Military rule: Egypt's chance of democracy is in retreat
Share with others:
The Egyptian armed forces' demolition of the Arab Spring democratization process in that critical country is reaching an alarming stage.
The United States' continuing support of the Egyptian military, to the tune of more than a billion dollars a year, is as a result putting America squarely in the crosshairs of the Egyptian people in their rage at what the military is doing.
They thought they had overthrown the dictatorial regime of President Hosni Mubarak, on the heels of the Tunisians' ousting of their president at the beginning of 2011. The Tahrir Square uprising ousted Mr. Mubarak and, theoretically, his regime. The military, in power in Egypt since 1952, did not resist. On that basis its assumption of control, in principle to keep the peace while the political transition to democracy occurred, was welcomed in general by Egyptians and the rest of the world, concerned at potential disorder in the nation of 81 million.
There were supposed to take place parliamentary elections, the writing of a new constitution and the election of a new president, all by unprecedented democratic means. The parliamentary elections took place, and the Muslim Brotherhood won, as expected. Now, the courts -- with all of the judges' hangovers from the Mubarak era -- have thrown out the results of those elections. The military has indicated that it will serve as the legislature pending the results of new parliamentary elections, as yet unscheduled.
The writing of the new constitution, which would define the responsibilities of the new president, has been postponed. The military has indicated that there, too, it will provide guidelines for the new fundamental document.
Runoff presidential elections took place this past weekend. The two candidates on the ballot were the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Morsi, and Ahmed Shafik, a retired general and the last prime minister of former President Mubarak. Mr. Shafik's candidacy was astonishing in the reversal of the alleged revolution that his victory would constitute. Mr. Morsi seems to have won the poll, but there remains the possibility that somehow -- perhaps through more military intervention -- Mr. Shafik will be determined the winner.
Washington has remained astonishingly reticent in its actions with respect to what is taking place. It is perfectly clear from what happened to the newly elected parliament, the expected constitution and now, perhaps, the presidential elections and presidential powers that the armed forces intend to continue ruling Egypt.
The question becomes, will America's alleged dedication to democracy take a dive in the face of preserving military rule in this important country? The answer will come in whether Washington continues to fund Egypt's military thugs.
First Published June 21, 2012 12:00 am