If we step back to reflect on Egypt’s post-revolution transition… We should not be surprised to find how messy it is. It is actually happening Egyptian style: We will take all the wrong exits, open the wrong doors, make a lot of noise, take ten times the expected time; however, we will eventually end up in a good place!!! How so?
Egypt today has five broad powers: remnants of the previous regime (aka foloul), military, Muslim Brotherhood, liberal revolutionaries, Salafis; additionally, a broad silent majority.
Why is the list in this order?
Up to, and right after Mubarak was deposed, the previous regime had a short window of opportunity to regain control. It failed.
Right after that and for 18 months, the military had a chance to govern. The result was as miserable. They lost their popularity, and drove the country into a wrong path. They also worked hard to deflate the revolutionary momentum. Their exit was to preserve whatever is left from their power and to save their leadership and interests.
Then Comes the Muslim Brotherhood with their century-old project. Their political and economic failure is becoming very eminent. The question that will be asked over the next six months is how to secure a safe exit for them, and what is the nature of the following regime.
It is unlikely that the revolutionary liberals will follow, mainly because of their lack of organization; however, they will play a significant role in shaping the next regime.
The real lesson learned is that a regime based on a single power is unlikely to be able to govern. The challenges are too immense; they can not be solved without the support of a broad-based alliance. The question is who will be able to lead the formation of such an alliance, and who will be part of it? Until that lesson is absorbed by all e players, and until they figure us a way to work together, the “transition” phase will continue.
8 May 2013.