Egypt’s Arab Spring, R.I.P.?

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

The end of the Egyptian revolution and very likely the beginning of more bloodshed and repression, almost a copycat script from much maligned Syria.

Egypt’s diktat is actually a more blatant disregard of democratic principles than Syria. Syrian opposition has no cohesive structure and no agenda other than the overthrow of Assad and has not yet progressed to the point of organizing democratic elections.

Egyptian opposition, on the other hand, succeeded or, at least they thought they had succeeded, in moving to a fully democratic election to replace the Mubarak regime. Alas, SCAF, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, in one name or the other, has been entrenched in power for 50 odd years. They say they will “turn over” power to a President but retain unto themselves control of the military and effectively dictate the terms of a new constitution. SCAF was unhappy with the results of the parliamentary elections, so one can expect many caveats to assure a more acceptable result in the the revised version.

Having heard considerable criticism of Assad and the Syrian military from the West, it is odd that we have heard little in the way of condemnation of SCAF’s actions.  The West, in particular the US, has catered to the Egyptian military and the assorted autocratic Egyptian regimes lavishing on them multi billion dollar handouts and weaponry. Perhaps, fearful of an Islamist government, the West is pleased with the putsch and will limit themselves to some hypocritically mild rebukes. It will be interesting to hear the pronouncements emanating from Western governments in the next days.

If, in the course of what amounts to martial law, there is an attempt to re-impose a virtual ban on the Brotherhood that will prove a serious mistake. Banning political parties and movements, especially ones such as the Brotherhood with a substantial grass roots following, only leads to radicalization of the movements. As it is, the Brotherhood, abiding by a democratic election, has moderated its stance and I believe it could prove a positive partner in the Middle East. But, if it is once again banned or, put under harsh strictures, it will regard extreme violence as the only path to power, not democracy. Beware!


Categories:Egypt, Geopolitics, Middle East

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