THREE months from now, Egypt will be heading to an historic event — the presidential election. Egyptians will choose either to complete the development process and State building or return to square one — after the uprising on Jan 25, 2017.
Therefore, every Egyptian needs to read the modern history of his country and the crises caused by wrong choices or revolutionary adventures since the inception of Egypt as a republic in 1952 until the evening of June 30, 2013. If the overthrow led by Egypt’s Free Officers Movement planted the roots of dictatorship caused a huge loss in terms of the country’s wealth and people through the military adventure of Jamal Abdul-Nasser, the country still attempted to regain some losses it incurred during the catastrophic era that led to several wars.
In 1956, then Egyptian President Jamal Abdul-Nasser dragged the country into war which was known as the Tripartite Aggression in 1956 when he decided to nationalize the Suez Canal.
The cost of that aggression was the occupation of Sinai for the first time. It was done through international pressure on Britain, France and Israel which led to their withdrawal. Ideally, Egypt would have avoided such bitter adventure by waiting for the monopolization of Suez Canal agreement to expire in 1968; but due to Abdul-Nasser’s endeavor to cement himself as the leader not of Egypt alone but the entire Arab world, such efforts ended with the first defeat.
Before that, this military man refused to yield to the opinion of the first president of the republic — Muhammad Najeeb — on the return of the military to the barracks and to prevent them from interfering in politics. Instead, elections should be conducted as a preliminary step towards civilian rule. This prompted Abdul-Nasser to oust Najeeb and take over the entire country. Abdul-Nasser did not learn from what transpired in 1956.
Instead, his pride led him to interfere with the internal affairs of Arab countries by dragging his country into war with Yemen where his military lost thousands of men and came out of the war defeated. After that, he went into the Six- Day War through which Israel occupied Sinai and closed the Suez Canal. Throughout that period, the Egyptian media and western intelligence agencies were portraying Abdul-Nasser as the only leader of the Arab World for him to have the long hand in reconciling with Israel and make it live in peace with its Arab surroundings. After the 1967 shock, he changed his political tactics and started reopening his channels with the Arab World. He embarked on building his country’s economy, but death caught up with him in 1970.
The reins went to Anwar Saddat who was fully aware that countries are not built through wars. Saddat started following different economic and military policies. After three years of his reign, he engaged in what was known as the October War of 1973. After that, the industrial, construction and economic renaissance kicked in. He was the only person who imposed courageous peace on Israel through his uncommon initiative in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The assassination of Sadat, which was the result of the incitement spearheaded by the Muslim Brotherhood Group, brought the developmental program to a standstill. Former president Hosni Mubarak tried hard to revive and continue Sadat’s developmental programs, but the incessant shenanigans of the Brotherhood in a bid to grab power jeopardized all the efforts that pave way for the uprising on Jan 25, 2011. They took advantage of the uprising to change the Arab world by igniting the flames of civil wars therein. They would have achieved that had the people not stood firm against the hellish scheme through the June 30, 2013 Revolution with the Army’s support to liberate Egypt from the captivity of the deceitful and devilish Brotherhood.
Today, four years after Egypt recovered from the disease inflicted on it by the Brotherhood’s evil scheme, there have been a lot of big achievements. The economy has improved significantly and the wheels of urban renaissance, as well as strategic projects, have returned. We saw what President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi accomplished in his first year in power, whether in the expansion of Suez Canal or the new administrative capital and many other accomplishments attributed to the man who shouldered huge responsibilities.
He believed that the dreams of the people, after the passage of the Brotherhood catastrophe, have become bigger and nothing should shatter their hopes. This belief constitutes the real challenge for Field Marshal el-Sisi right from the first day he was elected through the force of popular pressure. The challenge has been profitable regardless of the fact that Egypt has been facing wars from many fronts for several years.
The authority wages war against terrorism sparked by the Brotherhood, as well as economic challenge and depletion of national resources through the effects of political and security incidents. All these are happening amidst media campaigns in which tens of the Brotherhood affiliated and funded channels participate.
People who claim that the military government in Egypt is not suitable to lead the country ignore the fact that several countries ruled by retired military officers played vital roles in developing their countries. Examples of such leaders include Eisenhower and former Lebanese President Fouad Shehab who built an institutional State.
El-Sisi, who has a military background, knows very well the meaning of time and essence of executing development projects with precision that a military order should be executed. The achievements in the past four years should be sustained with the same vigor and determination, especially since the el-Sisi leadership is carrying out its activities with military dedication. It is impossible to subject Egypt to another test or paths which would have brought it back to square one. Therefore, there is still a need for this kind of leadership once again, or even a third or fourth time to sustain the development projects. El-Sisi has the desire and roadmap that fit into the European proverb, “If there is a will, there is a way.” Will Egyptians choose continuity of development, return to the past vestibules or miss the track again?
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times