A few weeks after the Egyptian revolution broke out people began talking about tension on the border with Israel and a political impasse that might require the Higher Council for the Armed Forces to impose a state of emergency.
The storming of the Israeli embassy in Cairo proved this prophecy true. The absence of security forces for more than three hours contributed to a great extent to promoting the idea of a conspiracy aimed at tarnishing the image of the young revolutionaries and distracting the people from the trial of the former president and members of his regime.
Several factors paved the way for storming the embassy, such as the military council’s reluctance to create a political standoff with Israel at this time, the manner in which the killing of Egyptian soldiers on the border was handled, and the construction of a wall around the embassy. So instead of avoiding one problem with Israel, the council ended up causing two at the same time.
Since the beginning of the revolution, Egypt has witnessed several incidents that have spread tension, slander, and confusion, and until now none of those was clearly resolved, and the embassy incident will perhaps end up in the same way.
What cannot be debated is that there are parties inside and outside Egypt that want to keep the people suffering in their daily lives and make them give up their quest for freedom. In addition, the increased demands, the confusion between professional and national concerns, and engaging in non-stop protests will all offer a bigger chance for the revolution to be stolen and dragged to an unknown destiny. The political and security conditions in Egypt are worrying, and the continuation of revolutionary squabbles will complicate things even more. There has to be an action that unifies the voice of this revolution and curbs the desire to rule the country from the streets and the squares. Constitutional institutions have to be put to work, and without a development of that level, the state of affairs in Egypt will remain a subject of entertainment in TV news.
There is no doubt that the absence of national powers from the political scene, out of fear they would be accused of trying to steal the youth’s revolution, is the reason for the continuation of this ordeal. Egypt needs the effort of the honest political class that was marginalized by the former regime. It is wrong to believe that the enthusiasm of youth will resolve the crisis, for it is necessary to listen to veteran politicians and economists.
(First published in al-Hayat on Sept. 12, 2011 and translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid. Dawood Al Shirian is an acclaimed columnist. He is also Deputy General Manager of Al Arabiya, and Editor in Chief of Alarabiya.Net).