We’re in a weird spot.
I will assume, for the sake of sanity, that anybody concerned with the semantics of what’s been happening in Egypt has read, or can read – some of my previous posts on the matter.
I’d much rather look at the facts on the ground.
Morsi is gone. The MB crowds are desperate but dwindling, and every violence they mete out will only increase the already massive negative sentiments that most Egyptians now feel towards them. There will be blood. There will be injustices. They will be on both sides.
I used to argue before that we desperately needed a civil council, to include at the very least; the Azhar, the Coptic Church, the Military, the Workers, the Judiciary, and the Brotherhood.
It seemed the best way to avert loss of life on all sides.
Then, it happened.
But nobody was calling it that.
On the 3rd of July, millions of Egyptians watched the following video –
It was the end of Morsi.
El-Sisi did not do this the way Mubarak’s ouster was delivered. It was not a tight frame, showing one man, delivering the only statement you’ll hear. This is a large frame, and a large room, it is, both physically, and figuratively, more inclusive.
Around him there sits the head of the Azhar, the most recognized and authoritative Islamic Cleric in Egypt, also the Egyptian Coptic Pope, the head of the Coptic Church, representing roughly 10 million Copts in Egypt, and another few million worldwide. There is a representative of the Nour Party, arguably the largest political body of Salafists in Egypt, and on the left, representing the National Salvation Front, is Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, the man who helped create momentum against Mubarak, who had rendered false the US administrations lies about WMD’s in Iraq, and who the so-called ‘Muslim’ Brotherhood had allied with in the past when he was collecting signatures on ‘Change’ document, in an effort towards elections reform.
Also in the room was at least one of the young men who had launched the Tamarod campaign, which played an instrumental part in the toppling of Morsi.
They were in that room because El-Sisi (and by extension the cadre of powerhouses in the military) knew that no matter how many people were in the streets, this would be seen as a coup.
What that video doesn’t show you, because it ends far too soon – is that the other people in that room, all of them, in turn, got up, in turn, and approached the podium and spoke.
Their presence was not simply perfunctory.
The were presented to indicate and demonstrate one thing, and one thing only – an inclusive popular representation. It was an image that I have no doubt affected many. If there is one body in Egypt that I personally distrust as much as the Brotherhood, it would most likely be the generals. They are too powerful, and have proven too brutal. Too many times. Yet, despite that, despite all of that – the very presence of those people together cut through me deeply, and only one word came to mind, one word…
The fact of the matter is that El-Sisi’s bid to lend legitimacy to the ouster of Morsi by recruiting all those people, resulted in (whether he consciously wanted it or not) a very real, but completely informal ‘Civil Council’.
By placing these representatives next to him, El-Sissi not only derived legitimacy from them, but in turn admitted their legitimacy as representatives of the people of Egypt. In other words…
There’s your civil council.
El Sisi may not have been able to (or perhaps did not want to) shoulder the burden alone, after having seen firsthand (and avoided) the disgraceful ends of both Tantawi & Anan, so he divided up the responsibility, but in doing so, he did, ipso facto, divide up the authority as well. We now have an actual, but informal civil council, and it is made up of all those who participated in the joint TV statement supporting the ouster of Morsi.
The problem is that because this Council is informal, the political process is fraught with complications, and nobody is bound by any rules. This lack of formalization means that the rules of operation are not clear, to anybody.
The Nour Party has already, effectively, used a veto twice, in order to block two nominations for the position of Prime Minister, and everybody is both aware of this, and frustrated by it. There are no rules. It’s like a rural ‘sit’, where they just sit together, drink tea, and discuss things.
That just won’t do.
If those people think for a second that this was a one-gig thing, then they are sorely letting the country down. They were just as responsible for legitimizing this particular course of events as were the people, the millions of people, on the ground.
These people have to get their acts together. They are now sluggish, slow, inefficient, and quite open to sabotage. The Nour Party might have been pursuing what it honestly believed was best for Egypt, but they were the first to use a veto, and they used it twice.
What are the rules?
Does everybody have a veto? That leaves you open to madmen, idiots, and saboteurs.