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What are the justifications for Al-Sisi’s nomination? Part two: The hegemonic state supporters

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Farid Zahran

Farid Zahran

According to my analysis, highlighted in previous articles, the state includes three major groups, specifically, the police state supporters, the benevolent dictator supporter and those who support administrative reform. What bring the three groups together are their great faith in oppression and their unlimited confidence in the power and ability of the state. In addition, they all doubt the efficiency of democracy and its practises.

The supporters of the police state depend on the fight against terrorism to justify the control and oppression of the security apparatus on all of the state’s resources. Therefore, they believe in the army completely and that the military’s control is similar to the role of a CEO who delegates everything to the general manager, namely the Ministry of Interior security apparatus. The CEO does not usually interfere except in a few things. Even though some officers object to giving the final word to the military, however this arrangement is accepted by most of the security apparatus.

The reason for the rift between the military and the security apparatus is that Habib El-Adly and higher officials at the ministry sided with Gamal Mubarak and his attempt to take over the rule of Egypt. This led the army to go so far as to authorise the break in of some of the police headquarters. People believe that this was in reaction to police operations carried out by some officials in the Ministry of Interior against leaders of the armed forces for the benefit of Gamal Mubarak. This came after it was made clear that the military would not support Gamal Mubarak’s inheriting the rule of Egypt. Therefore, I believe that the police’s inaction after 25 January Revolution was not due to the lack of confidence only, but also to punish those who broke into their headquarters and express their annoyance over the humiliation the army subjected them to.

However, nowadays, the old understanding has been restored. The security apparatus handles the internal affairs of the country, while keeping the final word for the army and the ability to veto any decision when it comes to national security whether internally or externally. Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s nomination for and possible win of the presidency would give the army and its security organisations bigger leeway nationally and politically. This will come at the expense of the control of the Ministry of Interior security apparatus. Therefore, the Ministry of Interior will find itself in a conflictive situation as Ministry of Interior officials cling to the idea of being the main controllers of all national issues.

The benevolent dictator supporters are the most varied group of those supporting Al-Sisi and they are also the most loyal to him. These supporters also include many of those who still cling to the idea of creating another ruler similar to Gamal Abdel Nasser. Therefore it is not surprising to find that many of the Nasserite leaders are supporting Al-Sisi’s bid for presidency. Determined to “clone” Abdel Nasser, they also tend to believe that the country is in a similar situation as the time of Abdel Nasser. Consequently, Russia becomes the Soviet Union and the United States becomes the enemy. Then, to complete this 1960s scene, Al-Sisi becomes not only a benevolent dictator, but also a national symbol capable of resurrecting the Non-Aligned Movement and resisting colonisation via a regional alliance in which the Gulf re-enacts the role of India and Yugoslavia. These ideas are constantly repeated on news channels as presenters try to explain the concept to the disillusioned youth.

The reason behind the variation of the supporters of the benevolent dictator is that there is no one concept for oppression to gather all of the supporters under the umbrella of one definition. Some believe that cloning Abdel Nasser is the solution, including the nationalisation act, while others believe that the solution is to eliminate factional protests and demands and to force people to work. Therefore, the only thing they agree upon is the idea of oppression. They are all lured by the image of the benevolent dictator, which can be applied to Al-Sisi because he is backed by the military, the biggest and most capable organisation in the country with the power to support and protect an oppressor.

The third group, those who support administrative reform, are comprised of those who believed in Gamal Mubarak’s bid for presidency, who in turn used them to get social and political support inside the state and amongst the elite. Gamal Mubarak’s were closer to those of “new” businessmen and the nouveau-riche.  Members of this group believe that the democratic ideal is on hold until the country achieves economic reform at the expense of the lower classes, of course, leading to more social discontent. That is where the security apparatus comes in to contain and oppress people until the economic reform is successful.  They do not believe in democracy or a political process, but only in economic and administrative reform because the state’s main problems are corruption and bureaucracy. To make their plans work, they need hoards of well-trained and educated youth.

Hence this group supports the ideas of savage capitalism which relies on oppression and the security apparatus to achieve its goals. However, before 25 January, the supporters of administrative reform were not on good terms with the Ministry of Interior and security apparatus because of their attempt to control things from the top and through the presidential institution. Due to Gamal Mubarak’s absence, this group is trying to connect with Al-Sisi so that he can adopt their ideas. Even though this plan might seem illogical, it is the group’s only chance to regain control and be involved in the ruling process.

About the author

Farid Zahran

Farid Zahran is a publisher and writer. He is the co-founder of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party


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