THE SECOND EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION
In many aspects the Supreme Military Council headed by Field Marshal Tantawi, which currently rules Egypt, is a continuation of Mubarak’s regime with almost the same men only without Hosni Mubarak and his depute Omar Suleiman (see -Mubarak's Trial). It is considered so by most Egyptians and is tolerated only because it represents the consensus about the Egyptian Army and is thought to be temporary.
On Wednesday 11/15/2011 the Egyptian deputy PM Dr. Ali Al-Silmi distributed a document titled “"Declaration of the Fundamental Principles for the New Egyptian State". The draft gives extra power to the Supreme Military Council in the suggested constitution drafting committee and Egypt is defined as a “civil state” with obligation to protect minorities, referring especially to the Copts (see - Copts 10.09.11). The Islamists claims, with some justification, that only the future Parliament, scheduled to be elected as from 11/28/2011, has the right to form the future constitution and the determination of Egypt as a “civil state” contradicts the Islamic Sharia which they seek to guide the Egyptian constitution.
But the point which enraged not only in the Islamist camp but the majority of political movements was the privileged status granted by al-Silmi’s document to the armed forces. Article 9 of the updated version states that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is "solely responsible" for all matters concerning the armed forces and their budget, and for approving all legislation pertaining to its affairs. It also stipulates that the army's budget will "appear as a single figure in the annual state budget." Article 10 stipulates that a National Defense Council will be formed, chaired by the president, which will be in charge of protecting the state and its security (the Old Turkish Model of the Army as the guardian of the constitution). Furthermore, according to the draft Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) will have the power, in a state of emergency, to legislate rules.
Ali 'Abd Al-Fattah, a leader of the Muslims Brotherhood in Alexandria, wrote in an article posted on the movement's website: "We object to Dr. Al-Silmi's writing in Article 9 that the army is charged with protecting the 'constitutional legitimacy'... This means that the army will intervene in political life, [opposing] whatever it considers incompatible with the constitutional legitimacy. We tried the military model for 57 years, and got nothing but bitterness, coercion, loss of human dignity, a takeover of the homeland, and a series of defeats and downfalls. Mr. Al-Silmi - the army has nothing to do with politics. Its role is to defend the country's borders, and nothing else. Defending the constitutional legitimacy is the role of the people, who are aware and able to defend its revolution...
Liberal movements in Egypt are willing to support Al-Silmi’s document, with corrections, in order to thwart an Islamist takeover of the constitution, even at the cost of granting a privileged status to the military establishment. The Islamists, however, were not appeased by the promises, and announced they would organize mass demonstrations on November 18 to demand that the SCAF rescind the document, fire Al-Silmi, and set a timetable for transferring power to a civilian administration.
The demonstrations, which some said were of almost 1 million people in the symbolic Tahrir Square, was a huge show of power of the Islamists in Egypt and pushed all liberal movements in Egypt to the margin (see -Scrawling Radicalization). The massive demonstration ignited the current unrest in Egypt. There is no doubt that the violence in Cairo is a power struggle about the future of Egypt whether Egypt will be a semi democracy controlled by the Army or a semi democracy controlled by growing Islamic radicalization. The chances are for the second option.
It remains to see what will be the response of the West to the killing of over 35 unarmed demonstrators by the Egyptian Army - will the West support the Army or the Islamist.
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