Daily News Egypt

Al-Sisi’s dwindling options - Daily News Egypt

Advertising Area




Advertising Area




Al-Sisi’s dwindling options

The Media momentum was there: the constitutional referendum had passed without “major incidents” (which is code for polling stations not getting blown up), the presidential elections law was issued, Adly Mansour promoted Al-Sisi to the rank of field marshal, and even the military published its semi-endorsment for him to run for president. All the man …


Mahmoud Salem
Mahmoud Salem

The Media momentum was there: the constitutional referendum had passed without “major incidents” (which is code for polling stations not getting blown up), the presidential elections law was issued, Adly Mansour promoted Al-Sisi to the rank of field marshal, and even the military published its semi-endorsment for him to run for president. All the man had to do was to announce his candidacy, and the rest would be history. But then, nothing. No announcement. Radio silence, except for a Kuwaiti newspaper publishing an interview with him where he announced he was running, before the military spokesperson denied it the next day. As the streets keep filling up with giant posters of Al-Sisi for president by his supporters, the only announcement of someone running for president, so far, has been from Hamdeen Sabahy of all people. The question that is on Al-Sisi’s fans and opponents’ minds is, well, what’s taking so long? Why hasn’t Al-Sisi announced his candidacy yet?

Well, given that I am not a privileged member of the Minister of Defence’s private audience (nor am I an Al-Sisi-head), and those who are seem equally confused, as well; I don’t conclusively know the reason, but it’s not hard to guess. On a personal level, all of Al-Sisi’s options are bad: if he runs for president, then 30 June is completely and officially a coup; if he stays Minister of Defence, people will say that he is the real president anyway and undermine the next president at every turn; if he quits his post, then his fans will cry that he abandoned them and his enemies would immediately call for his trial, if they don’t try to assassinate him or members of his family. He is stuck in the worst possible position, with very little room to manoeuvre, thanks to his insane supporters’ insistence that he is some sort of Messianic figure that will make all of our problems go away.

It is easy to understand Al-Sisi’s appeal to his fanatics. During the 30 plus years of Mubarak rule and the revolution, Egyptians have been plagued with “Leaders” who simply don’t deliver on their promises. Al-Sisi, in contrast, has “delivered” so far: he gave Morsi his 48-hour ultimatum, and then removed him; asked for a mandate to “fight terrorism”, and since then, his interior minister has crushed the Rabaa sit-in and has been “fighting”; vowed to deliver a constitution and  safeguard the referendum, and did that as well. Never mind that those promises are nothing compared to the challenges that the next president is supposed to tackle. His supporters have every faith that he will, and will throw this “track record” in your face followed by the question “well, who else in Egypt has delivered what they have promised?”

It’s hard not to see their blind faith in Al-Sisi for the desperation that it masks, and make no mistake, his supporters are that desperate. They are desperate for the “normalcy” and “stability” that they had once upon a time, even at the price of a police state and oppression, and will not listen to anyone who tells them any differently. This is their last hope, their final gambit: for them, if this fails, then all is lost. It’s quite miserable when you think about it, and these are miserable and desperate times, which ultimately lead to miserable and desperate measures, like taking the man that symbolises the only functioning state institution left, and pushing him at the forefront to take on our ever growing tsunami of unfixable problems, while patting him on the back and telling him “You can do it. Now fix this!” It’s the most curious thing, how the most ardent Al-Sisi supporters are the ones who are pushing him down the path of his own, and the military’s, destruction, but then again, these are the same people who want nothing but stability, and yet insist on supporting every action that causes more instability. It fits their profile.

For Al-Sisi to run, it would mean that the military would be directly involved in the ruling of the country. It would no longer be viewed as a “neutral player”, as any military should be. Had any of the Al-Sisi-fanatics bothered to read a single history book on the dangers of having a military politically involved in ruling a country, they would know why this is such a horrific idea that will lead to horrible consequences. It will burden the military with the needs of the country (which they can’t meet, because Egypt and its population are an ever-growing sinkhole of resources), it moves the political struggle to the realm of the generals and the soldiers that serve under them, and it makes the military the target of any and every political opposition in the country it currently has or will garner , when it shouldn’t be. It causes infighting and splinters within an institution that can’t have any, it encourages militancy amongst those who oppose it, and could easily lead to factions and coups. Going down that road is an idea we should never even flirt with, and the military knows this. It starts with a single candidacy announcement, which is why it hasn’t come so far. God save us if it does.

Advertising Area

  • vangelis

    Logical dillema

  • Reda Sobky

    There are moments in life when a patriot is asked to deliver in a difficult leadership situation. Others have risen under such circumstances and met the challenge. For me personally I see that FM Sisi has what it takes and has like many of us learned that a workable system that survives through peaceful power transfer is necessary for the development of Egyptian society towards a higher level of functioning. This is a generational lesson that is inescapable.

    • Illuminati

      Reda-
      Would you care to clarify what is a “workable system” and exactly how do current events represent a “peaceful power transfer’, and , if possible, a bit more on that “generational lesson” please. Maybe I can make some sense of this.

      • Reda Sobky

        A workable system I would view as one that is inclusive of the groups marginalized by the deposed namely women, minorities and youth so that they can participate in social, political and economic life. A system that retains equal citizenship and political rights for all and stays away from defining those rights based on religion and makes no claim to rule in the name of religion for “500 years”. It should include a constitution that is a consensus document and not a party document. It needs to balance diversity in political access with majority rule and assert the primacy of rule of law and a basic bill of rights. The generational lesson comes from the experience with Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak where to reach power they appeared to be consensus supporters while becoming infected with the need to rule until death or being deposed and refused to share power while in office with institutions not under their control. This requires a set of checks and balances on the exercise power by the branches of government so excesses can be avoided.

        • omega pal

          I am afraid that your workable system you have given a description, seen on the ground what is going on in Egypt won’t be closer.Even your workable system you have described is more apply to advance democracy countries than Egypt who languishes and continues to languish under dictatorship regime. A tree trunk will never become crocodile whatever its length in water.

          • Reda Sobky

            We must consider that this is the founding of a new republic. Like most republics such as the USA the first president is usually the general who leads the change such as George Washington, hence Sisi. The question is that of commitment to continuity and the founding of a system that outlasts the founder. There are usually flaws in the original constitution as occurred with the USA and slavery which lead to the civil war. Personally, I see Sisi as the George Washington of Egypt and the new Republic as the first real attempt at representative government. It may have some flaws but overall it looks encouraging . Please let me remind you that contemporaries of Washingon such as Thomas Payne trashed him and saw him as a potential dictator while some wanted him to declare himself king both trends being extant in Egypt now. If he takes the middle road he will have done as well as Washington which is not bad, all things considered.

          • Reda Sobky

            Sir, you underestimate the awakening of the Egyptian people. It was the deposed who produced a dictatorship constitution, now Egypt has a workable one and it will work in spite of your tree trunk crocodile analogy. Egyptians have always known the difference between the two and they were not fooled by the deposed, they gave them a chance and when they blew it, they blew them.

          • omega pal

            One thing is to have a constitution but another thing it is his application on ground. If i know there is slim improvement of Egypt constitution nevertheless is not the most liberal one even comparatively to Tunisia one. All constitutions are not perfect and subject for evolution.I agree.But you have to put everything in context at the time MB was writing their constitution.Some has chosen to boycott ( one of democracy exercise) than to pressure the majority at that time to more consensus.Egypt 30 June is not awakening is more like a vast strike of population back by military (goes over democracy process and exercise) to depose an elected president who has mismanage the situation because of lack of vision+ long time Egypt dictatorship+ the power of Mubarak and military remnant who put the stick in the wheels of Morsi and MB.
            We have to compare what is comparable about Egypt and his leader Al-SISI and USA and G.Washington.USA has is pass history completely different from Egypt and different age.
            I hope my pessimism to turn to optimism one day about Egypt and wish them all the best for freedom,justice and equality.

          • sam enslow

            It must be hoped that the Field Marshall is a George Washington type figure, but no one knows. However, the situation is Egypt is more like the situation in Russia after the fall of the USSR. Egypt’s political and economical systems are modeled after the Soviet system. This includes the police which are based on the KGB and German Gestapo (which was also based on Stalin’s KGB). There is still the strong idea that the people serve the state, not visa versa. The laws did not apply to Russia’s elite, “We are all equal, but some are more equal than others.” Corruption ruled (still does). People were given jobs but no work, ” They pretend to pay us. We pretend to work.” Realities became twisted, “There are no alcoholics in the perfect Soviet state. Russia is the perfect Soviet state, so there are no alcoholics in Russia.” – stated while tripping over sleeping or passed out drunks. Trust the government to take care of you. Do not think for yourselves. Conformity is a must. Any variation from the “normal” is evil. You must do what the group wants; you must want what the group wants – or has been told it wants .”Everyone not Soviet is your enemy. All foreigners are spies.” “The truth is what we say is the truth. Do not question.” The USSR lasted 70 years. The Nasser era lasted 60.
            Egypt has it all, including a population that is far better and more aware than its governments believe – or they believe. The bravado voiced today shows a lack of self confidence. I was once told in Tbilisi, “We know we are working wrong, but we do not know what it is we are doing wrong.” Egypt has thrived when it has been open and cosmopolitan. Egypt needs one big brain storm, and Egyptians need to be challenged and made to feel they are indeed a part of Egypt. Now the tarbushes and turbans are still fighting. The youth are the new effendi (without jobs). The old are still wearing the turbans of the past.

  • sam enslow

    Maybe he knows that he cannot do it alone. He may also know that after 100 days, the very people who call on him will turn against him if he demands anything from them. It may be impossible to find a team of the “Best and Brightest” who want to lead Egypt to the future and are willing to give up their sweets and commissions. Al-Sisi’s support is, like the River Platt, an inch deep and a mile wide. In 100 days, if true reforms are introduced, if real sacrifices are required, if the rule of law is followed, if corruption punished, if human rights are enforced, etc, many will start calling him a “tool of the Americans.”

    • Illuminati

      You know, when we play a game of “Estimation” and you are holding on to that Ace of Spades which guarantees you have the upper hand. You never throw it too early, do you? You hold on to it, till everyone has exhausted their minds wondering when is it coming. Towards the end of the game, opponents have less time to recuperate. This is when you “announce” your candidacy.

      • sam enslow

        The game can have different results than expected. For example, Mario Cumo had the Democratic nomination for president “in the bag.” Everyone awaited his announcement. The Governor of New York elected in the end not to run. But I understand your point.

  • wepump

    I see no one read Mr. SISI s paper at war collage on democracy in Egypt yes he has kept his word to date. I believe he will not run as Army in his paper stays in back ground. I very sad with the Strong party pulling that political stunt the way it did this will open doors for Adnan and Shap shap as only ones against Hamden Egypt needs an Islamist party to run as Egypt still divided in 3rds as it was before and when one of the 3rds don’t participate it looses out to much it takes all three to work together to make a great Egypt again

  • Meskely

    Very good analysis. It will be the biggest security nightmare. He may fear that to be elected he need to be on election campaign, making speeches, talking to people and kissing babies and the usual election staffs and that would bring him close to MB to exposes him to assassination. You cannot enrage half of the population particularly the MB and trust people to come closer. He may think of Anwar Sadat, 6 October 1981

  • Pingback: Egyptian Aak 2014. Week 7 ( Feb10-16) | Nervana()

  • Pingback: Egypt’s Liberals cannot whitewash their coup support – Patrick Galey()

https://dailynewsegypt.com/2014/02/10/al-sisis-dwindling-options/
Breaking News

No current breaking news

Daily News Egypt Android App Available for free download on Google play
View
Daily News Egypt Ios App Available for free download on APP Store
View