Monday, January 21,  2019


Reality Check

By Midan Masr

Anyone who thinks the army - regardless of how much violence happens - is going to push Morsi out, is extremely naïve and making a serious political miscalculation (or deliberately deluding themselves). If things get violent the most the army will do is force early parliamentary elections, maybe assoon as August, and make Morsi put a few quasi liberals in the cabinet. 

The army have a choice; to make an enemy out of a dysfunctional opposition that has proven it is completely ineffective, can not work together, can not form coalitions and completely disorganised; or, to make an enemy out of a very organised, concentrated, wealthy, probably armed, Moslem brotherhood, who knows how to fight and survive, AND who feel they have total legitimacy and it has been stolen from them.

Which of those two do you think they will choose - of course they will choose not making an enemy of the Moslem brotherhood. Plus the army knows that if they hand the power to the opposition, given their track record, they will not be able to govern, in addition, they will have to be brutally fighting the brotherhood who feel their one chance (which again they feel they won legitimately) was stolen from them. 

In that scenario - where the army kicks Morsi out,  there will be an ineffective government composed of dysfunctional opposition leaders that can't govern; which would effectively mean the army would have to govern - and that's the last thing they want - particularly with a virulently angry and legitimised enemy of the Brotherhood.  A far more destabilising scenario than even the current one. There is no way that will happen; the most they will do is force Morsi to announce early parliamentary elections and maybe tamp down some of the constitutional decrees. Plus - the only way to get the army's attention is to totally gum up the system, and effectively stop the country from working - for that you need mass AND long duration protests.

And unfortunately given the searing heat and Ramadan, this will not happen.

So yes, there will be concentrated violence, but not enough to stop the functioning of the country -which is the only way to force the army and Morsi's hand. It's effectively  a war of attrition - and given the circumstances - the opposition right now can't win that. But there will be concessions. 

Another minor point is that Morsi came to power in elections the military oversaw and declared legitimate - difficult for them to effectively turn around and kick out the person  the elections they ran and declared legitimate resulted in. 

The big hole / wild card in the analysis - that could make it all wrong - is what the security services / amn dawla do. They still have the ability to shut the country down and they could potentially force the hand and they will do everything they can to capitalise on this and create a sustained advantage. Just like the military "rode the wave" of the January 25th revolution; the now emaciated security services may try to inflame and then "ride the wave" of the June 30th events to re-establish influence and power that they have completely lost.  

So here - if we had any modicum of thought or leadership by the opposition in Egypt -  is what the opposition should do - but as usual, the opposition leadership will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. If the opposition have truly gathered 15 million signatures plus the millions more who haven't signed but are against the Ikhwan - and they think they can mobilise enough people into the streets on June 30th to force Morsi out and force the military's hand - in fact, the best thing all the opposition could do is actually no violence and call for  parliamentary elections. 

If every one that signed the tamarod campaign, plus all the others against the brotherhood that didn't sign, voted against the brotherhood in those election, the brotherhood would be swept out, that new body would draft the new constitution, and you've won and removed the brotherhood legitimately, and gotten a new constitution in process. It's ridiculous that people don't see that if you've got such mass support against the brotherhood, the best thing is to kick them out via the ballot box. 

So here's what the opposition needs to ask for and they will win: 

1. No violence

2. Demand parliamentary elections in August / September

3. Insist that a representative body - with a majority from the judiciary -  reflecting the composition of Egypt be put together for the sole purpose of drafting a specific law to ensure fair parliamentary elections

4. Insist that judiciary with international observers oversees the election

5. New parliament chooses a constitutional drafting committee and a new constitution is written

- people's concern on 2 above is that while yes the brotherhood will be swept out, that all of the people from the old regime/felool - who still have organizational capabilities - will sweep the elections (because the rest of the opposition is so disorganized and fractured); so if that's a genuine concern, make demand number 6 that a law is passed barring them from running.

And that is what the opposition needs to do to win.