News Release

Egypt: Behind the Chaos

The Guardian headlines their Mideast blog “Egypt’s Transition Plunged into Chaos.” The Wall Street Journal reports: “Egypt’s highest court ruled on Thursday to allow a former regime loyalist to run in presidential elections starting Saturday and to dissolve both houses of Egypt’s parliament, in verdicts that could add another pressure point to Egypt’s already fraught transition from military rule to democracy.

“The verdicts come only two days before run-off elections for Egypt’s next president start on Saturday, and only two weeks before the ruling council of generals had promised to hand over its executive authority to the newly-elected head of state.”

Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera is reporting: “Egypt’s justice ministry has issued a decree allowing military police and intelligence officers to arrest civilians suspected of crimes, restoring some of the powers of the decades-old emergency law which expired just two weeks ago.”

JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN, amadea311 at earthlink.net,
Loewenstein is faculty associate in Middle East Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She said today: “The Supreme Court ruled that Ahmed Shafiq can run in the election even though he was part of the Mubarak regime — he was the last prime minister — and even though the court has ruled that others associated with the Mubarak regime cannot stand for office. Meanwhile, the other candidate, Muhammed Morsi, is the candidate put forth by the Muslim Brotherhood — though they initially said they would not field a candidate. While the Brotherhood represents the oldest and most well-organized political party in modern Egypt, it nevertheless sat on the sidelines of the uprisings in Tahrir Square when they were at their most popular and intense. There is real irony in the fact that neither of the two contenders for president of a new, democratic Egypt represents the people and organizations whose energy and motivation set the Egyptian Revolution in motion. The ramifications of this situation could be profound.”

JIHAN HAFIZ, fahema22 at gmail.com
REED LINDSAY, reedlindsay at yahoo.com
Hafiz is The Real News correspondent in Cairo. Lindsay is bureau chief there. See their recent reports.

KHALED BEYDOUN, khaled.beydoun at earla.org
Beydoun is with the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association. He said today: “The Egyptian Courts, and SCAF [Supreme Council of the Armed Forces], are not only undermining the self-determination millions of Egyptian’s marched and rallied for during the January 25th Revolution, but also manipulating a result advantageous to a select few of elites — many of whom are remnants or proxies of the toppled government. Much of what SCAF’s strategy is an extension of what Mubarak did for decades: If not for us, the nation will degenerate into chaos.”

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