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Egypt: Back to Square One?


The events of 3 July 2013 have cast a troubling shadow over Egypt's future and have opened a new phase in the country's transition. While opinions in Egypt are deeply divided over whether the new situation is the result of a military-dictated "soft coup" or the outburst of a reinvigorated, grassroots revolutionary momentum, or both, the challenges to a veritable democratic and pluralistic transition process are manifold. Stopping the bloodshed and easing the tensions and polarization are only the first steps. A process of national reconciliation accompanied by an inclusive revision of the constitution need to be pursued by the new interim government. The new leadership should also find ways to engage the excluded Muslim Brotherhood facilitating its inclusion in Egypt's political institutions. Only at the end of this long journey we will know whether Egypt has embarked on an Algerian-style civil war-type path, or a Turkish-like experience marked, at least until recently, by successful government with the Islamists at the forefront.