October 31, 2011
Unlike Libya, where the removal of the brutal Gaddafi regime is complete,Egypt has so far managed only to get rid of the Mubaraks and a few around them. The regime itself, with the army and the security apparatus at the centre, remains largely intact. And no more so than in the shape of Scaf – the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces – whose members were handpicked by Mubarak and whose chief, Field Marshal Tantawi, is now de facto head of state.
Scaf did play a crucial role in removing Mubarak. The officers maintain they took the side of the revolution but, increasingly, few believe them. There is a growing consensus that their action was motivated by a desire to rescue the regime from impending collapse rather than embracing wholeheartedly the revolution with its far-reaching demands of a regime change.
Does this make Egypt’s revolution failed or incomplete? Possibly yes, if you consider revolutions to be a point in time. But if you believe that a revolution is a more complex process than removing a dictator, then the jury is still out. And the Egyptian revolutionaries cling to that hope.
Inevitably, the process itself is full of conflict, potentially violent, at times erratic, even regressive. The revolutionaries want to press ahead, old regime supporters regrouping and fighting back. This is absolutely necessary to understanding the unfolding drama in Egypt today.
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