November 22, 2011
I was interviewed by Javier Méndez of El Mercurio newspaper (Santiago, Chile) on the recent developments in Egypt. Here are my answers to his questions:
Q. What could be the political effects in Egypt of a speed-up of the transition?
A. The transition has already been unconscionably delayed. At the time Mubarak was deposed we argued that the election of a constitutional convention or at least a civilian caretaker government to appoint such a convention should not take longer than six months. It has now been ten months and we have seen the military Welch on its promises, a return to Tahrir Square, and a new wave of repression that cannot be blamed on Mubarak, bit must be blamed on the military regime of which he was an erstwhile figurehead. The Egyptian public gave the military a generous grace period to bow out and they squandered it. To minimize the damage they must allow the election to go forward as originally scheduled, with no further interventions, rescind the interventions applied to date. Above all the military must immediately revoke the emergency laws and promise to cede power to a civilian transitional government as soon as the various political parties can reach an agreement on its membership.
Q. In the present situation in the Middle East, how important would a democratic government in Egypt be?
A. As Egypt is the most populous and influential Arab state, a smooth transition to democracy there would have an enormous beneficial impact on the entire Middle East.
Q. Is the Muslim Brotherhood a real danger for the new regime?
As supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood would inevitably be a plurality in any elected government, it can pose no more of a danger to the new regime than any other segment of civil society. Even that puritanical segment of the Islamic revival referred to as the Salafis poses no threat the new regime since it lacks the Brotherhood’s deep roots in Egyptian society.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute