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WHAT NEXT? February 1, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Middle East, North Africa.
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As people lost fear, so the protest numbers have grown in Egypt. It seems that the role of the army has been critical.

The numbers and extent of the protest were so great, combined with the determination to face down the brutality of the police – and potentially the Republican Guard – that army had to be called in. A large conscript army of almost 500,000 would not turn their guns on the people, and the officer corp are more nationalistic than political. There may have been doubts about what would happen, but it now seems clear institutional/bureaucratic purpose is clear.

So what now can the government and the power elite do? One option is to flee. The smart thing to do was to leave early. Now the exits are going to be very crowded. It is possible that the US may assist Mubarek’s flight to Riyadh. The other option is to continue to stand their ground, but one would imagine that a government based on terror cannot survive in these circumstances.

There will have to be an interim government of national unity formed to oversee elections. The Egyptian state does have a parliament and institutions of democracy. I suspect in this phase of political development, the role of the European Union may be important.

The fact that the Egyptian Democratic Revolution was leaderless, an expression of people power, has advantages and disadvantages. It is a post-colonial development which is more likely to give rise to pluralism. The phase we about to witness from political protest to political campaigning is unchartered waters. Fingers crossed.

ELSEWHERE:

The LA Times reports on breaking news:

Jordan’s Royal Palace says the king has sacked his government in the wake of street protests and has asked an ex-army general to form a new Cabinet.

King Abdullah’s move comes after thousands of Jordanians took to the streets — inspired by the regime ouster in Tunisia and the turmoil in Egypt — and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rifai, who is blamed for a rise in fuel and food prices and slowed political reforms.

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