The “revolutionary” government — headed by the interim President, Adly Mansur, previously president of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, otherwise known as a bastion for liberal and democratic values — has passed a new law titled “Organization of the Right to Public Meetings, Marches and Peaceful Demonstrations.” Here is a link to the official version as published in the Egyptian Gazette.Read More
I came across this 100-page report today documenting the names of many of the dead from the Rab’a Massacre and the circumstances of their death. I cannot comment on the details, but I think it is crucial that Egyptians face the grim details of what happened on August 14. By any objective measure, the Egyptian police and military committed “serious violations of common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions,” i.e., they committed war crimes.Read More
Some Egyptians seem to think that the Erdogan’s government opposition to the July coup against Morsi is rooted in a fear that the Egpytian anti-MB revolution/coup represented an “existential threat” to the Turkish government. This seems far-fetched, at least in light of the substantial achievements of the Erdogan government since it came to power a decade ago. Moreover, its success is reflected in the equity markets of each nation: Turkey has massively outperformed Egypt as well as a broad index of emerging equity markets (EEM) over the last five years, as this graph shows (TUR is the red line; EGPT is the green line; EEM is the blue line):
Markets, of course, are not always right, but they represent relatively educated guesses about the future; moreover, to a large extent, they also shape future expectations: a track record of market profits itself produces optimism that increases investments, and in turn, reinforces a cycle of positive growth. On the other hand, consistent losses discourage future investment, and thus risks producing the very same pessimistic outcome that the market is forecasting.Read More
The New Yorker has a brief piece on the views of Mohammed Abu al-Ghar, whom it describes as a lynchpin of Egypt’s liberals and emblematic of their support for the military. In it, he admits that he and other decision-makers contemplated the possibility of a substantial number of deaths from the very moment the decision was made to move against the protesters. But what kind of justification is given for this? He absurdly claims that Morsi was much worse than Nixon, and Americans refused to let Nixon complete his term.Read More
Those inclined to blame Morsi and the MB for all that has happened focus on his refusal to move forward with early presidential elections. I have been trying to get an answer to this question for a long time, and no one, as far as I know, has bothered to attempt an answer: by what legal authority could Morsi have set new elections? There was a law governing presidential elections (which I believe was in fact drafted by none other then the current interim president, Adli Mansur), and the constitution even set out the timing of presidential elections. Assuming that early presidential elections was constitutionally feasible, a law authorizing such elections would have had to be passed. I’m not arguing that Morsi would have done so; I think there are good reasons why the MB feared early presidential elections, at least in the absence of a parliament, but as I recall events during the #Jan25 revolution, people were very concerned that Mubarak’s resignation would cause a constitutional crisis. Persons like Hossam Bahgat even wrote a column in the Washington Post addressing the constitutional crisis that would arise if Mubarak simply left.
I have read reports that Morsi was indeed willing to resign once a parliament had been elected precisely to avoid a constitutional crisis that would allow for the return of military rule. This was not an unreasonable position, if true. Whatever one’s views of Morsi or the MB, did we Egyptians not at least owe it to ourselves to exhaust constitutional possibilities prior to empowering the police and the army, with an all too predictable result?
Perhaps the MB would not respect election results, God knows, but they would have no standing at that point. Now, they are martyrs and Egypt stands at the precipice of collapse.Read More
I originally had hoped to publish this as an op-ed somewhere, but events are spiralling out of control so quickly in Egypt that the concerns I raise here seem so trivial as to be almost laughable. Nevertheless, since I wrote it, I decided I might as well post it on my blog.Read More
I contributed a post to There is Power in the Blog: Political Theology with the title “Legitimacy, Revolution and State Formation in Sunni Political Theology” that discusses the tension in Sunni political theory between the idea of the legitimate ruler and the usurper, and applies these concepts to the current crisis in Egypt.Read More