Friday, June 15, 2012

The Obvious Solution

"This is in many ways a soft military coup.  Now we have the parliamentary power going back to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, they will have their presidential candidate, they have the arrest laws.  So we are going back to square one."  Egyptian Academic Ibrahim al-Houdaiby

Decisive action, that's all it took.  After the suffering agonies of witnessing their power structure wobble and waver under the farce of a democratic free and fair election where the Muslim Brotherhood, that outlawed Islamist group, and its close cousin the Salafists, overwhelmed the Egyptian parliament, leaving the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in a quandary of how next to respond.

Why, the answer is there, compelling and obvious.  Take the country back to square one.  As though Tahrir square never happened, the entire unfortunate occurrence a figment of some lunatic's frantic imagination. And there, in one fell swoop - all right, several, if one includes the army council having first granted powers of arrest of civilians to the military police - the deed was done.

It's like old times.  And, in fact, there is likely little doubt that there are many Egyptians, the quiet, unobtrusive people who just want to get on with their lives, to have the economy and tourism restored, to ensure that subsidized bread and heating oil be once again reliably a fact in their lives.  And above all, the police, detested as they are, back in control, beating back the wave of crime that has engulfed neighbourhoods.

The Supreme Constitutional Court has taken the solemn and sober initiative to set things right.  Recognizing the charade that took place when the one-third segment of independent seats of the parliamentary vote were taken wholesale advantage of by members of the Muslim Brotherhood to help achieve their majority status; a clear violation of rules.  The vote now declared illegal, parliament to be dissolved.

And the outcome of that little manoeuvre?  Why of course, power will remain where it belongs, in the hands of the generals of the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces.  This surprise announcement, this clever chess move, has horrified the Tahrir Square protesters who were also chagrined and outraged when the Muslim Brotherhood cleverly manipulated the vote. Now the  young 'liberals' call upon the Brotherhood to join them in a resumption of "square one" protests.

Separately, the country's Supreme Court also conveniently and legally, according to their reading of the constitutionality of the order of things - until the new constitution has been re-written - validated the appeal by Ahmed Shafiq - a colleague and friend and collaborator and political appointment of former President Hosni Mubarak's - bid for the run-off vote in the presidential election.

A senior Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammed el-Beltagy, has imputed an impure motive on the part of the Supreme Council, calling it, gasp, a "full-fledged coup".  Imagine.  "This is the Egypt that Shafiq and the military council want and which I will not accept no matter how dear the price is" he warned, in dramatic purple prose.

It may be that he is entirely correct.  Yes: this is the Egypt that Shafiq wants; he has never made any secret of that fact, and he appears to have support growing in strength.

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