King Abdullah's roadmap for Egypt: economy, justice and dialogue
'Economy, justice and dialogue' are the main points of another roadmap presented by Saudi King Abdullah to Egypt
"Economy, justice and dialogue" are the main points of another roadmap presented by Saudi King Abdullah to Egypt. The king made these points during his speech congratulating newly elected President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. His speech was that of a loving man and his advice was that of a wise man who has experienced time and its changes. So is this roadmap possible to achieve? The Egyptian media was selective in reporting it as it reported what it wanted and ignored what it didn't want.
Perhaps this is an example of the pessimism which the king warned Sisi of and which he said it "beautifies the ugly and only looks after its own interests. Those are the devil's aides and soldiers on earth." The truth is that the Egyptian media did not contribute to good deeds in Egypt as it acted as a tool for incitement and division. Others who have interests in Egypt and other places also performed this role.
Economy is the first item in the king's roadmap for Egypt. The kingdom will do what it can and has called for a donors’ conference for Egypt. The list of donors is not long as Egypt's current circumstances prevent many countries and international organizations from committing to providing any help.
However, the participants’ support will help improve the political atmosphere and will pave the way for others to join the list of donors in the future. This can be achieved by implementing the two other items, justice and dialogue.
Under justice comes reforming the judiciary and releasing the innocent. It makes no sense that the thousands detained after July 3, 2013, are criminals. Justice also means to prevent privileged people from achieving their aims at the expanse of poor and deprived people who fueled anger which exploded on Jan. 25 and on days that followed.
As for dialogue, it should be with whoever the new president disagrees with and not with those who support him. The mechanism for dialogue in a country, which is supposed to be democratic like Egypt, is through free parliamentary elections which grant everyone the right to participate and win if they deserve to win. The results should be based on the votes and not the desires of the rulers.
Is it like the Marshall Plan?
Some commentators said the king's call for a donors’ conference for Egypt is a new Marshall Plan, referring to the American initiative to help Europe after the end of World War II. The plan yielded results during less than a decade. So can we achieve such progress in Egypt?
First of all, we must understand the concept of the Marshall Plan as it's not merely aid which helps the economy recover. It's bigger than that. It was unitary project that eliminated borders and economic barriers among neighbors. It ended past enmities and religious, intellectual and political-historical struggles. It supported new free initiatives and pushed European states to adopting economic transparency for the first time after production and consumption data had been regarded military secrets.
The Marshall Plan pushed European states toward a mutual economy based on integrating products, consumption and services. It integrated the economies of the defeated Europe and Japan with the victorious United States. It was a mutual rise for everyone and a project that united and empowered the powers of "moderation" represented in capitalism, democracy and market economy. The plan empowered them against the "revolutionary extremism" powers supported by the communist Soviet Union. The plan also contained European revolutionary powers which led resistance against occupation and sought a role of its own, and it restored European bourgeoisie in Germany and France (particularly of the regime's remnants) after they sympathized, participated or kept silent regarding Nazis' sins.
There are similarities and differences, but replace a name with another and the image becomes clearer. If the Brotherhood, revolutionary socialists and angry Egyptian youths are "extremism," their medicine - according to the king's roadmap - is in "reforming economy, justice and dialogue."
There's also a huge difference between us and the West following WWII. Parliamentary democracy was the rule everyone abided by in Europe, while we still haven't agreed on one governing model so far. This makes integration among us difficult, but there's hope that an economic renaissance will lead to this. The latter's success speeds up democracy and its failure speeds up revolution and chaos – be it creative or destructive. What's important is that no one wants chaos.
This article was first published in Al-Hayat newspaper on June 7, 2014.
Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi journalist, columnist, author, and general manager of the upcoming Al Arab News Channel. He previously served as a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal while he was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. Khashoggi has written for various daily and weekly Arab newspapers, including Asharq al-Awsat, al-Majalla and al-Hayat, and was editor-in-chief of the Saudi-based al-Watan. He was a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, and other Middle Eastern countries. He is also a political commentator for Saudi-based and international news channels.)