The revolution in Egypt is becoming more violent and increasingly unpredictable
It appears that the Egyptian Revolution has evolved into a more volatile ordeal than many expected. The revolution in Egypt seems to have gone into an utter spiral, with few able to predict the trajectory and outcome of Egypt’s political future.
Since the fall of the 30 year regime of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, every analyst has been trying to guess what political course Egypt will ultimately take. Will Egypt truly evolve into a secular democracy, will it remain under an authoritarian military regime or perhaps even become an Islamist theocracy? These questions have gotten even more prevalent with the recent events in Egypt which has escalated into full blown violence.
The only constant force throughout Egypt during this tumultuous period has been the Egyptian Military. The Army of Egypt is by far the most prestigious and powerful institution in the country, it has been for a long time. The Army played a crucial role in the fall of Mubarak in 2011, deciding not to intervene on Mubarak’s behalf. More recently the Army was the main force behind the ousting of elected president Mohammed Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Party.
Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were elected in 2012 in a fairly democratic process, much to the ire of Egypt’s Military establishment. Let’s keep in mind, the Muslim Brotherhood was illegal for the entirety of Mubarak’s reign and was often used as the scapegoats for the Mubarak regime’s shortcomings.
Now personally I would have preferred not to see the Muslim Brotherhood get elected. They are an Islamist Party and attempted to make major changes to the Egyptian Constitution in order to fit their mainly conservative Islamic policies. It was the main reason the Military staged the July coup in the first place. Millions of protesters across Egypt danced in the streets in celebration and were happy to see Morsi go (as was I to a certain extent).
Having said that, what’s happening in Egypt now is being reported as nothing short of a massacre. The Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters have been staging mass protests since the military coup, staging street demonstrations, sit-ins and many other acts of civil disobedience. With street clashes and pro-Muslim Brotherhood actions growing more extreme, the military has decided to crush the Muslim Brotherhood with violent force.
Egyptian soldiers were reported to have attacked two pro-Morsi encampments in which some 500 people have been reported killed and thousands wounded in what observers are calling “scorched earth” tactics. The Egyptian Army has set out an all or nothing strategy against the Muslim Brotherhood.
Secretary of State John Kerry has come out to denounce the actions of Egypt’s Military and in response, the US has canceled planned joint drills between the US and Egypt. However, the main leverage the US has on Egypt, its military and financial aid has yet to be called into question. Not surprising really, American industry makes too much money off deals with Egypt.
Most of our “aid” money doesn’t go to Egypt at all. It get’s thrown into the military-industrial complex within the United States first, it’s then shipped to Egypt in the form tanks, guns, teargas, etc. Knowing that, I have to wonder if US policy makers are serious in condemning Egypt’s Military or they’re just huffing for the cameras.
What disturbs me about the situation is how quickly the bloodshed has been escalating. I’m not a Muslim Brotherhood supporter, but I also don’t think they should be killed in the streets for carrying out civil protests. If Egypt truly is to transition to a more democratic state, then its government has to be willing to allow non-violent protest against it to take place. Attacking and outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood will not make it or its supporters go away.
It’s unlikely, based on current events that Egypt will get anything close to a secular democracy. In a way, the people of Egypt are being offered only two choices, either a dictatorial Islamist government or a dictatorial Military government. Neither of these options seems very welcoming if you are an Egyptian who desires a more secular Western modeled system of government.
Those who want true democracy for Egypt are not being heard much, as the debate is more or less framed to whether you support the Egyptian Army or you support the Muslim Brotherhood. As I said, I do not support the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood, but I also believe that they have a right to exist as a political entity and should be allowed to have its voice represented fairly in Egyptian politics.
As the violence rises in Egypt, many now fear a Syrian style civil war. The chaotic Egyptian Revolution has been shifting between one extreme or another, without the real voices of a liberal democracy to be heard from the Egyptian masses. We must hold hope for true democratic reform even as chaos and bloodshed escalates. Without real democracy, the Egyptian revolution that technically started more than two years ago will go on for many more.