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Thursday, 24 May 2018

In-Focus: Restoring 30 June cohesion

Restoring harmony, cohesion and strength to the 30 June 2013 front will be one of the main tasks of President Al-Sisi’s second term, which begins within weeks

Galal Nassar , Friday 4 May 2018
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Despite progress Egypt has made in development, several mega projects, trying to create a balance in its international and regional relations, boosting its military power, supplying its army with the most modern weapons and equipment, there is constant caution behind the scenes in its foreign relations to balance between the home and overseas fronts due to events in Egypt after the 30 June 2013 Revolution.

After the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood rule, with their president, Mohamed Morsi, deposed, many problems and challenges surfaced for Egypt’s new regime, most notably the describing of events as a military coup while ignoring the fact that more than 30 million Egyptians took to the streets demanding the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide.

This triggered a media campaign criticising all the steps that led to a new reality beginning with the 3 July 2013 declaration that detailed a roadmap for the transfer of power, followed by clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the state, resulting in acts of subversion, burning down churches and institutions, blocking roads, halting daily activities, targeting the police, military and judiciary, and unfair coverage by international media that ignored reality and supported violent groups.

The Egyptian regime was also described as oppressive, violent, a dictatorship and other terms used to put a country under international psychological, political and economic siege, aimed to trigger the collapse of its institutions and lead to revolution and chaos once again.

These conditions put pressure on the regime under president Adli Mansour and his successor, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, who were determined to convey the true reality inside Egypt contrary to what was being promoted overseas and sometimes at home.

Meanwhile, a conscious campaign targeted key economic resources, such as remittances by Egyptians abroad, tourism by the bombing of a Russian plane over Sinai minutes after take-off from Sharm El-Sheikh, and bombing power and water plants to weaken Egypt’s national infrastructure.

This campaign aimed to redirect the people’s anger, stop productivity and close factories. It was also accompanied with massive logistical support for terrorism in Sinai, on the western and southern borders by land and sea, to deplete the military while putting pressure through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and human rights, freedoms and civil society groups working on these issues.

Meanwhile, political life became stagnant, for which the regime, political parties and the intelligentsia are all to blame.

The government is fighting an existential war, is a target, is under siege, and constantly under pressure to restore the Muslim Brotherhood to the scene and release those who committed crimes and violence against the people and national institutions.

Certain currents and figures stepped up pressure to reflect foreign whims, until it became a chronic problem and heightened a lack of confidence between the government and political actors who do not recognise this battle and siege.

Some political parties, intellectuals, political currents and youth accepted a degree of common ground with the government and played by the rules.

Others left the scene under the pretext there is not a political horizon that allows activism, interaction or influencing the masses. Some even decided politics in Egypt is dead.

Other players, most notably the youth, decided to clash with the state on specific policies and decisions, defying laws on protests and rules of the political game.

Some of this youth acted on their beliefs and ideologies, such as the case of Tiran and Sanafir islands, and protested on the streets while others are in solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood and ignore the overwhelming rejection of the Egyptian street of all things Islamist and their supporters, especially due to ambiguous activism, such as clashes between Ultras football fans and the state.

The rules of the game are subject to very complex calculations at home and overseas and President Al-Sisi must strike a balance between all parts of the equation in his second term, which will begin in a few weeks.

This would restore harmony, cohesion and strength to the 30 June 2013 front. Political dynamics should be a natural evolution from the political scene, not engineered to merge existing parties or manufacture cadres.

Dialogue among all players on the domestic scene should be the norm to create a healthy climate that generates parties, politicians, cadres, activism and support for the state at home.

While understanding that foreign pressure would partially lift but not entirely dissipate, especially given regional conditions, the collapse of some players, formation of alliances and positions on raging issues will continue.

Meanwhile, the Western ambition of restoring political Islam to power in all Arab countries remains, and the West will put pressure to realise it at any cost.

The first step is to build confidence among players on the home front and end foreign pressure or ignore it in the long run.

*This article was first published in Al-Ahram Weekly

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