How long will it take for Egyptians to agree to leave Cairo’s Tahrir and Rabia al-Adawiya Squares, and move towards a stable political structure?
It could be any time, from three months to three years. Everything is possible, as the divisions grow wider with time. The new Egyptian rule—which consists of the goverment, the political parties that support it, and the army—will probably find itself making the same mistake that the Brotherhood made during its one year of governance.
Becoming preoccupied with disputes and differences—rather than engaging with the Egyptian citizens in crisis and amending the poor situation—is what drove the people to revolt in the first place. Had former president Mohamed Mursi made valuable and influential achievements during his tenure, his opponents would probably not have found enough people to fill up a single street in protests against the government.
Now that they are the opposition, Brotherhood supporters will aim to obstruct public interests; distract the interim government from carrying out its duties; and incite people against the cabinet until people begin to revolt—again. We also have to keep in mind that the current living conditions of many Egyptians are worse than they were two years ago, when the first revolution erupted.
Capitalists went abroad, foreign investments halted, and all the foreign aid that has been offered takes a long time to be delivered. When it does arrive, it takes even longer—sometimes a year or two—to manifest itself into food and jobs.
The urgent aid being sent to Egypt in the wake of the second revolution 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, such as oil derivatives. Around USD 12 billion has been pledged—much less than the USD 20 billion provided last year, of which Qatar alone provided USD 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 amounted to USD 6 billion. This aid, however, did not succeed in saving 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.
At a time when people are still busy rallying in the country’s squares, the best option is to accelerate the election process and form a technocratic cabinet whose only concern is to save Egypt from the crisis it’s heading towards. The mission of the Brotherhood, who have now become the opposition, is now easy. All they have to do is 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.
Only when the constitutional amendments are completed, elections have been held, and a new president and parliament have been chosen, can we say that Egypt is on the right track. Only then that we can say Egypt is striving towards a system of governance that is recognized by the international community, and by those who support the Brotherhood, such as Turkey.
No matter how suspicious they are about the process of electing a cabinet, the Brotherhood cannot accuse an elected cabinet of deception—especially if the electoral committees adopt complete transparency and allow international observers to monitor the process. It doesn’t matter what the Brotherhood or other defeated parties say because the world will recognize the choice of the entire people—not the protests in Cairo’s squares and streets.