In a previous article, I talked about the different ways through which Islamist regimes manage to take control and one of those is the constant creation of a crisis-laden atmosphere. In this case, political harassment becomes the means of covering up for failure in running the state. Unfortunately, this has already started happening in Egypt even though it is the last thing we need in the light of the precarious economic situation and its social and political repercussions.
Any regime coming to power under the current circumstances would have grasped one single truth that should be obvious to all regardless of how well-versed they are in politics and state affairs. This truth consists of two parts: the first is the economic crisis that started from the very beginning and is getting more complicated by time and the second is the state of division from which political powers suffered following the elections. It made much sense that any regime that comes to power will address those two problems immediately, of course if national interest is its top priority. But the exact opposite happened. It did not come as a surprise, though, for this is how Islamist regimes act and examples from other countries prove this.
Instead of dealing with the economic crisis through calling upon all national powers to unite and face the imminent danger, the ruling clique tended to its interests and acted in accordance with its own understanding of economy as the means of making fast profit that only benefits a small group of people.
They also took advantage of the economic crisis in order to achieve partisan gains. This was demonstrated during the shortage of butane gas cylinders when senior officials in the Ministry of Petroleum complained that members of the ruling party were getting credit for efforts they have not exerted in solving the problems so that they will appear as the saviors of the people. In order to avoid facing the challenges that lay ahead of them, members of that party started blaming the former regime for bequeathing them a “collapsed economy” and anyone who knows the basics of economy would know that this is not true. But holding accountable an entity that is not available for responding to accusations was the best way of evading responsibility. Then they started deceiving the people into thinking that there is some oversees solution embodied by the money smuggled outside the country at the time of the former regime, thus emotionally manipulating the simple-minded.
Instead of creating a state of stability that would encourage Egyptian, Arab, and foreign investors, they started scaring them away so that they can get the lion’s share of the businesses and the projects they and their supporters want to get hold of. And instead of creating an atmosphere of trust with neighboring countries, they nurtured a state of tension that made those countries apprehensive of playing any role that would boost the collapsing economy.
Then all of a sudden, the president comes out to talk about the opening of what he called a “purging” bank account. He seemed to be blaming his and his party’s failure in dealing with the economic crisis on those who he thinks should be “purged” without actually stating who those people are or how they should be involved in this “purging” process.
On the political front, the new regime did not really attempt to eliminate the rift between different factions, but rather worked on deepening it through employing the “harassment” strategy against the opposition in a way that only creates a distracting ruckus and solves none of the problems on the ground. The ruling party made it harder for other political powers to trust its intentions especially as it persists in this process of political genocide that aims at emptying the political scene of all itsrivals.
The ruling party has, therefore, created a series of crises in order to make sure it would remain in power while never bothering about the unknown future to which it is leading the nation.
(Abdullatif Al-Menawi is the former head of Egyptian Television’s news center.)