Experts Shed Light On Future Of Egypt
The conflict in Egypt took a major shift Thursday as President Hosni Mubarak announced he would not resign before the September elections. Experts on the issue are unsure what exactly will happen next.
“I think it is disappointing and it’s a sign that this regime is going to be more tenacious than anyone had hoped. He is going to try to hold on to power and make it more difficult for his people,” said Farid Abdel-Nour, an associate professor of political science at San Diego State.
Mubarak also announced that he would pass much of his power to his Vice President, Omar Suleiman. Abdel-Nour warns that “we should not be too excited or too disappointed about the power he delegated to Suleiman, as it will not matter in the long run. Suleiman is at the heart of the regime just like Mubarak, and any powers delegated to Suleiman are still in the hands of the core of the regime.”
A result of this change presents more questions "whether we will see transformation of the regime or if it will stay in place with a new face," Abdel-Nour said.
The possibility of violence Friday morning “has certainly increased,” Abdel-Nour said. “But this may be exactly what the regime is trying to do. Any amount of violence gives the regime an excuse to crack down. The regime will be looking for that opportunity with glee.”
Maoz admits that there “will be huge demonstrations [Friday],” though he is unsure whether they will be violent or peaceful.
Much of this uncertainty leads to the question of the military’s allegiance. Maoz explained there are three possibilities as to what could be going on. “One, the military will side with Mubarak and intervene in the violence. Second, the military is about to take power from Mubarak and Suleiman. Or third, the military command is not of one mind. Some of them support Mubarak, others support the opposition. We don’t know what has happened.”
“The military is very confusing,” Abdel-Nour agreed. “First military leaders were put in the crowd, which seemed as though the military was on the side of the people. But there was a mixed message of military planes and helicopters flying over the crowd. It’s highly possible that there is a divide in the military. But there is no way of knowing,” Abdul-Nour said.
“People in power do not make concessions easily just because people ask for them. Change will not take place easily,” said Raymond Sfeir, professor of economics at Chapman University.
Many agree that these developments confirm that this conflict is indeed a revolution and shows no sign of ending. “I would be surprised if [Egyptians] rest until they see genuine change in the regime,” Abdel-Nour said.
The future of Egypt and of the entire Arab world is extremely uncertain. In terms of where Egypt will end up one year from now, “anything is a possibility,” Maoz said. "You could see democracy, a worse dictatorship, an Islamic republic, or a mixture of some elements of many."
Maoz explained that changes will be seen across the Middle East regardless of whether or not the revolution is successful. “A lot of people in the Middle East are watching to see the outcome. If it does end in democracy, there will be a ripple effect in the region. Iran, Syria and others may learn from Egypt as Egypt learned from Tunisia. If Egypt fails, that will calm down sentiment in other Arab countries as well.”
Abdel-Nour pointed out another change that will be seen in the Arab world. “Anybody who wants to have dealings with the Arab world now has to consider the opinions of Arab populations. So far, their opinions have been ignored. Arab governments now will have to take them into consideration. Even if the revolution fails, these populations have made their voice heard,” he said.
Reach reporter Charlotte Spangler here