So the storm is over in Egypt. Or is it?
I will write to the friends in this blog in more detail shortly. But for the time being I have this to say:
* The main concern now should be how not to push the Islamic groups out of the political process. The return of Jama’a Islamiah, the Jihad assisted by some of the Salafi base and a part of the MB’s youth to terrorism (a la 90’s) will bring serious consequences to the economy and stability of Egypt. It will also pave the road to strengthening the security measures, resorting to extra judicial practices and getting Egypt back to the pre 2011 uprising, therefore pushing the country yet again in the same path that led to the uprising.
Every possible effort should be done to keep these organizations within the political process for enough time to sever their still fresh roots in violence. All sorts of “revenge”, illegal prosecution and political witch hunt should cease.
* The expected reaction of the Islamists to the coup that is not a coup which took place will vary from trying to create a sectarian confrontation (as is already happening in Asyiut and Al Menia) by attacking the available soft target, that is Coptic Churchs and gathering places. This is the preferred tactic to identify “us” and “them”. It will allow the fanatics to re-engage the population and recreate a bond with the Muslems in these communities. It will also shift the light from the real issue to an issue of choice the redraws the ties and enemities.
* It is assumed that a population hostile to the fanatics will deprive them of the favorable environment that is necessary in waging a terrorist war against authorities. Then is true but only for some time and in some places. In upper Egypt for example, family and clan ties are too strong to be effected by political hostility. Furthermore, if the economic situation does not improve rapidly, the “popular environment” may turn to favoring actions against the authorities.
* It is indeed of great importance to retrain the Egyptian police and totally dismantle its traditional school of brutality, torture and arrogance. This is always important. But it is particularly important now. The population seems to have forgiven the police because the police refused orders to confront the protesters. True or false, it is positive provided that the police force do not move rapidly to squander this hardly regained capital. Police brutality was one important factor in getting communities in upper Egypt (traditionally a strong hold for the Jama’a Islamiyeh) to assist terror activities in the past.
I wanted to write in more specific terms about the mistakes of the US administration since accepting the MBs argument that writing a consensus constitution should precede the presidential elections (summer 2011) till the count down to the 30th of June. Unfortunately I have to postpone that for the time being due to time restrains. I just would like to say that the pattern of mistakes as I will explain in another posting proves a lack of strategy. Since Graham Fuller and the Algeria FIS story in the early 90’s the question of relations with political Islam has been profoundly researched and discussed in the US. It is striking that all these years of contacts, observations, experiments, and manifestations of Islamic groups role in political activities resulted in what we saw in the case of Egypt. The link between all this great effort and accumulation of knowledge in one hand and the current decision making process seems to be non-existent.