Egyptian Court Bars Activist

In another sign of , a court upheld the conviction of  Ayman Nour and barred him from making a Presidential run.   Mr. Nour, a long-time activist, was accused of forging documents to form an opposition party in 2005.  His arrest and conviction was widely seen as a Mubarak set-up and condemned by rights activists and governments around the world.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood won election to leadership of several professional syndicates, including those of physicians and teachers, demonstrating its appeal and electoral organization after decades of repression.

In recent weeks, regime from politics or accelerate the transition to democratic rule, sparking concerns that the military leadership is hoping to extend its authority.

The like Mr. Nour while politicians from the former ruling National Democratic Party, or NDP, register unimpeded for parliamentary elections strikes many activists as a blow to secular-minded politicians and another signal of a revolution gone wrong.

The military was praised by Tahrir Square protesters last winter for refusing to move against the democratic movement.  And whenever the military council dragged on some of its decisions, Tahrir Square filled again.

Not shooting down its own citizens, however, never meant the military actually ‘surrendered’ to the democratic agenda.  The military, considered  Egypt’s most professional and respected institutions, controls vast business interests, and certainly saw the writing on the wall.  The tide against Mubarak certainly impressed top military leaders, who played a smart political hand by dropping their support for the President and seizing control of the interim government.

Although welcomed by the pro-democracy movement at the time, skepticism regarding the military council, known as SCAF has grown strong, especially from secular democratic who are not as well-organized as the Brotherhood.

At this point, the military’s given-in to some of the democrats’ demands, postponed others (such as presidential elections), tried Mubarak, let the Muslim Brotherhood function openly even as the court system has approved many Mubarak supporters to run in parliamentary elections next month and for president in 2013, an election switched from spring, 2012.

Obviously, increasing the time for holding Egyptian Presidential elections allows more time for a candidate acceptable to the military to come forward or be groomed.

I’ve said all along, the Egyptian Spring was and is a reform movement, not a ‘revolution’ in the common meaning of the term.  The military has supreme command, is causing divisions between Copts and Muslims and in other ways after giving with the right hand, taking back with the left.

Whether the reforms won will be truly democratic or merely a show remains to be seen.


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