By Adham Bishr
With the recent violence in Egypt and the winding down of the Libyan Civil War, we are forced to wonder if any of the violence could have been averted in the Middle East. When the Arab Spring was brought to Egypt, it was hailed as a relatively peaceful movement and a vindication of the fact that non-violence can bring about change. Now we are faced with an Egyptian populace waking up to the fact that the Mubarak government is still in charge (just without the Mubarak part). Does this mean we have naively concluded that peaceful movements have brought about change?
To begin, the example of Libya must be considered. Libya has been under the control of Muammar Gaddafi for over 30 years. Seen publicly as a senile and vicious dictator, there is no doubt that the Libyan government was ripe for overthrow. Unlike in Egypt and Tunisia, the man in charge refused to go quietly. Civil war stepped forward. While it seemed Gaddafi held the upper hand against rebellion, international efforts to support the rebellion have provided much needed aid to the rebels. The rebels have only recently ended the war with the very public killing of Gaddafi. With his body paraded around by the rebels and his children held in custody, there is no doubt that the Gaddafi regime is finished once and for all.
Nine months ago, Egypt’s Arab Spring looked more orderly than Libya’s. The police and the military refused to attack civilians. The people demanded nothing less than the immediate resignation of Hosni Mubarak, who delivered it within weeks. Not only was he forced to step down; Mubarak was jailed for crimes against the state and is being prosecuted with his assets seized. Military officers were seen holding hands with the people and greeted as “liberators” despite the fact they were the ones propping up the Mubarak regime the entire time. The provisional government (run largely by the military) promised elections in November for a fully democratic Egypt.
While I am certain than many will remark hindsight is 20/20, I believe the current violence was entirely foreseeable. The Egyptian people held an opportunity to eradicate the repressive Mubarak regime. Instead of forcing the entire government to leave, they settled for one man. They mistakenly believed the military had turned to their side once they refused to fire on protesters.
The Egyptian people were mistakenly placated with the imprisonment of Hosni Mubarak. They took only one part (albeit an important one) of the government. But with the army now calling the shots and stalling elections, their true agenda has been revealed. It seems that the military is unwilling to settle for anything less than full autonomy from future civilian government. Naturally, any government unable to control the men that enforces its will is no government at all. Now the Egyptian people must ask themselves, why would men holding all the power give it away freely?
Courtesy of BRQ Network