July 1, 2013 by Sergei Oudman
It was of course a matter of time before the polity in Egypt would go to the streets again. The writing has been on the wall for some time, yet despite the many warnings from both the international community and his own polity, Morsi kept his course. It is no surprise that the demonstrations have started on Morsi’s first anniversary, and the intensity of the demonstrations, their location and the participants show that Morsi has lost credit for sure.
The anti-Morsi protest sweep over Egypt, and the amount of people participating is staggering. Sources indicate it could even involve more people than the previous rallies. An interesting developement as well is the fact that both the military and the police seem to avoid confrontations where this is possible. What is even more interesting in all this is the fact that the demonstrations are also intense in the south, in places where the Muslim-Brotherhood is strongest. And although Morsi is now being compared with Mubarak on equal footing there is a big difference between the two. Morsi has been elected because the people gave him their confidence in order to reform Mubarak’s Egypt. However, ever since Morsi has been in power his reforms have been focussed on Islamic Laws, conflicts with the courts and a whole other range of issues. None of them however have adequately addressed the core issues that are pivotal for a new Egypt. Mubarak his administration ran an effective system compared to that of Morsi. Yet Morsi his focus demonstrates that assuming leadership is not as easy as it seems. The economy has been heading to an abyss, and lately reports have been coming in of tourists leaving Egypt. Add to that an increasing debt, an $11 billion loan from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to “stimulate” the economy. Yet no market reforms and in one year nothing more than conflicts with the judiciary system and disappointment after disappointment.
Of course one could speculate about what the army will do in the near future. And it is a crucial question, but it doesn’t solve a chronic problem. Egypt needs a leader that steers the country in the right direction both economically and socially. The balance between the rule-of-law, rule-by-law and corruption are all factors that contribute to Egypt becoming a failed state if turmoil reaches the upper hand and escalation continues. If the military intervenes a questionable aftermath will be the result. Who will succeed and under which terms. It is however apparent that Egypt can function as a democracy, the fact that people demonstrate and voice their opinion is reason enough for any leader to start listening to what the polity wants instead of attempting to usurp more power to stay in control. The delusion of control has proven to be a contra-producing force and actually undermines leadership and the sovereignty of a state in transition.
With or without military intervention the solution required to deal with the underlying problems is not comprised out of quick fixes. Regardless of the ideological background of, in this case Morsi, or anybody else, Egypt as a state is too diverse to continue a Mubarak styled government. The polity has had a taste of revolt in the past, and Morsi cannot simply brush that aside. The best solution would be to step down and hold elections. Egypt’s strength is in its diversity, this diversity should be cultivated through reforms. The current administration however is cultivating the opposite, and the current course has too many indicators of civil unrest and eventually civil war. Looking abroad to Syria should be enough for Morsi and others to realize what is at stake.