Robert Fisk: Assad will breathe a sigh of relief at death of Arab Spring

The 1991 Algerian parallel is relevant: a poll won by Islamists, special powers for the army, torture

Share
Related Topics

The end of the Egyptian Revolution? I suppose we could have seen it coming; the marginalisation of the original rebels of Tahrir Square, fobbed off with a few trials, while the military encrusted themselves round the power Mubarak had given them and sopped up his obedient ministers as a façade of civilian rule.

And the Brotherhood – as uninvolved in Tahrir as Ahmed Shafik – moved in to take over after years of clandestinity and government torture. Mubarak's men and the Brotherhood were never represented in Tahrir. "All we want is for Mubarak to go," the young of Egypt used to shout. And that was all. Easy for the "deep state" to resolve. Almost all the top "Stasi" officers were acquitted. The police murderers are still at work. These men are happy with this latest instalment in Egypt's tragedy.

The 1991 Algerian parallel is all too relevant. A democratic poll which the Islamists won, suspension of second-round elections, emergency laws that give the army special powers, torture, the round-up of elected members, savage guerrilla war – give and take a slight variation, only the last two have not yet begun in Egypt. But Algeria was less preposterous: le pouvoir had staged a coup and all who opposed it were "terrorists". This process has also begun in Cairo. The army has been given powers of arrest. These powers are meant to be used.

In Egypt, the holding of a presidential election when the parliamentary power base of one of the candidates, Mohamed Morsi (the Brotherhood) has been dissolved by the supporters of his opponent, Shafik, before the final presidential poll is ridiculous.

A few days ago, Alaa al-Aswany, that fine Egyptian novelist-activist-dentist, predicted a plan already formulated: to massacre the revolutionaries. But this plan would not work, he said, because the return of Shafik, protected by the military, would mean the end of the revolution. But that was then. Now Shafik may well take power – if Morsi loses – without a parliament to control him.

Desperate days, then. But one thing to remember. The Mubarak-appointed Egyptian judges didn't just get up on Thursday morning and decide to dissolve parliament. This was decided a long time ago. So was the retention of military power.

There will be plans ready for this weekend. They may even know the election result. I dare not think what this means for Egypt. The Arab Spring may be dead (the Arab awakening less so). But the security establishment in Washington will be pleased. So, I suspect, will President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Now there's a thought.

React Now

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

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia  

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Oliver Poole
Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup