A Vacuum of Power
The plot in Egypt continues to thicken as President Mubarak announced today that he would be delegating tasks to his recently appointed Vice President. This announcement did nothing to meet the demands of the Egyptian people, who are now asking the military to forcibly oust Mubarak. The political push and pull happening in Egypt is creating a power vacuum that could collapse at any moment. There is no ideal solution in this war of attrition, and the longer Mubarak holds out and his administration remains in power, the tighter the rope will get.
A Military Coup
A sea of hands, of signs and banners, against the waves of yelling and screaming, a flood of people and rubble make up the scene in Tahrir Square, the de facto headquarters of Egyptian protests. Hassan al-Roweny, Egypt’s army commander, finds his way to high ground as he addresses the crowd, “All your demands will be met today.”
The crowd rallies around al-Roweny, and begins to chant, “The Army. The People. One Hand.”
A military coup is a very real and scary possibility for Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group, has spoken of their concerns and anxieties over the military’s involvement in recent protests.
The military has already begun pressuring President Mubarak to remove himself from power. A military state in Egypt could be catastrophic to the delicate balance in the Middle East.
The Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood presents another very real possibility in Egypt. Painted as a terrorist organization by the Western media, any links to violence regarding the Muslim Brotherhood are simply speculative. Since it’s foundation in 1928, it has publicly stood by a message of peace and non-violence. It has even been denounced by terrorist organizations for not taking matters into their own hands and retaliating violently.
A Muslim Brotherhood take over in Egypt would still represent a seismic shift in policy. The Muslim Brotherhood would use their mixture of strong faith and politics to pull a broken country together, potentially leading Egypt into a path of extremism.
A Country in Pieces
Today marked the 18th day of the Egyptian Revolution. Conditions in Egypt were already dire before the protests began. If no resolution is reached, things will only get worse for the Egyptian people. But it doesn’t look like anyone is headed home, despite Mubarak’s request. The question now is: Who is in control? Does Egypt even have a government anymore? It seems as if the Mubarak administration has made a caricature of itself by taking baby steps to appease a nation that wants complete government reform. If events continue to unfold as they have, Egypt will look much less like a country, and much more like a field of rubble and destruction.
A Voiceless America
No matter what the outcome, America must remain agnostic. All we can do now is offer our assistance and support to the Egyptian people. If the United States tries to manipulate or at all influence the outcome, we would create our own worst enemy. We must support whatever decision the Egyptian people make, and reach out to the next controlling power in Egypt. This is no time to make assumptions. This is no time to play “Who’s the Boss?”
We must work with whomever fills the vacuum of power in Egypt towards recovery and stability.