Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The crisis of the three revolutions | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi resigned yesterday, saying that he could not bear the pressure and difficult circumstances anymore. Only 41 days have passed since Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia, and the interim Prime Minister has failed to carry out his job. He was tasked with administering the country’s affairs, until genuine, free and fair elections could take place. Protestors returned to the streets, resuming confrontations that resulted in deaths and injuries. The situation in Egypt also one of concern, as 18 days have passed since the overthrow of Mubarak, and again masses have returned to Tahrir Square in Cairo, to stage demonstrations and protests. They are disputing over what should be done from now until the proposed election date in six months. Will the Egyptian revolutionaries be patient enough to wait until this date, or will the masses explode once again, in the event of ongoing disagreements over numerous issues?

Libya is currently experiencing the most difficult and bloodiest of all three revolutions. For the past two weeks, the country has been in a state of war, with thousands of victims.

It seems that despite their resounding success on the ground, and the speed of their victories, protestors are unable to temporarily agree on a rule mechanism, or decide upon an interim leadership. It is clear that the common denominator between the three revolutions is a desire to overthrow the existing regime. Sometimes the price of this is extremely expensive, as in Libya, which continues to bleed, but still the revolutionaries are experiencing disagreements. They lack a ready alternative to lead the political scene, which would enable them to ward off the risks of a political vacuum, and the potential disputes over rule. In Libya, the situation is extremely urgent because the formation of a leadership system accepted by all opposition forces, and the youths on the ground, would enable such parties to settle the war more quickly in their favor. The world, specifically the Security Council, has finally sided with the Libyan people, and is now ready to back them and settle the battle, by means of direct or indirect intervention, albeit once a unified alternative leadership is available.

Arguably the most respected character in the Libyan political scene is Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the resigned Minister of Justice, who supported the protestors and the revolution, and took it upon himself to expedite the announcement of an interim government, with the consent of the revolutionary forces around him. However, the surprise was that his government was rejected by the opposition only a few hours after it was declared, having been described as a one-dimensional proposal. Consequently, an opportunity to form a cohesive entity to deal with the international community was missed. The Libyan situation remains hazy and extremely dangerous, something which has prompted Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to say: Look…they may have seized control of Benghazi, but they are fighting over its management.

Because Egypt was smoother, more streamlined, and more disciplined in handling the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, and because it is the largest and most influential Arab state, thus something of a role model, whether positively or negatively, it was predicted that, by now, the country would have overcome its dangerous stage. People believed that the train of transition would now be travelling on firm and solid rails, but this is not the case. Last Friday, and in the days that followed, Tahrir Square was crowded with angry, protesting masses, in what seemed to be a second revolution, thus causing the army to cut off electricity in the Square. However, cutting off electricity will not hide the problem. Does the problem lie in the unrealistic ambitions of the revolutionaries, who seem to be in a hurry? Or is the problem that the Mubarak rule has fallen, but his regime continues to dominate the political scene? If, by summer, disagreements continue to persist, Egypt will be in real danger, and all gains may then be at risk. In order not to forget, we should ask ourselves: What are these prospected gains?

There must be a popular democratic system that does not exclude anyone, and ensures stability and continuity for Egypt, as is the case with developed countries all over the world. Unfortunately, these are promises which the revolutionaries and the regime seem to be unable to focus on, and instead are wasting their time disputing details of the past era. Tunisia’s case is similar to Egypt, where tensions are continuing in a more violent manner. There, the situation may end up with a security or military system of rule, similar to that of Algeria, and this could last for the next ten years.