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All the roads lead to this

Egypt is on the brink, and everyone’s nerves are frazzled. Everyone is both optimistic, and yet terrified about the outcome of 30 June. Given that this is a day of an unlikely alliance between the social conservatives (old regime supporters), the revolutionaries and the independents, anything could happen. While one is operating on very limited …

Mahmoud Salem
Mahmoud Salem

Egypt is on the brink, and everyone’s nerves are frazzled. Everyone is both optimistic, and yet terrified about the outcome of 30 June. Given that this is a day of an unlikely alliance between the social conservatives (old regime supporters), the revolutionaries and the independents, anything could happen. While one is operating on very limited information, there are only a number of possible scenarios to the day’s outcome. Let’s get them out of the way right now.

Scenario 1: The Muslim Brotherhood wins an outright victory, with the military going down to protect the “legitimacy” of the president, which would cause the conservatives to hide immediately, the independents to get depressed, and the revolutionaries to stick it out alone. This is not very likely, since it would cause an irreparable rift between the military and its supporters (the conservatives and independents), and could lead to even more capital flight, economic destruction and deterioration of the state. It would also mean that last Sunday’s horrific murder of four Egyptian Shi’a citizens would become the norm, with the police no longer protecting anyone whom the religious leaders deem an “apostate”. Chaos would reign for a very long time. This cannot be allowed to happen.

Scenario 2: The Muslim Brotherhood suffers an outright defeat, with all of its members hunted down, and Morsi toppled. Whoever gets to a media outlet first and declare the new revolution’s “decree # 1” wins, with the military guiding the transition period. A very similar repeat of the transitional period of January 2011 ensues, albeit on a much shorter scale, until the next parliamentary elections. This is also very unlikely. None of the forces that are calling for that day can actually agree on who will take over, and the military will not have a constitutional or political circus on its hands again.

Scenario 3: The Muslim Brotherhood is broken, with their bases (along with some of their leaders) crushed in an outright street war, and with the military stepping in with a curfew and a transition scenario. The entire cabinet would change with a transitional cabinet led by, most likely, Kamal Al-Ganzoury or a similar figure. Morsi, completely weakened, would nominally stay in power until October, when a new parliamentary election would bring in a totally new parliament and prime minister, and then he would step down once the process for early presidential elections began. Personally, I believe that this is the most likely scenario, weirdly enough; it saves the military from executing another coup, solidifies their complete control of the state via Morsi, and it goes well with their plan to keep the process based on elections and not revolutions. As a bonus, Morsi would get all the blame and responsibility for the upcoming economically horrible months.

That being said, I could be horribly wrong. This is a country that continuously defies any and all predictions and expectations. However, there are a number of things we do know:

1)      Whether we like it or not, there is no scenario where the military will not be a part of what will happen post 30 June.

2)      It is very unlikely that this revolt would last long, or beyond 30 June; after all, Ramadan is upon us.  While conventional wisdom states that “the action” will start on 28 June, I personally believe that it must start one week before 30 June on both sides, to give each side the momentum necessary to make or break that day’s demonstrations. Sunday’s murders were the acts of day one, where the citizens were provoked to action by Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis to attack the Shi’a, and the police stood there and did nothing, since they saw the president last week supporting Jihad against them.  The Islamists struck first, and there are six more days to go.

3)      There is no safe possible outcome for the 25 January revolutionary symbols, especially those who supported Morsi, no matter who wins. If Islamists win, they will persecute them to make an example out of them; if non-Islamists win; they will be persecuted for being “the Muslim Brotherhood fifth columnists,” as many of the nation now sadly believe. It’s probably not even safe for them to go down on 30 June, with the majority of those going blaming them for Morsi becoming president, so most of them won’t.

4)      If this revolution succeeds, it might mean the end of the Muslim Brotherhood, but not the end of the Islamists, who are a significant percentage of the population whether anyone likes it or not. They will continue being a political force vis-à-vis the Al-Nour Party and Abul Fotouh’s party. They will never win the next elections, but will always be a significant part of the opposition. Deal with it.

And finally, some thoughts:

  • Many people who will take to the streets on 30 June wanted to outsource the fight against the Islamists to the military. The military has done nothing and outsourced the fight back to the people, while staying above it all. Neither scenario is good for the country, but the latter preserves the military, which has always been their agenda.
  • The person to watch on the old regime side is former Presidential candidate and ex-Egyptian intelligence general Hossam Khairallah. He has been getting a lot of media attention lately, and something tells me that we will be seeing more of him in the days to come. On the National Salvation Front/revolutionary side, the person to watch is Free Egyptians Party President Ahmed Said, who doesn’t get as much media attention as the others National Salvation Front leaders, but is the number one enemy in the eyes of the Muslim Brotherhood, since they haven’t been able to tarnish him in the eyes of the people yet.
  • If this were only a fight between the old regime supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood, I wouldn’t count on the old regime prevailing, for it usually relies on hired hands to do their fighting, while the Muslim Brotherhood will be fighting for its survival. It’s the independents taking to the streets that throw the outcome in a state of flux, and they are legion.
  • Expecting a crime wave on the heels of this conflict is logical (chaos and lack of security brings out criminals.)  It is nothing that we haven’t seen before, however, and it is nothing to be afraid of. Calm down, secure your house and loved ones, and this too shall pass. Also, don’t worry about someone stealing your car, for there is no gas in the country, so they won’t be able to take it far. If I were you, I would be more worried about the gas in your car tank being stolen. This is a joke, by the way. Don’t seal your gas tanks shut or anything. However, parking your car in a garage would not be a bad idea from now on.
  • I don’t want anyone to die. I don’t want anyone to be oppressed, no matter what side that they are on. If the Muslim Brotherhood falls, I would very much like to see them get fair trials, for it will be an important step to us healing as a nation, although I wouldn’t bet on it. That being said, I have neither love nor compassion in my heart towards them, and I can never forgive them for how, with their greed, opportunism, their collaboration with SCAF and their criminal and murderous acts, have wasted our only opportunity to have a just state. It didn’t have to be this way. We didn’t have to be here. Yet somehow, it all feels inevitable. Dear Sons of Al Banna, may God forgive you, for I, and many like me, never will.

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  • Nancy R. Tomasheski

    Well thought out, well written, and useful to me as a pro-Egyptian American trying to keep up.

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  • Sir Lancelot

    Good analysis, but when it comes to Islamists, you’re biased.

  • maraegypt

    You have a brilliant analytical mind, great writer and good sense of humour. This article gives me goosebumps and I agree with you …. probably.. 100% – Take care on the the 30th.

  • Dessert Rose

    Good analyisis, but i wonder why you never mention the USA and its power and interference on how things devlop in Egypt? And about their collaboration withe the MB? Are Egyptians really THAT free?!

    • Micah Shapiro

      hahaha, everyone says everyone is collaborating with the USA. It’s getting so ridiculous. Trust me, USA doesn’t like Morsi at all.

      • Dessert Rose

        What do you think now about “USA doesn’t like Morsi at all’?

        • Micah Shapiro

          USA supported Morsi because he was democratically elected. Doesn’t mean Morsi was America’s first choice.

          USA also supported Mubarak, and considered him a great friend, and he was a tyrant against his people, and not democratically elected.

          USA has healthy diplomatic relations with most governments in the world. Doesn’t mean they like them.

          • Dessert Rose

            Hmmm, now I understand why they support the jihadis in Syria and why they conquerd Iraq…
            All right:)

          • Micah Shapiro

            actually they have hardly supported the rebels in Syria. The rebels are very low on supplies and have been complaining about lack of backing, precisely because USA is hesitant to support the rebels fully. They have pushed for it a few times, but checks and balances have gotten in the way. There is some support, as well as training to certain groups such as the FSA (which is much more nationalist-leaning than other groups such as Al Nusrah), but it would be an exaggeration to call it a proxy war at this point in time.

  • crescent5

    why haven’t you included the 4th (and most scary) scenario- which is the supporters of Islamist groups, in addition to outside jihadist elements taking to the streets and battling not only protesters, but the armed forces should they try to intervene, and possibly winning?

  • Ibrahim Ben Nemsi

    Scenario 5:
    Reason prevails, the pseudo-revolution is called off, no one gets killed or even injured. Then, in October, the opposition wins the parliamentary election with a big majority, forms a new government, changes the constitution and does everything else it promises.

  • HK87

    Scenario 5:

    Neither the police, CSF or the military are a cohesive unit. All of these institutions have been infiltrated with Islamists. Their own forces and battalions will fight against the other according to their allegiance to MB or non-MB led state. What could trigger this is a pre-emptive call from Morsi for Abdel Fatah to step down – he isn’t allied to Islamists but to his own interests. Meanwhile jihadists and protesters hash it out on the street. Who wins? The military industrial complex of the West who have a vested interest in the breakdown and destruction of the state. If you look closely you can see that civil war was the desired outcome from the beginning with the provocative attitude and actions from Morsi and his associates. I still hold the position that no one can be this stupid but that civil war was their intention from the beginning – they know their rule is short term and they had a mission to achieve. The fact that the IMF loan never came is a signal that floating the boat was never in the cards of their benefactors either. The MB leadership will survive intact under the protection of the West having successfully carried out their mission, while their foot soldiers are ground up in the ensuing conflict.

    In a state of lawlessness and complete breakdown of security, Sinai militants will start their shenanigans and Israel will use this as a pretext to take it back – either for their own settlements, or as a final destination for deported Palestinians — hence ending the danger of a one state solution and regaining lebensraum.

    The outcome of armed conflict could be anyone’s guess but it turn out this way: Islamist fiefdoms are carved out and run under shari3a in predominately southern and impoverished regions of Egypt. Other liberal minded state-lets could exist centered around urban centers. Each side with their own militias similar to Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. Its hard to pinpoint exactly US intentions for Egypt as even the maps drawn up for the Project for a new Middle East, leave Egypt out intentionally.

  • Mrihavegot

    “Morsi would get all the blame and responsibility for the upcoming economically horrible months.”
    but neither Mubarak nor SCAF get blamed for nowadays’ economy!
    How come you’re so biased??

  • Micah Shapiro

    “As a bonus, Morsi would get all the blame and responsibility for the upcoming economically horrible months.”

    You are an entitled snob. That sentence right there shows your agenda is no more decent than any scumbag politician. You fools don’t want economic stability. You don’t want Democracy. There will be Presidential elections when the time comes. We Americans had to put up with Bush for 8 years, but we never called for early presidential elections. People like you are jokes. YOu are new to Democracy and don’t yet appreciate it.

    Morsi won. What’s done is done. If you don’t like him, you can vote for someone else in the next election. You guys were protesting against Morsi within days of his presidential victory. And people ignored the fact that his power decree was TEMPORARY and for the purpose of ousting that corrupt judge and other Mubarak era officials, and Military elites trying to undermine Democracy. You are no more opportunists than the MB, the difference is they are organized and you are not.

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