Taking Sides In Egypt – An Analysis

Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses, 8/25/13, excerpt:

…Most Egyptians, religious and secular (the exceptions were the military officer corps, elements of the police and judiciary, and some of the business class), wanted the thirty-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak replaced by democracy. Using the tactic of mass demonstrations, both secular and Islamist organizations managed to get rid of the dictator in February 2011 and scare the military into allowing a process that led to free and fair elections.

Those elections were won by Muhammad Morsi, who was a follower of the Muslim Brotherhood, and an array of Islamist legislative delegates. Morsi and his government began the process of creating a new constitution for the country that reflected the Islamic nature of their victory. This was a work in progress and there may ultimately have been room for compromise, particularly as Morsi became aware of the strength of the secular opposition. It is estimated that some 54% of Egyptians would like to see democracy on the present Turkish model, “a secular republic currently being successfully ruled by moderate Islamists.”

We will never know if such an evolutionary direction was possible under Morsi. What many of the secular democrats of Egypt (transformed into the “Egyptian mainstream” by many media outlets) saw in his victory was not the potential of an evolutionary democratic process leading to the Turkish model, but rather the prelude to a quick emulation of Iran.

Almost immediately upon election, the Morsi government met resistance and sabotage. As had happened with the Weimar Republic, The new government inherited a court system, police establishment and military that were the creatures of the old authoritarian regime. These bureaucracies had no loyalty to the Egypt’s elected government, as can be seen by the fact that the economic and internal security situation within the country immediately deteriorated. Artificial shortages of important goods, such as gasoline, appeared. The crime rate started to climb as the police presence on the streets became sparse. The legitimacy of the new government was repeatedly challenged and always through a court system full of judges appointed by the prior dictatorship.

Most importantly, the secular organizations (such as Tamaroud and the June 30 Movement) which had helped dislodge Mubarak now decided that they were unwilling to accept the results of a free election in which the wrong party had won. They convinced themselves, as had happened in Algeria, that an Islamist government would never allow another free and fair election. They did not know this to be the case, but fear made the assumption seem an inevitable truth.

A host of rationalizations followed….

read the full post To the Point Analyses

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Filed under Lawrence Davidson, Mid East other / S Asia

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