Well, President Hosni Mubarak finally left the presidential palace for good.
Appears to be good news for Egyptians. But appearances could be deceiving.
They did not get a democratic transition, they got the army running the country with a military council. Is that what Egyptians wanted ? Is that what the Middle East and Israel wanted ?
Not sure. There are many commentaries and news analyses on the web for one to read and understand. But the fact remains that Egypt has entered a period of uncertainty regarding its future form of government. While the Egyptian military is made up of all sections of the population (all Egyptian males have to serve the army), and so is representative of the Egyptian society as a whole, it is difficult to guess the minds of the top military leaders. They (like most military generals elsewhere) are generally opaque personalities with secretive behaviours which are difficult to decipher.
Given that the military will rule Egypt for the next 7 months, we will have to wait and see if it will concede power to a democratically elected government, if the constituents of the government are not acceptable to it. This is going to be a serious challenge to any new government coming to power in Egypt. There is always a possibility of a coup as an instrument of the military that could be unleashed on any government that tries to change the order of how the government had been run in Egypt over the past six decades.
It is a good assumption if one were to come to a conclusion that the U.S. would play a crucial role in any new government formation and use its strong links to the Egyptian Military leadership to ensure that an anti-American party does not gain power. This is but only natural after many decades of a collaborative government which ensured peace with Israel resulted in middle-east peace overall, and worked closely with the U.S. for mutual benefit.
Now, like the Egyptian population, the U.S. government/military as well as Israel, are entering a period of uncertainty, with no clear answers. Given a choice, the military-run government would be a choice because both the U.S. and Israel are familiar with the military leadership and comfortable in the fact that they would not allow any party to break the fragile peace accord. But is that going to be tenable even in the medium term ? Not if the Egyptian people would have their way. They did have their way in the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, didn’t they ?
Apart from this internal government formation challenge, the Egyptian situation has also seriously impacted other Arab nations with restive populations all around Egypt. It would be very interesting to see how the Facebook/Twitter-led revolution of Egypt could be transported to other repressive countries with dictatorships which should be very seriously considering the possibility of a civilian revolt on their hands. They might be planning for the same, and introducing reforms very quickly, in the near future to avoid the fate of Mr Mubarak.
Democracy is always welcome and Freedom to the people is a critical step in a nation’s development, but stability and peace factors need to be reassessed.
Have a great weekend,
12th February 2011