By Afro-Middle East Centre
In a move reminiscent of the ouster of former president, Husni Mubarak, the Egyptian military on Tuesday issued a communiqué ordering protesters demands be met within 48 hours. That period ends this afternoon. Failure to do so, said the statement, would result in the enforcement of a ‘roadmap’ ‘under military supervision’. Despite the army’s assertion that coups are not part of its ethos, this is certainly threat of a coup. Ironically, the army’s message was well received by large parts of the crowds in Tahrir square, which a year ago were calling for the same military to relinquish power. The government under Muhammad Mursi subsequently expressed its opposition to the communiqué, saying that it risks deepening divisions between Egyptians, and, even if well intentioned, ‘may threaten the social peace’. Further, the administration reiterated its call for dialogue and reconciliation, and re-emphasised democratic legitimacy.
By Afro-Middle East Centre
Egypt has been in turmoil since 25 January 2011, when anti-government protesters took to the streets seeking the immediate resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. The unprecedented protests represent a challenge to the economic, social and political order in Egypt. Na'eem Jeenah, executive director of the Afro-Middle East Centre, provides an analysis in the Mail & Guardian that goes beyond the day-to-day protests. His article analyses what is occurring in Egypt and the regime's reactions to such actions, arguing that from the very beginning the regime's response to the uprising was crafted by the military in such a way that would help maintain the current status quo, allowing it effectively to control the politics of the largest Arab country. Ultimately, it is evident that the end game for the Egyptian military is one in which the regime has the upper hand and is able to strike a deal with the major opposition leaders, while the political influence and economic interests of the military are protected. It is these conditions that would allow it to maintain a direct relationship with American and European military structures, thereby ensuring that the military is able to maintain its domestic power while fulfilling its foreign policy objectives - irrespective of whether democracy is brought to Egyptian soil. For the full article, click here.
Dr Bashir Musa Nafi’
There is no instruction book for revolutions, nor for states transforming from authoritarianism and repression to freedom and democracy.
The situation in which Egypt finds itself today can be compared and contrasted to other Arab experiences during the revolutions, and previous European and Latin American experiences. It demonstrates the difficulty and complexities of transition and change, and relates to the circumstances of a specific nation and people. Countries are defined by numerous characteristics, especially those with deeply rooted histories. These include commitments and loyalties relating to the country’s location and identity, as well as those imposed onto the country, and demands made on its identity. History evolves and oscillates, and does not repeat itself except, as Marx says, ‘first as tragedy, then as farce’.
Responding to demands of “Mubarak out!”, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced earlier this week that he would stay in power until presidential elections in September, and will oversee the formation of a new government and of constitutional amendments which will allow opposition candidates to run for president.
The announcement was made on the eighth day of national protests, when two million Egyptians occupied various city centres to protest against Mubarak’s three-decade rule. Predictably, the protesters were unimpressed, and continued demanding his removal.
By AlJazeera Centre for Studies
In the early hours of the new year, a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, was the target of a violent terrorist attack which resulted in the death of twenty-one Coptic Christians and left more than seventy others, including a number of Muslims, injured. The attack resulted in a state of shock reverberating through the state and the government, as well as in the sphere of public opinion. Over the next three days, a number of Egyptian cities witnessed a wave of violent demonstrations and mass rallies organised by Coptic Christians. At the same time, various political parties publicly expressed their feelings of solidarity with the Coptic community, as well as their eagerness to safeguard the unity of the Egyptian people. However, neither the openly declared sentiments of national unity by these political parties nor the statements by President Hosni Mubarak were capable of restraining Coptic violence, which manifested itself in a series of sporadic clashes with the state security forces.