07/19/2011, 00.00
EGYPT
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Army slowing reforms to sink revolution

The economic crisis is killing the ideals of the Arab spring. The military are against democracy, and refuse to hand over former regime officials to the justice system. More than US$ 9.5 billion in aid are still lying unused in state coffers. Sources tell AsiaNews that they fear the rise of a theocratic regime with the tacit agreement of Western nations.
Cairo (AsiaNews) – “The Egyptian Revolution could fail and everything we won could be lost. The country’s leaders are establishing a new regime with the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood and the tacit agreement of Western nations,” sources in Egypt told AsiaNews. The sources accuse the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of being against democracy and the real development of the country and its population. So far, Arab countries and the United States have provided Egypt with US$ 9.5 billion in aid that have not yet been used.

Initially, high unemployment and food prices as well as corruption and a wide gap between rich and poor trigged the ‘Jasmine Revolution’.

Six months later, economic growth in the first part of 2011 was only 1 per cent compared 4.5 per cent last year. The largest drop (45 per cent) came in the tourist sector, which drives the Egyptian economy. At the same time, imports rose by 30 per cent. For months, many companies, especially in the manufacturing sector, have not paid their employees.

In six months, sources say, nothing has changed. The country’s resources have dwindled, widening the gap between rich and poor. In fact, the army of the jobless now stands at 11.9 with a peak of 50 per cent for those under 30.

Demands for political reform have been betrayed, starting with the trials of Mubarak’s men, many of whom are now involved with the new government.

“The military have no interest in bringing these people to justice because the officers who now rule the country would end up before the judges,” sources say.

“Elections have been postponed by three months not to help liberal forces, but to boost the alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and the anti-democratic groups,” they add.

“The army has made some small changes, but they continue to lie to the people. Ordinary Egyptians instead want a real revolution and radical change for the country. Those in power do not want democracy and are playing with the economic crisis to tire people. They want to stifle protests, not violently, but through popular frustration, showing how serious the consequences of Mubarak’s fall are.”

Still, the economy is not the real problem. What really concerns people is the total lack of security. The army is unable to keep under control the social and ideological tensions unleashed by Mubarak’s fall.

“Salafis are everywhere. They threaten everyone, not only Copts but also Muslims. Many Christians are fleeing the country. In Cairo’s poor neighbourhoods, people are terrified and lock themselves in their homes, surviving on a few dollars a day.”

According to sources, Christians and other minorities are preparing for a theocratic state run by the military, politicians and business interests.

The revolution’s failure is also due to the United States and Western nations, which do not support democratic groups, and are out to protect their own economic interests. (S.C.)
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