Jul 30 2013
Military rule, akin to that of the regime under President Hosni Mubarak, has returned to Egypt pretty quickly. The only thing missing now is the declaration of a state of emergency, and martial law. Although some would argue, that the military, which is now ruling Egypt is already enforcing martial law on the ground.
Bringing back the secret police to monitor religious groups, the arrest of Wasat Party leaders Abul-ela Madi and Essam Soltan, the detention of ousted president Mohammed Morsi and several other Muslim Brotherhood officials, and the firing on peaceful protesters in Rabaa al-Adaweya Square are all hallmarks of the Mubarak regime.
If President Morsi's short tenure was a failure, as the opposition umbrella group National Salvation Front would tell you, then how does the military's rule compare?
Surely it is worse? We didn't see mass killing of protesters during Morsi's reign, although sadly some Muslim Brotherhood supporters were murdered outside Ittihadiya presidential palace.
Since the Military coup, 400 people have been killed, and thousands wounded.
Every single time the security forces turn their weapons on the peaceful protesters, the chances of restoring security in Egypt decline further. Chaos reigns, and the gap between the two sides grows wider. Hopes of a peaceful solution with dialogue are slowly diminishing.
On Monday, the Muslim Brotherhood called on its supporters to carry out "coffin demonstrations" across the country, defying orders of the military-backed government against approaching state facilities. The Brotherhood refuses to lie down, and continues to fight for Morsi's legitimacy.
The gesture of carrying coffins during a protest implies that Morsi supporters are willing to die for their cause. So, how can the security forces deal with people who don't fear bullets or death?
The security forces are making a mistake, just like the military did when it decided to enter politics again. Can the army gain legitimacy by firing at the protesters? No. Legitimacy can only be achieved through ballot box and free and fair elections.
The massacre in Rabaa al-Adaweya Square didn't scare the protesters, but strengthened their resolve. Today, the sit-ins are larger than ever, and the coffin demonstrations are a sign of the escalation in protests.
President Morsi made mistakes and admitted to them. He expressed regret at ratifying the constitutional declaration which gave him sweeping powers. He realised his mistake and tried to perform a U-turn, but it was all a little too late.
You would have thought that the military rulers of Egypt would have learnt from Morsi's time in power, and would avoid making the same mistake. However, so far, we've only seen bloodshed, and the prospect of civil war looms large.
The military's error of judgement is clear. It is taking sides, favouring the liberals and secularists against the Islamists. The army is dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood an an enemy, not as a political group. It seeks to oust the Islamist movement, not just from power, but from Egypt's political future.
Within weeks, the Egyptian army has created a state within the state. It has its own institutions and independent economic structures. We all thought that we had seen the last of the army in politics, we thought that the 2011 revolution was the start of a new era. It clearly wasn't. President Morsi tried to keep the army on the borders, but he couldn't do it for long. In the end, it cost him his job.
Over the weekend, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, expressed his concern about the political situation in Egypt. This concern was not just for the Egyptian people, their security or economy, but also for the safety and security of Israel and its settlements. Kerry claims to represent a country that supports democracy and freedom, yet he refuses to describe what happened in Egypt as a "military coup." The African Union (AU), on the other hand, didn't hold back, referring to Morsi's ouster as a coup – and freezing Egypt's membership of the Union.
This is the same American hypocrisy which we all know so well. The double standards which have seen the US destroy Iraq and kill a million people, yet hesitate to speak out against the military's interference in Egypt.
I do not believe that Egypt's military should be disbanded or destroyed, it should remain one of the strongest armies in the Arab world. However, I am completely against military intervention in politics, with its bias towards one party over another.
I am for dialogue, and finding political and peaceful solutions to end this crisis, but this dialogue cannot succeed in the current process of exclusion of the Islamists and supporters of legitimacy.
There will be no dialogue for as long as the tanks remain in the streets, and helicopters are hovering over the heads of unarmed peaceful protesters.
No political solution without the Islamists, no fruitful dialogue with live bullets, and no reconciliation until the elected president is released from detention.