[translations idioma=”ES” url=”https://archives.rgnn.org/2014/02/11/los-desafios-del-poder-militar-egipcio”]
EGYPT. In anticipation of the presidential elections, which Marshal Al Sis undoubtedly will win, the events in Egypt develop in line with a clear outline: the establishment of a sort of Neomubarakist regime. That is, a semi-democracy which will be subject to a powerful civil-military apparatus. However, it is not simply about utilizing the old system, but also about rejuvenating it. The new strong man is not only much younger than the previous one, but also has the support of a significant part of the population, which sees him as a saviour who will rescue them from chaos and theocratic danger. The new regime, successor of the revolutionary period, seeks to function as its inheritor and as a correcting instrument of a temporary Islamist deviation, and therefore, as the promoter of the keenly awaited stabilisation. It thus aims to gain both the revolutionary and the conservative acceptance, that is, the support of those who rose up against Mubarak but also those who settled in the dictatorship and had a quiet life without questioning themselves.

This local version of what came to be known as “Sociological Francoism” in Spain, may help to understand not just the perennial nature of the old regime but also the failure of the revolutionaries who tried to transform it and its present return. In fact, the popular demonstrations that took place over the past three years have been impressive. Yet, they were not forceful enough when compared with the passivity on behalf of the silent majority and the absence of a sufficiently sound organisational fabric. This fact should be considered very carefully by those who were too quick to extol the lack of both clear leadership and organisational structures in the Arab revolutions and thought of it as a brilliant postmodern innovation.

Nevertheless, the passivity on the part of the population, that indifference towards the workings of political institutions which is established as long as a daily welfare is guaranteed, may represent a double-edged sword. It secured the continuity of the old regime and contributed to the advent of the new one but due to its nature, its support is weak and precarious. Unless the government decisively improves the situation this support will gradually melt away. Thus, the major difficulty it faces is the presence of a strong and combative Islamist opposition, but neither its majority peaceful sector nor its minority violent sector seem now to be a threat to the government. However, if a process of development and strengthening is undergone, this opposition can make it very difficult for military power and may sharpen the already serious economic situation as well as draining away its sympathisers. In any case, it is also possible that others uncritically decide to close ranks around themselves. Once they have seized power, the military leadership would not need too much enthusiastic support.

This lack of enthusiasm might turn into overt rejection only if the country settles in a sort of permanent misrule. Moreover, the mobilisation of other social sectors might be added to the one undertaken by the Islamist opposition. The question here is to what extent these movements might converge. The formation of a broad social coalition between secularists and moderate Islamists against the ruling oligarchies is still a necessary condition for a democratic change in the Arab world. However, this alliance is something difficult to achieve almost everywhere. Today, this possibility is even more difficult to achieve in Egypt if we take into account the authoritarianism and sectarism shown by the Muslim Brotherhood while they were in power, and also in account of the non-resistance displayed by many secularists in the face of the old regime and its repressive policies. As long as this rift continues, the regime will be able to stay afloat and reinforce itself with its traditional clientelistic practices as well as co-opting certain opposition groups (some Islamists included) in a selective manner. In this regard, the future remains uncertain.