Archive for March, 2014

Will Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi succeed? The question carries several meanings. If we are to begin with the question: will Sisi succeed inthe upcoming presdential elections?, the answer would most probably be known since he’s a popular man with overwhelming Egyptian support.

The next question would then be: will he succeed at uniting rival Egyptian factions? I don’t think there’s any candidate who enjoys as much popular support as Sisi does. Our hope is that Sisi, if he wins, will be a president who doesn’t divide us further.images

Will Sisi win the elections? Will he succeed at achieving his electoral program? Will he succeed at creating a new state of progress and development and at leading the country towards what’s best and at achieving the Egypt’s aspirations? The answers, I believe, will be mostly answered with a yes.

The question will not be if Sisi can win the elections or succeed in leading Egypt, but rather will the Egyptians, led by Sisi, succeed at creating a new reality for Egypt?

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

But, will Sisi succeed in achieving the Egyptian dream that the country be developed and progressive with a restored historical status? Will he be capable of leading the people towards creating a new state in which everyone works to help rebuild Egypt? These questions will not only be answered by Sisi’s actions but by the Egyptians who must play their part to restore their country.

Saving Egypt

The slogan of the upcoming period must be “saving Egypt.” This is the slogan which Sisi must work to achieve and around which he must unite Egyptians.

To achieve this, the people must know that rising with Egypt is not only Sisi’s task but the task of every citizen as we must all contribute to building the state.

Three years after draining the country on the political, security and economic levels, the national project which Sisi must adopt for our sake must be “saving Egypt.” But this will not happen thanks to a miracle that will fall from the sky but because of the Egyptians’ capabilities.

The question of whether Sisi will succeed at leading Egypt towards the best country it can be will not be fully answered unless all the Egyptians unite to achieve our common aspirations.

We have already sensed that Sisi is working in this direction as he previously called on the Egyptians to work together and stated that he will be the first one to work. Nothing will be achieved if we don’t unite our efforts and thoughts for the sake of a better future.

Therefore, the question will not be if Sisi can win the elections or succeed in leading Egypt, but rather will the Egyptians, led by Sisi, succeed at creating a new reality for Egypt?

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We are still waiting for an answer to why Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hasn’t resigned from his post as minister of defense and announced he’s running for the presidential elections.

There have been several answers and reassurances to this question. The most logical is that the supreme electoral commission has said it has faced technical issues for not yet launching the official candidate-registration process. The commission also said it is working on training employees on how to use electronic voting machines, adding that the training will end on March 23.Abdellatif Elmenawy

In a recent speech, Sisi himself said he won’t turn his back on Egyptians’ demands that he runs for presidency. This was a clear sign that he intends to run for presidential, while finishing off his work at the ministry of defense before leaving it. This will be the first time a high-ranking official of the Egyptian army submits his resignation and runs for the presidency upon the people’s demand.

Amid much anticipation, he should clearly reassure Egyptians he has decided to run for the top office

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Before announcing his resignation as minister of defense, there must be domestic preparations to ensure the state’s coherence. Some may wonder whether a day or two will make a huge difference. But the truth is, every minute makes a difference and those who work in the army’s internal affairs know that well.

There’s also a psychological aspect that we must take into consideration. Sisi has spent his entire life among soldiers at the military institution. When he decides to take off his military uniform and take a public job as president, then this requires a certain state of mind and psychological preparation, during which he would study all current and future challenges.

Although all the signs indicate Sisi will run for presidency, there are fears and worries because he hasn’t yet announced his presidential bid. Amid much anticipation, he should clearly reassure Egyptians he has decided to run for the top office.

There was once a Ukrainian president called Viktor Yanukovych who faced humiliation in the country’s 2004 presidential elections. Back then, he was declared the official winner but faced massive protests leading his victory to be ruled fraudulent.

The opposition has once again forced his fall from power after his government failed to follow through with a free trade agreement with the European Union.

In 2009, Yanukovych announced his willingness to run for the 2010 presidential elections. He won against his competitor Yulia Tymoshenko after he attained 48.95 percent of the votes and she attained 45.47 percent. Years passed, and people once again decided to take to the streets to isolate Yanukovych and force him from power. After this, EU countries froze his accounts and the European commission immediately recognized Oleksander Turchinov as an interim president. The EU further supported the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who fought for European values such as freedom of speech.Abdellatif Elmenawy

Regarding Ukraine, the EU pledges its support for “hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.” Meanwhile, regarding Egypt, it overlooks the thousands of Egyptians who took to the streets

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

In another part of the world, Mohammad Mursi became Egypt’s president on June 30, 2012. He then attempted to “Brotherhoodize” the state and distort the opposition, deprive people of freedoms and enforce a dictatorial constitutional.

A year after he entered office, massive protests were held on June 30, 2013 for the sake of toppling him. It all ended with Mursi’s ouster and the head of the supreme constitutional court was assigned as interim president.

But the EU’s reaction was different this time; some member countries still disagree with what happened. They disagree despite the fact it has been eight months since this popular revolution erupted and despite the massive popular referendum which was held under the new authority.

Comparison

The comparison between the two countries reveals the policy of double standards which the EU adopts. Although the two are similar, the EU reaction was completely different. Regarding Ukraine, the EU pledges its support for “hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.”

Meanwhile, regarding Egypt, it overlooks the thousands of Egyptians who took to the streets. Regarding Ukraine, the EU rushed to offer economic aid worth 11 billion euros. Meanwhile, some EU countries rushed to halt military aid to Egypt at a time when the country faced a fierce war against terrorism in Sinai.

The previous comparison shows that the EU stance and its political bias do not result from a bias towards freedom and the people’s will but from espousing a different view of freedom for the global north and south. EU stances are thus based on the nature of the people being dealt with, their borders, political interests and perhaps their color.

For many years, the absence of a national project remained one of the quickest reasons given for any problem that Egypt, or the regime, faced. When Hosni Mubarak was in power, his opposition criticized him for not having a national project to unite the Egyptians – as if this was the defect that divided people. This idea expanded until the expression was used by anyone who wanted to summarize the country’s situation. They would say “our problem is that we don’t have a national project.” Most of those who address issues from such an angle bring up Gamal Abdel Nasser’s policies and his dam project.430141_148983255224099_601152695_a

These days, conversations relate to the importance of restoring a national project, and encouraging the feelings that come along with such a project. Many ideas have been suggested. Some talk about the Suez Canal project and others talk about the Toshka project or the Wadi al-Natrun project or the path of development and reconstruction project. The problem is that their understanding of the concept of a national project is narrow, and they are obsessed with Abdel Nasser’s experience and his defiance of the international community, his insistence to build the high dam and his willingness to teeter on the brink of war for the sake of the project. Those who dream of such a condition were incapable of placing this condition within the context of its historical, political, international and domestic circumstances which reigned back then when such stances were highly praised. Those drowned in the past cannot evoke this state in the minds of some youths who did not bear witness to that era in history, and they also cannot comprehend the huge changes which the world witnessed over the past decades.

Unrealistic perceptions

Drowning in such unrealistic perceptions will only create a state of frustration when he who has been deceived by these slogans realizes that the situation is more complicated than the Egyptians’ unity regarding the “east Port Said.” I think drowning in such a level of intellect will only lead us to the illusion of a new renaissance project like that which the Brotherhood used to deceive the Egyptians. They adopted the idea of a national project because they considered that the latter was capable of uniting Egyptians. Some were deceived while it only took others a few weeks to realize this was an illusion.

I hope that the upcoming president clearly and frankly announces that saving Egypt is his first and major project

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

I am not underestimating the importance of having a national goal or a real national project that unites the Egyptians around the leadership they believe in. But I am against summarizing the national dream into a project with clear cut dimensions. The time is no longer that of the high dam. We are living in a new era. The national project I am suggesting here is the project to “save Egypt.” As I’ve already mentioned on several occasions, logic dictates that Egypt, in its current circumstances, does not have much of a chance at success. The economic situation is approaching collapse and the political situation has revealed weaknesses. There’s also massive regression on the level of the size, nature, presence and role of so-called political parties and powers. This is in addition to the worrying presence of the political Islam movement and the enemies of the civil state. It’s difficult to imagine a positive result out of this political formula. On the security level, we can all see the challenges we are daily witnessing when it comes to terrorism and extremism represented by the Brotherhood and its affiliates.

Therefore, I think the most important national project during this phase is that of “saving Egypt.” And I mean what I say, I hope that the upcoming president clearly and frankly announces that saving Egypt, whose experience is threatened with failure, is his first and major project and that the first step towards implementing this project is confronting the people with the facts, regardless of how painful and shocking they are. I believe this is the right path.