Columns / Discourse / October 9, 2013

Democracy unlikely in Egypt

Even after Hosni Mubarak — the ruthless dictator of Egypt — was finally overthrown after nearly 30 years, Egypt has still not recovered. You would assume a turn to democracy would result alongside concord and happiness? Wrong, completely wrong. In fact, political conditions in Egypt are becoming worse as the summer ends.

The Egyptian military (also known as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) has essentially been the driving force behind all of the Egyptian governments for many years. SCAF still remains in power, as it has its own international economic interests, as well as a hefty amount of funding from the United States.

$1.5 billion is given yearly to the Egyptian military. Just as you would think, that is more than enough money for the longevity of an organization. In 2011, after noting that Mubarak was not popular amongst the people, the military had two options. First, it could support Mubarak; however, that would risk SCAF falling out power. The second option would be to support the people and their rising demands for equality and overthrow Mubarak. In an effort to regain their power, SCAF chose to aid the growing sentiments of revolution among Egyptian civilians and the Muslim Brotherhood to efficaciously oust Mubarak.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces then suspended the Egyptian constitution and dissolved the parliament. Eventually Mohammad Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was democratically elected as the president by the Egyptian people and for the Egyptian people.

So it seems as though the notion of “democracy” was running its course. Morsi was fairly elected and the Egyptians had finally passed the hurdle of life under a dictator. However, things began to take a turn for the worse and democracy started to seem incredibly unsuitable for Egypt.

According to the local population, Morsi began using usurped state powers, acting as the Pharaoh of Egypt instead of the president. As Morsi began to centralize the government, protesters emerged once more. In the summer of 2013 an ultimatum was given and Morsi was overthrown by the same army that had overthrown Mubarak and advocated for the presidency of Morsi. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces now acts as the interim government. Strange, right?

On the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, anti-government protesters and Morsi supporters have taken to the streets leaving 34 dead. On Saturday, a group of 1,000 anti-government protestors were crushed while trying to reach a mosque in Cairo.

Does this look like a democracy to you? Sure, the with the collapse of two “dictatorships” it seems like the Egyptians are on the road to success, however, the oppression, violence and protests continue. It is evident that democracy is not what Egypt needs.

Operating without a Constitution, Morsi was able to continually cross the line of having too much power because there was no line drawn for him! This means that there was no system of checks and balances that would have forced Morsi to loosen his grasp on an infinite amount of power. Who could blame him? He didn’t have any strict guidelines to follow.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court of the Armed Forces is an oppressive, dictatorial body. Holding onto its immense power and wealth, the body has acted as a stage-manager of an impressive play since the Israel-Egyptian Peace Treaty in 1979.

Democracy will not be an option for the Egyptian civilians until the institutional government is fixed and restructured. The next step in Egypt should be the creation of a Constitution rather than immediate elections. The next president of Egypt will once again be overthrown unless the country has created measures to break the consolidation of powers from the hands of one individual.

Democracy will never be an opportunity with the oppressive and manipulative SCAF in the picture. Should the United States recognize the overthrow of Morsi as a military coup, SCAF will no longer be funded by the United States, greatly depleting their source of influence and ultimate power. But that hasn’t and probably will not happen.

Nothing will change in Egypt. Violent bloodshed, protesters calling for equality and the overthrowing of presidents will continue until Egypt creates a solution that is different from what it has done in the past two years. Unfortunately, it seems that democracy is not the way for the Egyptians at this point.

Hiba Ahmed

Tags:  democracy dictatorship Egypt Morsi Mubarack pharaoh Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Yom Kippur War

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