Egypt. A year after revolution. Part 1

Uploaded by VestnikKavkaza on 07.02.2012

Boris Dolgov, expert from the Oriental Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
I will not talk about the reasons for the Egyptian revolution, only a couple of words.
The main factor was the internal factor, internal social, economic and political problems,
corruption and a lack of democracy played the role of a detonator of a social explosion
and the Egyptian revolution.
What are the results of the past year?
What can be state at the moment regarding the results of the events in Egypt, the Egyptian revolution?
First of all I would like to talk about, although it is rather trivial, but truly important,
it is one of the most important events of the year, the revolution in Egypt,
one of the biggest countries of the Arab-Muslim world.
These events concern the region, the future development of the political and socio-economic situation
in the region, as well as global politics, the balance of international forces in the world arena.
Undoubtedly, the Egyptian revolution is one of the most important events.
What can be stated as the results of this revolution?
A radical change of the ruling elites has taken place.
In Egypt power is falling into the hands of new political forces.
So far it is hard to speak about a final result, but what we see today can already be evaluated.
As a result of parliamentary elections, as is known, 47% of the votes were given
to the Freedom and Justice party.
This is a party of the Muslim Brotherhood, it received 235 seats.
Second place went to the salafist Al-Nour party with 121 seats, with 24%,
third place went to the liberal-democratic party Waft, with 8%.
The Egyptian bloc of liberal-democratic forces received 7%.
It is a clear success for the so-called Islamic forces.
However, I would like to stress the following moment.
First of all, a large number of media resources unite these two forces:
the Freedom and Justice party of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Al-Nour party.
They say that they hold together 71% and that the majority in the parliament are with the Islamists.
But I would not pose the question like this.
First of all, these two parties are not within a single bloc, they have considerable disagreements.
So we should not unite them in my opinion.
Yes, at the beginning of the pre-election campaign the Muslim Brotherhood attempted
to unite with the Al-Nour party, but it did not work out, they have considerable differences.
Al-Nour is a more radical Islamist force.
This is the first thing.
Henceforth, the Muslim Brotherhood was part of a pre-election alliance with leftist democratic forces.
I would remind you that the alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood
included not only political parties propagating political Islam,
such as the Reform and Renaissance party, but also liberal-democratic and leftist parties
such as the Tomorrow party, the Labour liberal party, the Liberal Party,
Arabic Socialist Egypt and the Dignity party.
I would like to focus on the Dignity party, "karama" in Arabic, headed by Hamdeen Sabahi,
who is planning to run for the presidency.
It is a left-wing democratic party.
Moreover, it positions itself as a successor to Nasserist politics, it has a socialist orientation.
This fact, this tendency of the alliance, might be just a pre-election alliance,
it might be a tactical move, and nevertheless this alliance exists.
In this regard I would like to stress the fact that the new political forces coming to power in Egypt
have their own proper ideology.
One cannot call it a new ideology.
But nevertheless these forces propose their own ways for the development of Egypt.
As one of the bases for the ways of development
they regard the historical foundation of the Arabic-Muslim world, Islamic culture.
In my opinion, this factor is rather important.
Moreover, all these parties talk about a democratic development of Egypt and declare
that they do not aim to create an Islamist state.
This is the factor which unites political Islam as well as democratic traditions,
and in my opinion is a rather interesting phenomenon.
Taking into consideration the fact that Egypt has the largest and most well-educated class in the Arab world,
we have reasons to talk about possible achievements and withdrawal from the crisis which besets Egypt.
Concerning the internal situation, I would like to underline the positive actions of the Sheikhs of Al-Azhar,
stating that they are going to support the development of democracy in Egypt
and of a truly democratic society in Egypt with the equal participation of all confessions.
This is important for Egypt.
Right before the elections clashes between Muslims and Copts took place in Egypt,
which led to numerous victims.
This problem, if we take into account the fact
that 20% of the Egyptian population consists of Coptic Christians, is rather serious.
The resolution of this problem is a challenge for Egyptian society.
Henceforth, regarding other political forces, especially liberal-democratic ones
and those new youth movements which appeared to be instigators
and the main force behind the Egyptian revolutionů
Why did they not receive enough support?
In my opinion, the liberal-democratic forces historically never had a great influence in Egyptian society
due to their weaknesses and disagreements.
But what is it about youth movements, including "April 6", "Organization of Revolutionary Youth" and others?
Why did not they receive enough support, despite being the driving force of the revolution?
I have managed to read in recent issues of Al-Ahram discussions with members of these youth movements.
They said that they participated in all the recent manifestations,
including rallies in the post-Mubarak period.
One of the leaders of the youth movements explained very reasonably
why devotion to the protest movement and participation in all protest movements,
disregarding the specifically political work,
this scrupulous everyday political work on the advancement of their own ideas,
the attraction of the electorate led to a lack of support rendered to these movements.
There is another issue regarding these movements.
It is known that recently the Egyptian authorities conducted searches in various NGOs,
Egyptian as well as international ones.
These NGOs were accused of being financed from abroad
and it was proclaimed that a foreign hand was attempting to manipulate Egyptian society.
It was stated that these youth organizations are in a way connected with these foreign organizations
and are in a way a fifth column in Egypt.
Perhaps this is not true, but it also played a certain role.
I would also like to focus on such an important element as the army.
The army is probably the only institution of power remaining from the old regime.
Marshal Tantawi is the head of the Supreme Council of Military Forces.
He is being accused of participating in crackdowns on demonstrations;
people demand his immediate resignation and the transfer of power to civic institutions.
This is true, but we should not forget that the army played a decisive role, in my opinion,
in the victory of the revolution.
Its neutrality and joining with revolutionary forces played a role and a very decisive one.
The old employees, the old command of the army,
which has been linked with the former authorities,
remain and are being accused of corruption and enrichment, just like other already-deposed allies of Mubarak.
This is a very serious question.
Historically, the army always played a very important role in Egypt.
Let us recall that in fact all the Egyptian presidents after the revolution of 1952
descended from the army circles.
This question or problem is rather serious.
In the presidential elections scheduled for June 2012 a new president will be elected.
What will be the fate of the army command and what will be the relationship
between the president, parliament and the army command?
This is also a rather complex problem and its resolution will affect many things.
I would like to once again remind you that at the first session of the new parliament, its speaker,
the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party,
as his first gesture thanked the army, he called it "the great Egyptian army",
for its contribution to and role in the Egyptian revolution.
We observe an absence of controversy between the parliamentary majority, new political forces and the army.
This is a rather important factor, although other forces, the youth movement
and a part of the left-wing movement demand the immediate resignation of the army.