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14 June 2012


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So they made the right decision but at a bad time?

Adam L Silverman

Pretty much so. Basically the nub of that part of the ruling was that open list/first past the post seats had gone to proportional representation candidates. Anther interesting part of the ruling is that they ruled that the de-Mubarakification law, banning anyone from the previous government from running was also a no go. This adds another candidate to the presidential run off. What I find interesting is the parallels that exist here with the Iraqi election laws of 2008 and the de-Baathification law. Makes me wonder if there's some consultant out there on the former we're not aware of promoting this type of thing. That makes me wonder why...


Adam: This analysis would be lot more convincing if the Egyptian "judiciary" were not tools of the Egyptian dictatorship.

The Egyptians had a revolution. These judges are vestiges of the Mubarak regime.

If King George III's appointed judges were still interpreting the US Consitution after American Revolution, would we accept their rulings?


Adam -

What do you think the chances are that this could move to a Turkey type situation, with the military gradually allowing political freedoms except for Islamic parties? Or does that require an Egyptian Kemal first?


People seem forget that Turkey's economy boomed only after the Islamist party came to power.

Coups, torture, and a stagnant economy are the legacies of the Turkish military.

Lars Moller-Rasmussen


Actually,the Egyptian judiciary used to have a reputation for some degree of independence of the Mubarak regime. Before the fall of Mubarak, opposition parties traditionally asked the regime to the continue the practice of having judges preside over polling stations. This was to prevent the ballot box-stuffing carried out by government-party activists from getting out of hand.

Stuffing ballot-boxes with fake votes was an efficient means of rigging elections because voter partipation was traditionally very low. Many observers believed it to be only a fraction of the official figures.


Matthew -

I didn't say it was a good or a bad thing, just asking an expert for his opinion.



Having served with the Turkish military, I may actually know somethig about this. They were the guardians of the Kemalist faith, the main tenets of which were modernity, secularism and rqual rights for women. pl

Adam L Silverman


The analysis of the type of election, which was the whole point of the post, is accurate. Do I believe that the Egyptian Supreme Court handed down the ruling for purely judicial, constitutional, and apolitical reasons? No, just like I don't believe that our Supreme Court hands down rulings for those reasons either.

As to your remarks about Turkey: the military's "traditional" (as in having done it like four times) role as the last preserver of Turkey's secular Kemalist system is both blessing and course. Four times they've intervened, which from our understanding of civil-military relations is not what one wants to happen, but that said, all four times they've set up the process to restore civilian control and abided by it. And I've served with Turkish officers the last two years, though in my case it was to serve as faculty instructor, so while I have no where near the breath or depth of COL Lang's experience with this, my experience is that they are proud of this historical guardianship, but are also dedicated officers that understand that the civilian government is supposed to be in charge.

Adam L Silverman

HankP:I don't think we'll see that - Egypt is not Turkey. And that's my take on this whole Arab Spring thing. Aside from chronological, and in some cases geographic, proximity, each of these (series of) events can only be understood in the context of the society it is occurring in. Egypt, while more similar to Tunisia or Libya than it is to Iowa (to pick a place that it is, indeed, very different from) still has its own unique society and the political, social, religious, and economic institutions and structures have shaped Egyptian national and sub-national identities in a way that what happens in Egypt is going to be different than what happens in Syria once we get beyond the most superficial similarities (repression, crackdown, poor economy, etc). So its a great question, but I'm not sure if an answer can be extracted from comparison with Turkey.

William R. Cumming

My question is largely one of ignorance. Why have Egypt, Iran, and Turkey largely operated since the end of WWI and WWII to largely focus on their internal dynamics and not tried to dominate the areas of greatest interest to them including neighboring nation-states? Or have they done so and I just missed it? Only Iran has oil but all three have talented populations and critical geographic locations for the GAME of THRONES! IMO of course.



Turkey is a special case. It was one of Ataturk's precepts that Turkey should abandon the Ottoman tradition and concentrate on building a nation within the borders that he won in battle and diplomacy. to that end he had bargained successfully wiht the balkan countries for the transfer of Muslim populations to Turkey. Following this tradition Turkey minded its own business until the accession of the present government began to make a shift in policy.

Egypt has been obsessed with Israel in one way or anotherr since the foundation of the Jewish state. It still is. Israel is all there is of Egypt's foreign issues.

Iran is s multi-nationel ecumenical empire. Under the shah (emperor) attention was inward focussed on development. The mullahs have a wider focus but they started late in the GOT. pl

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