Military Junta’s Total Takeover in Egypt: The Vizier is Back.
Let’s face it, the Egyptian people are not getting what they want because of the military junta. Mubarak remains comfortable on his seat and the government was reinforced by corrupt military commanders that are loyal to the dictator. At its top are Omar Suleiman and a bunch of Generals that are quickly chipping away the legitimate body of demands of the Egyptian people. And they are now doing everything they can to slow the process and force the demonstrators back home.
But should we be surprised by the Generals’ stance? Not at all. Arabic popular culture going back even hundreds of years is rich with characters in government whose job has been to plot and scheme against the rule of law. While this was partly to defend the interest of an out-of-touch and equally corrupt Sultan, it was mostly to advance their own political and economic interests. Perhaps the most known figure in today’s popular culture is the scheming Vizier that often appears on the Arabian Nights. Ironically, the Vizier (Wazeer in Arabic) means government minister in today’s Arab governments. That’s the role currently being played by Suleiman, who graduated from Moscow’s Frunze Military Academy, and the rest of the Junta.
The Egyptian people are fed up with the state of affairs negatively affecting their nation and their livelihoods, all driven by the Junta. Weak economic performance, poverty, corruption, nonexistent civil liberties and a political process controlled by the Junta, which uses the threat of Islamic extremists to justify their take over their country’s resources and send people to jail simply for having a different opinion.
After several days of unrest, which led us to believe that the end of the Mubarak dictatorship was near, we are now seeing a concerted effort from the Junta to derail the sacrifices made by many Egyptians who gave their lives for freedom and democracy.
A Set Back for Democracy in the Arab World:
But this action from the Egyptian military will not just affect Egypt. It has broad consequences in the Arab world. While Tunisia provided an unprecedented hope for the hundreds of millions of people in the Arab world that democracy could be reached and corrupt regimes could be toppled, the junta’s action in Egypt is now an obvious setback to those aspirations.
In this case, corrupt governments in the region have a clear model to use in case they face a similar rebellion. Hold tight and get the military to crackdown, while making false promises as just window dressing for Western audiences. Arabs are doomed to suffer from the hands of their dictators and Kings. The only positive thing that came out of this season of Arab discontent is the fact the Tunisian Jasmine revolution occurred before the Egyptian debacle. Otherwise Tunisia’s Ben Ali would have followed the same strategy as Mubarak’s and would have continued to rule Tunisia with his own military junta.