Will Egypt’s crisis linger?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

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How long will it take for Egyptians to make up their minds to exit Cairo’s Tahrir and Rabia al-Adawiya Squares towards a stable regime?

It could be three months. It could be three years. There are many possibilities facing the new Egyptian government; possibilities which multiply as time passes. The new Egyptian regime, consisting of the cabinet, the political parties that support it and the army, will probably find itself committing the same mistake that the Brotherhood made during its one year of governance. Becoming occupied with disputes, instead of dealing with the Egyptian citizens in crisis, is what drove the people to revolt in the first place.

If ousted president Mohammed Mursi had made valuable and influential achievements during his tenure, his opponents would probably not have found enough people to fill up a single neighborhood in protests against the cabinet.

Now that they are the opposition, Brotherhood supporters will aim to obstruct public interests, distract the interim government from carrying on with its duties and incite people against the cabinet until people begin to revolt, again. We also have to keep in mind that the daily lives of many Egyptians is worse than it was two years ago when the first revolution erupted.

Insufficient foreign aid

Capitalists fled the country, foreign investments were halted and foreign aid provided today is taking forever to be delivered and when it is delivered, it takes even longer, sometimes a year or two, to be used beneficially.

How long will it take the Egyptians to make up their minds to exit Tahrir and Rabia al-Adawiya squares towards a stable regime? It could be three months. It could be three years.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The urgent aid sent to Egypt following the second revolution, which optimists and cynics speak of, is in fact less than the aid that Mursi’s cabinet received. The difference is that a big part of the former aid will arrive in the shape of material goods, like oil derivatives. There is promised aid of around $12 billion which is less than the $20 billion provided last year, when Qatar alone provided $8 billion. Qatar had originally promised double this amount for investments in Suez but the money is yet to be received. There were also foreign aid packages from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Europe, which totaled $6 billion. This aid however failed to save Mursi’s cabinet. In addition to a shortage of diesel and gasoline, the value of the Egyptian pound decreased and the price of food products increased.

As people are still busy rallying in the country’s squares, the best option is to speed up the election process and form a technocratic cabinet whose only concern is to save Egypt from the crisis it’s heading towards. The Brotherhood’s mission is now easy since they’ve become the opposition. It’s easy for them to protest every day and accuse the government of negligence, pushing the Egyptian people to take to the streets again and topple a third president in as many years.

Egypt’s path to acceptance

We cannot say that Egypt is on the right path until the constitutional amendments are completed, elections are held and a new president and parliament are chosen. It’s only then that we can say Egypt is on the right road towards a regime recognized by the world and by those who support the Brotherhood. No matter how suspicious they are about the process of electing a cabinet, the Brotherhood cannot accuse an elected cabinet of lying especially if organizers adopt complete transparency and allow international observers to monitor the elections. It doesn’t matter what the Brotherhood or other defeated parties say because the world will recognize the choice of the entire people and not the protests in Cairo’s squares and streets.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on July 17, 2013.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

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