Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Mursi and the Word Bank loan | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Arab regimes that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s are often described as “revolutionary”, even though they all came about as a result of military coups, such was the prevailing ideological climate in the world at the time, driven, or reinforced by, the Soviet Union. Because of this climate, the new regimes themselves adopted socialist concepts, and some even added the term “socialist” to their titles. Even though Muammar Gaddafi created a “third theory” that was more beneficial to him, socialism remained prominent in the Libyan Jamahiriya.

It is never possible to isolate variables from the general climate, and the Third World at the time was imitating the East in defiance of the colonial West. The Soviets, in alliance with the West, had just defeated the two most powerful phenomena in the world; fascism and Nazism. Unlike communism, which came about through revolutions, fascism came to Italy and Nazism to Germany through elections and parliament.

The current regimes in the Arab Spring states came about via two paths: first the revolution and then the election. [Unlike in the 1950s and 1960s] these states are still looking for a modern-day system to adopt in order to deal with the internal and external world alike. The first step in broaching this subject was Egypt’s acceptance of a loan from the World Bank. Some have objected to this decision on the grounds that they believe it is a usurious loan, yet at the same time it is the only possible way to carry out development projects, especially the eradication of Egypt’s “dead cities”.

So how can Egypt obtain the credit it needs and at the same time justify this in a manner that doesn’t arouse controversy? The same applies to Tunisia. Such states have gone through half a century of vastly contrasting regimes, ranging from radical socialism to openness and capitalism, and now a new economic and social structure is being put in place in accordance with the vision of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Transformations are not easy in a country the size of Egypt and given the size of its economy. The issue of the World Bank loan and allegations of usury is the next serious challenge for President Mohammed Mursi to face after the incidents in Sinai and the Rafah crossing. Indeed President Mursi has faced many challenges in his first hundred days in power, whether spontaneous or organized. The magnitude of such challenges lies not in their size but in terms of their nature, for they all ask questions of the man as a “Brotherhood” member, not as Egypt’s President. Those posing the challenges want to embarrass him in front of his supporters and opponents together, at a time when President Mursi and Egypt need all the help they can get.