Demands of 2011 revolution were not met... but the army does not hold the answers

Military rule would be more like the silly junta who took over after Mubarak

Share
Related Topics

Can Islamists run a country? Egypt was the first real test – and yesterday the Egyptian army called their bluff. To tell a democratically elected president – especially a Muslim Brotherhood one – that he’s got 48 hours to shape up and do a deal with his opponents means that President Mohamed Morsi is no longer the man he was. Islamists, the army is saying, failed. He must resolve his differences with the opposition, or Egypt’s generals will be compelled to “issue a road-map for the future” – an unfortunate turn of phrase when you remember the other great “road-map” run by Tony Blair for the future of the Middle East.

The crowds in Tahrir Square roared their approval. Of course they did. The army called their protests “glorious”. But they would do well to think through what this means. Secular Algerians supported their army in 1992 when it cancelled the second round of elections which would have been won by the Islamic Salvation Front. The “national security” of the state was in danger, the Algerian generals said – the very words used by Egypt’s military leaders on Monday. And there followed in Algeria a civil  war that killed 250,000 people.

And what exactly will the Egyptian army’s “road-map” be, if Morsi fails in his “last-ditch chance” to resolve his problems with the opposition? Is it going to call yet more presidential elections? Unlikely. No general is going to depose a president in order to confront another one.

Military rule would be more like the silly junta who took over after Mubarak. The “Supreme Council of the Armed Forces”, it called itself – note the word “supreme” – and it blundered on with meaningless calls for public order and arrogant claims to speak on behalf of the people until Morsi chopped it down to size by retiring its two top generals just last year. Those were the days.

The last time an Egyptian army took over from a man who had humiliated his country and his people – King Farouk – a young Colonel Nasser came to power, and we all know what happened then. But must this now really be a battle between Islamists and soldiers, even if the United States will ultimately – be sure of this – throw its weight behind the uniformed “guardians” of the nation?

The old argument for free elections was simple. If the Islamists are allowed to win at the polls, let’s see if they can govern a country. This was always the slogan of those who opposed the Western-backed dictatorships and military cliques of the Arab world.

The argument was not mosque vs state so much as Islamism vs reality. Alas, the Egyptian government has frittered away its time imposing a Brotherhood-style constitution, allowed ministries to stage their own mini-revolutions, and promoted laws that would shut down human rights groups and foreign NGOs. Furthermore, Morsi’s 51 per cent “win” at the polls was not sufficient, amid the current chaos, to make him the President “of all Egyptians”.

The 2011 revolution’s demand for bread, freedom, justice and dignity has gone unanswered. Can the army satisfy these calls any more than Morsi, just by calling the demonstrations “glorious”? Politicians are rogues. But generals can be killers.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

After Savile, we must devote our energies to stopping the child abuse taking place now

Mary Dejevsky
A ‘hugely irritated’ Sir Malcolm Rifkind on his way home from Parliament on Monday  

Before rushing to criticise Malcolm Rifkind, do you know how much being an MP can cost?

Isabel Hardman
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower