COMMENT: What next for Egypt?

Events this week have escalated in Egypt which has led to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to resort to dictatorial actions similar to Hosni Mubarak era.

Since Nasser took power in 1952 the military has constructed the political architecture in Egypt. This system kept the army in charge of key strategic issues such as foreign policy, and defence. On some occasions aspects of domestic policy were left to parliament to deal with, however Nasser, Sadat and Hosni Mubarak remained firmly in charge. The parliamentary elections that have taken place since the 1950’s have in realty been nothing more than a façade. All power has remained with the military who have taken the presidential post in most of Egypt’s recent history.

The Arab spring however challenged this architecture and the army seeing their interests about to evaporate, essentially removed Mubarak from power. The SCAF – Egypt’s military leadership, has overseen the transition ever since. The election in November 2011for the parliament was for the same system Nasser constructed in the 1950’s. However on this occasion the faces were to be civilian. The uprisings in Egypt have simply led to the continuation of old system with new faces.

In the last week the SCAF got the Ministry of Justice to effectively impose martial law, its powers were extended allowing its soldiers to arrest and investigate civilians at will. Amnesty International labeled this “the legal sanctioning of abuse”.

On the eve of the presidential elections and with the Muslim Brotherhoods (MB) freedom and Justice Party (FJP) controlling the parliament that was elected in November 2011 the SCAF move ensures it holds the reigns of power in Egypt.

The Mubarak-appointed judges have subsequently dissolved parliament which was elected by the people, they also then overturned a law that barred members of the old regime from running for high office. The court could easily have made this ruling earlier, but on the eve of the presidential elections the army assumed control of the parliament’s legislative powers as well as the Constituent Assembly, which will draft the country’s new constitution.

With the presidential elections taking place on the weekend of 16th-17th June 2012 the SCAF then issued an Interim Constitutional Decree (ICD) where, the SCAF assumed legislative powers, which it stripped from the parliament. It will appoint a new assembly to directly control the writing of the new constitution. This assembly is mandated to complete its work within three months. And the decree sets up a timeline for the next parliamentary elections, which cannot be held until, not surprisingly, the constitution is written. Finally, the decree grants the SCAF the right to veto any article in the draft constitution it deems “contrary to the supreme interests of the country.”

Holding parliamentary elections only after the constitutional referendum will give the SCAF leverage over the final composition of the parliament and ultimately the post of President.

Not surprisingly for all their calls for democracy there has been little vocal opposition from Western Capitals to such moves.

For the MB they have once again been wrong footed by an army leadership who has worked to maintain its influence. The challenge for the MB who clearly have mass appeal, as in free elections they received a landslide victory, is to stick to their principals and articulate a clear course for Egypt.

Cutting deals with army is the strategy to dilute their call and message. This will weaken the MB in front of the electorate who voted for them to implement Islam.

The MB needs to realise the army leadership – SCAF does not have Egypt’s interest at heart, whatever deals is cut, they, like Mubarak before them want to continue their slavish support for the US due to the military aid it receives, lining their pockets. The SCAF has no problems protecting Israel, which is a US condition for their military aid of around £1.3 billion a year. The SCAF even removed Hosni Mubarak when this aid was at stake.

The Egyptian army is composed mainly of soldiers from rural villages, who join the army due to the economic stability it provides. The MB has not provided an alternative to this narrative. Islam is the solution as a slogan, whilst now dropped by the MB, without detailed policies has done little to convince the rank and file in the army that the MB can fix the Egyptian economy. By challenging the army with detailed polices on how the economy will be reconstructed, how governance will be transparent, how an independent judiciary and justice will be served creating a fracture within the army is impossible.

The army leadership of 20 senior officers is holding a country of 80 million people hostage. The vast number of Egypt’s populace supported the MB’s campaign for Islam for the country. The MB need to use this to change Egypt destiny to what the people voted them in for. Anything less than this is not only a failure, but the path to maintaining western hegemony.

Adnan Khan

COMING SOON – REPORT: After the Arab Spring: The Islamic Khilafah, A Manifesto for Change

No one can fail to be inspired by the courage of the Muslims in the Middle East. 2011 saw this courage spill over into the streets in the form of defiance in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria. Though some despots have been replaced and some elections carried out: the struggles are far from over.

The defiance of the people was aimed at tyrannical rulers, at Western manipulation and fundamentally against the appalling systems in our Muslim countries, which have consistently failed to deliver even the most basic needs for our citizens.

Despite the on-going defiance we still have tyrannical rulers, we still have Western manipulation and we still have systems in place that not only don’t deliver basic needs but in fact encourage despotism and Western interference.

Islam is a different ideology which offers a comprehensive and superior set of solutions from the Shari’ah to manage the issues of a modern society.

The Shari’ah is legislation derived from 4 key sources of Islam: Quran, Sunnah, Ijma as-Sahaba (consensus of the companions) and Qiyas (analogical reasoning). It’s application and direction is focussed on managing the interaction of people in society and it promotes and is in harmony with any level of technological advancement.

In fact only Shari’ah solutions are uniquely aligned with the religion, values, customs and traditions of the Muslim people, irrespective of nationality.

This report which takes Egypt as a case study will demonstrate what a real Islamic political programme for Muslim countries should look like and how this can be implemented.