The future in Egypt and in the Arab world has changed after the grand failure of the Spring of chaos, fundamentalism and terrorism which came to be known then as ‘The Arab Spring.’ June 30, 2018 marked the fifth year after the culmination of this huge event.
Have economic challenges facing the Egyptian state and people come to an end during the past five years? Of course not. But the more important question is what did Egypt and its people gain from the chaos of that ‘Spring’? The answer is that the economic challenges doubled. However, the more important perspective to read through in this context is: What was the actual impact of the huge event at the time on the Egyptian state and its people; consecutively on the Arab world, the region and the world.
June 30, 2013 brought major benefits — political and strategic for Egypt, its people and Arab countries. It would suffice to imagine the contrary scenario and realize this huge gain. The other scenario would have entailed the Muslim Brotherhood dominating EgyptAbdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi
The Muslim Brotherhood agenda
The Egyptian state had been hijacked by a terrorist fundamentalist group, i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies. In the beginning of the protests, this group declared it did not want authority and it did not want to engage in politics, but was only supporting the youths in the streets. However, in the first elections, the Muslim Brotherhood did not hesitate to do all that it can to attain full authority and have control over unions and dominate the state and its institutions. It had the presidency, appointed its members in all positions and fiercely attacked the judiciary and media institutions — the two institutions it could not infiltrate.
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All this was done with the full support from the two anti-Arab projects in the region — the Iranian and the Turkish projects, with full Qatari support, at the regional level. This is in addition to full coverage and support from the administration of former US President Barack Obama, who was a friend of the fundamentalists — starting from the Muslim Brotherhood to Qatar and Iran.
However, on June 30, Egypt woke up and refused to be a follower of the Iranian mullahs and the hostile projects in the region. With the support of the Egyptian army and united against all these threats, the Egyptian people revolted and the state managed to regain its prestige and sovereignty. It stood up to defend Egypt’s history and values, and the Egyptian people filled the streets and squares demanding to oust the governance of fundamentalism, chaos and terrorism.
Strong Arab axis established
With the social media and rapid communication, people’s memories have become shorter and they need to be reminded of what happened to rectify their analysis approach. Saudi Arabia supported the choice of the Egyptian state, people and army and issued a powerful statement of support. Minutes later, the UAE issued another powerful statement of support, followed by Kuwait as well. Meanwhile the Obama administration kept silent, and stability was regained in Egypt.
The strongest Arab axis, which now leads the interests of Arab countries and their peoples with both hard and soft power, was thus formed. History changed on that day when the axis of the stability of chaos was shattered, and the axis promoting states’ stability in the region thus solidified.
Although adversaries in the region remained, they became weaker and more fragile, not only in Egypt but in most Arab states that have experienced this stability of chaos. Moreover, the US administration reverted to its own interests and imposed its prestige internationally under the administration of President Donald Trump whose policies and strategies aim to correct all mistakes made by the previous administration.
After five years, Egypt has become a space for launching huge projects, accomplished by Egyptian efforts as well as with Arab and international partnerships. The most important projects are the second Suez Canal, the major investment plans in cooperation with Saudi Arabia in Sinai and other areas, and major investment projects with the UAE. These projects receive continuous support, and the latter will not be impacted by the challenges emanating from the development of societies, the size of capabilities and so on.
Avoiding a disastrous scenario
June 30, 2013 brought major benefits — political and strategic for Egypt, its people and Arab countries. It would suffice to imagine the contrary scenario and realize this huge gain. The other scenario would have entailed the Muslim Brotherhood dominating Egypt, ruling for 100 years, as some Brotherhood figures had stated.
It would have been the most disastrous scenario which would have led Egypt, its history and values to be a very small figure in the regional equation. It would have turned Egypt into a closed society and brought it extreme poverty like Iran today. The people of Iran are currently suffering from underdevelopment, suppression, killings and abuse in the name of God. Iran’s ayatollahs direct all security forces, its gangs and militias to subdue the Iranian people and force them to starve to death without protest or objection.
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In the past five years, it has become obvious to the Egyptian people who are their allies and brothers and who are their enemies and adversaries. The terrorism which destroyed Sinai and several places in Egypt is the terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood and its subsidiary militias, no matter what their names are. The supporters of this terrorism be it politically, financially, or by conspiracy are the same past enemies; Iran, Turkey and Qatar. Egypt’s friends in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait continue to support and build a better future for their countries and peoples and for Egypt and its people.
Egypt, an Arab pillar of strength
This does not mean that there are no differences in the political stances between Egypt’s friends on some regional issues as this is normal in politics. Alliances and axes are built on this understanding. However, the main issue is about major interests, important strategies and influential political orientations, and Egypt in this regard is within this Arab axis and its victorious alliance; it is an important economic and investment partner. Thus, the small issues that could disturb some affairs could be overcome easily to preserve what is more important and beneficial in the present and the future.
Throughout history, there have been major causes of dispute and differences and of alliances and loyalties. There are a lot of developments in the balance of power and relations between parties. The successful politicians, realistic intellectuals and rational writers can interact in a way that serves the current reality and the desired future. Political successes are bound to neutralize emotions and prioritize interests, build the future and fulfill dreams.
In the end, the point in this context is about moments of stability and moments of unrest, as is the normal case with history. The whole region is experiencing a reality in which there are major conflicts, contradicting, opposing and inconsistent projects that clash on a daily basis. However, the general indicators show the rise of the axis of Arab moderation against its adversaries. Egypt needs a lot, but its brothers are with it.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is a Saudi writer and researcher. He is a member of the board of advisors at Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center. He tweets under @abdullahbjad.