Friday, 16 September 2011

Egypt at a crossroads

Egyptians are given to conspiracy theories. For months, years even, after 9/11, many Egyptians including those of political maturity and sophistication would loudly assert that Osama bin Laden had nothing to do with the attack. And that it was a Zionist plot to vilify the Muslim world. They would cite as so-called evidence the supposed absence of Jewish employees from the World Trade Centre on the day.

Conspiracy theories are then both frequent and must be treated with a large degree of caution and scepticism. It has been widely surmised in the press, however, that the army orchestrated the assault on the Israeli embassy to justify the imposition of harsh new emergency regulations.

What evidence is given? First, that the two places most heavily guarded both under the Mubarak regime and in the new dispensation have been the diplomatic missions of the US and Israel. Why then did residents in the building report a withdrawal of any army presence outside the Israeli embassy the day before the demonstrations planned for Tahrir Square, some 20 minutes' walk away? Why did those who got into the building say they were shown the way by army officers?

Whatever the truth, the incident has raised questions about the army's motives. Do they want to achieve a swift transfer of power to some duly elected civilian authority, as they have said? Or are they actually intent on hanging on to power, despite the fact that they have shown so little aptitude for exercising it?

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

No comments:

Post a Comment