Egypt got rid of military leaders who outstayed their welcome, but may instead get a more subtle military leadership that is better able to work out an understanding with a Muslim Brotherhood that seems attached to a majoritarian idea of democracy, and of course remains generally illiberal. But at least, it gets rid of what was an untennable form of direct military rule and empowers an elected civilian president.
Entries in Issandr El Amrani (12)
The crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square reacts to the announcement of the victory of Mohamed Morsi in the Presidential run-off
To throw the election to [Ahmad] Shafiq, who clearly lost by almost a million votes, would have produced an outpouring of anger and possible violence that the military must have concluded it could not control. It did not matter, though. Declaring Shafiq the winner despite the results was wholly unnecessary due to what the military clearly believes is its ace: the June 17 constitutional declaration.
The timing of the decree, just as polls closed on the second day of the second round of elections, suggests that the military’s action was improvised. As if sometime on Sunday afternoon, one of the officers turned to another and asked with alarm, “What if Morsi wins?” It was anything but ad hoc, however.
Shortly after the fall of Mubarak, Field Marshal Tantawi asked for a translation of Turkey’s 1982 constitution, which both endows Turkish officers with wide-ranging powers to police the political arena and curtails the power of civilian leaders. In the June 17 decree, the military hedged against a Morsi victory by approximating the tutelary role the Turkish military enjoyed until recently. As a result, President Morsi does not control the budget; has no foreign policy, defense, or national security function; and has been stripped of the president’s duty as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, meaning he has no control over military personnel. In addition, having dissolved parliament in a move that has no legal basis, the SCAF now also functions as Egypt’s legislature. Finally, the military will be able to veto articles of a new constitution.
See also Bahrain Analysis: The PR Game, the BBC, and Alkhawaja's Hunger Strike br>
Syria, Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: "War Crimes" in Idlib, Deaths in Cairo br>
Tuesday's Bahrain Live Coverage: The Regime Plays for Time
1430 GMT: Police repeatedly fire tear gas into Diraz on Tuesday night to disperse protesting youth:
Fact: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in its stewardship of Egypt's post-Mubarak transition, has not restored security, stability, economic growth.
Fact: The SCAF's transition plan has been so badly thought out that they have made a successful democratic transition extremely difficult, and the timeline for this transition appears still undecided.
Fact: While no political party has particularly shone during this transition, the Muslim Brothers in particular had a decisive influence in backing SCAF's transition plans from an early date.
A message from actress and activist Fadwa Suleiman about justice, freedom, and identity in Syria
2045 GMT: Two of the videos of demonstrations across Syria tonight, in Hama and in Tadmour in Homs Province:
What we saw today — so far at least — is that even amidst public uncertainty about the future, split public opinion on Tahrir and SCAF, and organizational chaos, the Egyptian people are eager to participate in the democratic process that may have real meaning for the first time in their lives. They are sharing in the fruits of the revolution, with pragmatism and hope, and testing whether the change is real. I don't see the high turnout (or what we think is a high turnout as we await official data) as a sign of support for SCAF. It's a sign of support for the democratic process and hope for its improvement.
That is a testimony of the Egyptian people's seriousness. But it does not change the fact that these elections were prepared with staggering, perhaps even malicious, incompetence and on that basis alone should not have been held, and that the transition blueprint in general is a bad one.
In Egypt you get the feeling that the upper class has completely ignored the social roots of the January uprising, and at the same time backed a return to similar kinds of politics of patronage, where parties and movements try to buy the poor with handouts and cheap meat at Eid. People don't want to be given charity, they want to be given social rights. This too is political — it's not about economic mismanagement. It's not about an uprising of the poor. It's about the political vision for a social economy.
Whether it's about police brutality, social change or politics, my feeling is that Egyptians want to feel like they've actually had a revolution. Whoever gives them that feeling might win the people in Tahrir over.
Libya Snapshot: An Anecdote about Khamis Qaddafi, the Arab Spring, and 3 Cold-Blooded Killings (El Amrani)
Saeed, because he had known Qadhafi back in the days of the Free Officers, broached the topic of the Arab uprisings and the trouble brewing in Benghazi. He began to give his opinion that, the regional environment being what it is, the regime should be cautious about repressing what were still relatively minor protests in Benghazi. Instead, he argued, it should engage the protestors and be cautious about the potential for the movement to get much bigger, as it did in Tunisia and Egypt so recently.
This enraged Khamis. He stood up and shouted at Saeed, accusing him of being a traitor and a weakling, and said his father would never have to give in to the vermin in Benghazi. Saeed respectfully stated he was just giving his advice, in light of what was happening elsewhere in the Arab world — just being cautious. But this only further incensed Khamis (who may have been on some kind of drugs), and the argument kept escalating.
Finally, Khamis lost it. He pulled out his sidearm and shot Saeed, killing him instantly. Saeed's son jumped towards his father, and the son's wife wailed. Khamis turned out and emptied his gun into them, killing them both.
1940 GMT: Protest tonight in Al Dair on the northern coast of Bahrain:
And in Sanabis:
One of the big questions for the future of Egypt is how to change the culture of police enforcement, security agencies and the army when it comes to accountability, respect of the rule of law, human rights practice and more generally attitudes towards public freedoms. It was always unrealistic to expect to change this overnight, and there are several problems to tackle --- to start with:
- deeply ingrained institutional practices (sometimes codified in laws, regulations and procedures that have their origins in the days of British rule in Egypt, as well as the security state established by Nasser);
- the need for a shift away from a culture of entitlement, paternalism, sexism, and authoritarianism;
- a structural adjustment to end a micro-economy of corruption that made police officers, for instance, resort to accepting bribes because their basic salaries are low and they were practically encouraged to be on the take to compensate. This of course benefited more senior officers who were engaged in more serious corruption (and were paid adequately) and shielded them from criticism, since everyone was on the take.