Egypt's ongoing revolution and outlook

Back during the Mursi administration the Western media focused on his seemingly fast-paced effort to reduce the republic to a republic in name only and set up a dictatorship-theocracy.
At least there was still some hope for a happy ending, as many of his political moves could also have been interpreted as moves against the remainder of the Mubarak regime. I don't think there's a happy ending scenario for Egypt in the next years any more.

The Egyptian military isn't really a military. It's a kind of General Electric with many heavily armed security guards. The Egyptian military (army) doesn't only have is own factories for boots, uniforms, guns, ammo and vehicles, but also for civilian goods and services. It's a gargantuan kraken with tentacles everywhere. And its generals aren't generals, but top kleptocrats.
They didn't do the coup for freedoms and stuff, but because they were bribed to do so (billions of Gulf states money) and because they perceived the Muslim brotherhood and Mursi as a threat to their fortune. The "generals" would have done a coup against Mubarak if they were on 'team freedom and democracy'.
Pictures make blog posts more attractive, enticing and pleasant.
It's magic.
Now there's the likely scenario of the military staying in de facto power with a fig leaf of secularist civilian politicians who can get support from both the West and the Gulf states. There is not going to be an economic boom with much of the economy rigged in favour of military and political elite. There is not going to be a democracy since the MB will not be allowed to win any national election. There may be a civil war, but the 'military' has its many armed guards, can reactivate the old Mubarak regime connections and it has a sizeable portion of the population (secularists) as supporters (unless it alienates them), and rarely any government lost a civil war in such a configuration.

The other less likely scenario is a violent overthrow of the government by the MB. This appears to require a bitter, lengthy violent civil war. That's no setting for a move towards democracy. Why should the MB preserve democracy if democracy didn't preserve their legitimated rule? They would disrupt the society a lot and again there's no real economic boom to be expected. 

It appears that for the next couple years Egypt is messed up either way. The Egyptians have now the choice between the devil and the deep sea.

It is quite wise for Western leaders to not pick a side loudly. You cannot pick a 'good' team, there is nothing to be gained but you could be unlucky and alienate the future government team.

By the way; isn't it remarkable how Westerners have de facto no noticeable influence there? The influence of the Gulf states is more apparent. Call me isolationist, but I think the effectiveness of foreign policy for other purposes than having treaties of cooperation with foreign countries is vastly overrated in public. Plenty people have grandiose power fantasies, but actual events tend to disappoint such fantasies.



  1. Would it be a sensible course of action to strengthen an economic development that can later back more democratic governance?
    The power of the Gulf States and the militarized cleptocracy derive mainly from the low economic development, including human capital value through education.

    How good are the connections between the AKP in Turkey and the MB in Egypt? This is the possible counterweight for the military might of the Egyptian armed forces in an escalation of conflict (as a source of know-how).

    Do the political leaders in this region even understand basics of democracy or is it an attempted replay of the Enabling Act of 1933/Hamas take over of Gaza every time a voting decision gets achieved?

    1. Answer to last question in new blog post.