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Egypt unable to cross over to post-revolution state  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 26/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The split state was a significant symbol of Arab politics. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the summer of 1990 revealed that the state of official Arab division has popular roots.

After the US invasion of Iraq, the main roots of Arab division appeared to public: The sectarian split. Then came the revolutions of the Arab Spring in early 2011, which launched the people's access to the corridors of political processes. Because the region has been suffering under the domination of religious thought, both Sunni and Shiite, and Christian, the roots of division began to work in determining attitudes and expression.

Affiliation with a religious or civilian movement became determinant of the position and point of view, and thus positions became known and ready in advance. A question will be highlighted: What do you expect from the Sunnis or Shiites? Is it logical to expect from Sunnis to take a position on any event of issue from a Shiite perspective, or vice versa? Then what are you expecting from liberals or leftists? Is it logical to expect a liberal to express his liberal stance from a leftist perspective? Does the position of a leftist agree with the position of a liberal or an Islamist?

That said, the question does not take into account that the confusion is neither in the point of view nor in the ideological or political affiliation of the individual or group. Rather, the confusion is elsewhere. From the previous question comes another question: Should the difference in opinions be a source of division or a source of pluralism? An Arab proverb says "the difference of opinion must not spoil the intimacy."

In fact, the difference of opinion in the Arab world does not invalidate the issue of friendliness, but it destroys it against the harshest rocks of Arab geography, be it political or religious.

What is happening to the Egyptian revolution these days provides a political example, even now, to this vision. There is a sharp political division between the "marquee" of Islamists, and the "marquee" of civilians. The last issue of this division is the recent decisions of President Muhammad Mursi to implement a new constitutional declaration that fortifies the president's decisions against appeal or veto.

The president's opponents accuse him of putting in place a declaration that will make him a new Pharaoh robed in a "revolution" dress. With this, his opponents say, he is inaugurating a new authoritarian project. And because Egypt is in a revolutionary state, this project puts Egypt on the brink of civil confrontation.

However, the Brotherhood and its allies, both from religious or political perspectives, say the opposite. They support the president's decisions without the slightest reservations, and they see it as the only way out of the impasse transitional stage that seems endless.

This view was clearly expressed through the position of Essam El-Erian, vice president of the Freedom and Justice party, which is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood that accused the president's opponents of being fearful of democracy and accountability. The position of the Egyptian Chancellor Tariq Al-Besheri, whose approach is closest to the Brotherhood, gives weight to the position of the opposition because he called the new constitutional declaration "null devotes for tyranny."

What if it was said that the recent decisions of the president are temporary and will end with the completion of writing the Constitution and the election of the People's Assembly, as stated in Article II of the new Constitutional Declaration? The answer is: What is the need for such decisions now? There are only two months left to finish writing the Constitution, according to Article IV of the same declaration.

Egypt has lived without these haphazard decisions for more than a year and a half. Why is there a need for such decisions for the next two months? What is in store for Brotherhood? In the case that the constituent body does not finish its work during this period, what is the next step of the president with regard to this body? When will the process of writing the constitution end? Will there really be a constitution within two months? On the flip side, the Brotherhood will say that in the absence of Parliament, the lack of a constitution, having the president shackled because its decisions are not immune, and in the congested transitional stage, the judiciary has turned into a political tool for obstruction. They dissolved Parliament, and are considering the role of a constituent body to write the constitution. They are also considering the decisions of the president himself. Because the head of the state is shackled, and because there is no constitution or legislative body, the whole state has come under paralysis.

If you add to that the deteriorating economy, it becomes clear that no one knows or expects how long it will take for this state to leave its current transitional stage, which is a destructive. What is the way out in this case?
Each party's point of view has merit, and it is only natural that there will be more than one point in the middle to meet around.

For example, it was possible for the president to reach an understanding with the opposition forces before issuing his recent decisions. He knows quite well the sensitivity of the current stage, and the political and social complexities, as well as that everyone, including the president himself, is new in the management of the political process. Why then was everyone surprised with such decisions? It is clear that the attempt to buy the approval of the opposition through the retrial of the accused of killing the protesters did not achieve the purpose.

One might say that the president did not negotiate with the opposition, because he knew in advance (put more than a line under advance) that the opposition would not agree to give him powers, if even temporary, until the completion of writing of the Constitution and the election of the People's Assembly.

There is a sharp political struggle in Egypt, which is normal and expected after the revolution. But in addition to that, there is a huge lack of confidence between the political forces, and limited political experience in the management of a transitional stage of such a size after the end of the revolution.

The most disclosed fact about the current political conflicts is the lack of a statesman model among all parties. What dominates the positions of all is the political interests, as well as a lot of personal interests. This is evident from the immersion in the legal and political controversy. Often what overshadows this is the nature of controversy of the logical analyzes, and discussions on the satellite channels and newspapers that are detached from reality.

Requirements of this reality and the needs and constraints cannot be ignored. It seems that this is not important under the pressures of the moment, and what is important is to justify attitudes, not to find the exits. Some seem to be interested in proving their capacity of knowledge to the fields of politics, law and terminology, and their ability to debate their positions, more than diverting their attention to diagnose the problem and to find solutions. In this context, it is often that the cultural character is mixed with the political figure, and their roles overlap dramatically.

Moreover, the dominance of political interest proves everyone's inability, so far, in the innovation of meeting points to reach an understanding. The political process in Egypt these days is zero. This process is either earned by the Brotherhood after expelling all other civilian forces, or vice versa. The loser then expresses his loss as a loss to Egypt, and with that, the political interest of a group is confused with national identity. Finally, we cannot rule out that the current phase is new and is no precedent to take advantage of invoke.

The conflict in this stage is huge because the conflict is over the future of the state: Its form and content, the role of each party in this state, and the ability of each team to influence the identity of the state and its work, and benefit from its resources.

What is happening in Egypt is a specific example, but it reflects the nature of Arab political culture. Its problem is not the presence of parties, and their differences, but rather the zero understanding of these differences. What does this have to do with the tribal and religious roots of this culture? Have you noticed how both the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and non-Egyptians see the "victory of Hamas" in the recent Gaza war, and the role of the Egyptian 'Brotherhood' in it? How do the other parties view this topic? Is this different from what is happening in Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak?


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