Yusuf al-Misry - 15 February 2011
There were indeed two sessions of negotiations between the military council and the MBs. Some of the issues agreed upon are that the MBs will form a political party which will receive legal recognition. The first meeting was held with the representatives of the leadership. The Generals requsted the organizations help to calm the street and end the chain of strikes that is spreading everywhere.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that the the leadership requested in return that the military hold a meeting with their own Youth Movement to help convince them to change roles and help in calming the situation. Representatives of the youth movement held the second meeting with two Generals one of them is the head of the military intelligence service.
In the first meeting the military offered the MBs a representation in the new committee to rephrase the rejected articles of the constitution. They appointed Tareq Albeshry as the head of the committee. Albeshry who is a constitutional scholar was during the 60s and 70s leaning towards a mix of Nasserist and leftist ideas. Later he moved gradually towards the MBs and is considered a prominent sympathizer though not a card holding member. He is generally a balanced head despite some childish antisemitic views. But these views are irrelevant in the current context. The MBs got another seat in the 8 members committee which was given to Sobhy Saleh. Saleh is a prof of law in Alexandria university and a former member in the Parliament. He is a card holding member in the MBs.
The modifications to the constitution will be finished in few weeks and put to referendum after.
The consensus of the population now, and the overwhelming majority of the youth demand a Parliamentary Republic a la Turkish model. The MBs in my view can not oppose that or call for an Islamic Republic. They simply can not. When the chanted in the demonstrations "Islamyah..Islamyah" few chanted with them but the demonstrators answered with a roaring slogan "freedom..freedom". The chant of the MBs died away. And that was in Alexandria which is considered a strong hold of the organization. I confess that I gave them before more weight than what was shown in the uprising. In any case, the only right way to confront the organization and preserve the new regime emerging now is through opening the doors so the organization can offer their platform to rebuild the economy and to guard our national security. It is then when the population will be absolutely sure that they do not have anything to say.
There was a large silent demonstration in Alexandria Today. Tens of thousands marched quietly raising the national flag. The purpose of the demonstration was to exert pressure on the military coucil. I believe from all what I hear here that the pressure will continue. It will move from one demand to the other. Now, the main demand is to dismiss the government of Ahmed Shafiq. The youth provided some names proposed in the next cabinet. They were all heavy weight technocrats and academics like dr AlGwaily or Hazem El Beblawy. That part of the popular request that the next cabinet be formed of respected technocrats.
Today, I am less worried about what will happen after a breath taking period in the history of this great country. The MBs are an important component but they can not steal nothing. The military is a significant player but it seems - until now - sticking to the core of the popular demands. And in any case the population is alert and ready to defend their dream. It will be very difficult to get the country back. I believe the US and the EU played a role as well. It seems until now that we are heading towards a "Turkish" model. The crucial issue, if this will really be the conclusion is to continue every possible effort to enhance and support the "civil" and secular values. Turkey started from a secular revolution to build a secular republic. This is not the case in Egypt though it is not an Islamic revolution. In fact it is quite the contrary.
One last note. I saw papers prepared by the state security service detailing an alleged plan to repeat the Iranian revolution. It was surprisingly detailed and signed by a non existent group and prepared to be distributed at Tahrir SQ to be used as a "proof" to the Egyptians and the world that there are" foreign agendas" moving the uprising as Gen Omar Sulliman confirmed before he leaves. The funny thing is that all who were arrested heading to Tahrir sq with their bags full of the "Iranian secret plan" last Tuesday were police officers. They were arrested by the people in the middle of the night when the people thought that there car move suspiciously. The people who arrested these guys gave them to the army which arrested the police officers. I believe they were released shortly after.
15 February 2011 in Current Affairs, Egypt | Permalink