Is Egypt More Unstable Than Pre-Morsi?
A day of battles between the police and protesters supporting deposed leader Hosni Mubarak left more than 500 dead and Egypt once again in chaos. In fact, Shadi Hamid, research director at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center, believes the current crisis is worse, not better, than the battles which ensued before the ousting of Mubarak.
“Democratic transitions, even in the best of circumstances, are uneven, painful affairs. But it no longer makes much sense to say that Egypt is in such a transition. Even in the unlikely event that political violence somehow ceases, the changes ushered in by the July 3 military coup and its aftermath will be exceedingly difficult to reverse,” he says, adding that those changes will “only exacerbate societal conflict” in an already divided country.
Revolution May Have Been Easier Than Democratic Transition Ben Hubbard and Rick Gladstone write in The New York Times that what many of the Arab Spring nations are discovering is that maintaining the peace may be more difficult than revolution.
They note that a majority of the uprisings “have devolved into bitter struggles,” partly as a consequence of the reality that after decades of one-party rule, these countries were ill-equipped to handle post-revolution transition.
“Middle East historians and analysts say that the political and economic stagnation under decades of autocratic rule that led to the uprisings also left Arab countries ill equipped to build new governments and civil society. While some of the movements achieved their initial goals, removing longtime leaders in four countries, their wider aims — democracy, dignity, human rights, social equality and economic security — now appear more distant than ever,” they argue.
Indecision Exacerbated Egyptian Unrest
Michael Hirsh agrees the situation is growing increasingly dangerous and could lead to “the most dangerous potential for Arab radicalization since the two Palestinian intifadas.”
Hirsh further argues that the Obama administration stumbled – and never achieved – to find an appropriate response to the Egyptian crisis. That indecision, he believes, may have placed Egypt on a perilous course from which it is too late to depart.
“To be sure, there was never any easy course—no obvious choice between an alarmingly Islamist president, which Morsi was becoming, and the military junta that succeeded him. But for months critics of the administration’s approach have been urging it to at least speak loudly and clearly, using the $1.3 billion in U.S. aid and military supplies as leverage, in demanding that first the Morsi government and then the military junta uphold democratic principles. That did not happen. And it may be too late now to alter the terrible path that Egypt is on.”
Global Reaction To Violence In Egypt
The last time Egyptian streets erupted in violence, Secretary of State John Kerry offered support for the government’s efforts to crack down, but yesterday stepped away from that position.
Calling for peace from all sides, Kerry stated: “Today’s events are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy.”
The US was joined by Britain in trying to toe a fine line, while other states spoke out to condemn the crackdown by government forces.