypt over the past two-and-a-half years almost make sense. Egypt has actually had three revolutions since early 2011, and when you add them all up, you can discern a message about what a majority of Egyptians are seeking.
The first revolution was the Egyptian people and the Egyptian military toppling President Hosni Mubarak and installing the former defense minister, the aging Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, as the de facto head of state. Tantawi and his colleagues proved utterly incompetent in running the nation and were replaced, via a revolutionary election, by the Muslim Brotherhood’s party, led by President Mohamed Morsi. He quickly tried to consolidate power by decapitating the military and installing Brotherhood sympathizers in important positions. His autocratic, noninclusive style and failed economic leadership frightened the Egyptian center, which teamed up last month with a new generation of military officers for a third revolution to oust Morsi and the Brotherhood.
To put it all in simpler terms: Egypt’s first revolution was to get rid of the dead hand, the second revolution was to get rid of the deadheads and the third revolution was to escape from the dead end.”
It so seems the Egyptians don’t know what they really want. First, they took to the streets in a very responsible manner to bring down the dictatorship of Mubarak and his clique, and in no time his police state crumbled down. The army realizing that the dictator is condemned to go, refused his order to shoot the demonstrators and instead opportunistically sided with them, thinking of their image and standing in the future given that this institution has always been a key player in Egyptian politics since independence.
Mubarak was overthrown; the army played the role of the nice guy and took over themselves to protect the people and the State and serve as the caretaker government to prepare free legislative and presidential elections.
The man of the street gave the army the green light to secure the state and the elections but the Muslim Brotherhood viewed the military with much suspicion, and this is true of all Islamists movements in the Arab world because they believe that such an institution is the den of secularists, enemies of their Islamic grand design within the area.
The Army organized the legislative elections that went to the Brotherhood and then the presidential elections that brought Morsi to the President’s office. The Brotherhood emboldened by two successive victories pictured themselves as depositories of the people’s will to set up an Islamic state despite the presence of a lethal enemy i.e. the army which is the ally of the Americans and the Israelis. Nevertheless, the Brotherhood had a long term plan to re-Islamize the country and the state and create an Islamic republic similar to the Iranian one, even in its military component.
Once in the President’s seat, Morsi set about to cleanse the army from the old Mubarak guard. His advisors suggested to put Sissi in the chief’s seat of the Army on the ground that he was docile and lacked fiery ambition of other army generals. However, the dream of Morsi and the Brothers was to have their own army, a copy of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to protect their revolution and keep an eye on the army proper.
The Brotherhood could have succeeded in achieving their objectives if Morsi proceeded gradually and carefully, but unfortunately for him, he moved on fast. His main deadly mistake was the imposition of the Islamic constitution, a logical prelude to the Islamic state in which the Brotherhood would play the key role.
Ghanouchi, Tunisian Ennahda’s Islamist party guide was more intelligent in delivering a constitution free of religious references that was welcomed by the majority of Tunisians and instructing his party people to hand the government to a group of technocrats to prepare for the post-constitution legislative and presidential elections, he wishes to win again. It might be the case that the intelligent move of Ghanouchi is the result of his life experience in Great Britain when in exile.
Fearing that Egypt would go Islamic, the Brotherhood way and threaten the stability of the whole region, the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel called on the army to take power. The secularists, at the instigation of the army circulated a petition nicknamed tamarrud “revolt,” the supporters of the initiative took to the streets calling on the army to take power, and thus the latter ousted Morsi and took control of the state.
For weeks the sympathizers of Morsi demonstrated in Rabia Adawiya square for what they called the return to legality but in vain, after weeks of uninterrupted sit-in, the army charged the Islamists killing dozens of them. This was the match that ignited the powder keg of chaos in Egypt.
Today, The Brotherhood has taken a different path that of terror, unfortunately. This will plunge Egypt in years of chaos and instability and the country will definitely loose so much in this venture: loose investment, loose business, loose tourism and loose Arab leadership and in return will gain nothing. Things however, could go the other way if both sides, for the sake of stability, could have accepted to share power, the likelihood of this happening is, alas, nil because the army has the power and the Brotherhood has terror and both believe they are right and can advance their cause. How long the face-off will last, nobody knows?