Why Has the Egyptian Revolution Stalled?

Some thoughts on why the Egyptian revolution has stalled

In addition to the regular reading list, I am offering a pretty good selection on Egypt. I am crazy behind this week and have not really had time to comment on all I want to, including many issues that are covered in these readings. Unsurprisingly, the main constant through all of these pieces is the slow transition from revolution to military coup. In other words, the decision to extend the emergency law (perhaps illegally,) the lack of a constitution and the advent of a bizarrely extended election period (from now until summer 2013) has effectively stalled the Egyptian revolution. The significant business interests of the ruling Egyptian military, the inexperience in governing of the SCAF members and increasing sectarianism and sexism are plaguing the country that was, nine months ago, an inspiration for an entire region. In any event, if you have time read any and all of these.

  • Has Egypt’s Revolution become a Military Coup? – Global Post: “No one knows exactly how much of Egypt’s economy is controlled by the army, but most estimates place it in the “billions” of dollars range. The problem, said some analysts, is that the military likely wants to prevent the complete transition to civilian leadership to ensure its hold on these assets.”
  • Is there light at the end of Egypt’s tunnel?Foreign Policy: “The SCAF plainly wants to return to the barracks; a much more plausible worry is that the military, which has its fingerprints all over Egypt’s economy, will insist not only on preserving its traditional privileges but on dominating a weak and divided civilian government from the shadows, as the military does in Pakistan.”
  • Three Strikes and You’re Out – Walter Russell Mead: “Egypt’s ability to navigate this issue could be the deciding factor in the long-term outcome of the Arab Spring.
  • Egypt: Election Dates Set; Electoral Laws Changed – Michael Collins Dunn: “Although after the fall of Mubarak, there were many calls to write a new constitution first (the route Tunisia has chosen), others urged quick elections. In the end we have neither: the electoral calendar is long and the Presidential elections are shifting well into 2012 (and some are hinting 2013). More time, some worry, for the Military Council to get used to being in power.”
  • 58% of Egyptians reject president of another religion – Amira Saleh: “A survey by the cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center, published on Sunday, revealed that 58 percent of the sample said they would not vote for a president of a different religion than their own, while 36 percent said they would.
  • Once is Enough – Interview with Egyptian presidential nominee Amr Moussa – Safaa Azab: “When the Egyptian uprising took place, Moussa declared a solid stance in favor of the young demonstrators, who called it the February Revolution, as he stood with them at Tahrir Square calling for Mubarak to step down. After the success of the revolution, Amr Moussa’s name appeared frequently and strongly in the political arena as a viable next president of Egypt. Despite the level of criticism he has been receiving from his opponents, Moussa possesses great confidence in his political capabilities and experiences, as well as his international relations and national stances.
  • Reconciling with Religiom – Interview with Egyptian presidential nominee Abdul Fotouh – Safaa Azab: “Abdul Fotouh’s nomination was met by a personal denial then an open declaration a few weeks after his political campaign had begun. He also faced a wave of strong reactions from the Brotherhood. In spite of the circumstances in which Abdul Fotouh was nominated for the presidency, he is widely respected amongst his opponents for his objective views and open-mindedness, especially with controversial issues in relation to the Brotherhood’s ideology—such as those towards women and the Copts. Abdul Fotouh comes across as more flexible and accepting on these issues. However, the chances of his success in the next elections seem small as most Egyptians remain in doubt, especially when he is overshadowed by various rising stars amongst his opponents.
  • Clean Slate – Interview with Ayman Nour – Safaa Azab: “However, the Ayman Nour of 2011, bears little resemblance to the Nour of 2005. His health has deteriorated with his time in prison, leaving many other candidates with an upper hand for facing the strenuous programs of an election campaign. His popularity has been heavily affected by rumors and ongoing questions over how vaild the accusations of fraud really were. Still, many Egyptians still look forward to his performance at the elections. The lawsuit was found in his favor and he may yet come back in fighting form for a rigorous campaign.”
  • Democracy vs. Sectarianism – Firas Maksad: “Whether the events in Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, or elsewhere are evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, change is the best guarantee against sectarian violence rearing its ugly head. The onus however is not on those who have been oppressed and have finally risen, but on the archaic political systems that have not allowed for gradual political reforms, reforms that would foster citizenship, rather than centuries-old identity politics.
  • Egyptian Women and the Revolution – Ursula Lindsay: “But women have been largely missing, not just from the two most influential organizations of the post-Mubarak era — the army and the Muslim Brotherhood — but from opinion columns and the podiums of press conferences, from the courtrooms and of course from all the positions that have yet to open to them, such as being governors or university deans or heads of state institutions.
  • The Women’s Revolution – Ursala Lindsay: “The council of Army generals that currently runs the country has appointed no women to positions of power, and doesn’t seem interested in consulting with women’s-rights groups. In the current interim cabinet of 34 ministers, only one is a woman, and she’s a holdover from the previous regime.”
  • In Translation: Wail Kandil on the emergency law – Issandr El Amrani: “Since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) began to make increased use of the Emergency Law after September 9 protests (at the Israeli embassy and several ministry of interior facilities). This was controversial in itself, but a legal debate soon emerged: it was generally understood that the Emergency Law would lapse at the end of September, according to the Constitutional Declaration approved in March that states it will last six months. Several scholars have confirmed this interpretation, but the SCAF now counters that since Mubarak and the previous parliament had extended the Emergency Law till May 2012, it would be effective until then.”
  • What Have We Achieved – Rania Al Malky: “Despite promises to hand over authority to a civilian government after six months and to cancel the state of emergency, the SCAF has leaked a bizarre schedule for the legislative elections that would have us in a constant state of election fever from November till March 2012; as well as broadened the scope of emergency law, giving itself a pseudo-legal cover to continue trampling human rights until June 2012.”
Photo from Pure Love

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