“We are fed up with the remnants of the former regime. They have poisoned our lives. They are now in all institutions. They are all over the place and they keep cursing us night and day.”
These were the words said by Tunisian thinker and president Moncif Marzouki from the presidential palace in Cairo last week. Saying so, he offered the correct description of what is happening in Tunisia and Egypt, which have witnessed the birth of the Arab Spring.
The expression “remnants of the former regime” has become an Arab Spring term linked mainly to Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen. Libya is an exception because that change the revolution brought there was a drastic one that was paid for dearly by the blood that flooded in cities and across the desert. The victory of liberals in Libya proved that talk about the establishment of armed militias and the division of the country into statelets was sheer propaganda that held no water.
With its remarkable election experience, Libya might emerge the biggest winner among other Arab Spring states especially when compared to its two neighbors Egypt and Tunisia, where remnants of the former regime are still wreaking havoc and making it hard for elected powers to do their job in peace.
Tunisia was alerted to the danger of the remnants of the former regime in the judiciary. This does not only mean that the law and the constitution are at stake, but also that the revolution is losing to the old era. The dismissal of almost 100 judges who belonged to the former regime was the solution to this problem.
In Egypt, reformation is much harder and needs a lot of time. The end result might be the one favored by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and in which it gets a special status that enables it to create a state within a state and to make political civil powers and Tahrir Square accept the two-state solution.
The two-state solution is a political expression used in several stages of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. It means the creation of a Palestinian state that peacefully coexists with the Jewish state.
A lot has happened in Egypt since June 14. The Supreme Constitutional Court dissolved the parliament then the president reconvened it then his decision was revoked. The Complementary Constitutional Declaration was issued to give SCAF legislative powers as well as the right to choose the members of the Constituent Assembly, in charge of drafting the constitution, in case its work is hindered. This hindrance is expected to take place on Tuesday if the Administrative Court dissolves the assembly when it is about to come up with a consensus framework for the constitution.
This means that SCAF will form the Constituent Assembly as it sees fit and will make sure the new constitution asserts the two-state solution which will give the generals prerogatives similar to those given to their Turkish counterparts for the past 90 years under the pretext of defending secularism and protecting the shape of the state as established by Ataturk.
For almost a century, Turkey offered an example of a fake democracy in which heads of state had no actual powers and where decision-making was exclusive to the “deep state” and the military, security, and judiciary institutions it controls.
A year and a half ago, Turkey has gotten rid of the two-state system through the constitutional amendments cleverly made by the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan, therefore, stood up to remnants of former regime that was emboldened by the constitutional court which disbanded the government of Necmettin Erbakan and banned him from any political activity.
Turkish history is rife with painful stories about the two-state system and we don’t want to see any of them reenacted in Egypt which had for the past 60 years been ruled by presidents from the military. But are we capable of stirring away from what we don’t want to see happen?
What makes me feel pessimistic is this “indifference” on the part of political powers just to spite the Muslim Brotherhood. This is what would eventually drag us to the pre-Erdogan Turkey.
(The writer is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya Net. This article was first published in Al Gumhorihia on July 14, 2012.)