By Afro-Middle East Centre
The violent dispersal of two anti-coup sit-ins by the Egyptian security apparatus over the past three days, the resulting massacre of protesters, and the imposition of martial law in most of the country, is the culmination of a string of actions intended to reset Egypt’s political and social affairs, and return the state to what it was in 2010. With the reimposition of the infamous state of emergency, largescale arrests of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and other anti-coup groups, and the silencing of opposition media, the future for democracy in Egypt hangs in the balance. The post-coup reconstitution of the feared State Security Investigations Service (Mabahith Amn al-Dawla), disbanded in March 2011, is further confirmation that democratic gains made by Egypt in the past two years are being reversed.
By Abd al-Khaliq Faruq
For many years, Egypt has suffered from a complex political and social crisis, which has manifested itself in multiple forms: there have been continuous demonstrations, sits-in, more than 4,000 protests in the last two years alone, an economic crisis with spiralling effects, plus a crisis in political leadership and a lack of clarity regarding the future. Egypt has been subjected to a political process for the past 30 years or more which has often been characterised as either being paralytic or barren.
In the past ten years the crisis has deepened, thanks to a set of characteristics of the regime that has become clear to identify. First, there has been an open push for the son of President Hosni Mubarak, Gamal, to inherit the office of presidency in what can be dubbed a "Caesarian succession". This move has required amending the constitution in an attempt to obliterate any real chance that any other presidential hopeful would be able to engage in a fair competition with the president's son. This situation has also led to the annulment of the essence of Clause 88 of the Constitution, which requires complete and total judicial supervision of the electoral process.
By Adam Hanieh
The events of the last weeks are one of those historical moments where the lessons of many decades can be telescoped into a few brief moments and seemingly minor occurrences can take on immense significance. The entry of millions of Egyptians onto the political stage has graphically illuminated the real processes that underlie the politics of the Middle East. It has laid bare the long-standing complicity of the U.S. and other world powers with the worst possible regimes, revealed the empty and hypocritical rhetoric of United States President Barack Obama and other leaders, exposed the craven capitulation of all the Arab regimes, and demonstrated the real alliances between these regimes, Israel and the USA. These are political lessons that will long be remembered.
By Afro-Middle East Centre
After months of waiting, Egypt’s Presidential Election Committee has finally declared the dates for the country’s first post-Morsi presidential election: 26 and 27 May. The election forms part of the military’s ‘roadmap’, which will supposedly return Egypt to democracy following Morsi’s ouster on 3 July 2013. However, the long-awaited announcement that Field Marshall Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the defence minister who overthrew Morsi, was to be a candidate in the election has raised questions about the military’s motives, and confirmed that a full-scale counter-revolution is under way. This article assesses the possibility of a free and fair election, considering the atmosphere surrounding the recent constitutional referendum on 14 and 15 January, and the cult-like status Sisi has gained. It also elaborates on the role and motives of state institutions and the role of the ‘deep state’, and how these impact on the electoral process. It argues that the current atmosphere in the country – which has witnessed extreme suppression of dissent – suggests that the election result is a foregone conclusion. However, in the event that Sisi wins, his rein will be fraught with a myriad challenges, many of which are intractable and are similar to challenges Morsi had faced. Key amongst these are the state of the country’s economy and Sisi’s inability to fully suppress dissent.
By the Afro-Middle East Centre
Events of the past few days in Egypt point to a clash within the political elite; it is, however, not likely to be a dramatic confrontation but a slow war of attrition stretching over the next few years. At the heart of the battle is the attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's first democratically-elected president, Muhammad Mursi, to relocate state executive powers within the presidency and legislative powers within the democratically-elected parliament.